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Return to Castle Wolfenstein

aka: RTCW
Windows Specs [ all ]
(prices updated 9/17 12:20 AM )

Description official descriptions

Two secret agents are captured while they are investigating Nazi Germany's occult activities in Castle Wolfenstein. Agent One is subsequently tortured to death by his interrogator, but B.J. Blazkowicz manages to escape his cell by killing the guard.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a first-person shooter and a reboot of Wolfenstein 3D. The game puts the player in the combat boots of Blazkowicz, who will first have to escape the castle and report back to his superiors, and afterwards restart the hunt for the SS Paranormal Division. This division was founded by Heinrich Himmler and is trying to find the grave of Saxon warlord Heinrich I to bring him back to life. The player's arsenal includes among others a Luger, MP 40 submachine gun, Mauser rifle with sniper scope, flamethrower, dynamite and grenades.

The game also features a multiplayer component in which players are split into Axis and Allies sides with each a set of objectives to complete.


  • 重返德军总部 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 重返德軍總部 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

251 People (165 developers, 86 thanks) · View all

Return to Castle Wolfenstein is powered by
  • id software's Quake III Arena technology
Production, development and technical assistance provided by
  • id software
Executive Producer
Art Director
Character Artist
Technology and AI Programming
Texture Artist
Technical Lead Design
Lead Level Designer
Level Designer
Models and Animation
Sound Design
Production Coordinator
Additional Programming
Additional Level Design
Spec. Ops. Consultants
[ full credits ]



Average score: 85% (based on 43 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 191 ratings with 13 reviews)

An uber-cool (to borrow a German prefix) sequel to grandfather of first-person shooters.

The Good
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (RTCW) is the culmination of every trick in the FPS playbook. You play B.J. Blazkowitz, a capture American POW in Germany. The game opens with you killing a Nazi guard and taking his gun. Armed with only this weapon, you must escape Castle Wolfenstein.

The graphics in this game are absolutely breathtaking. From the textures of the walls and buildings to the facial expressions of the enemies and the various 3D character models, RTCW is one of the sharpest looking games to be seen on the PC platform. The game runs at a smooth rate on my P3 1gz, and there is rarely any slowdown. And the flamethrower effects are some of the coolest I've seen in years.

Some people were worried of the inclusion of the zombies and undead in the game. Rest assured, they are actually logically worked into the game. You'll find them in the early part of the game, and near the end. The rest of the time you'll be fighting Nazis.

The level layouts aren't simple, but they are logical, and could conceivably exist int he real world. Open aribases, close-knit villages, laboratory compounds, the list goes on. I love the environments you play in. They are extremely realistic, and almost impossible to get lost or confused in.

The sound and music are top-notch. I'm not sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if the sounds for the real guns are sampled from actual gunfire. And the music should be released on CD, because it is fantastic.

The objectives in the game are varied as well. Some are your standard FPS shooter fare, killing all the enemies or retrieving an object. But my favorites are the stealth missions. There are at least 2 missions that require you to get through the level without being seen, or make any noise that could give you away. A really cool way this works is if you are spotted by a guard, and he runs for the alarm, you can either shoot the guard before he gets there or shoot the alarm so he can't sound it. As you go through these levels, you can either take the route that makes sense or one that's a bit more difficult. It's the players choice, so it makes for a interesting game experience.

The plot of RTCW is not the best , but it's not bad. Most people don't know that Hitler was absolutely nuts on the subject of the occult. The developer's took this into consideration when making the game. The story unfolding through the cut-scenes shows us the Nazis interest in the occult, and B.J.'s fight against it.

The Bad
The game's near perfect. I can't think of any faults in it.

The Bottom Line
This game doesn't break any new ground in FPS fare. What it does do is present a fantastic romp through a pseudo-WWII game.

Final Verdict: It's a must own FPS.

Windows · by Chris Martin (1169) · 2002

The REAL sequel to Wolfenstein 3-D

The Good
So you thought that Spear of Destiny was the sequel to Wolfenstein 3-D? Well, you thought wrong. In Return to Castle Wolfenstein, B.J. Blazkowicz is asked by the Office of Secret Action (OSA) to uncover the reason behind the Nazi's activity centering around Castle Wolfenstein. The leader of the Nazi Paranormal Division, a General by the name of Himmler, has increased his activity in this area. Apparently, reports have come in that his group is experimenting in occult magic and horrific scientific experiments involving cybernetics and genetic manipulation.

So B.J. and another agent is sent on a mission to do just that, only to be captured and held in Castle Wolfenstein for interrogation and, eventually, execution. However, like in Wolfenstein 3-D, B.J. waits on the ceiling for a guard to come in and falls on top of him and takes his gun. As you explore the many locations within the game, you can interact with certain objects by going up to them and pressing <ENTER> on the keyboard, but only if its corresponding icons shows up at the bottom of the screen. Walk up to a button, and a icon representing a finger is shown, indicating that you can press it; go up to a painting or a notice board, and the "break" icon appears, indicating that you can break the object. (A blue bar may or may not appear below this icon, telling you how much strength is required in order to do justice.) Secret areas can often be found by breaking objects. Walk up to the ladder, and the "ladder" icon appears meaning that you can climb up or down.

RTCW is not split up into numerous levels like Wolf3D. Rather, the game is split up into seven missions, consisting of roughly four or five parts, and each part has various objectives, which must be completed before leaving the part. It is important to review your objectives, as well as the mission summary. If you do, you will also be able to see a map, showing where you're heading. During most of the game, you will usually be going around the level shooting nazis that get in your way until you get to the exit. When killed, nazis will leave their weapon behind. Your default weapons are the knife and pistol, but a variety of weapons can also be collected, and range from assault rifles, tesla cannons, sniper rifles, and guns that emit laser beams and electrical charges. You also have the opportunity to use grenades and dynamite. However, every person you encounter are not just nazis, as you will also encounter innocent citizens and scientists. If you are facing them, a red X will be on their faces, telling you not to shoot them. If you do, you will fail your mission. Also, there are a couple of scenarios where you have to go around the territory undetected. If you are detected in these scenarios, the alarm sounds and you'll also fail the mission. Another situation where you can fail your mission is losing all your health.

Also laying about in every location are some treasures, which may include gold or chalices. Once you have completed one of your objective, a notebook icon appears telling you so and it's time for your next task. Once you reach the exit, a dialog box details the time taken to complete the part; and the objectives, secrets, and treasures found, as well as the number of attempts. Too bad the dialog box doesn't include the number of nazis killed. As expected, there are cut-scenes within the game. Once you have completed a mission, you get to watch cut-scene showing the two guys over at OSA outlining your next mission. By the way, some of the tasks you have to complete are interesting. Somewhere in Mission 3, for instance, you have to abort the V2 rocket launch that will destroy London, and much, much, later, you have to stop the resurrection of Heinrich I.

The character AI is rather good. Nazis are not standing still while they shoot. They shoot and move around at the same time, making it a little difficult for you to shoot them. They even go out of the room, only to come back seconds later to have another go at you. The stereo sound gives realism to the game, as sounds travel between speaker to speaker whenever you shift your gaze, and are facing left or right of the nazi. The manual that comes with the game is interesting too, especially the "Wolfenstein Lore" trivia, feeding you information that you may or may not already knew about both id Software and Wolf3D.

The Bad
There is only one problem that I've noticed in the game. The nazis don't speak English in both Wolf3D and Spear. So why do the nazis suddenly speak English this time. Seems like ID/Gray Matter forgot this fact. Perhaps someone will point out this mistake to them.

The Bottom Line
As far as I know, this game was released in Germany as a modified version, really modified. The German version of RTCW had some parts omitted, such as the song, a definite no-no in Germany. As well as this, turns out that the plot is crap. I'm glad that I'm not one of these people who aren't living in Germany.

Rating: ****½

Windows · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2004

GREAT GAME!!! Kill Nazis, Monsters, more Nazis, Use big cool weapons and kill even more Nazis!

The Good
I greatly enjoyed this game. You start off as an American P.O.W locked up inside the depths of Castle Wolfenstein. Then a guard comes in to check on you, and you drop from the ceiling and break his neck, steal his gun and get the hell out of there. Once out of the castle after a shitload of Nazis, you come into the Catacombs where you meet up with some friendly zombies and demons. It really just goes on like that. 7/10

The games visuals are pretty damn good on high detail, and while running on Id's Quake 3 engine, It's quite advanced. The character models are well detailed, and the enviroments are pretty interactive. You can knock down armour knights, blow holes in walls to uncover SECRET AREAS where there is treasure and sometimes meals to eat if your injured. For being quite dated, the texture detail, bump-mapping features, highly detailed sky and all things are excellent. The developers have did a good job with the graphics. 8/10

The sound effects in the game are quite impressive. While in the catacombs, fighting bosses and just lurking around dark areas, the music creates quite a creepy atmosphere. If you fire a weapon in a big room, if you listen carefully, you can hear the reverb. Your aresnal also sounds very realistic. 8/10

Depending on your system specs, this game offers great performance even on low spec machines. If you want total smooth performance on highest detail then you will need at least:- 1.2 ghz Pentium 3 Processor 64mb 3D Accelarator Video Card Sounblaster LIVE PLayer 5.1 Card

The Bad
Sometimes the game's cut-scenes can be a bit cheesy, but what's a game without cheesy moments, eh. Also, some character animations can be dodgy, but other than that, the game is brilliant.

The Bottom Line
If you like killing Nazis and monsters at the same time, then this is the game for you. And if you like playing online, there is a multiplayer feature, but you're better playing Enemy Territory online, its better. I would reccomend this game to anyone who enjoys an action-packed and scary FPS experience.


Windows · by Ryan Cassidy (2) · 2003

[ View all 13 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

Return to Castle Wolfenstein appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Castle Wolfenstein is based on Castle Wewelsburg which Heinrich Himmler used for occult rituals and practices.

German index

On February 28, 2002, the English version of Return to Castle Wolfenstein was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. The German version followed April 30, 2002.

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.

In addition, the game 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. But this does not mean it is illegal to just own the game.

German version

For the German release, the story was altered: You fight against the "Wolf-Sekte" (Cult of the Wolf), which is very dangerous to the freedom of the country because of their dark experiments.

That's it. Nothing else. No word of Himmler and his dark plans, no Nazis at all. It is clear that this "background" was made up for the only purpose of getting the game past the German feds - the word "Nazi" is a red sheet for them. They altered some of the names, too: Himmler is now called "Holler" and Oberst von Bülow has been renamed too. With this new storyline, the game makes absolutely no sense.

The funniest thing about this is the packaging which shows Doktor Zan (appearing at the very beginning of the game when he fries our comrade) - and on his jacket, you can clearly see the Nazi emblem (an eagle sitting on a circle in which is a swastika).

Even more changes to the German version, most of them regarding speech:* The "Horst-Wessel-Lied" (a Nazi song) was changed to a classical piece - the same is being played on a record player in the first outdoor mission. Seems they put it together in a hurry. * A picture of the "Führer" (Hitler) was changed to an odd-looking guy without beard but with the well-known army cap. Found in a more-or-less secret room in the village (accessible via the rooftops). * a speech of Hitler about the Reichstag (map: dam) was deleted and replaced by classical music * The speech "Wie geht's, Willie?" (How are you, Willie?) has been replaced by "Was ist passiert, Willie?" (What happened, Willie?), removing any sense from this talk. * A drunk soldier in the wine cellar under the cafe (map: village1) babbles: "Shut up you slowenian swine". In the German version, the word "slowenian" was removed. * In the labs, someone asks "What are your orders, Herr Oberführer?". This was changed to "What are your orders, pack leader?". * A voice of the generic German soldier was changed: In US, he said "Halt, Schweinehund!" (Stop, you pig!) - in Germany, he says "Halt, Verräter!" (Stop, traitor!), removing the profanity.


Some posters in the game, don't have a German description, but it is in Dutch!


  • Record players can be heard playing either Für Elise or Moonlight Sonata, both composed by Germany's own Ludwig Von Beethoven.
  • Bill Brown's score for this game was influenced by war movies made during the late 50's to the late 60's. Movies like The Bridge on the River Kwaii and The Dirty Dozen.


The developers included a unique set of motion captured animations for each character. Gray Matter also incorporated a skeletal animation system so they could articulate the models in a fluid and realistic way.

They also incorporated a brand new music system to change with the scene, much like LucasArts Imuse system.


Gray Matter Studios really did their research for this game. In-game, you find the following guns:* Luger, MP-40 and the Sten which use 9mm ammo. * Colt and Thompson that requires .45caliber. * Mauser and the FG42 that require 7.92mm.

These guns were manufactured and commonly used during WWII. Gray Matter even included a temperature gauge for the Sten, since the real life counterpart had a tendency to burn the hands if the user sustained fire for a period of time. A sizzling sound would trigger every time your hands would be burnt. The developers also took great efforts in modeling the guns and stock cartridges.

Some weapons in the game are fictional, but the M1S Snooper Rifle does really exist. It is based on the M3 Carbine and uses .30 caliber ammunition.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 2002 (Issue #213) – Best Weapon of the Year (Flamethrower)
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 03/2002 - Best Game in 2001 (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by Der.Archivar, Medicine Man; RobbertC, Scott Monster and Xoleras

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kartanym.

Linux, Macintosh added by Corn Popper. Windows Apps added by Plok.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Indra was here, JPaterson, Jeanne, phlux, AdminBB, Zeppin, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, Titan10, FatherJack.

Game added November 21st, 2001. Last modified August 30th, 2023.