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Wolfenstein (series)
Wolfenstein is a franchise of World War II fantasy-themed video games first developed by Muse Software and followed up by id Software.
Later games in the series
by id Software follows an American soldier named William "B.J." Blazkowicz.

Castle Wolfenstein is an early stealth-based action-adventure shooter arcade game developed by Muse Software for the Apple II. It was first released in 1981 and later ported to MS-DOS, the Atari 8-bit family, and the Commodore 64.

Castle Wolfenstein is a stealth-based action-adventure shooter game set in World War II. The game's main objective is to traverse the levels of the castle to find the secret war plans and escape alive.

Progressively higher military ranks are earned upon each successful escape with the war plans, and the game becomes correspondingly more difficult as each higher rank is achieved. There are eight ranks,beginning with Private, culminating at the rank of Field Marshal.
It combines adventure game elements with real-time action.The game is played from a top-down perspective, though the characters are seen upright like in a side-scroller. The player traverses the levels by sneaking past guards, impersonating Nazi soldiers and sometimes even killing opponents. Castle Wolfenstein can be controlled with a joystick, paddles, or a keyboard.


Upon starting the game, the player is equipped with a gun and ammunition, which were taken from a dead guard. Once the player starts moving, he attracts the attention of the guards, who will try to shoot or apprehend him. He must either run from the guards, or kill them.

There are two styles of guards, the basic guards, and the SS Stormtroopers who wear bullet-proof vests marked with the SS insignia. The basic guards are not very intelligent, reacting only to the sounds of gunshots and grenades, or after seeing the player wandering around without a uniform, and will gladly walk their patrol paths into your raised gun and surrender to a search. Additionally, they are unable to leave the rooms they are stationed in. The SS guards are much smarter and, once alerted, tend to chase the player from room to room. They require a large number of rounds or a grenade to kill.

The player has two means of killing enemies. The first is to shoot the enemy, but this expends ammunition, a scarce commodity, and risks raising the alarm if another guard is present. Alternatively, a grenade can be used, though this will also attract the attention of nearby guards. Once an enemy soldier is dispatched, his body can be searched for ammunition, keys, grenades and bullet-proof vests. The player will only take as many rounds of ammunition and grenades as he can carry from the body, leaving the remainder.

An alternative to the player shooting his way out of the castle is to find a uniform (either in a chest or from a dead guard), at which point the normal guards will think the player is one of them. However, the SS guards will usually expose the player as an impostor.

Guards do not always have to be killed. Pulling a gun on a guard usually will cause him to put his hands up, allowing him to be frisked for ammo, bullet-proof vests, grenades, and keys, depriving the guard of the full quantity of these he carries. Any in excess of the player's carrying capacity disappear from the game. The player can still choose to kill the guard at this point, but it is not strictly necessary.

Some rooms contain locked chests that can be picked and searched. Some are empty, but others contain useful items such as bullets, grenades, uniforms, bullet-proof vests and the war plans. Chests can also contain bratwurst, Liebfraumilch wine, Schnapps, Eva Braun's Diaries, cannonballs, and medals, though all are worthless in terms of gameplay. Edible items, when ingested, result in comments on their flavor. After drinking an alcoholic beverage, a message of "Hic!" is displayed on screen and the player's aim is temporarily thrown off balance, resulting in bullets and grenades missing their target.

There are a total of 60 discrete rooms in the castle, on five separate floors. Although the rooms are shuffled at the beginning of each game, the path through the castle always remains unchanged. Therefore, it is possible to fully map the castle, and then utilize the map during subsequent games.

Other than the outer walls of the room and the stairs, the entire room is destructible using grenades. This can be necessary in order to access a chest from another direction if a body has fallen in front of it: searching a body has precedence over opening a locked chest. Chests can also be destroyed with a grenade, but if the chest contains explosives (bullets, grenades, or cannonballs) it will explode and end the game. Chests can also be shot open, but attempting to do so also risks setting off any explosive contents.

Running straight into walls temporarily stuns the player, but vertical walls can be clipped slightly by the player's motion and not stun him. Also, some horizontal walls can be walked into from the side without effect. Fallen dead guards can also allow the player to walk through horizontal wall segments and chests, albeit not from directly below. Surviving guards and SS will not walk over bodies, so they can be used to block passage to areas of the room, trap guards in cul-de-sacs, as well as block entrance by the SS into rooms.

One of the main drawing points for fans was its unprecedented use of digitized voices. German words shouted by the guards, such as "Halt!" (stop!) and "Kommen Sie!" (come, you!) were frequent. Though limitations in technology only allowed for a few distorted shouts, the voices added to the game's atmosphere and made Castle Wolfenstein stand out from other games released at the time.

With an emphasis on trying to avoid detection for as long as possible, Castle Wolfenstein and its sequel are considered by gamers to be prototypical stealth-based games—some of the first in a genre that wouldn't gain popularity until the late 1990s. The game was favorably reviewed by Creative Computing, one of the leading computer magazines at the time.

The disks save the player's progress as they enter each room; because they are continually being used, the disks cannot be write protected. This allows players to cheat by opening the drive door before the game can write the death status to disk; one can simply reload the game as if he or she had just entered the room.

In the Apple II version, the player could hold down the spacebar (Apple IIe and later) or use the repeat key (Apple II Plus and earlier) while picking a locked chest resulting in a faster unlocking of the chest.

Beyond Castle Wolfenstein is a 1984 computer game by Muse Software. It is the sequel to the innovative and successful Castle Wolfenstein, a prototypical stealth game. Unlike the original game, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein was originally developed simultaneously for both the Apple II and the Commodore 64, but was quickly ported to DOS and the Atari 8-bit.

Like its predecessor, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein is a combination action and adventure game. It is set in World War II during Adolf Hitler's rule as Chancellor of Germany. The objective of the game is to traverse all the levels of the secret Berlin bunker where the Führer is holding secret meetings with his senior staff. The player must retrieve a bomb that the operatives have placed inside the bunker and place it outside the door of the room where Hitler is holding his meeting, a scenario bearing a passing resemblance to the July 20 Plot.

The game features a top-down view of each room on the level, though the characters are seen upright like in a side-scroller. The player tries to traverse the levels by sneaking by, impersonating and sometimes killing opponents. The game is controlled via a joystick, paddles, or the keyboard. The player successfully completes the game after planting the bomb and escaping the bunker before it explodes.

The game is similar to its predecessor, but features a number of gameplay updates. The guards now use a pass system, in which the player is periodically summoned by guards and asked to show the correct pass (which varies by floor), or offer a bribe. If an incorrect pass is shown or the bribe is rejected due to the lack of money (for a total of two times), the guard will attempt to activate a bunker-wide alarm or kill the player.

The bodies of dead guards can be dragged through the room to conceal them, block passages, or gain access to objects.

The highly explosive grenades of the previous game have been replaced with a dagger, which can be used to silently kill guards instead of attracting attention with gunfire.

Additionally, the audio system includes an increased vocabulary and greater variety of sound effects.

Upon successful completion of the game, the player is rewarded with a high resolution graphic of the bunker exploding in the background, with the player running away in the foreground.

After the death of Silas Warner in 2004, the reconstructed source code and a ported version of the game was released for free by his widow in honor of him.

1992 -Wolfenstein 3D

Wolfenstein 3D is a first-person shooter (FPS) 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.

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. 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 FPS games.

The first three episodes of the game focus on William "B.J." Blazkowicz's efforts to destroy the Nazi regime:
  • In the first episode, "Escape from Castle Wolfenstein", B.J. Blazkowicz, an American spy of Polish descent, has been captured while
    trying to find the plans for Operation Eisenfaust (Iron Fist) andimprisoned by the SS in Castle Wolfenstein. Initially armed only with a knife and a Luger P08, obtained by overpowering the guard in his cell, B.J. tries to escapethe castle prison. Taking on the guards, he eventually finds himselfface to face with prison guard head Hans Grosse.
  • In the second episode, "Operation: Eisenfaust", B.J. finds out that the operation is real, and that Nazis are creating an army of undead mutants in Castle Hollehammer. B.J. enters the castle and confronts the
    mad scientist Dr. Schabbs, creator of the mutants. His defeat signalsthe end of this biological war.
  • "Die, Führer, Die!" is, chronologically, the final episode. Fighting through Nazi soldiers, and attacking the bunker under the Reichstag, he finds himself up against Adolf Hitler, who is equipped with a robotic suit and four chainguns.

The Nocturnal Missions form a prequel storyline, focusing on German plans for chemical warfare (Giftkrieg). Like the original episodes, each episode contains ten levels, bringing the game to a total of 60:
  • "A Dark Secret" deals with the initial pursuit of the scientist responsible for developing the weaponry; B.J.'s task is to enter the
    weapons research facility and hunt down another mad scientist, Dr. OttoGiftmacher (Poisonmaker).
  • "Trail of the Madman" takes place in Castle Erlangen. B.J.'s goal is to find the maps and plans of the chemical war, guarded by Gretel Grosse, Hans' sister.
  • The story comes to a close in "Confrontation", set in Castle Offenbach. The final battle is fought between B.J. and the leader of the chemical war initiative, General Fettgesicht (Fatface).

Despite the historical setting, and the presence of Hitler as an episode boss, the game bears no resemblance to any actual Nazi plans or
structures. Indeed, many of the level designs are highly fanciful; at
least three levels heavily feature swastika-shaped room layouts and maps, going as far as having one level (episode 6, map 3) built entirely of a tessellation of them (see the controversy section).


The following section describes aspects of the original MS-DOS versions. The various ports often implemented changes.

Each episode features nine levels (or "maps") which have to be finished sequentially. Levels are completed by reaching an elevator which leads to the next level. The player must combat numerous guards and other enemies while maintaining ammunition and health supplies. If the player's health is reduced to zero, one of the player's lives as well as all guns and ammo (except a pistol with 8 rounds) are lost. The other two weapons are a submachine gun and a rapid-firing chain gun, all using the same ammo type. The player begins each episode with three lives, and more lives can be acquired by finding extra-life tokens or earning 40,000 points. The original version of the game allows saves at any point, while most console versions only allow saves at the completion of each level. In addition to completing levels, the players can collect various treasures scattered in the levels to boost their score; the player can also search for secret push walls which lead to caches of treasure, ammunition, and/or health refills. Percentages for treasures collected, enemies eliminated and secrets discovered are displayed at the end of every level. Earning a 100% kill, secret, or treasure ratio, or completing the level in below-par time results in additional bonus points.

Each episode has a different boss who has to be killed in the final mission to complete the episode. Unlike normal enemies, boss enemies are drawn from one angle instead of eight, so the player cannot sneak up on them or take them by surprise; when first encountered they are always facing the player. Bosses are initially stationary, and do not become active until they see the player. When most bosses are killed, a replay (called a "deathcam") of the boss's death is shown; the episode then ends. In other levels, behind the boss is an exit from the stronghold; entering it causes the camera to rotate around to face Blazkowicz and show him running out and jumping in elation (complete with a freeze frame of him in mid-air). There is also one "secret" level per episode that can only be accessed by the player uncovering a hidden elevator. The secret level of the third episode recreated one of the original Pac-Man levels, complete with ghosts, seen by the player from Pac-Man's perspective.DevelopmentJohn Carmack's technical achievements with the Catacomb 3-D game engine were a strong starting point for the game concept. The game's development began in late 1991 after id decided on a vastly reworked Castle Wolfenstein. The team was able to use the Wolfenstein title as Muse Software had let the trademark name lapse.Id Software pitched this concept to Scott Miller, founder of Apogee Software, who promised the id team $100,000 in funding to deliver a shareware title. Carmack also bought a NeXT machine to aid development.

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 earlier 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.Secret walls, which were sections of the wall a player could push to reveal a hidden area, were similarly debated in development. Designers Tom Hall and John Romero pushed repeatedly for this feature on the grounds that secrets were integral to a good game. Carmack initially resisted the idea, but succeeded in implementing push walls to his satisfaction late in development.

Visually, Wolfenstein 3D was originally designed to the same 16-color EGA graphics palette as prior 3D titles such as Hovertank 3D and Catacomb 3-D. At the suggestion of Scott Miller however, the team moved to the 256-color VGA graphics palette.Adrian Carmack drew each sprite frame on computer by hand.Wolfenstein 3D for the PC supports PC speaker, AdLib, Disney Sound Source and Sound Blaster sound effects and Adlib and Sound Blaster for music. The game marks id's first use of digital sound, composed by Bobby Prince.

Engine technology

Main article: Wolfenstein 3D engine

To render the walls in pseudo-3D, the game uses ray casting. This method emits one ray for each column of pixels, checks if it intersects a wall, and draws textures on the screen accordingly, creating a one dimensional depth buffer against which to clip the scaled sprites that represent enemies, powerups and props. Before Wolfenstein 3D, the technology had already been used by id Software in 1991 to create Hovertank 3D and Catacomb 3-D for Softdisk. Other games using the Wolfenstein 3D game engine or derivatives of it were also produced, including Blake Stone, Corridor 7: Alien Invasion, Operation Body Count, Super 3D Noah's Ark and Rise of the Triad.

Id Software's John Carmack said the game's engine was inspired by a technology demo of Looking Glass Studios' and Origin Systems's first-person role-playing video game, Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss from 1991. Carmack claimed he could make a faster renderer.In this he was successful: while the Wolfenstein engine lacks many features present in the Underworld engine, such as ceiling or floor height changes, sloped floors and lighting, it ran well on relatively weak PC hardware. The secret behind engine's performance is vertical scanline scaling algorithm. Unlike later engines and hardware rasterizers, the texture coordinate for the pixel is not calculated at runtime. Instead, a fixed set of several hundred rendering functions is generated during game startup (or viewport size change) where all memory offsets are fixed. To keep the number of these procedures small, height is quantized, which can be easily seen when player is close to the wall, but not looking at it at a right angle.


Id Software planned to release one shareware episode and allow gamers to buy the full trilogy, following the shareware model profitably executed with Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons. Scott Miller, after learning the time it took to make one level (a single day), successfully argued the id team to produce another trilogy. This led to producing The Nocturnal Missions.


The game's level "E2M8" (episode 2, map 8) features a giant hidden "pushwall" maze consisting of 181 nearly identical rooms. Depending on the path taken, the player can find treasure, an extra life, a surprise encounter with the Hans Grosse boss, or a sign reading "Call Apogee Say Aardwolf." This was to have been part of a contest, where the first person to find the sign and carry out its instructions would have won a prize.While no prize was ever decided, preliminary discussion suggested the prize may be registered copies of all Apogee games for life.However, because level editors and cheat programs for the game were released within days of the full version of Wolfenstein 3D, many players were able to find the sign with minimal effort. Additionally, a cheat code was soon discovered and published that allowed the player to view all of the in-game sprites, including the "Aardwolf" sign. As a result, the planned contest was abandoned before it was ever officially announced, or the prize even settled upon. The maze and the sign were left in the game as Easter eggs; a text file included with the registered version explained the story behind the "Aardwolf" sign and asked gamers not to call in and say it (many did anyway). A 1997 commercial re-release by Activision removed the sign and replaced it with graphics depicting a pile of bones. After completing an episode, the player is given a three-letter code in addition to a total score and time. This was part of a high-score contest that was abandoned for similar reasons to the "Aardwolf" one; the code would have been used to verify that a player got that score legitimately, without use of cheat codes.


Main article: Official versions of Wolfenstein 3D

Wolfenstein 3D has been commercially ported and sold on over a dozen platforms, ranging from early releases on platforms such as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) to newer releases on mobile platforms such as the iPad. These ports include the SNES (1994),Atari Jaguar (1994), Mac OS (1994), Acorn Archimedes (1994), 3DO (1995), Apple IIGS (1998), and the PC-98 (1998). Later releases include the Game Boy Advance (2002), Steam, Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network (2009), the iPhone and iPod Touch (2009), and the iPad (2010). These ports can vary from the original in their audio, graphics and levels, but the core gameplay and aesthetic is retained. The source code to the Acorn Archimedes version was released by author Eddie Edwards in 1999.

Outside of commercial sale, enthusiasts of the game have created ports or reworked versions for other platforms, such as Symbian, the TI-83 series, Maemo, the PlayStation Portable, Wii, Dreamcast, the Dingoo A320, Atari STE, Amiga and the Falcon030. The fan community has also developed numerous add-ons and enhancements for the game.


Sales and reviews

By the end of 1993, sales of Wolfenstein 3D had reached over 100,000 units, vastly exceeding the shareware game sales record set by the developer's earlier Commander Keen series and providing id with a significantly higher profit margin than sales of the retail counterpart, Spear of Destiny. Wolfenstein 3D was well received by reviewers upon its release and over the years. The game twice received 5 out of 5 stars in Dragon.More recently, Allgame gave the game 4½ out of 5 stars, and HonestGamers gave the game 7 out of 10. Both of these modern reviews praised the game's moody soundtrack, evocative sound design, and tense gameplay, while also remarking on the similarity of the game's numerous levels, which can lead to tedium after extended play. A 2009 review by IGN gave the PlayStation 3 version of the game a score of 8 out of 10, calling it "required playing for any first-person shooter fan" that "remains fun after all these years" and adding: "it's definitely dated and flawed, but this is a game you play for its nostalgic value."

Awards and accolades

Wolfenstein 3D won numerous gaming awards, including the 1993 "Best Arcade/Action Game" Software and Information Industry Association CODiE award and the 1993 "Best Action/Arcade Game" award for the Shareware Industry Awards. It was later included in Computer Gaming World's list of the 150 Best Games of All Time in 1996, in IGN's list of Top 100 Games of All Time in 2003 and 2007, and in G4's list of Top 100 Video Games of All Time in 2012, among a number of other similar lists. The game's Adolf Hitler boss encounter was also proclaimed the 15th greatest video game boss in videogame history by The Phoenix in 2006 and was recognized as an exceptional boss fight in video games by 1UP.com in 2009;in 2011, PlayStation Universe featured killing Hitler in the first article of its retrospective series Unforgettable Gaming Moments.


Due to its use of Nazi symbols such as the swastika and the anthem of the Nazi Party, "Horst-Wessel-Lied", as theme music, the PC version of the game was withdrawn from circulation in Germany in 1994, following a verdict by the Amtsgericht München on January 25, 1994 (Az. 2 Gs 167/94). Despite the fact that Nazis are portrayed as the enemy in the game, the use of those symbols is a federal offense in Germany unless certain circumstances apply (see Strafgesetzbuch section 86a). Similarly, the Atari Jaguar version was confiscated following a verdict by the Amtsgericht Berlin Tiergarten on December 7, 1994 (Az. 351 Gs 5509/94).

Due to concerns from Nintendo of America, the Super NES version was heavily edited as well. All swastikas and Nazi references were removed. Hitler, a boss character in the game, had his moustache removed and was renamed "Staatmeister." Blood was replaced with sweat to make the game seem less violent (for SNES copies distributed in Germany, the enemy blood was turned green). Attack dogs were also replaced by giant mutant rats. Employees of id Software are quoted in The Official DOOM Player Guide about the reaction to Wolfenstein, claiming it to be ironic that it was morally acceptable to shoot people, but not dogs. The opening music was changed as well.


Wolfenstein 3D has been termed the "grandfather of 3D shooters",specifically first-person shooters, as it established the fast-paced action and technical prowess commonly expected in the genre, while also bolstering the popularity of the genre.It has also been acknowledged as solidifying shareware distribution as a serious and profitable business strategy.The release of id Software's hit game Doom the year after Wolfenstein 3D served as an additional impetus for a wave of imitators. Most of these games were distributed via the same shareware strategy as Wolfenstein 3D.

Wolfenstein 3D introduced a fresh formula to the PC game market that blended together disparate elements from both computer and arcade game genres. Wolfenstein 3D successfully combined the fast pace and quick reflexes of arcade action games that pit the player against multiple enemies that come in increasing waves of speed and complexity, with the first-person perspective of some early role-playing video games (such as Wizardry) that attempted to provide players with an immersive experience.While prior computer shooter games were most often scrolling shooters, Wolfenstein 3D helped move the computer market away from scrolling shooters toward first-person shooters.

Although id Software had not designed Wolfenstein 3D to be editable or modified by the players, users did develop character and level editors to create original alterations to the game's content. These efforts strongly influenced id Software to design the later titles like Doom and Quake to be more easily modifiable for the end user.The source code of the game was published by id Software on July 21, 1995, while the artwork data, music and software tools of the game remain under copyright. Bethesda Softworks, whose parent company bought id Software in 2009, celebrated the 20th anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D's release by making available a free-to-play, browser-based version of the game on its website on May 5, 2012.


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