Wolfenstein 3D is a first-person shooter video game developed by id Software and published by Apogee Software. Originally released on May 5, 1992, for the PC operating system MS-DOS, the game was inspired by the 1980s Muse Software video games Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein. A promotional version of Wolfenstein 3D was released as shareware, which permitted it to be copied widely. The game was later ported to a wide range of computer systems and video game consoles.
Each episode features nine levels (or 'maps'), which must be finished sequentially. Levels are completed by reaching an elevator that leads to the next level. The player must fight guards, dogs, and other enemies while maintaining supplies of ammunition and health. If the player's health falls to zero, the player loses one life and all his or her guns and ammunition, except a pistol with eight rounds and a knife. A submachine gun and a rapid-firing chain gun, which all use the same type of ammunition, are also available. Like the previous game, the player can use stealth to kill enemies or escape without drawing their attention, however this trick best work with Nazis. The player begins each episode with three lives, and can gain more lives by finding extra-life tokens or by earning 40,000 points. The original version of the game allows the player to save the game at any point, while in most console versions the player must complete each level before saving the game. The players can collect treasures scattered throughout the levels to boost their score. Walls can be searched for secret passages which lead to caches of treasure, ammunition, and/or health refills. Percentages for collecting treasures, eliminating enemies and discovering secrets discovered are displayed at the end of each level. The player can score additional bonus points by earning a 100% kill, secret, or treasure ratio, or completing the level more quickly than average.
Each episode has a different boss, who must be killed in the final mission to complete the episode. Unlike normal enemies, boss enemies are drawn from one angle instead of eight; they are always facing the player, and so cannot be taken by surprise. Bosses are initially stationary and do not become active until they see the player. When most bosses are dead, a replay (called a deathcam) of the boss' death is shown and the episode ends. In other levels there is an exit from the stronghold behind the boss; entering it causes the camera to rotate to face Blazkowicz and show him running out and jumping in elation. Each episode has one secret level that can only be accessed when player uncovers a hidden elevator. The secret level of the third episode is a recreation of a level in Pac-Man complete with ghosts, which the player sees from Pac-Man's perspective.
The first three episodes of the game are concerned with the protagonist William 'B.J.' Blazkowicz's efforts to destroy the Nazi regime. Blazkowicz is an American spy of Polish descent. In the first episode, 'Escape from Castle Wolfenstein', he has been captured while trying to find the plans for Operation Eisenfaust (Iron Fist) and has been imprisoned in Castle Wolfenstein by the SS. Initially armed with a knife and a Luger P08 obtained by overpowering the guard in his cell, Blazkowicz tries to escape from the prison. He takes on the guards and eventually finds himself face-to-face with Hans Grosse, the head prison guard. In the second episode, 'Operation: Eisenfaust', Blazkowicz finds that the operation is real and that the Nazis are creating an army of undead mutants in Castle Hollehammer. He enters the castle and confronts the mad scientist and creator of the mutants Dr. Schabbs, whose defeat signals the end of this biological war. 'Die, Führer, Die!' is chronologically the final episode. Fighting Nazi soldiers and attacking the bunker under the Reichstag, Blazkowicz finds himself up against Adolf Hitler, who is equipped with a robotic suit and four chainguns.
The Nocturnal Missions form a prequel storyline dealing with German plans for chemical warfare (Giftkrieg). Like the original episodes, each episode contains ten levels.. 'A Dark Secret' deals with the initial pursuit of the scientist responsible for developing the weaponry. Blazkowicz must enter the weapons research facility and hunt down another mad scientist, Dr. Otto Giftmacher (Poisonmaker). 'Trail of the Madman' takes place in Castle Erlangen. Blazkowicz's goal is to find the maps and plans of the chemical war, which are guarded by Gretel Grosse, Hans' sister. The story ends in 'Confrontation', which is set in Castle Offenbach. The final battle between Blazkowicz and General Fettgesicht (Fatface), the leader of the chemical war initiative, is fought.
Despite the game's historical setting and the presence of Hitler as an episode boss, the game bears no resemblance to any actual Nazi plans or structures. Many of the level designs are highly fanciful; at least three levels heavily feature swastika-shaped room layouts and maps; one level (episode 6, map 3) is built entirely of a tessellation of swastikas.
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