Wolfenstein (series)

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Wolfenstein
Genres First-person shooter, Stealth
Developers Muse Software (1981–4)
id Software (1992)
Gray Matter Interactive (2001)
Splash Damage (2003)
Fountainhead Entertainment (2008)
Raven Software (2009)
MachineGames (2014–)
Publishers Muse Software (1981–4)
Apogee Software (1992)
FormGen Corporation (1992)
Activision (2001–3, 2009)
EA Mobile (2008)
Bethesda Softworks (2014–)
Composers Robert Prince (3D, SoD)
Bill Brown (RtCW, 2009)
Mick Gordon (TNW, TOB)
Platforms MS-DOS
Microsoft Windows
Mac OS
Amiga 1200
AmigaOS 4
Apple IIGS
Acorn Archimedes
NEC PC-9801
SNES
Jaguar
Game Boy Advance
3DO
Windows Mobile
iOS
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Platform of origin Apple II
First release Castle Wolfenstein
1981
Latest release Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
May 5, 2015
Official website www.wolfenstein.com

Wolfenstein is a series of World War II video games, originally developed by Muse Software.[1] The third game in the franchise, Wolfenstein 3D, was developed by id Software, and is widely regarded to have helped popularize the first-person shooter genre. In 2001, the series was rebooted with Return to Castle Wolfenstein, developed by Gray Matter Interactive. This was followed by Raven Software's Wolfenstein in 2009, and MachineGames' Wolfenstein: The New Order in 2014 and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood in 2015.

The majority of the games follow protagonist William "B.J." Blazkowicz, and his fights against the Nazi powers. The New Order is set in an alternate history in which the Axis Powers won the Second World War.

History[edit]

The first-person view of the player character, atop a destroyed bridge, shooting a Nazi with his machine gun.
The series focuses on the antagonism of the Third Reich. The violent killing of Nazis in the series has been met with controversy, particularly in Germany, where most of the games have been banned and/or censored.

Castle Wolfenstein is a 2D adventure game released in 1981 for the Apple II, written by Silas Warner. One of the pioneers of the stealth game genre, it is a game of avoiding detection and managing limited resources while trying to escape from a Nazi stronghold. Combat was allowed, but bullets were precious, and non-violent options were often safer, such as pulling a gun on a guard and frisking him while his hands were raised. A sequel, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, was published in 1984.[1]

Wolfenstein 3D, released in 1992, is a re-imagining of the Castle Wolfenstein scenario in first person with an emphasis on direct combat. Stealth and non-violent options are not present. Silas Warner, the designer of the original Apple II games, was not involved in the development. Wolfenstein 3D is important for popularizing the first person shooter and inventing many of the tropes that became standard in the genre.

Games[edit]

Aggregate review scores
As of May 25, 2015.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Wolfenstein 3D (3DO) 82%[2]
(GBA) 60%[3]
(iOS) 77%[4]
(PC) 40%[5]
(PS3) 77%[6]
(SNES) 58%[7]
(X360) 63%[8]
(GBA) 57[9]
(PS3) 77[10]
(X360) 66[11]
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PC) 87%[12]
(PS2) 70%[13]
(Xbox) 85%[14]
(PC) 88[15]
(PS2) 66[16]
(Xbox) 84[17]
Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory (PC) 88%[18] (PC) 90[19]
Wolfenstein RPG (iOS) 87%[20] -
Wolfenstein (PC) 74%[21]
(PS3) 73%[22]
(X360) 74%[23]
(PC) 74[24]
(PS3) 71[25]
(X360) 72[26]
Wolfenstein: The New Order (PC) 84%[27]
(PS3) 78%[28]
(PS4) 81%[29]
(XONE) 82%[30]
(PC) 81[31]
(PS4) 79[32]
(XONE) 79[33]
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (PC) 78%[34]
(PS4) 78%[35]
(XONE) 80%[36]
(PC) 76[37]
(PS4) 77[38]
(XONE) 76[39]

Castle Wolfenstein (1981)[edit]

Main article: Castle Wolfenstein

There is no particular storyline in this game, but mission objectives operated chronologically and accomplished using stealth, and occasionally armed combat to disable enemies. Set in World War II Nazi Germany, the protagonist is an unnamed American operative who escaped custody and has to steal war plans constructed by the Nazis against the Allied powers.

Created by Silas Warner, who left a legacy behind the production of the material, and inspired a set of sequels that employ a different genre yet containing the same ideology inside. The game is developed and published by Muse Software, and released in 1981 on multiple platforms.

Beyond Castle Wolfenstein (1984)[edit]

A sequel to Castle Wolfenstein, and likewise containing no scripted storyline but missions succeeding one after another. 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.

Like its predecessor, the game is a combination of action-adventure and stealth-based side-scroller, developed and published by Muse Software, and released in 1984. After the death of the original designer of the program, the widow of Silas Warner has released a ported version of the game, as well as its reconstructed source code in his honour in 2004.

Wolfenstein 3D (1992)[edit]

Main article: Wolfenstein 3D

After the Nazis apprehend an American spy, BJ Blazkowicz, who was sent to sabotage the enemy's regime and foil their schemes, they imprison him under the grounds of Castle Wolfenstein. Finding a way to decapitate a prison guard, BJ manages to arm himself with a stolen Luger handgun and advance through the walls of the territory, on his way to accomplish his mission by uncovering the truth behind 'Operation Eisenfaust' and destroy it.

The game is noted for popularizing the first-person shooter genre, released in 1992, developed by id Software and published by Apogee Software.

Spear of Destiny (1992)[edit]

Set before the events of Wolfenstein 3D, the player assumes the role of BJ Blazkowicz, who is set to reclaim the Spear of Destiny from the Nazis after it was stolen from Versatiles. The spear itself, as spoken by legends, bears powerful effects in its own, and whoever took a hold of it, turns into an unbeatable being.

Like its predecessor, the game is developed by id Software, but published by FormGen Corporation instead, and was released in 1992.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2001)[edit]

Two operatives of an allied espionage agency, BJ Blazkowicz and Agent One are captured by the Nazis and imprisoned in Castle Wolfenstein during their attempt to investigate rumours surrounding one of Heinrich Himmler's personal projects, the SS Paranormal Division. Agent One is killed during the interrogation, while Blazkowicz escapes custody, fighting his way out of the castle. As the challenge is still afoot, Blazkowicz discovers that the Nazis are constructing a plan called 'Operation Resurrection', which oversees resurrecting the dead as well as dealing with supernatural elements, using them for their own advantage to win World War II against the Allied power.

A reboot of the series that took off in 1992, developed by Gray Matter Interactive and published by Activision, and released in 2001 on Microsoft Windows, as well as arriving on consoles two years later.

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory (2003)[edit]

Originally planned to be released as an expansion pack to the preceding title, the video game contains no storyline mode nor a single player campaign, but rather being an expanded edition of the previous game's multiplayer. Developed by Splash Damage, published by Activision and released in 2003. A commercial follow-up, called Enemy Territory: Quake Wars was released in 2007 by the same crew.

Wolfenstein RPG (2008)[edit]

Main article: Wolfenstein RPG

In yet another mission to investigate the Paranormal Division of the Axis military, BJ Blazkowicz is captured and held prisoner in The Tower. Once again, he escapes the clutches of the enemy forces, and sets himself to stop them and their operation that involve supernatural activities for once and for all, infiltrating Castle Wolfenstein to continue his escapade deep inside. It's up to BJ to defeat the evil and save the world.

It was never stated that this one title is part of any canon but its very own, more likely a spin-off that combines countless elements from previous entries, mostly Wolfenstein 3D, as well as having a character from another franchise, Commander Keen play a major part in the plot, not to mention, having one of the villains from the Doom series, as the final boss to beat. Compared to the other installments, Wolfenstein RPG employs lighter tone to the atmosphere of the game, never directly referencing the Nazis nor featuring swastikas, replacing them with comic reliefs. It's developed by Fountainhead Entertainment, and published by EA Mobile in 2008, with John Carmack, one of the key people to the original first-person shooter game in the series, reprising his role as the sole programmer.

Wolfenstein (2009)[edit]

An agent for the fictional 'Office of Secret Actions', BJ Blazkowicz, discovers an unnatural medallion containing supernatural powers while on a mission on a German battleship. Learning of the fact that Nazis have begun for digging deep into crystal mines in order to obtain more of the very same medallion Blazkowicz explored, the OSA immediately sends their operative to the fictional town of Isenstadt, which the Nazis have taken complete control of in order to excavate rare Nachtsonne crystals necessary to access the "Black Sun" dimension. As BJ progresses through his assignment, things start to become stranger slowly in the town.

It's officially a sequel to Return to Castle Wolfenstein, co-developed by Raven Software and Endrant Studios, published by id Software, distributed by Activision Blizzard and released in 2009 on three major platforms.

Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014)[edit]

This installment is a sequel and a soft reboot of franchise and builds an entirely new chronology, set in an alternate universe where the Axis powers have won World War II. In 1946, as the Nazis expand their regime all over the world, OSA agent, BJ Blazkowicz is sent to assassinate the notorious evil mastermind, General Deathshead, a familiar face from the previous encounters, with the aid of his commando unit. The mission turns out to be a failure after the entire unit is slaughtered by the Nazi forces, Blazkowicz hardly finds a route to escape the compound, but suffers from critical head injury, rendering him unconscious and putting him in a coma.

In 1960, fourteen years after his admission, BJ finds himself settled in an asylum, unaware of the incidents that took place during disability, and is about to be executed by the Nazis who have ordered the place to be shut down. Awakened into full strength, Blazkowicz fights his way out of the building, escaping with a wounded nurse, Anya. Heavily irritated by the revelation of the enemy winning the war, BJ operates within the shadows to locate The Resistance and help them fight the Nazis, dismantling them and ultimately destroying their dominance around the world.

After Activision handed over the publishing rights to Bethesda Softworks, development on the game began in 2010 by MachineGames, but was never released until four years later on multiple platforms, including next generation consoles.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (2015)[edit]

A prequel to The New Order, set in the same chronology, it deals with BJ Blazkowicz and Richard Wesley, also known as Agent One, who are sent to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein and obtain a top secret folder that contains the whereabouts of General Deathshead. The mission goes awry as they are discovered by the Nazi troopers, ending up captured in the process. During a very brutal interrogation, Agent One is killed, but Blazkowicz manages to escape, evading a large amount of force unleashed after him, going for his head. Evacuating the castle, he learns that the document has been relocated.

With the aid of the leader of a resistance group, Kessler, he discovers that the folder is held by Helga Von Schabbs, a Nazi neurologist who has just arrived in the village of Paderborn. But, things didn't seem as they looked when Blazkowicz learns of supernatural activities ordered under the command of the very same woman he is after, who is conducting an archaeological excavation attempting to find a hidden underground vault containing occult knowledge previously possessed by King Otto I.

The game is a loose remake of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, with heavy resemblances noticed within the storylines of the two games, as well as the existence of various characters as homages to the ones from the older title. Developed by MachineGames and published by Bethesda Softworks, the game serves as a stand-alone expansion pack to Wolfenstein: The New Order, and was released in 2015.

Related games[edit]

  • Commander Keen (1990) - William Joseph "Billy Blaze" Blazkowicz II (Commander Keen) is the grandson of William "B.J." Blazkowicz.
  • Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994) - Level 31 (Wolfenstein) of Doom II is based on the first level of Wolfenstein 3D, and Level 32 (Grosse) is a Wolfenstein-based level mixed with elements of Doom.
  • Super 3D Noah's Ark (1994) - Wolfenstein 3D with modified graphics and sounds.
  • Rise of the Triad: Dark War (1995) - Was originally going to be a sequel to Wolfenstein 3D called Rise of the Triad: Wolfenstein 3D II.
  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (2007) - Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is a spin-off of Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.
  • Wolfenstein 1-D (2011) - A demake of Wolfenstein 3D

Film[edit]

In an announcement made at the American Film Market (AFM), producer Samuel Hadida and Panorama Media said they've tapped Roger Avary to write and direct Castle Wolfenstein. According to a press release: "Castle Wolfenstein is an action adventure film in the vein of Captain America and Inglourious Basterds. The story follows a young US Army Captain and a British Special Agent on a top secret mission to Castle Wolfenstein, where Hitler will be for the unveiling of a new secret weapon. After reaching the Castle, our heroes are confronted with Himmler’s SS Paranormal Division and must fight, not only for their survival, but for a mission that could alter the course of the War."[40]

References[edit]

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  13. ^ "Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Operation Resurrection Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
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  19. ^ "Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
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  40. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (1 November 2012). "Castle Wolfenstein Movie Announced". IGN. Retrieved 7 June 2014.