Wolfenstein 3D was actually the first PC game I had ever played. Oh I remember the day my dad first introduced me to nazi killing, a day I will never forget. My stepmom was absolutely disgusted with the game. And so began my life of gaming… I still have legal copies of the game, and it’s sequel Spear of Destiny with their boxes in my closet. Good stuff…the other day, I was reliving the glory of Wolf 3D in a very accurate pantomime at work for some co-workers when my friend told me he had the game for GBA, and that he was willing to let me borrow it.
Wolfenstein 3D is the classic story of killing Nazi’s and mutants while trying to prevent the world’s destruction at the hands of the Nazis. You are originally supposed to infiltrate the Nazi fortress Castle Hollehammer, but you are captured. You are sent to Castle Wolfenstein, a Nazi prison. Being a master of espionage, you escape from your cell and are now alone to escape the Nazi camp and find out the truth about the Nazis.
The story was actually quite an original one for a game quite a few years ago. Now, it’s just tired and cliché. But I won’t hold that against Wolfenstein 3D for GBA, as it is a direct port of the PC version of it from years past. Wolfenstein 3D is a pretty standard FPS. You work your way through levels, collecting ammunition, keys and health as you battle your way through countless foes. There is never a shortage of ammo, or blood. There are a total of 60 floors; each spread out amongst the games 6 episodes. Once you battle your way to the tenth floor, you are treated to a difficult boss battle against tough Nazi-henchmen. Rinse, lather and repeat.
Most of the levels are the same as the level before it. The big thing that separates the levels are the locations of different items mainly found behind hidden doors. You see, in each level you need to walk along every wall and press the ”open” button in hopes of finding the secret rooms behind the walls. Inside the rooms are things like jewels, guns, ammunition and health pick-ups. They really help out, especially the jewels. If you score 40,000 points in jewel pick-ups, you get an extra life, which you will probably need for the upcoming boss battles.
There are a total of 4 weapons in the game, each with varying properties. There is a very primitive knife, a pistol, a Machine Gun, and a Chaingun. The Machine Gun is just a faster pistol basically, and the Chaingun just a faster Machine Gun. Who needs originality anyway? Ammunition is usually gathered off the corpses of your fallen foes and some is found in ammo crates that are conveniently left lying around. Those Nazis are just asking for trouble…
The A.I is pretty pathetic, and thinking about it makes you realize truly how primitive Wolfenstein 3D truly is. You will on several occasions kill a guard that is standing there and the guy next to him won’t react. Guards tend to just run out from behind things and stand there, instead of using ”strategy” and ”common sense.” The only way this is counter-acted is that the enemies you encounter just get better weapons and shoot at you faster.
Like I said before, Wolfenstein 3D was originally designed for the PC. And what does the PC have that a GBA doesn’t? Well for starters a mouse and a keyboard. Control with the GBA is pretty irritating to say the least. Strafing is assigned to the two shoulder buttons while movement and turning are set to the directional pad. Shooting and opening things set to the face buttons. The turning however is extremely poor, as turning is set to angled increments around your small circle. Turning is also very slow, even when turned up all the way which makes it difficult not to get shot to death when there is a Nazi behind you. The control really hampers the gameplay.
Graphically, Wolfenstein 3D looks a like it did when it was first released on PC. Walls are pretty much the same cement texture throughout the game, with the floor and ceiling being a very gray affair. There are all sorts of inanimate objects in the environments, like potted plants and paintings on the wall. The enemies look pretty decent, though very difficult to see from a distance. The game has a brightness option that is very nice also, though it just makes the enemies even harder to see.
There is no music in Wolfenstein 3D, which is really a shame. It does add to the ambiance though, as you play it you feel truly alone. The only company, your pistol. It may sound like a cap gun, but it kills much better than one. Enemies make all sorts of noises, from screams of alert to screams of pain. The dogs that you kill yelp and doors open as well.
All in all, I can’t really say that this title is that good. Sure, it’s very faithful to the PC version, but a few minor tweaks to the level design should have been considered instead of taking the easy way out and making this a direct port. As it stands, the port is very good but the lack of music and the difficult to see enemies can make the game extremely frustrating.