Return to Castle Wolfenstein is supposedly a sort of remake of Wolfenstein 3D, but I don't know how you can have a remake of Wolfenstein 3D where you don't get to fight and kill a mech-clad Hitler.
RtCW is all good fun when you're fighting Nazis. Basic Nazis, elite Nazi ladies, and the what have yous. Where it loses me entirely is when it does the Monster Mash. The first mission is great! Fighting your way through Where Eagles Dare (a classic) and feeling like a boss. Then you get to mission 2. And now you're facing skeletons with swords and shields. For ♥♥♥♥'s sake, the most basic, stereotypical video game enemy possible. And yes, I am complaining about that in a game where you fight NAZIS.
But that's the thing, isn't it? I wanted to fight Nazis. I was playing Wolfenstein, and it turned into medieval DOOM with Germans. The final boss is an undead guy with a sword
. Quite a step down from Hitler in a mech suit, I can tell you that. And sure, Wolf3D definitely had zombies. But they were experiments created by a Mengele-type guy. And they were basically just regular Nazis, but with an extra arm in the middle so that they could point their gun at you quicker than you could at them. There are electricity-shooting legless monster things in RtCW that the Nazis did
create, and they're pretty cool. The game does a great job of building tension with these guys, and when they're not leaping into your face and being ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ they add a fun level of depth to their levels. But then you also have to deal with Super Soldiers, who are also sciencey, but ultimately boring.
Don't get me wrong, here. The majority of the game has you just fighting Nazis. Snipers are awesome and paratroopers are awesome and the extra-skillful leather-clad ladies are awesome, and... well, the guys with flamethrowers suck. But luckily there aren't many of them in the game.
The level design is very good. Each mission looks and feels different. In one you'll be sneaking around a wooded area, in another you'll be sniping through a snowstorm. In one mission you'll be fighting from a cable car as you descend from Castle Wolfenstein, in another you'll be infiltrating secret Nazi labs, and in still another you'll be escorting a tank through a town. There are plenty of secrets to find... at times. After you leave Castle Wolfenstein, they seem to just stop existing for several missions. It's a bit of a bummer, to be honest.
The pre-mission cutscenes are dull, I'm not gonna lie to you. A fat guy behind a desk far away from our protagonist speaks with some suits as slow and boringly as possible (not even having Tony Jay voice the fat guy saves these scenes). I also found that the music drowned out half of the other sounds in the game, making stealth tougher and making it impossible to overhear conversations that you're meant to overhear. Make sure to turn that option down a good deal.
The guns feel good when you're fighting humans. Otherworldly creatures often take too many bullets and don't react enough to being shot, leading one to wonder whether you're even damaging them at all.
So I like it. I do recommend it. But I wouldn't blame you for using console cheats to go invincible or skip levels when you have to deal with doofy skeletons and anything else that just fills you with apathy. And if there's a mod out there that replaces the final boss with Wolf3D's mech suit Hitler (in all of his pixely sprite glory), I'd suggest getting it. And if there isn't, I'd suggest making it.