Wolfenstein 3D is simply one of the most influential first-person shooters ever created. Even when I’ve always preferred Doom to Wolfenstein, I know that the former couldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for the latter. In fact, the genre would be completely different if it wasn’t for the controversial 1992 title that among other things encouraged players to explore levels composed of Swastikas. Doom was released one year after Wolfenstein and the first-person shooter genre become so popular by then, that they inspired many imitators.
The premise of Wolfenstein 3D was quite simple, you’re an undercover spy who has been captured by Nazis and imprisoned in Castle Wolfenstein. The character’s main mission is to kill SS soldiers, trained dogs and even mutants at the same time he escapes the prison. From a gameplay perspective the classic title may seem rudimentary by today’s standards as the main player could only use four weapons (a knife and three guns) and the player’s lives were very limited. Thankfully, the game is divided into long episodes that feature multiple levels and apart from enemies, each level has items such as health supplies, treasures and hidden rooms, adding much more variety.
Wolfenstein 3D is regarded as the game that popularized the genre on the PC and the fact that the title was released as shareware definitely contributed to its commercial success. Apart from that, the game was later released on many other platforms including the SNES, Jaguar, GBA, 3DO, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, among many others.
As a way of celebrating Wolfenstein’s 3D 20th anniversary, a video featuring game programmer and co-founder of id Software John Carmack talking about the 1992 first-person shooter has been released. In the video (which you can find after the break,) Carmack talks enthusiastically and passionately about id Software’s early days. To me it’s quite impressive that such a small development company was the same one that eventually developed seminal titles from the Doom and Quake series. Times have changed and no longer do people associate shooters with id Software anymore, but the company was definitely an icon during the 90s, especially to those who owned a PC. When people think of shooters now, Halo and Call of Duty come to mind, but I would be lying if I said that I don’t think of Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein 3D first when that question comes up.
Fortunately for those who are a bit like me, Bethesda has released a couple of freebies as part of the 20th anniversary celebration. In addition to the video, the game is available for free to all those who would like to play it on their favorite browser. But that’s not all, as Wolfenstein 3D iOS Platinum is available for free on the iOS App Store for a very limited amount of time.