Return to Castle Wolfenstein
|a game by||Activision|
|Platforms:||XBox, PC, Playstation 2|
|Editor Rating:||8.8/10, based on 4 reviews, 6 reviews are shown|
|User Rating:||7.3/10 - 64 votes|
|Rate this game:|
|See also:||Wolfenstein Series, WW2 Games, First Person Shooter|
The Wolfenstein franchise has its roots deep in the first person shooter genre. The original game, Wolfenstein 3D, is considered by most to be the grandfather of the first person shooter. The original Wolfenstein paved the way for classic games like DOOM and Quake, and it laid the foundation of the genre we know today. Return to Castle Wolfenstein attempts to retell the classic story of Wolfenstein 3D with a modern day boost. Nearly 20 years after the release of Wolfenstein 3D, Return to Castle Wolfenstein looks to revive the franchise that created the genre in the first place. With stylish graphics, an extended narrative, and fast-paced multiplayer, the game is both fun to play and well designed.
The story of Wolfenstein 3D was appropriately simple, given the time the game came out. Set during World War II, the game followed soldier BJ Blazkowicz. Taken prison and kept locked up by the Nazis, BJ breaks free and goes on a killing rampage as he escapes from the prison. Return to Castle Wolfenstein takes the same setting and tone of the original game, but amps it up in some fun ways. Players once again take on the role of BJ Blazkowicz, who embarks on military missions to take down the Nazi machine. Working for a government agency known as the Office of Secret Actions, Blazkowicz tries to learn more about the evil General Deathshed and his range of paranormal experiments. Overall, the story is a fun mixture of military action and sci-fi. Besides shooting Nazis and other human enemies, players will encounter a slew of paranormal creatures and biological experiments. The narrative is smartly interwoven with the levels, and it remains fresh and entertaining throughout.
Gameplay is similar in nature to the franchise's original formula, but with a decidedly modern spin. Using a variety of weaponry (both realistic and supernatural), you attempt to fight your way through a number of stages. Along the way, you'll complete objectives, find collectibles and new weaponry, and explore the environment. Like the original game, many levels can feel maze-like. Early stages especially are full of tight corridors and narrow passageways, which you'll have to navigate to find the exit. Weapons are easily obtainable, and you'll get to enjoy blasting enemies with a great range of weapons. From pistols and combat knives to shotguns and SMGs, there are a slew of fun guns to engage with. Each area of the game also contains numerous secret areas to discover, as well as hidden treasures to find. You'll have to search far and wide to find these cleverly hidden spots, but the rewards are often worthwhile.
Overall, Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a great first person shooter that is loads of fun to play. It succeeds in paying homage to the classic shooter franchise while also offering new and fresh ways to play. The environments are well designed and surprisingly destructive, the story mode is lengthy and exciting, and the multiplayer is quick and engaging. Although it is grounded in realism, Return to Castle Wolfenstein explores some interesting supernatural elements, and isn't afraid to let loose every once in a while. Bottom line, the game feels awesome to play, and will go down as one of the finest in the Wolfenstein franchise.
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We didn't go nuts over Return To Castle Wolfenstein's single-player game, but it did suffer by landing on our desks at the same time as the more substantial Medal of Honor. Multiplayer was different. In short, it rocked, and quickly took over our lunch hours for a sustained spell, with new personality traits showing themselves in previously embittered hacks. News ed Anthony Holden, in particular, showed his human side when he decided that running around with a syringe healing comrades was preferable to getting in a fist-fight with Korda over Quake III duels.
The developers at id, in their heart of hearts, obviously agreed, and when we met up with them recently to pore over Doom III, they had an entirely welcome announcement to make. That is, that Wolfs first add-on pack, Enemy Territory, will primarily build on the squad-based play of multiplayer Wolfenstein, with Itie addilion uf intelligent bots so you can play on your own and a team-based single-player campaign in which you'll control a squad of Al-driven comrades. What's more, Enemy Territory is now being released as a standalone product (you won't need the original to play it), which shows that id sees it as much more than a simple expansion. Think of it as Wolfenstein 1.5 - not a true sequel but a worthy followup to one of the best shooters of all time.
Multiplayer and single-player are going to play out in a similar fashion, although there will be a strong storyline to guide you through your solo missions, with you again playing as Nazi killer BJ Blazcowicz. Two new classes are available, the Construction Engineer (who can perform such wartime heroics as rebuilding downed bridges and establishing forward spawn points) and the Covert Ops guy, whom you can send into 'enemy territory' to keep a track on the movements of the enemy team. The new real-time Command Map also lets you see your entire squad, which places a much greater emphasis on strategy and co-operation and takes away previous reliance on line of sight. New weapons include the fantastic-looking grenade-launcher, the MG42 machine gun, the FG42 assault rifle and landmines. The latter have to be armed, at which point they'll be invisible to the opposing team (unless they send Covert Ops in) but still visible to you. Which should be fun. However, it's the inclusion of intelligent bots that provides the crucial piece of the jigsaw that was missing last time around.
According to id CEO Todd Hollenshead they're already showing promise: "The behaviour overall is very impressive. You can expect lieutenants to provide ammo and medics to provide health -plus the Al guys actually understand the objectives and will guard certain points on the map. Also, and unlike a lot of players online, they'll actually listen to you if you ask for stuff." Amen to that Mr Hollenshead, and amen to an 'expansion' pack that clearly has ideas above its station. According to id it's going to be ready when it's done' but we sent a Covert Ops guy in and he assures us that the ETA is November. Over and out.
Hopefully you'll be reading through our reviews this month in sequence. At the least I hope you've read the Medal of Honor review before you came here. It's important because although both games are first-person shooters set during World War II and have the Quake III Team Arena engine chugging behind them, they'e poles apart in one aspect. At the end of the previous page I was talking about moments, and how Medal Of Honoris filled with memorable scenes. Return To Castle Wolfenstein by comparison has few classic moments. Sneaking around the village killing generals is fun, as is the adventure in the Chateaux afterwards. The first encounter with the undead is a frightening experience too, but equally there is the frustration of coming across the game's 'boss' creatures to temper these - enemies of no intelligence from, which you must run, dodge and expel practically every clip of ammunition to eradicate. Don't get me wrong; Return To Castle Wolfenstein is an excellent game; a fantastic old-skool shooter with a high body count, great graphics, over-the-top weapons and monsters and a damn fine multiplayer addition. But, apart from the clever storyline, it doesn't do anything new apart from look neat. Simply put, Medal Of Honor Allied Assault is a superior game in almost every way. That is not simply an opinion, that is a fact.
But that's not to say Return To Castle Wolfenstein doesn't put up a brave fight Graphically, it makes hitherto unrealised use of the Quake III Team Arena engine, characters are as detailed as any on show in any other game (even Medal Of Honor} and the range of environments, from within Nazi Germany's greatest fictional stronghold, to Norwegian sub pens and Bavarian villages, are diverse and packed with detail. ft's almost a shame you can't cease hostilities, pick up a guide book and visit the wartime locales at your leisure, perhaps even stop off at a cafe for a pastry and a double decaf latte along the way.
Fortunately for the sake of gameplay, Return To Castle Wolfenstein is less a stroll around sites of historical interest and more to do with killing germans, be they alive or undead. For those with an interest in such things, Castle Wolfenstein abounds with its own historical sense of importance, purely because in 1992 it was the setting for what is now the first ever first-person shooter, Wolfenstein 3D- the game that started this whole killcrazy genre off in the first place. In the years since id's genre-defining game, things moved on quite considerably and though we look through the same tired eyes, the Castle is unrecognisable from the one we visited nearly a decade ago, the renovations undertaken by Gray Matter have paid off.
It's under the shine of the graphics that Wolfenstein betrays its influence; outdoor sneaking around and Al reminiscent of Project IGI, desiccated undead corpses and swooping corporeal skulls from Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Frankenstein cyborg killing machines. But it's from Half-Life that Wolfenstein takes the stars of its cast, redressing Half-Life's relentless marines in German paratrooper uniforms and outfitting it's acrobatic Black Ops in the leather cat suits and stilettos of the all-female SS Paranormal Division.
But plagiarism is no bad thing in this case. For one, Half-Life owes its existence to Wolfenstein 3D, a debt that has simply been called in. For another, Return To Castle Wolfenstein is just so much fun that you soon forget about the similarities and the deficiencies. As much as it is a 21st century game, its gameplay roots draw nourishment from a more simple age, where you fight alone against automatons, finding hidden areas and weapons stashes and killing anything that gets in your way. New and old have been combined to great effect, although with the over the top WW2 setting, the game feels more like a homage to Allo'Allo'than it does, say, Band Of Brothers.
We wouldn't be giving much away if we said the story involved secret Nazi experiments into resurrecting the undead and plans to create an army of cyborg zombie monsters, all of which you may or may not eventually put a stop to. As the basis of an action game it's a damn good story, combining WWII realism and survival horror fantasy, with you as all-terrain hero B.J. Blazkowicz uncovering secret documents, tracking down generals and generally causing havoc behind the lines. Unfortunately over the seven episodes, the story is dragged out so much that if it wasn't for the variety in the game's environments and wonderful cutscenes, it would be all too easy to lose interest and head home.
There are plenty of quality moments for sure, but they are scattered inconsistently early and later on, leaving the middle bit empty of purpose. Worse still is you are given objectives before each mission and then you carry them out, which is fine, but there are few surprises to be found; no sudden change of plan that might see you backtracking through a horde of pursuers or finding a way around a recently collapsed tunnel. Saying that, it would take an idiot to get lost in Wolfs more compact levels and on those missions where stealth has gone out the window, the game rarely lets up in its furious pace.
Depending on your preference, Wolfensteirfs stealth-based missions will either be a chore or a joy. In terms of balance Wolfenstein is a game of extremes; for three quarters of it you'll be hopping around all guns blazing, the rest you'll be hunkering down behind barrels, sniping sentries and stabbing generals between the shoulder blades - there's no real middle ground here. But as a pause in the relentless action, the stealth missions do help to break things up and towards the end where you'll be assassinating a quartet of officers, stealth and action are combined superbly well as you burst into the chateaux before the final showdown.
What certainly lets the game down is the Al. While soldiers will run for cover to reload, occasionally throw back the odd grenade (since they don't seem to have any of their own), or hold back in numbers for you to take them on, they soon become easy to suss out. Though the enemy has an overly keen eye, most would appear to be hard of hearing, with soldiers in the next room oblivious to gunfire erupting around them. But it's these human opponents that are the most exciting to take on and compared to Half-Life there are loads of them. It's to the credit of the level designers also that just the right amounts of ammo and weapons are left lying around to add to the challenge.
The more exotic creatures especially are tar too easy to figure out; their strength only being the ridiculous number of bullets they can soak up and the ordinance that they deal out. In essence the Nazi 'Super Soldiers' and legless X-Creatures are little more than better-looking versions of the lumbering and dim-witted boss creatures from Doom, where so long as you have enough firepower and keep moving, you'll dispatch with ease. Needless to say, after nearly 20 hours of gameplay, the very last of your enemies is so easy to eliminate it's a wonder he was left to last. It's a shame that last singleplayer experience will leave you feeling both relieved and somewhat cheated.
Of course Wolfenstein wouldn't be much of a first-person shooter without weapons and in this area there are plenty of ways to put holes in the enemy and you even get a couple of hand-guns that serve a useful purpose once you've got your hands on more lethal ordinance. All beautifully modelled, it's the machine guns that will be most used, the best of which is the US Thompson, ammo for which is hard to come by. By far the most useful weapon however is the german Paratrooper rifle, which can lay most soldiers with two shots and comes complete with handy scope. Add to that two sniper rifles, one of which is silenced, and later on the panzerfaust and two experimental weapons. As a whole, they each have a purpose, and you'll be switching between them all in each level. But the star of the show graphically is the flame thrower, which apart from filling rooms with deadly plumes of flame, looks by far the best weapon of it's kind to date. Unfortunately it's only really useful against the undead, you only need a quick squirt to swiftly send them back from whence they came.
Rather than include deathmatch levels, Wolfensteiris multiplayer game is all about teamplay. Similar in scope to the popular Half-Life mode Day Of Defeat and infinitely better looking, Wolfenstein offers a range of class-based mission, with Allies taking on Germans without a boss creature or zombie in sight.
Three multiplayer game modes are available; Objective, Stopwatch and Checkpoint. If you've played the multiplayer test that was released a couple of months back you'll already have had a taste of objectivebased games, which involve one team blowing through doors, stealing documents and destroying radar towers, while the others try to stop them. Stopwatch mode basically is the same, with teams switching sides every round with the aim to beat the previous team's time, while Checkpoint is essentially a WWII-themed version of Unreal Tournaments Domination mode, where your side has to bagsy all the flagpoles.
In a move of relative genius, most of the eight multiplayer maps are based around levels from the single-player game. The focus on teamplay dynamics is enhanced by the class system, where you choose to be a Soldier, Engineer, Medic or Lieutenant. Each class has its strengths and weaknesses and they work well together, with squads more than happy to flock around lifesaving medics.
In terms of the soldiers and the weapons available, things are much more real here than in the single-player game and you would be forgiven for thinking it was created by a totally different developer - which it was.
While there are a few ZONE staff who feel Wolfenstein is on the short side, I'm of the opinion it's a couple of levels too long.
While I admit it looks the business indoors, it doesn't quite match Medal Of Honor's lush outdoor levels, Wolfensteirfs level design is its greatest caveat and a predictable experience from start to finish. Wolfensteirts animated and more varied opponents, especially later on, rely too heavily on fire as opposed to brainpower.
The story too is paced quite poorly and while the tension remains throughout, there are too many instances where you'll be playing a level and hoping for it to end so you get to the next.
Had we reviewed Return To Castle Wolfenstein last month, it would have fared much better. As a sequel, it surpasses its originator, retains much of it's humour (though an appearance of Hitler himself would have been appreciated), and much of the game is damn good fun. But it certainly ain't no classic, despite the quality multiplayer game.
Return To Castle Wolfenstein puts on an impressive show of strength through sheer firepower, but Medal Of Honor easily manages to outflank it, and deal the final blow.
Ha! Feel like you killed enough Nazis in Medal of Honor. Think again, fool. Nazi-killing never gets old, and RtCWIs a testament to that. It's nothing but you and your luger (or MP40 or whatever other real-life WWII weapon you can find) against legions of Hitler's boys--not to mention the undead and some nasty genetics-experiments-gone-awry. Achtung!
Get online and get killing. But how? If you remember nothing else, remember this: Play as a member of the team, not as an individual. This means, for starters, don’t kill your teammates. That’s not fun for anyone. You might think you’re having fun, but actually, you’re being a jerk. Common mistake. The four character classes in the multiplayer game are designed to complement one another, and a winning team plays accordingly.
New to multiplayer? Here are some simple tricks that’ll make you an asset to your team from the get-go: If you’re on defense, arm yourself with the Venom and hide out in an objective room. Shamelessly camp near the documents or the radio that the opposing team needs. When any member of the other team shows up on your turf, promptly serve ’em a lead salad. If you’re a rookie on offense, try being a Medic. Follow your more knowledgable teammates and provide support until you learn your way around the battlefield. Once you have your bearings, it’s time to specialize. Try each class to see what suits you. Whichever you choose, use your special abilities to help your team attain victory. Here’s how.
A specialist in all types of armament, the Soldier can choose any weapon. He should always be in the thick of the fray, covering a strategic location or defending a crucial objective. In addition to wielding weapons the other classes cannot use, the Soldier starts with the most ammunition (except for grenades). Because he constantly engages the enemy, however, his ammo supply and health need regular replenishing. Back him up with a Medic and a Lieutenant. The following strategies make the Soldier even more effective.
Aim for the head. One or two headshots are worth half a clip of body shots. Call for ammo and health. Press Left on the D-pad for medical attention, Right to plead for ammo from the Lieutenant. Cover objectives. Soldiers pack a lot more heat than other classes. Use it for important jobs, like guarding or assaulting team objectives. Snipe. Use the Mauser to assist team members from a distance by picking off the enemy. Remember, aim for the head.
Protect Engineers. As a Soldier, it is your job to keep the Engineer alive while he tries to complete demolition objectives. If you’re outnumbered while on escort duty, go ahead and bite off more than you can chew. Spread your fire around. Get the enemies’ attention and earn your teammate valuable time. It’s better for your team if you’re executed by three enemies while your Engineer succeeds than if you take out two opponents while the third nixes your Engineer before his work is done. Take one for the team.
A specialist in explosives, the Engineer breaches fortified locations and destroys objectives. He can defuse the enemy’s explosives before they go off, negating the resources and time they spent planting them. The Engineer can also repair broken stationary guns. And his many grenades are perfect for clearing out a room or destroying a gun emplacement. By now, it should be clear that the Engineer is often the pivotal figure in a battle’s outcome. The wise Engineer doesn’t behave like a Soldier; he conserves his ammo for necessary self defense and concentrates on doing his job.
Blow things up. The Engineer sets explosives to open a path for his team or to destroy an objective. The red dots on your compass lead you to obstacles or objectives you can destroy. The larger the dots grow, the closer you are. Planted dynamite, which glows yellow, needs to be armed before it can do its work. Use the pliers on planted dynamite until the blue progress bar is full. When the dynamite is armed, it glows red.
If you complete your demolition duty, switch to grenades and destroy camping enemies and enemy-held MG42s. Repair stationary guns. Only an Engineer can repair a destroyed MG42. To fix the broken weapon, use the pliers as you would to arm dynamite. Be sure to tell your team that the gun is up and running again. They might not notice your handiwork in the heat of battle.
He heals the wounded and revives the fallen. When a Medic spawns, all his teammates gain an additional 10 Health Points. He carries little ammunition and has no choice in primary weapons.
Bear in mind the old adage, "Discretion is the better part of valor." Running from battle serves the Medic well, because he heals himself over time and has the highest health limit. The Medic can help his teammates attack the enemy, but he should not do so alone. Mainly, he should spend his time aiding wounded or incapacitated teammates. An adept Medic can make sure his team is always fighting, leaving little time for the opposing force to catch its breath.
Heal the wounded. Give medkits to teammates in need. Dispensing first aid kits depletes your power, which regenerates over time. When you’re temporarily unable to drop first aid kits, simply wait until your power bar refills, then continue the healing! A full power bar yields four first aid kits.
When a teammate calls for a Medic, an icon appears over his head. If you are far away, follow the icon on your compass to locate him. The closer you are, the bigger the icon grows. When you find him, patch him up pronto. If no one else needs immediate attention, escort a Soldier or two and help them fight rather than wandering aimlessly or hanging back waiting to be called. Be proactive. Just because you’re a healer doesn’t mean you can’t dispense a little pain.
Revive the fallen. Look for incapacitated men reaching for the sky and screaming for you. They need your attention. To revive a fallen man, pull out a syringe and give him a shot. You have only 10 syringes, so use them carefully, according to your team's needs.
The Lieutenant is like a scaled-back Solider with some crucial special abilities. He can call in massive air strikes to destroy barriers or clear out a group of hostile soldiers. Less flashy but perhaps more important, the Lieutenant provides his teammates with extra ammunition. He can use his binoculars to gather intel about troop movements and warn his squad of imminent danger. He shouldn’t charge in on the front lines like a Soldier, but neither should he be too far away from the action, where his ability to call in air strikes and distribute ammo are near-worthless. Try pairing the Lieutenant with a Medic so he can use his combat skills to inflict damage and never want for health.
Distribute ammunition. Drop ammo packs at the feet of team members in need. If you run out, just wait a while to recoup your power. A full power bar yields four ammo packs.
When a teammate calls for ammo, an icon appears over his head. If you are far away, follow the icon on your compass to locate him. The closer you are, the bigger the icon grows. (Sound familiar?)
Don’t get unnecessarily sidetracked by firefights; remember your role on the team. It’s better to distribute ammo and have multiple effective combatants than for you to play Rambo while your team is trying to fight with pistols and knives.
Bomb ’em. Pick a spot ripe for an air strike and plant a smoke cannister there. Shells will strike a large area surrounding the smoke. Bombs fall straight down toward your marker, so air strikes won’t be effective under overhangs or arches. And obviously, you cannot use this ability indoors. You need 50 percent of your power bar to call for an air strike.
Try calling in a strike behind opposing snipers, who can’t see past the view of their scopes and won’t notice the signal smoke before the bombardment sends them to hell—uh, that is, to the reinforcements queue. This trick works on outdoor MG42 emplacements, too.
Have you been wishing for a sequel to the classic Wolfenstein 3D? I sure have. Finally, after a long wait, Army Ranger B.J. Blazkowicz is back for another round of carnage. Return to Castle Wolfenstein is true to the spirit and essence of Wolfenstein 3D, as this time you and your partner are sent back to see what’s going on inside Castle Wolfenstein. Almost immediately, both of you are captured and your partner is tortured to death, leaving you alone to either escape with the information or die before divulging top secret information to the Germans. Sometimes your best move is to sneak around, other times it’s best to jump into the battle with guns blazing. The trick is knowing when each move is right. When in doubt, sneak around: you will live longer.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
There are three difficulty levels of gameplay: "Don’t Hurt Me," "Bring ‘em On," and "I Am Death Incarnate." I would recommend playing on "Don’t Hurt Me" first, which is a plenty difficult level despite the name. You will find yourself wanting to play on each skill level.
I found the default key setup to be a bit of a mess; it just did not work for me; however, key assignments are easy to customize. When you load the game up you can go into options and controls and then customize each category for look, move, shoot, and miscellaneous. I found myself going back to what I have used for other first person shooters, since it is comfortable and familiar.
There is a new twist to this game; you must reload your weapon when the clip runs out. One of my biggest gripes with first-person shooters is that they never take reloading a weapon into account, either yours or your enemy’s. Be sure to press the "R" key for reloading your weapon after each battle. The last thing you want is to be caught reloading at the beginning of a gunfight. Keep an ear out for when your enemy is reloading his weapon and make your move during this time. He cannot shoot when he is changing clips of ammunition. Also keep an eye on your ammo count, you would not want to bring a knife to a gun fight.
There seems to be a way to exploit a bug in the gameplay -- if you open a door and then step back and get perpendicular to the door frame the guards will come to this point and seem to get stuck in the door way allowing you to shoot without taking a bullet. Although this is effective in winning the battle, I hope that there is a patch soon to take care of this glitch.
There is multiplayer support for this game but in a different manner than expected. In most first-person shooters you have an option for a death-match against either live or AI creatures. This is perhaps the biggest weakness of Return to Castle Wolfenstein. How can you have a first-person shooter game without having a death-match mode?
The only multiplayer option available is a team mode where you have to join up with others on the web or have one heck of an in-house network. The minimum number of players for a good multiplayer game is eight. More than eight makes the game even better, provided you can find that many strangers online that you are willing to team up with. Select your playing partners carefully; there always seems to be one jerk in the group when you play with strangers online. When you find a group you like, you may what to setup a regular game time and meet back with the same people again. The maximum number of players seems to be up to the server capacity and how many people you can get online and in the game at the same time. I have not gone looking for a physical limit but I am sure there is a limit out there.
This is a great way to play but it should not be the only multiplayer option. I hope there will be an expansion pack sometime in the future to support a death-match mode and more missions. One nice thing about the multiplayer mode is that there are specific settings that do not mess with your normal gameplay. For example, you can turn down the graphics quality to keep the pace of the game up, if connecting via a slow Internet connection. The loss of some of the wonderful eye candy is worth the ability to run at a faster rate online. Not having to mess with your off-line game settings is a wonderful plus to the game.
The graphics are stunning. I can honestly say this one area where this game leaves all the rest in the dust. The graphic presentation is wonderful. There are incredible details and textures in all aspects of the game. You will see great detail in uniforms, tables, walls, stairs... everything. Watch the facial expressions of your foes, each guard seems to have great expressions, and hopefully they will not live long enough to show you much other than the pain of death. When using a scope or binoculars you get marvelously clear close-ups. One of the reasons this game has a mature rating is that the graphics are very real. When you shoot the enemy off a high place the fall of the body looks as good as any Hollywood stuntman I have ever seen. The default setting is a bit dark, so you may want to turn up the contrast. I found the graphics at the start of game to be so riveting that I sometimes forgot to defend myself. Aficionados of the original Wolfenstein 3D will be pleased to see this updated version, keeping the standard high for the day while keeping the memory of the original alive.
The sound is very important to this game. You will need to keep an ear out for unseen things coming your way. Turning off alarms is all-important. If you do not cut the alarms, the guards will be waiting to meet you with almost-certain death. Dark music as you are creeping around is a fun touch and it will keep you on edge. The alarm sounding will drive you nuts, so find the switches and turn it off. Each time you break in a door or smash an item you make noise, so choose wisely what you break or kick and when -- sound travels and it will attract attention. Gunplay will certainly draw a crowd. Keep in mind that kicking and using the knife will make less noise. Historically, unless you were in multiplayer mode, sound in most games did not seem to alert the bad guys; these days are over and the use of sound adds a nice level of realism. The explosions and gunplay sound real. Good speakers or headphones are a must for this game.
There is one thing that is a little off in the sound for the game. In the original Wolfenstein 3D the guards would yell at you in German. This added a nice touch of realism. Now you get the guards yelling in English with a German accent. This seems a bit of a cop out and a departure from the memory of Wolfenstein 3D. An option to have the guards speak in German would have been nice, allowing you the choice. Maybe this could be added to an expansion pack. We can always hope...
PII 400 or Athlon processor, Windows 95/98/ME/NT4.0/2000/XP, 128 MB RAM, 800 MB hard drive space plus 300 MB for the Windows swap file, 3D hardware accelerator (with 16 MB VRAM) with full OpenGL support, a sound card, and a mouse.
Reading the instruction book will help, but it is not required. If you use the default key assignment you can find a nice keyboard layout in the CD cover. The book will give you some helpful information but none is essential to get by the first mission. I would, however, recommend taking some time (when you break for food, perhaps) to glance through the book. You may find some nice tips that will help you as you get farther into the game. It is also recommended to watch the mission briefings since you will learn what the objectives are for that mission. You can bypass the briefing with the escape key but at least watch them the first time.
This game is rated M for Mature (17+) for good reason. The graphics and violence are NOT for kids. My wife would not even let me play it if our kids were awake. If you are old enough to play, beware: you will quickly become addicted. It has been a long time since I have been excited by a first-person shooter. For a while they all seemed to be pretty much the same; most lacked a good story and smooth play. I will be playing this game for a long time, despite its few shortcomings. I suspect anyone who purchases this game will agree with me: perfect no, fun YES! Score 90 out of 100. I can see this game getting several awards this year. Let freedom ring; go for it B.J. Blazkowicz!