Wolfenstein is a first-person shooter from Raven, Endrant, and id Software that continues the adventures of B.J. Blazkowicz, star of the Wolfenstein franchise. This game is something of a direct sequel to Return to Castle Wolfenstein in that events of that game are referenced, but the game is designed to stand on its own without needing to know much of the history of the characters.
Like previous games in the series, Wolfenstein puts you in the shoes of a US soldier, sent behind enemy lines to stop secret Nazi projects involving the occult. This time, the Nazis are attempting to harness the power of some sort of alternate dimension known as Black Sun. They can do this using lost artifacts, such as portals and medallions. You obtain a medallion in the early portions of the game that enables you to enter the Veil, a world that exists between the two dimensions. When in the Veil, you move more quickly, and you'll also earn additional veil powers, such as a shield, a damage increase, and the ability to slow time. Some of these powers are used for puzzle solving, others are better in combat situations.
Unlike many first-person shooters, Wolfenstein has a hub or an overworld that you can freely roam in, and side missions that you can find by talking to people found in this hub. Typically, the hub--technically the streets of a fictional German town called Isenstadt--is there for you to talk to people, advancing the story, which in turn unlocks another mission. Isenstadt is broken up into multiple areas, separated by load times. The game will also stop to load when you enter an actual mission. The missions themselves are linear in the ways you'd expect from a first-person shooter. Along the way, you'll find gold, intelligence documents, and mystical tomes, all of which serve to unlock additional upgrades for your weapons and Veil abilities.
Weapons and Upgrades
There are eight known weapons to find in the world of Wolfenstein, not including grenades or a limited number of melee & thrown weapons that can be utilized. Some are traditional World War II era Nazi guns and others are based on Veil technology, ostensibly created by some Nazi secret weapons project. Some of the different black powder based firearms available for use in Wolfenstein include the MP40, MP43, KAR98, and the Panzerschreck. Some of the Veil-based weaponry includes the Particle Cannon and the Tesla Gun. All weapons, including grenades, can be upgraded at various Black Market locations found within the town of Isenstadt. Upgrades are purchased with money earned by completing missions, finding bags and bricks of gold, and completing side objectives as you come across various NPC's in town. Before you are able to purchase upgrades for the different weapons you find in the game, you will need to unlock them by completing different objectives such as finding a certain number of pieces of intelligence, or completing a certain level. These requirements are all clearly marked next to each upgrade when you visit the Black Market shops.
|MP40 - Fires a 9x19mm Parabellum round in full automatic only.|
|KAR98 - The classic WWII German bolt action rifle in 7.92x57mm.|
|MP43 - Sometimes known as the STG-44 in other games, this assault rifle fires 7.92x33 Kurz in full auto only.|
|Panzerschreck - The ubiquitous German anti-tank weapon of World War II, fires 88mm rockets and reloads slowly.|
|Model 24 Grenade - The German "potato masher" grenade we all know and love from every WWII game ever made.|
|Particle Cannon - The first Veil weapon you find in Wolfenstein. This weapon spools up like a minigun. Don't cross the streams!|
|Tesla Gun - This is the second Veil-powered weapon discovered in Wolfenstein. It shoots what appears to be arcs of electricity. This weapon also needs to spool up as with the Particle Cannon above.|
The Veil and Veil Crystals
As BJ progresses through Wolfenstein, he will initially find a Veil medallion that allows him to "see" into the Veil. Engaging this mode allows BJ to see into the world of the Veil, accessing passageways and seeing objects that normally would be invisible to the naked eye. There are numerous upgrades available for both the Veil medallion itself, and for the various Veil powers that are unlocked progressively throughout the game when the player finds the Mire, Shield, and Empower crystals. These powers can be used individually or in combination with one another, and when they are active it depletes the player's available veil energy. Veil energy is easily replaced by stepping into any of the common veil pools, which can be seen even when not in the Veil. Veil and crystal upgrdes are all unlocked by collecting hidden tomes throughout the world.
Veil Medallion Upgrades
- Inner Light ($1500) - Increases available veil energy pool
- Veil Sight ($2000) - Allows BJ to see enemies through walls
- Inner Brilliance ($1500) - Increases veil energy beyond even what Inner Light provides. Requires Inner LIght first.
- Crystal Harmony ($2000) - Increases the rate at which BJ's veil energy replenishes itself automatically when not in a veil pool
The Mire Crystal
The first Veil upgrade BJ encounters in Wolfenstein. This crystal slows time.
- Slowing Crystal ($1000) - Makes time slow down even more drastically, enabling BJ to move faster while his enemies try uselessly to attack him.
- Shearing Crystal ($3000) - Adds an additional explosive property when the Mire crystal is activated, disintegrating any Nazis who are unlucky enough to be near BJ at the time.
The Shield Crystal
- Reflective Crystal ($1000) - Reflects bullets back at enemies
- Reactive Crystal ($3000) - Disintegrates some enemies who come into contact when the shield is active.
The Empower Crystal
Increases the damage done by BJ's attacks, as well as enabling him to shoot through Veil-shielded enemies and doors.
- Piercing Crystal ($1000) - Enables BJ's bullets to pass through some light cover when the power is activated
- Penetrating Crystal ($3000) - Causes BJ's attacks to pass through almost anything including steel doors and concrete. Combine this with Veil Sight to see and shoot enemies through walls.
The main protagonist and the only man who stands a chance against the evil Nazis.
The leader of the Kreisau Circle, a group of resistance in Isenstadt.
Second-in-command of the Kreisau Circle.
A member of the Golden Dawn, a group of Russian scholars dedicated of studying the Veil and the Black Sun. Sergei is the one who first discovers the Thule Medallion.
The leader of the Golden Dawn. He gives Blazkowicz many of the missions.
The Kreige brothers are dealers of the Black Market. They have questionable morals, and are likely supplying both sides with arms, as peace is not profitable.
|The SS Infantry are fearless soldiers and fanatical believers that the 3rd Reich is destined to rule the world.|
|Highly trained in the use of hand to hand weaponry, the Elite Guard also controls the dark power of the Black Sun. The Elite Guard uses the bodies of fallen comrades to create the twisted undead creatures know as the "Despoiled."|
|The Drache Troopers, also known as Dragon Troopers, use flame throwers to burn their victims to ashes.|
|The Heavy Trooper Personal Protection System was the first technology that utilized the power of the Black Sun. The Heavy Trooper’s suit grants its wearer an incredible increase in strength and a much improved resistance to damage.|
|Volunteers for the Assassin program were given cybernetic implants allowing them the unique power to vanish into the Veil at will. The experimental procedure was unbearably painful and drove the test subjects insane. An Assassin is seldom seen until moments before a victim's death.|
|With the discovery of an archaeological dig site that revealed connections with the Black Sun, the Nazis quickly recruited their brightest scholars. The scholars, known as Scribes, were given orders to discover the secrets of the Black Sun by any means necessary. Scribes use the power of the Black Sun to empower other Nazi soldiers.|
|When resonated at certain frequencies, Black Sun energy can revitalize dead tissue. The 'Despoiled', are creatures created by the Elite Guards through the revitalization process. However, there are rumours that the Elite Guards may be misusing their power.|
|The Nazis' early forays into the realm of the Black Sun resulted in many unfortunate deaths. Those who entered the Black Sun, returned as horribly twisted and mutated creatures. While some of these aberrations could be harnessed, others were transformed into insane beasts known as the Altered.|
|General Victor Zetta is the mastermind behind the initial takeover of Eisenstadt. He also produces powerful weapons that use Veil energy. However, General Zetta has his own agenda - one he does not even share with his superiors in Berlin.|
The Nazi General who was the main antagonist in Return to Castle Wolfenstein. He replaces General Zetta as commander of Isenstadt after Zetta's death, and immediately decides to vapourize the city as a test of a new weapon based on the power of the Black Sun.
A muscular Nazi who serves as Deathshead's henchman and bodyguard. He was the very first boss in the original Wolfenstein 3-D, and no explanation is ever offered for his resurrection.
Wolfenstein also has a class-based multiplayer mode that pits Allied forces against Nazi troops. The game ships with eight maps and allows for Team Deathmatch, Objective, and Stopwatch. Players earn money for their online performance, which can be funneled into an upgrade system for each class.
The game runs on a modified version of the same id Tech 4 engine that originally powered Doom 3, and Quake 4. This version of the engine is even more advanced than the one used by the popular Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, allowing for effects such as depth of field and soft shadows.
PC System Requirements
- Processor: Pentium 4 3.2 GHz or AMD Anthlon(TM) 64 3400 processor
- Memory: 1GB RAM
- Video Card: 256 MB NVIDIA Geforce 6800 or Radeon X800
- Sound Card: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
- DirectX: 9.0c
- HDD Space: 8GB (Plus an additional 800MB for Windows swap file)
- Internet: Broadband connection and service required for multiplayer
Wolfenstein received mediocre to positive reviews. The game was praised for its science-fiction visuals, action-packed gameplay and the use of futuristic weapons. The graphics are also praised even though the id Tech 4 engine is considered outdated when comparing to the Unreal Engine.
The biggest criticism is the highly anticipated multiplayer, with graphics that looks downgraded than the single player and gameplay that fails to impress. The other disappointment from fans is the lack of SDK (System Development Kit) feature that allow players to tweak the game (much like Doom 3, Quake 4 and Prey) even though Raven Software had promised that Wolfenstein will feature this component.
Xbox 360 Installation
The amount of memory it takes to install this game is 6.3 GB.