Maybe it was the fact that people got to blow away Nazis. Maybe it was the sheer challenge of it all. For whatever reason, Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of Destiny, pioneered the first-person shooter genre and brought its legendary creators, id Software, worldwide notoriety and numerous awards.
User reviews:
Very Positive (18 reviews) - 94% of the 18 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (1,061 reviews) - 93% of the 1,061 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Aug 3, 1994

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Includes 3 items: Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Spear of Destiny, Wolfenstein 3D


About This Game

Maybe it was the fact that people got to blow away Nazis. Maybe it was the sheer challenge of it all. For whatever reason, Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of Destiny, pioneered the first-person shooter genre and brought its legendary creators, id Software, worldwide notoriety and numerous awards. In fact, The Computer Gaming World Hall of Fame recognized Wolfenstein 3D as helping to shape the overall direction of the computer gaming industry.

System Requirements

    Minimum: A 100% Windows XP/Vista-compatible computer system

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Very Positive (18 reviews)
Very Positive (1,061 reviews)
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770 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
13.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 18
Wolfenstein 3D is the third entry in a series that goes back to the 80's with Castle Wolfenstein and its sequel Beyond Castle Wolfenstein. This installment from the longest running FPS series as of most recent Wolfenstein: The Old Blood from last year takes a new spin on the original titles by the late Silas Warner. The premise is the mostly the same, you're an Allied spy on top secret missions to thwart plans of the Third Reich in an alternative 1940s, often involving the infamous Castle Wolfenstein, a notorious Nazi prison. Wolf3D retells the tale and gives you a name and a face in the likeness of William 'B.J' Blazkowicz, the series' protagonist with many varied scenarios: escaping Castle Wolfenstein, the danger of chemical warfare, twisted Nazi experimentation on POWs to create an expendable army, and even the occult in later installments. Episode 3 of Wolf3D also famously has you assassinating Hitler himself, no doubt a spiritual link to Beyond Castle Wolfenstein which has the same plot. Only this isn't your daddy's Wolfenstein: the Fuhrer packs a few tricks up his sleeve in the since traditional Wolfenstein fashion: a touch of sci-fi in a mostly fantasy WWII setting. History buffs need not apply, for its dumb fun at its finest.

Unlike Silas' games, stealth mechanics like moving bodies and disgusing yourself with a Nazi uniform were removed in favor of more action, the transition from a top-down perspective with some of the earliest attempts at visuals to a VGA graphical 3D space in the first person truly set the mark as the definitive first entry for the FPS genre. Especially since you're using a visible gun. Wolf3D's world consists of 3D tiles that make up level design with 2D objects scattered about to flesh things out. The latter's important because architecture is restricted to 90 degree angles making unique geometry limited, with only so much variety. Everything's on one plane leaving you only concerned with what's on the horizon. Interactivity comes in the form of doors and secret pushwalls grant access to hidden medical supplies, munitions and treasure. Oh, and shooting the hell out of any Nazi goon that gets in the way. The most complicated thing is literally acquiring a key or two to unlock sealed off areas, and locating an elevator to leave the floor. Not groundbreaking by today's standards but it paved the way for FPS to come as they rapidly evolved in only a few short years (think: Half-Life came out six years later!).

Most common complaint about Wolf3D is the mapping itself, and lack of an automap. The restrictions in architecture and limited number of textures can lead to same-y looking places making it difficult to find your way around. But if you have a good sense of spatial awareness and can recognize landmarks and object placements (and the trail of dead bodies you'll inevitably leave behind when disappearing corpses wasn't cool yet) you won't have too hard of a time. Whether it's id's own levels or fan-made I never have much trouble getting about (the source port ECWolf adds support for an automap however). The 60 maps as well can be an overbearing count at times with 10 per episode: 8 regular, a boss level and a secret level. I find its best to go through one episode at a time as opposed to trying to marathon it as it allows you to appreciate each episode for what its worth.

Visually the game is colorful and is notably more cartoony than Doom, but still fairly realistic in portrayal especially in regards to themes: dark prison sections, comfy living quarters, well lit dining rooms, old and precarious looking passageways covered in moss, and luxurious castle areas with rich and clean decor. The variety isn't huge but what's there gets the job done and the attention to detail with the resolution of the textures and sprites they were working with still look convincing to this day, more or less on par with Doom.

Gameplay is standard FPS fare and the closest thing to Doom, but with an almost tactical level of survival. You only carry 99 rounds of ammunition and its universal for the three guns you use: a decent pistol that's very powerful at point blank, a reliable (sub)machine gun that's fair on ammo consumption, and the almighty chaingun, while obviously extremely effective is expensive to maintain. Fresh ammo pickups net 8 bullets and used ones dropped by enemies will only contain half that. Overzealous use of the chaingun can quickly deplete your supply, forcing you to fall back on your knife, which is only good against a single enemy. Your health never goes above the base value of 100 and there's no armor. Damage suffered from enemy attacks, which are predominantly hitscan, can seriously injure at close range as the average damage of a bullet in Wolf3D is much higher than it is in Doom. It's not uncommon to be dropped in two shots or being torn to shreds by a single volley of automatic fire. Rushing into unknown areas guns blazing rarely pays off unless your reaction time is high and you have the health and ammo to make it with no or very few mistakes. Divide and conquer and the use of cover is the way to go, unless you clearly have the advantage to be bold and reckless.

Enemy cast is small but serve their purpose well. Dogs are the only melee enemy, super weak but often the first on scene due to their speed and can be a nuisance. Guards are dolts with poor reaction time and armed with a pistol but can be dangerous in numbers. SS tote machine guns, their vests keep them going longer, and a small group is very deadly without cover (or a chaingun with plenty of ammo). Officers are fleet of foot, almost as strong as SS, and while they only have a pistol their reaction time is high and they can be lethal if underestimated. Mutants are the rarest, featured in the second episode originally. Almost silent, they're more durable than humans and are even faster than the Officer in attack. And then there's bosses. One is featured at the end of each episode and corresponds to the episode theme. For example Hans Grosse guards the exit/entrance to Castle Wolfenstein and does so with a pair of chainguns. Most bosses aren't too hard to bring down, guaranteed you have enough ammo, but staying out in the open is near suicidal if you don't have enough health.

Music is composed by id's then musician Bobby Prince, and while the tunes are strictly Adlib format they all manage to sound unique and moody. It may not be most people's cup of tea but I can't possibly imagine this game with the music off. The music for me is on par with Doom's soundtrack, with many memorable and excellently composed tracks.

Likewise, for every good or decent game there's usually something wrong with it. Mainly technical oddities. The enemy can shoot through the door animation but so can you. Enemies also shoot through each other while magically being unharmed which is unrealistic and annoying. No dedicated side step keys and the one sound channel often has sounds cancelling out each other, unless you use a source port.

I won't deny that Doom is the penultimate 2.5D FPS as far as overall design is concerned but Wolf3D is still a surprisingly fun and well designed shooter. All thanks to the talented minds of John Carmack for the engine, John Romero for the game design, Adrian Carmack for the artwork, Tom Hall for the vision, and Robert Prince for his audio. There's a wealth of user made content available to this day, ports, and total conversions taking entirely new spins on the game. If you enjoy classic shooters, or just want to see where it all began, it still comes as highly recommended even with its sometimes antiquated design. Who knows, you may find a new obsession, as all the user content available is sure to keep you busy well beyond id's own game.

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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 29
Truely a classic. And let's not forget, Robot Hitler!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
15.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 19
Welcome to the grandfather of all first person shooters. Going down the maze like corridors, humping the walls for that sweet, sweet secret. Even after all of this time, this game is still very fun to play. Modern ports like SDL and ECWolf make the game run on newer computers wonderfully.

Once you get tired of the vanilla game, immerse yourself in the still active modding community. Wolfensteins modding community isn't as big as Doom's, but it's still just as talented and just as committed to the game.

If you don't mind the dated graphics, the hitscan weapons and the lack of stairs, then do yourself a favor and jump into this scifi/history inspired FPS!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 15
It's hard to tell which pixel is the enemy and which is a potted fern.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
776 of 842 people (92%) found this review helpful
17 people found this review funny
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 3, 2014
Much better than CoD:Ghosts!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
129 of 135 people (96%) found this review helpful
30 people found this review funny
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 13, 2015
I've played this game probably over 5000 hours total since I first booted it up on my grandparents IBM Compatible 486 with Turbo (88hz) using the floppy drive.

I spent countless hours over the summer playing it til my grandpa wanted to puke from being sea-sick with all my turning around and checking walls for hiddent passages and rooms. I remember he would draw maps of the rooms and mark where he found treasure and health etc. It was always thrilling finding dog food and ammo hidden behind a Hitler portrait or giant Swastika. I always knew something big was about to happen whenever the brick color changed from grey to red or blue.

The high quality 3D graphics are only surpassed by the excellent sound effects and soundtrack. I HIGHLY recommend this game.
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100 of 103 people (97%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 8, 2013
Background: I first played this game on a 486 back in the 90s.

This is a great game, but if you compare it to new games, or even a Doom type game it will look very primitive. You will also be missing the point of how important this was to the history of FPS games.

The game is simple to pick up, hard to master. To master the toughest difficulty, I am Death Incarnate, you will need some good FPS skills, good choice of knowing when to use each type of weapon and some level knowledge. The game is also has a good element of skill to it. The closer you are, the more likely you are to hit as well as get hit. You can also take a lot more damage up close so you have to be careful going through doorways and in tight spaces.

There are secrets to find, treasure to pick up, par times to bet, Hitler to kill, and a ton of Nazis to mow down on the way. The game even lets you hold MORE THAN TWO GUNS AT ONCE! :P However there are only two weapons you will use long term, the grey machine gun which has great economy with the bullets and a decent rate of fire. There is also the gatling gun which never gets tiring to use. It has an amazing sound, an amazing red flash on the screen and watching your ammo quickly depleting makes you realise just how powerful it is.

For a perfectionist this game is great, at the end of each level you are rated on what % you kill, what % of the secrets you found and how much of of the nazi loot you confiscated. Back in the 90s I spent a lot of time carefully walking around every wall holding down space waiting to hear the magical sound of a new secret passage opening. The the excitement of wondering if I've found just a block of ammo, or maybe a crapload of treasure.

The game has 6 episodes, each with 9 levels + a secret level on each episode.

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90 of 95 people (95%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 3, 2014
Classic old school shooting with some maze like layouts here and there which can tend to be a bit frustrating. This game is basically Doom's older brother and should be played by anyone with an interest in FPS games. It runs perfectly in Dosbox and the Steam Version is probably the best version out there at the moment.

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124 of 143 people (87%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 12, 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
175 of 228 people (77%) found this review helpful
204 people found this review funny
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 10, 2015
you get to kill hitler
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Recently Posted
Profile Name
6.0 hrs
Posted: October 25
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.8 hrs
Posted: October 16
Still fantastic
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.2 hrs
Posted: October 15
Screw this game, it Won't even Run Anymore so DON'T BUY IT, THEY ARE SCAMMING YOU
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.6 hrs
Posted: October 12
A good game doesn't need to take up a lot of memory to be a big game.
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0.9 hrs
Posted: October 8
You get to kill nazis- WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE ABOUT IT??
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0.2 hrs
Posted: October 3
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.8 hrs
Posted: October 2
you can still have fun with a game that was released in 1994.
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