Wednesday 29 April 2015

Wolfenstein 3D (3DO review)

Developer: MacPlay
Publisher: Interplay Entertainment
Released: 1995

Wolfenstein 3D is the Granddaddy of First Person Shooters and was originally released on the PC operating system DOS in 1992.

Unlike the SNES port there's no censorship here; you'll see swastikas everywhere as well as accurate representations of Adolf Hitler on the walls. Similar to Doom, your task is to locate the exit to each level; this involves tracking down the right coloured key to gain access to particular doors. The game can get very maze-like and it's easy to get disorientated if you don't keep track of your surroundings. You can access a map but I felt it wasn't detailed enough for backtracking. There's a good range of weapons on offer including a Pistol, Chain Gun and Rocket Launcher; the latter can take out several enemies in a row but the only problem is that it sometimes hits an open door instead of the person you're firing at! The game has a lengthy campaign and the addition of a save game feature is handy, especially as it saves your weapons and ammo. The shoulder buttons on the 3DO controller are fantastic for strafing and work much better than other ports where you need to hold down a separate button and use the d-pad. My main criticism is that the game can get quite repetitive and although there are end of episode bosses there's nothing to really break up the action. Even the stealth elements from the DOS version were removed (meaning enemies always face your direction) and there's not as much strategy involved. Still, the final battle with Hitler is genuinely tense and nerve-wracking! The music (which is exclusive to the 3DO) has a cinematic feel which ramps up the intensity and the voice samples give real personality to the action.

Despite its age Wolfenstein 3D still plays remarkably well and it has tons of secrets for those who want to explore. The controls are perfect and this 3DO version is definitely one of the best ports of id Software's classic FPS.

Random trivia: Early development versions of the original Wolfenstein 3D featured more stealth mechanics such as allowing you to wear enemy outfits and dragging dead bodies. Sadly, they were removed from the final game as the developers felt they slowed down the pace too much.

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