The year is almost over and more and more big PC action games have been delayed until 2002, outside of Return To Castle Wolfenstein. This of course has a huge advantage especially now with the Christmas holidays … A sequel of the first first-person shooter of all time, Wolfenstein 3D, was developed by 2 teams, under the supervision of ID. The first team, Gray Matter, who already proved their own by Redneck Rampage and Kingpin, was hired for the single-player portion. Nerver Software worked on the multi-player option and they are lucky, because without that option the game would have been nothing …
Return To Castle Wolfenstein is like No One Lives Forever, the game that was last year’s game of the year. Both at NOLF and RTCW the game is played in a run-and-gun state which gives a lot of kicks. The story is told through cutscenes using the engine, but these scenes are nowhere near as funny as NOLF and even the great hero B.J. Blazkowicz doesn’t say a word in the entire game! unbelievably boring.
Quake 3? How so?
As everyone knows by now, this game uses ID’s award-winning Quake 3: Team Arena engine, which sounds surprisingly good! You don’t need a GeForce 3 to see that this game has perfect graphics … (Tested with a GeForce 1) The detail of the levels, the environment and the lighting effects are simply blinding.
The hero Blazkowicz is trapped in a castle guarded by the Germans, named Wolfenstein. A kind of concentration camp, so to speak. As you suspected, the game is set in World War II, so there is a lot of Germans to shoot, certainly a plus … You have to try to collect information and escape from that damn castle, and so on. One thing that stands out is that the game is a bit on the difficult side if you shoot recklessly, but there are plenty of other games for that. Stealth is also partly important, as you can eavesdrop on Germans in those 27 levels and follow the storyline.
As in Kingping, Gray Matter has made sure that there are different variations of soldiers. This is because each soldier consists of many particles that are randomly chosen, so you hardly ever get to see the same guy who pops your eyes with an MP-40, quite handsome! Not only do you have to bite soldiers in the sand, but also undead monsters like mummies, skeletons and the like. Since a distant cousin of Hitler is rediscovering black magic from the past, you must of course stop this.
Weapons & Tools
In Return To Castle Wolfenstein you will encounter a lot of variety of weapons such as a normal Luger, a knife, MP-40, sten gun, minigun, bazooka, 2 snipers, 2 grenades and so on. What’s more interesting are the different objects that your life can depend on as well. For example, if you don’t have many lives left, you can quickly eat a Hot Meal, so that you are at least a little better off. Helmets for extra protection are also sometimes vital.
And what about the AI?
Another thing that can be said is that the AI is also perfectly fine. For example, if someone hears you bang, an alarm will be sounded immediately and it is best to start walking, because then they will come 4 at a time to where they think you are.
Even when fired, the soldiers dive away or seek protection behind tables or chairs and call in their mates. This makes it all a bit more exciting and also more difficult, but we are happy to add that …
How happy we are that there was also a 2nd team! The single-player mode was a bit (much) too short! Once you understand the tactics of how to play the game properly, there is nothing left to it … That is why the score is so high: the multiplayer part is, in short, Super Mega Cool! You work team-based and about everyone gets a kick out of that, but you know that for sure, everyone has already downloaded the multiplayer demo …
Return To Castle Wolfenstein offers a surprisingly good multiplayer section coupled with a good, but far too short single player section. Fans of ID’s 3D Shooters will certainly appreciate this game. Frankly, this game can be bought for the multiplayer part, of which the single player part can be considered a bonus.
- Gameplay: 9
- Graphics: 10
- Sound: 8
- Addiction level: 9
- Total: 89/100
Minimum requirements: PII 400 or equal, 128 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 3D Accelerator, 16MB VRAM, 800 MB disk space, mouse, soundcard, DirectX 8.0.
(Screens source: Gamespot)
(This review is originally written in Dutch, in 2002)