Admittedly, when we think of id Software, we almost always immediately think of Loss. And why not you ? The game revolutionized and put the FPS genre on the map. Of course, there will always be someone who mentions the “grandfather of first-person shooters” in Wolfenstein 3D.
As low as it may seem, it is true that Loss would not exist without the small steps taken 3d wolf. We have already talked about how the Wolfenstein The series dipped its toes into the horror genre from time to time, but never really got to grips with what made the original game tick. Well, with the game turning 30 today, it would be ridiculous to not only forget why Wolfenstein 3D was monumental at the time, but also how scary the game could be.
The story for Wolfenstein 3D is quite simple: the original trilogy of episodes centers on the protagonist William “BJ” Blazkowicz, a Polish-American spy, who must destroy the Nazi regime after being captured trying to find the plans of the Nazi regime. operation Eisenfaust. From there, following the discovery and failure of Operation Eisenfaust to create an army of undead mutants at Hollehammer Castle, Blazkowicz infiltrates a bunker under the Reichstag to eliminate Hitler.
Although you can tell there is some controversy about giving 3d wolf the nickname “Grandfather”, since id themselves had created 3-D Catacomb (which was truly the first example of the modern character-based first-person shooter), there’s no denying that the former set the standard for future FPS games to follow, with multiple weapons, a key system, and more. . According to Tom Hallwho led 3d wolfthe original concept was to incorporate the stealth mechanics of the original Castle Wolfenstein by Muse software. However, the “brutal and rapid nature” of 3d wolfThe gameplay necessitated the abandonment of this mechanic. In its place, Hall called for levels to have secret rooms for players to stock up on ammo (and treasure points).
And despite initial appearances of simple pick-up-and-playWolfenstein 3Dthe gameplay of is different from Loss‘s. To like Loss, players start with a pistol and a simple melee weapon. You don’t have much ammo, but the enemies are easy to defeat and aren’t as plentiful as in later levels. However, in 3d wolf, enemies detect the player faster and will fire faster. You also don’t have the luxury of armor, which means you’ll get hurt pretty quickly if you’re not careful. If that’s not enough to raise the tension, the levels are claustrophobic in design, missing the opening of Losslevels. Engine Limitations also provide more tension in the form of guards that have a habit of hiding right next to doors when you open them, resulting in ambushes that will take out several pieces of life as you turn around and will retaliate.
BJ’s move is also different from Doomguy’s. While you had a sense of momentum in Loss as you start and stop, BJ will start and stop in no time while walking. And if you run, you can go through the levels at ridiculous speed. This quick move can lead to unintended jump scares if you’re not careful, as entering a room you haven’t cleared with hidden guards around the corners will result in a quick death. On the other hand, veteran 3d wolf players will still fly around the level, taking the time to alert the guards, then pick them up when they walk through the door, or use the chaingun to mow an entire room upon entering it.
In keeping with the theme of deceptive simplification, 3d wolfThe enemies of are not particularly varied, but have bad habits, especially in groups. German Shepherds are your basic melee enemies that will damage you up close. Guards (the brown shirts) are your basic shooting enemy that will go down in 1-4 hits, can be stunned in their attacks, and are easy to defeat on their own. However, they have that previously mentioned habit of hiding in corners next to doors and will do significant damage from behind if the player is careless.
Things get tricky with the SS armed with machine guns (the blue shirts), who have a higher rate of fire than the guards, but share the same reaction time and can also be stunned. White-clad officers are the fastest in terms of reaction time and shooting, and are often found in groups, which puts them second only to mutants in terms of pain for players. Mutants are probably the most dangerous standard enemy. Not only do they have no reaction time when they see the player before they open fire, they also don’t “announce” their presence like the Nazis, which again, if you run through the level, it can be deadly (and result in more jump scares).
As you’d expect, sound plays a big part in 3d wolf in terms of its atmosphere. Bobby Prince composed the soundtrack for Wolfenstein 3Dand even though it doesn’t have the same adrenaline-pump effect as its work in Loss or Duke Nukem 3D had on the players, it still pulled the emotion out of the players. tracks such as “Get them before they get you” and “Looking for the Enemy” conjured up a stealthy feeling as you tried to escape Castle Wolfenstein, while “Suspense” and “Hide…” had that tension-inducing effect as you tried to plan your next move with just a few bullets left.
The music is only part of the ambiance, since you’ll get familiar with that door-opening noise pretty quickly. It won’t take much to get your heart rate up when you’re low on health and ammo, and you know the guards are looking for you. And then there are the signature phrases each enemy has when they detect you. Guards shouting “Achtung!” (even though it still looks like “Hurt dog!” due to low quality) to “Guten tag!” by Hans Grösse! saluting you before he unleashes his double chainguns, it’s the scary sound again.
Even with all the atmosphere and just the bloody goodness of blowing up Nazis (and Hitler blowing himself up quite spectacularly), 3d wolf shows that it is still a precursor of Loss, which is even more evident today. The limits of 3d wolf are full-screen, with maze-like levels that don’t offer much these days in terms of variety. Once you’ve eliminated the enemies, you’ll struggle in later levels if you’re trying to find keys to progress, as there aren’t any real “landmarks” in the levels to help you orient yourself. , and there is none either. a mini-map to help point you in the right direction. Adding to the irritation, BJ has a habit of getting stuck on walls in the tightest hallways, which can be a death sentence if you’re trying to strafe and avoid being shot.
And while it might be considered convenient to have your guns drawing from the same ammo pool, there isn’t really much variety between pistol, machine gun, and machine gun. You never have to scour weapons to find one that’s more effective on certain enemies, because once you grab the Chaingun, you’re going to stick with it for the rest of the game. This despite bosses being able to have things like dual Chainguns or Rocket Launchers.
But hey, that’s where all this laying the groundwork for Loss started. After all, Wolfenstein 3D had sold over 250,000 copies by the end of 1995 and won several awards. The game received more love soon after its initial release as a trilogy of prequel episodes titled The Nocturne Missions, and even a standalone sequel episode. Called The spear of fatethis episode turned to Loss territory with BJ eventually being sent to Hell himself and battling the Angel of Death. And shortly after Wolfenstein 3Dyou had other companies jumping on the first person shooter bandwagon (using the 3d wolf engine, no less) with games like Corridor 7 and Blake Stone: The Golden Aliens. And even after Loss exploded, the 3d wolf the engine was still put to good use in Apogee’s cult classic Ascension of the Triad in 1995, directed by Tom Hall.
We could go further on 3d wolf and its influence, but it’s pretty obvious that id was onto something in 1992. And although id Software never worked on another Wolfenstein game, you don’t have to look far to see that Bethesda has taken more than a few cracks in the series, with some performing better than others. Regardless, Wolfenstein 3Dalthough it is dated and not as addictive as Loss, is still fun to play for old-school gamers, and even for those wondering why all the fuss. If you consider yourself an aficionado of the genre, but haven’t played at least one episode of Wolfenstein 3Dyou owe it to yourself to see where it all began.