Ahh, Wolfenstein 3D. When this came out in early '94, I was just beginning my torrid obsession with first person shooters. Something about the genre really appealed to me. Something about being a one man strike force, mowing down gun-toting soldiers and mutants one after another. It's a RAW, visceral kind of experience no other genre offers! And just look at that box art, it's actually quite similar to the Japanese counterpart, rather than a disgraceful alteration Yippe Kai Yay Mother -- !
Back in the day my brother always "shipped" me on the weekends to go rent one SNES game (usually of his choice). When it came out, Wolfenstein 3D was one of those games my brother directed me to rent. It's funny, I ended up playing the game more than he did. I loved DOOM on the PC at the time but I had yet to play Wolfenstein3D in any shape or form, so the SNES port was my first taste, and I loved it
Loved it so much that I even made up a mini strategy guide for it! I rated the enemies and guns. Unfortunately I seem to have lost that piece of paper. Just another childhood thing lost to time...
*TWO AND A HALF YEARS LATER*
The year was late 1996. One night we went to FUNCOLAND and there I saw Wolfenstein 3D for $30 -- not so cheap for an older game, but seeing it suddenly brought back good memories of that weekend I had with Wolfie back in early '94
I bought the game much to my brother's chagrin
I beat the game for a 2nd time, and had an absolute blast (no pun intended). I just loved it. It was also loads of fun to go back and mess around with the God mode code on random levels
*TEN YEARS LATER*
March 27, 2006. Two months into my SNES resurrection (see Resurrection) I recalled ole Wolfie 3D. Found a copy on eBay and sniped it with ONE second to go. My max was $2.22, but at the last second I decided to add a nickel, making my new max $2.27. And, funny enough, I won the game for $2.25. That nickel made all the difference
*THE VERY NEXT YEAR*
Wednesday, January 31, 2007. Looking through my collection for the next game to play and review, Wolfenstein 3D caught my eye. Time to find out the truth...
Totally useless. But, as you might imagine, a joy to mess around with under the God Mode code
Very slow rate of fire and quite weak. Like the knife, once you get a bigger gun this can't be switched to. Odd. Also like the knife, fun to use on the boss characters when you apply the God Mode code...
One of my favorites, though strangely, at times it seems weaker than the pistol! Eh? A blast to toy with under the God Mode cheat
This is the weapon to use 90% of the time. Rapid fire chaos and also fairly strong. Only time that this weapon shouldn't be used are during the boss fights, where it's just a tad too weak...
Burn your enemies to a crisp! Fast rate and decent power
The BFG of the game. 'Nuff said
[Well said -Ed.]
THINGS TO DO
In each stage there are two different types of locked doors, so two keys must be found
Some are out in the open while others are guarded by a horde of bloodthirsty soldiers
These guys give you a 1-UP
Remarkable likeness, wouldn't you say?
Secret entrances are a-plenty within the 30 levels of Wolfenstein 3D
Approach a section of a wall, painting or closed curtain and press A. If the panel is hiding a secret room, a portion of the wall will slide back
In each level, there are many secrets. One will even warp you to a bonus level!
Press start to view the map of the current stage you're on. This one here is different, but gives you an idea of the size of a level. Though the levels have been shrunken from the PC version, they are still plenty big
After each level a password is given. This is how all passwords should be. Succint, clear, and only takes five seconds to input. None of that crap "Is this a S or 5?" business!
... AND PEOPLE TO KILL
The low-tier baddie in the Wolfenstein universe... a notch above sitting ducks really. If a guard kills you, just hand in your gamer badge right now
These guys are pretty tough. Most will bark "STOP!" or "HALT!" but some are trained to be silent. In packs they prove to be lethal
Usually silent until they spot you, officers are a pain in the ass despite their not being as durable as the Elite Guards. Their agility and propensity to zig zag about the castle floors, not to mention their quick fire rate, make them a formidable adversary
Proud product of the mad Doctor Schabbs, mutants don't make a sound until they shoot, greeting you with the crack of gunfire. The mad doc inserted a pistol into the center of their chest, and topped them off with cleaver- tipped arms!
One of the major changes in the SNES port, but more on this a bit later
Rats are more of a nuisance than a threat
THE MISSIONS AND BOSSES
Mission One: Dresden Strike Location: Castle outside of Dresden Objective: Terminate Hans Grösse
Hans is the first boss and a relative cake walk. He can be brought down with the chain gun and his level has none of his friends. Many first aid kits are available in an isolated room just in case. Upon detection he yells "I'M COMIN' TO GIT CHU!"
Mission Two: A Dark Secret Location: Castle Erlangen Objective: Terminate Trans Grösse
As you would expect, Trans is quite a bit tougher than Hans. He also brings along 8 of his buddies and from this point on the enemy count in addition to the boss only adds on. Hopefully, you've found a stronger weapon than the chain gun by now...
Mission Three: Operation Eisenfaust Location: Dr. Schabbs' Research Laboratory Objective: Terminate Dr. Schabbs
The maniacal doctor has been working hard on many diabolical schemes. Grafting a chain gun onto the chest of the recently destroyed, he's found a way to bring them back to life! Somewhere in the DEPTHS of his laboratory he lurks. He is actually quite the tough customer!
Mission Four: Trail of the Madman Location: Mountain Fortress Objective: Terminate ÜBERMUTANT
Though the mad doc is now gone, his efforts live on. Here's Schabbs' prized creation... the ultra deadly maniacal ÜBERMUTANT! Hidden in the dank dungeons of the Mountain Fortress, he awaits your arrival with many of his mutant friends in tow. This is Michael Myers on steroids...
Mission Five: Confrontation Location: Castle Heidenheim Objective: Terminate Death Knight
If you thought theÜBERMUTANT to be incredibly tough, you haven't seen squat yet! The Death Knight is by far the hardest boss, and being accompanied by dozens of guards and mutants does the cause no favors. His gas attacks inflicts tons of pain. I beat him with 2% (!) health!
Mission Six: Staatmeister's Last Stand Location: Castle Wolfenstein Objective: Terminate Staatmeister
The final line of defense is now at the helm. TheStaatmeisterfirst appears in this exo-suit and is actually pretty easy. It's a bit anti-climactic, especially after the hard fought battle with the Death Knight
His 2nd form. In this state the chain gun will do just fine. But getting to him will prove tricky as the final castle floor is littered with guards, crackshot officers, tough elite guards & hell bent mutants
FACES OF B.J. BLAZKOWICZ
The mug turns to the direction in which you were shot. When you grab a new weapon it breaks out a big grin, and when you're low on health, your mug accurately reflects your current state of doom
Sweet, huh? The head-turning will prove to be a HUGE boon
Although many of the more "questionable" designs have been removed, the levels still maintain a nice look
Chandeliers can be found on the earlier floors, while later on things become more depressing with decaying walls, bones, etc.
Of course, your goal is to reach the exit of each stage (see straight ahead)
Along the way, many bad guys attempt to slow you down, permanently
Be weary of alcoves in particular. They are home to many soldiers and mutants just waiting to ambush you. Strafing (L and R) will be a key component to your success
If you fail, you get this crimson screen. Well, at least you went out in a blaze of glory eh?
Wolfenstein 3D gives you a great feeling of being a one man strike force, and the destruction you can dish out is, at times, a great rush
One of the cool little bits is early on the skies are nice like such. Later, if you peek outside the skies are dark and gloomy. It's a nice little touch that reminds me of a quote from the 2004 film SIDEWAYS
When asked if he preferred the strawberry or chocolate cake, Paul Giamatti's character (a depressed guy) said... "I prefer the dark..."
Yes! The exit at last. Now try and repeat this 29 more times
But do not always assume an exit means you're home free. Some house elite guards and mutants waiting to take advantage of lackadaisical players
One of my favorite bits from the game... this part is cleverly evil...
Straight ahead, the next door lies in waiting. But in between you and that door?
A bevy of elite guards!
This illustrates the beauty of the game
The bosses (as well as the regular baddies) stalk you once they've spotted you. They don't have a short-term memory. Many of the blocks can be used defensively, and it's not just pure gung-ho kill kill
There is some strategy and crafty gameplay skills required, so it's not just a mindless shooter
THE FINAL BATTLE!
DON'T BLAME IMAGINEER
It'd be easy to blame the developers for censoring the game, but in fact, their preview version contained plenty of gore. Nintendo of course censored the bloody thing (pun intended!)
In the SNES port, the dogs WERE in, but after Nintendo got through with it, we got mutant rats instead
See? Blood was in the preview version!
From blood to sweat we go.....
Takes away from the game? Sure. Game killer? Naw...
THE ESSENTIALS ARE STILL INTACT
Sure, the SNES port was stripped and gutted, and the levels are smaller, but as I said, they're still plenty big. Later on it's not uncommon to get lost in the large labyrinths. The key thing is, the game has smooth scrolling. The DOOM port on SNES was rather choppy. Here, it's smooth (except for a scant few parts where things slow down a bit but overall, it's pretty damn playable)
The sound of the guns are relatively weak, but everything else is wicked. The music has a great beat, the boss themes are intimidating and the voices arepretty good
Playing this in stereo is a treat. Hearing "HALT!" and "STOP!" from the left and right side simultaneously will get your heart racing. I've flinched more than once or twice by turning a corner and being greeted with a loud "STOP!"
The bosses muffle a strange, inhuman tone. "I'M COMIN' TO GIT CHU!" and "I'M COMIN' FER YOOH!" works surprisingly well. The first time you see them, you're just awed by their sheer size. The ÜBERMUTANT is quite the sight for sore eyes. You're strafing the corners and just waiting to find him... finally, when you let your guard down and turn the turner -- "I'M COMIN' FER YOOH!" It's a rush
Backpacks (to hold more ammo) and first aid kits are scattered about. Also turkey meat and cheese. The cheese health refills are hilarious. They only recover 4% (!) health. What a strange number. And, why haven't the mutant rats already eaten the cheese? Funky, funky stuff....
Press and hold R while turning the power on. Release R at the title screen, then start a game. Pause and press R, Up, B, and A
-All weapons and maximum ammo-
Hold R on controller 2, turn on the SNES and release R at the title screen. During game pause and press R, up, B, A
-Full map and all keys-
Hold R on controller 2, turn on the SNES and release R at the title screen. During game pause and press A, A, up, B
Hold R on controller 1, turn on the SNES and release R at the title screen. During game pause the game and press B, Up, B, A
Hold R on controller 1, turn on the SNES and release R at the title screen, then immediately press up and select
Hold R on controller 1, turn on the SNES and release R at the title screen. During game pause the game and press UP, B, R, B
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
Wolfenstein 3-D received scores of 6, 7, 7, 8 from EGM
Ed Semrad- 7: Good music and huge mazes help you come back for more and more. While there are changes it is still a very good translation... a great game that moves fast
Danyon Carpenter- 8: So the blood was removed. Who cares? The game is still a riot! Not many other games put you in the role of gun-toting soldier running rampant through a maze shooting guards and mutants
Al Manuel- 6: Although the Swastikas on the wall and Hitler have been removed, this is a pretty good translation
Sushi-X- 7: As one of my favorite PC games, this Super NES version almost has everything in the sense of the game play. A good translation
Super Play gave it a 78% citing "Blocky but fun shooter"
GameFan gave it scores of 77, 80, 89, 89 citing "Major fun, buy it!" and "Hair-raising action and sweat-inducing intensity!"
There have been quite a few critics of the SNES port, but I have always loved it, and to this day still do. Granted, I've never played the PC version and thus don't really know what I'm missing, but there's simply no other game quite like this on the Super NES. Running through the mazes mowing down guard after guard is a great rush. With smooth scaling and good music, it's a fun long-lasting experience. It's also a blast to go back and use the God Mode to fool around
Yeah, the graphics get very pixel-y up close, but it's a relatively admirable job, considering the hardware. Enemies can still be spotted from afar, which is very critical. The boss sprites are incredibly large, detailed and menacing! The game play is simply timeless. It's not just a mindless shoot 'em up. As mentioned earlier, strafing is easy to execute and crucial to gameplay success
The music is catchy, "HALT!" will make you flinch in your seat on occasion and the large mazes are complex and well designed. The enemy AI is very strong to boot. Enemies follow unwillingly upon sight. Sometimes, baddies come from other rooms when they hear the crack of gunshot. Not all doors are soundproof! This lends Wolfenstein a realistic feel and makes things much much more interesting, as well as tense! You never know when one innocent shot will lead to a summoning of the dead from many rooms over. You may hear doors opening in the far distance, and as the bad guys come closer and closer, the sound of the door opening gets louder and louder. You're quite LITERALLY being stalked throughout the mazes! And it's an absolute rush laying waste to 20 bad guys within the short span of 30 seconds!
On a final note... see if you can locate the hidden warp to play the bonus level where MULTIPLE Hans Grösse's call home. It's quite the barn burner! HINT: it's hidden somewhere in level 25
In my most recent playthrough I beat the game in three days. It was as enjoyable an experience as it was a dozen years ago. There's nothing like it on the Super Nintendo, putting it in a special class all its own