Wolfenstein 3D (originally Wolfenstein 3-D, commonly abbreviated to Wolf 3D) is a first-person shooter video game developed by Id Software and published by Apogee Software. Originally released on May 5, 1992, for DOS, the game was inspired by the 1980s Muse Software video games Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein. A promotional version of Wolfenstein 3D was released as shareware, which allowed it to be copied widely. The game was originally released on the PC and later ported to a wide range of computer systems and video game consoles.
In Wolfenstein 3D, the player assumes the role of a World War II Allied spy, William "B.J." Blazkowicz, attempting to escape from the Nazi German prison of Castle Wolfenstein. After the initial escape episode, Blazkowicz carries on a series of missions against the Nazis.
Wolfenstein 3D was a critical and commercial success. It is widely regarded as having helped popularize the genre on the PC, and having established the basic run-and-gun archetype for many subsequent first-person shooter games.
Wolfenstein 3D was released as shareware, which allowed it to be copied widely. The shareware release contains one episode, consisting of ten levels. The commercial release consists of three episodes, which includes the shareware episode and its two subsequent episodes. Later releases also included a three-episode mission pack titled The Nocturnal Missions. Like the shareware episode, each commercial episode contains ten levels, bringing the game to a total of sixty levels.
The game was originally released on the PC and then ported to Macintosh computers, Apple IIGS, Acorn Archimedes, Super NES, Atari Jaguar, Game Boy Advance, and 3DO. The source code of the game was published by id Software on July 21, 1995 under a non-profit EULA, starting the long tradition at id Software of opening the entire source code to an old game. Some unofficial and unstable ports to different platforms like Linux and add-ons have been developed.
The Original Trilogy Edit
- 1. "Escape from Wolfenstein" (shareware episode)
- 2. "Operation: Eisenfaust"
- 3. "Die, Führer, Die"
The Nocturnal Missions Edit
- 4. "A Dark Secret"
- 5. "Trail of the Madman"
- 6. "Confrontation"
The first three episodes of the game focus William "B.J." Blazkowicz's attempts to escape from Castle Wolfenstein and overthrow the Nazi regime.
B.J., an Allied spy, had been captured while trying to find the plans for Operation: Eisenfaust, and was imprisoned in Castle Wolfenstein. Initially armed only with a knife and a pistol (obtained by overpowering the guard in his cell), B.J.'s initial goal is merely to escape the castle prison. Taking on SS guards, stealing their machine guns and ultimately acquiring a chain gun, he eventually finds himself face to face with the ultimate prison guard Hans Grösse.
Having defeated Grösse and escaped the castle, B.J. finds out that Operation: Eisenfaust is real, and that the Nazis are creating a mutant army of undead zombies in Castle Hollehammer. When the episode begins, B.J. has just entered the castle; the walls are covered in mulch, and the first enemies found are mutants with third arms grafted into their chests holding pistols. The episode boss is the scientist Dr. Schabbs, the creator of the zombies. His defeat signals the end of this biological war.
"Die, Führer, Die!" is, chronologically, the final episode. Fighting through Nazi soldiers, and attacking the bunker under the Reichstag, the major centerpiece of the game is reached in the final mission, where the boss is none other than Adolf Hitler himself (equipped with a robotic suit).
The Nocturnal Missions form a prequel storyline, focusing on the Germans' plans for chemical warfare (Giftkrieg). "A Dark Secret" deals with the initial pursuit of the scientist responsible for the development of the weaponry; B.J.'s task is to enter the weapons research facility and hunt down Otto Giftmacher.
"Trail of the Madman" is a rather ornate episode taking place in clean and stylish Castle Erlangen. Ostensibly, the episode's goal is to find the maps and plans of the chemical war, guarded by Gretel Grösse. Hitler's image appears throughout this episode, as posters and wall mosaics, symbolizing his imminent rise to power. All levels are designed with fashion, much decoration, and opulence.
The story comes to a close in "Confrontation," set in Castle Offenbach; a summation of everything that has gone before, including mutants and several brother of Hans Grösse (in the secret level only), and the overall "feel". The final battle is fought between B.J. and the leader of this war, General Fettgesicht.
Development Trivia Edit
The early concept of the game included some innovative stealth concepts - dragging dead bodies, swapping uniforms with fallen guards, silent attacks, etc. like in the old 2D Wolfenstein games which focused more on stealth than action. These ideas were dropped however, since they drastically slowed the game down and made the controls complicated.
Before acquiring the rights to the Wolfenstein name from Silas Warner, the Id Software team considered many alternative names, some less seriously than others, such as 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 Düsseldorf?, Castle Verlassen, Strumwind, Höllehammer (later used as the setting for episode 2), Shattensendener, Dolchteufel, Grabgrabbener, Eisenschwert, and Dammerung.
In the "Bring 'em On" difficulty, the shortest overall time achieved for completing Episode 1 is Five Minutes and Thirty Seconds (Level 9 isn't timed). Due to changes in BJ's movement speed in v1.2 and above, and a bug in v1.0 where the overall time is not recorded in any saved games, the record time cannot be properly recorded in any version but v1.1.
In version 1.0 of the game, B.J.'s shirt sleeves on the HUD are brown. In later versions, this was changed to grey, to match his clothing on the title screen, intermission screen, and ending screens.