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Wolfenstein 3D (Windows)

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.

Trivia

Apple IIgs port

The game has been 'officially' ported by Eric Shepherd (SheppyWare), Bill Heineman (Logicware, Inc.) with art and sound by Ninjaforce for the Apple IIGS computer as freeware in 1998. It requires System 6.0.1 or later, at least 4MB of memory and a hard drive to play. An Accelerator card is recommended and it is controlled by the keyboard and mouse.

Aardwolf

Those who cheat and use the sprite browser would find a sprite of a sign saying: "Call Apogee and say Aardwolf". Here is an explanation by Apogee's Joe Siegler from the Apogee FAQ:

"Call Apogee and say Aardwolf." It's a sign that to this day is something that I get asked about a lot. This is a sign that appears on a wall in a particularly nasty maze in Episode 2 Level 8 of Wolfenstein 3D. The sign was to be the goal in a contest Apogee was going to have, but almost immediately after the game's release, a large amount of cheat and mapping programs were released. With these programs running around, we felt that it would have been unfair to have the contest and award a prize. The sign was still left in the game, but in hindsight, probably should have been taken out. To this day, Apogee gets letters and phone calls and asking what Aardwolf is, frequently with the question, "Has anyone seen this yet?"

Also, in a somewhat related issue, letters were shown after the highest score in the score table in some revisions of the game. These letters were to be part of another contest that got scrapped before it got started, where we were going to have people call in with their scores and tell us the code; we'd then be able to verify their score. However, with the cheat programs out there this got scrapped too.

Basically, "Aardwolf" and the letters mean nothing now. Also note that if you found the Aardwolf sign in the game (without cheating), there's a VERY strong chance that you're stuck in there. The only way out may be to restart, or load a saved game from before you went into that maze.

Blood

If you ever find yourself stuck with less than 4% life, just "drink" the puddles of blood found in certain stages and your life should be back to a whopping 4% right away. And as a bonus you get a slurping-the-last-soda-with-a-straw sound effect! :)

Bonus level

Forget Easter Eggs that reveal the authors' names or a built-in flying simulator. Wolfenstein 3D does it best!

One level inside the commercial (not shareware) version of the game finds you nosing around a seemingly endless maze of walls and turns and dead ends. Searching for secret doors in this labyrinth proved a tedious but rewarding effort, as soon one opened up and an exit was found. The next level--Pac Man! Yes, you run around grabbing gold goblets while being chased by floating and invincible ghosts. One day I'll have to pull out the old saved games files and see if I still have a saved Pac Man level game on disk. This level made this game even more fun to play that it already was. A hard task, even for one already addicted!

Cheat codes

For quite some time, Apogee distributed a v1.4 of Wolfenstein 3D without the cheat codes. If you try the cheat codes, and they don't work, you have a "cheat codeless" version of Wolfenstein 3D. In that case, contact customer support about a replacement.

Cover Art

The cover art was painted by Julie Bell and is entitled "A War Hero".

Development

It took John Romero and Tom Hall a lot of effort to convince engine programmer John Carmack to include secret doors in the walls. He initially found it an inelegant solution for an unnecessary problem, but eventually gave in.

DOSBox controversy

The Steam download version of the game is listed as Windows 2000/XP/Vista platform because the executables are modified to use a DOSBox variant (v 0.70); additionally the traditional setup.exe is missing.

It is confirmed that neither Valve or id Software contacted the DOSBox project staff and initially the game didn't includes the TXT files that must be present under the GPL license (so they failed to fulfill 2 points of the GPL license).

Two days after the launch, there was an update that includes COPYING, AUTHORS and THANKS.txt of the DOSBox 0.71.

German banning

On January 29, 1994, Wolfenstein 3D, with the exception of the GBA version, was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. The English GBA version followed November 29, 2003.

For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.

Wolfenstein 3D is violating §86a of Germany's penal code (for using characteristics of unconstitutional organizations), therefore it is illegal to produce, distribute, import, export and use it in the public. This does not mean it is illegal to just own the game.

Despite this fact, the game's German distributor made this game available in Germany in January 1994 (that's why the game was put on the Index in the first place), so the reaction was a nationwide confiscation, which became effective January 25, 1994 (and statute-barred on January 25, 2004).

But this does not mean that the game can now legally be sold (and therefore actually be bought), because it still violates the already mentioned §86a.

By the way, the charge for violating this paragraph is either a fine or a prison sentence of up to 3 years; and the distributor, who was responsible for all this (and the resulting common misconception) had to face one of these two. However, according to the Apogee Faq site, the name of the game was changed by fans to "Hundefelsen 4C", allowing them to play and distribute the game around Germany.

Inaccuracies

Although Wolfenstein 3D takes place during World War 2, the enemy soldier getting knocked down by B.J. Blazkowicz on the box cover of the game, is carrying an M16. That weapon didn't exist until 1960.

Merchandise

Apogee were selling a Wolfenstein 3D T-Shirt in their product catalog. A grey shirt showing our hero, B.J. Blazkowicz on front with Id Software and Apogee logos at the back, along with B.J's slogan - "Whatever the question lead is the answer". Now worth considerably more than asking price of US$13.95!

Morse code

Taken from the "WOLFENSTEIN-3D and SPEAR of DESTINY FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS by Adam Williamson":
WHAT IS THAT MORSE CODE MESSAGE IN WOLFENSTEIN?

In Episodes 3 & 6 of the registered version the music seems to include a Morse code beeping in the background.

I have scooped the following from UseNet's comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action (I don't know the originator, you know who you are)

Here it is:

TO BIG BAD WOLF DE ["de" means "from" in amateur radio Morse code jargon] LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD ELIMINATE HITLER IMPERATIVE COMPLETE MISSION WITHIN 24 HOURS OUT

Predecessors

It's not widely known, but this game is actually a remake of an old classic top-down maze game for the C-64, Apple, and other early platforms called Castle Wolfenstein. Unfortunately, they took out many of the interactive elements that made the classic version so fun - such as the ability to hold the Nazi's at gunpoint and rob them. (or, better, hold them up with an empty gun, steal their ammo, and THEN shoot them)

Actually, many elements of the original Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein games (such as silent attacks, dragging dead bodies, changing uniforms, etc.) were completely programmed into Wolfenstein 3D, but the decision was made to cut them out in the interest of simplifying gameplay.

Ratings

Although re-releases of the DOS version received a Mature (Descriptors: Animated Blood and Gore, Animated Violence) ESRB rating, id Software originally voluntarily rated the game "PC-13 - Profound Carnage" in the opening screens.

References

  • If you press [B] [A] [T] all at once, you'll get a message asking why you're trying to cheat, since this is the old Keen Galaxy cheat code.
  • The manual lists John Romero ( of Daikatana fame) as being the best Wolfenstein player in the world
  • The protagonist of the game is Commander Keen's grandfather.
  • The collective title of episodes #4-6 ("Nocturnal Missions") is actually a slightly naughty joke. (Get it?)
  • If you finally shoot the boss in the 6th episode, he will say "Rosenknospe" before he falls. This is the German word for "rosebud", the famous last word of Charles Foster Kane, played by Orson Wells, in the movie classic Citizen Kane. According to John Romero this was Tom Hall's idea.

References to the game

Sandra Bullock is playing Wolfenstein 3D on a Macintosh computer in the movie The Net (1995).

Releases

  • The FULL version of Wolfenstein 3D was included on the February 2002 Game Disk from PCGamer Magazine. Hopefully other companies will do the same :)
  • At 14-10-1996 id Software released the source code. You can download it from id´s FTP
  • The back of the box on the Activision re-release said "available for the first time for Windows 95". There was no native Windows 95 version of the game, just a Windows program group with shortcuts for the original DOS version.
  • Spear of Destiny was released as a free update to the iPhone version of Wolfenstein 3D on October 28, 2009.

Soundtrack

  • The Adlib title-tune of this game is a Nazi-hym, the so called "Horst-Wessel-Lied".
  • The Game Boy Advance version of the game does not have any kind of music in it.
  • The 3DO release contains new, CD-quality music tracks exclusive to that version.

Speedrun

According to the official hint book, the record time for finishing Episode One is 5 minutes, 20 seconds.

Success

One set of survey results showed that more copies of Wolfenstein 3D shareware were installed onto computers than MS-DOS (there were several different types of DOS at the time of the survey)

Title

There were many alternate titles for the game, some of which were simply joke titles and not seriously considered. The hint book lists these titles:

Castle Ochtenstein, Luger's Run, The Fourth Reich, Adolph's Bane, Hard Cell, Luger Me Now, Tank You Very Much, Castle Hasselhoff, How Do You Duseldorf?, Castle Verlassen (to abandon the castle), Sturmwind (stormwind), Hollehammer (hell hammer; this name made it in to the game as the name of the castle in episode two), Shattensendener (shadowsender), Geruchschlect (bad smell), Dolchteufel (devil dagger), Grabgrabbener (gravedigger), Eisenschwert (iron sword), Dammerung (twilight/dawn).

User created content

The proliferation of editing tools for Wolfenstein 3D makes it into the father of game modding. Redone sets of levels and graphics were wildly popular on BBSes of the day (ah, the memories), and definitely set the stage for the modding madness that would come in the wake of Doom. Amusingly, late in the game (1994, IIRC) Apogee actually announced that they were going to try to prosecute modders under the usual copyright\trademark laws. Nothing actually came of this, but the fan uproar was so loud that it caused id to announce (well before its release) that DOOM would be free and open for modders to edit if they could figure out how.

For those of us who LOVE the game, but our computers are way too fast to play them, Laz Rojas has meticulously recreated the Original Game to run as a DOOM II total conversion. Along with the Original Missions, Laz has created his own original missions (i.e. maps and graphics) based on Wolfenstein 3D's characters. Check it out at the Links/Searches Page.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • October 1993 (Issue #111) – Action Game of the Year
    • November 1996 (15th Anniversary Issue) - #97 overall among the “150 Best Games of All Time”
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #2 Top Sleeper Of All Time
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #11 Most Memorable Game Villain (Adolf Hitler)
  • FLUX
    • Issue #4 - #44 on the "op 100 Video Games of All-Time" list

Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Andrew Hartnett, Big John WV, BurningStickMan, Chris Martin, Daedolon, DarkDante, Garcia, glidefan, irelandgamer94, John David Karlgren, Kabushi, Kalirion, Kartanym, Mickey Gabel, NGC 5194, Parf, PCGamer77, Riamus, Roger Wilco, Sciere, Spartan 234, Steve ., WizardX, Xantheus, xcom1602, Xoleras and Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe

Contributed by bassaf (30) on Jan 19, 2000. [revised by : Patrick Bregger (100850) and Sciere (233885)]. -- edit trivia