id Software’s Wolfenstein 3D is long-hailed the original first person shooter. While it’s not the first FPS ever created, it might as well be, as it is often credited for popularizing the genre. Recently, Wolfenstein 3D was released on XBLA and PSN, with just as much fun as it ever had.
In Wolfenstein 3D, the objective is simple. William “B.J.” Blazkowicz must infiltrate the Castle Wolfenstein in order to kill Nazi officers or obtain top secret documents in order to take down the Nazi regime. The game is split into six episodes, which span 10 levels each. At the end of each level, B.J. must enter an elevator to get to the next level.
During the exploration of each level, there are plenty of Nazis who do not appreciate B.J. being there. With this, B.J. must use an arsenal of weapons (consisting of a pistol, machine gun or chaingun) to kill the Nazi warriors in his path. Somtimes, B.J. has to collect keys in order to get to the elevator, and that’s where the game really starts getting hard.
Some of the levels in Wolfenstein 3D can best be described as confusing. They are varied and have multiple paths to be taken, combined with a maze like structure can easily lead to getting lost. The game could have easily been improved by a map. Thankfully, there are also plenty of secrets to be found. Behind certain walls are extra weapons, health and ammo making the secrets a necessity in later levels.
Control is simple and easy in Wolfenstein 3D. B.J. can only move in a horizontal plane, meaning left, right, back, and forward. The free look mechanic seen in every first person shooter since Quake is nowhere to be found. This may be offputting to new players, but after a short while, it’s easy to get used to.
The Live Arcade release of Wolfenstein 3D unfortunately boasts no new features to speak of. There is a new trailer for the new Wolfenstein game as well as a reward for beating levels that nets you cash for the new game. There are, of course, achievements and they are all easily obtained just by finishing the game. Online play would have been nice, but was not expected.
Overall, Wolfenstein 3D is a mixed bag these days. While I found it to be particularly fun in parts, it was in large part due to the generous save system as well as the setting. For 400 Microsoft Points ($5), there is a lot of game here, and fortunately, for the most part, it’s still worth the time. It’s pretty obvious that the game is simply a promotional item for the new Wolfenstein retail release, but it’s a promotional item still worth looking into.