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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 has been replaced by "Was ist passiert, Willie?"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

Contributed by phlux (4337) on Nov 25, 2001. [revised by : FatherJack (62744) and Patrick Bregger (237758)]. -- edit trivia