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Return to Castle Wolfenstein

19 November 2001
Return to Castle Wolfenstein - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.68 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
535 Ratings / 1 Reviews
#744 All-time
#34 for 2001
In 1943, assigned to the Office of Secret Actions (OSA) from the military, US Army Ranger William "B.J." Blazkowicz and British operative Agent One are sent into Egypt to investigate activity of the German SS Paranormal Division.
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Releases 4
2001 Gray Matter Nerve  
CD-ROM
XNA 0 47875 32071 0
2003 Gray Matter Raster  
DVD
XNA 0 47875 80445 6 SLUS-20297
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Title
I Did Nazi That Coming
Sometimes, playing a game with no expectations at all can be one of the best things that'll happen to you, in videogames that is. Such is the case for this game.

I was on a vacation in high school so I went to my cousins. They had their own computer back then, and it was new. This game was installed, and they haven't played it yet, and I think they got the spins when they try to play it(something that'll separate the true gamers from the, uh, Candy Crashers I guess), they watched I while I played.

I remember the first level was innocuous enough, the baddies were all soldiers so I went my way shooting every moving thing in site. That was until we reached the ruins. Mummies!

I can not for the life of me at that time comprehend why they would put mummies in my shooter. So far, with all the shooters I've played, I've shot only human enemies. Why were there mummies here? Also, I think I've jumped a lot of times playing this level and I distinctly recall wanting to beat the level quickly, it was so full of jump scares I don't think I could take it anymore.

After the mummies, there were only regular enemies left so I thought that one was a one-off thing. Boy I was wrong.

I was infiltrating a base of scientists(science lab?) and there were a lot of rooms with windows in them, and then I come across this one room and glanced into the window, I saw from afar the door suddenly flew inside, and what came coming? A huge blue Frankenmonster. I couldn't believe my eyes. I think I spun my character around a few times before finally getting a hold of myself(because my cousins are making me deaf by their screaming) and faced the monster. I don't remember what I did, but I eventually got past that, got past a lot more crazy stuff that my mind refuses to remember, and I beat the game. Good times.
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Kenway 2016-04-18T08:52:36Z
2016-04-18T08:52:36Z
4.5
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A quality entry into the Wolfenstein cannon, if a bit overrated imho
I think the hype killed my enjoyment of this game. Return to Castle Wolfenstein, developed by Grey Matter Interactive and ID Software, is FPS royalty, and is lauded as one of the best in the genre, and the definitive Wolfenstein experience. A lot of people's love for this game it seems is coming from nostalgia, from kids who played this on their Dad's work computers, playing the multiplayer, or on the PS2. As a younger player whose first introduction to Wolfenstein was the Machine Games titles, and as someone who has beaten this game twice now, I don't get the hype. Return to Castle Wolfenstein is not a bad game at all, in fact it's a pretty good game, but there are some dated design decisions and small annoyances that get in the way of the experience for me.

The story is structured a bit like a mini series or TV show. American super spy BJ Blazkowicz, is a silent protagonist who does the dirty work for the United States Office of Secret Actions. He discovers that the Nazis are experimenting with strange technology and want to resurrect an evil satanic warlord, Heinrich I, to do their Nazi bidding. Now BJ must stop the Reich from unleashing their terrible experiments on the world before it is too late. The story is mostly there to get BJ from place to place, and to set up interesting levels for you to fight in. The monster of the week structure of the story though is pretty fun, in an ultra violent, Saturday Morning Cartoon way. However, most people come to Wolfenstein to blow up Nazis, right? The story is there, it's okay, but it's not that important.

Now the gameplay is 2000s FPS gameplay, with all its benefits, and its faults. Each level has a set of objectives that you will usually organically achieve as you walk through the levels. Sometimes there will be a certain item you need to protect, or you need to stealth around and remain undetected, but most of the time, you are just going from point A to point B shooting, stabbing, strangling Nazis. Most of the time, the game is pretty fun with more open ended level design, secrets to find, and plenty of Nazis to shoot, but there are some design decisions that didn't jive with me through out my two playthroughs. Firstly, the hit boxes, or just the enemy response to damage. The shooting, even with the nice animations and great sound effects, always felt off to me. I would spray my MP40 Machine gun on some enemies, like the zombies and I would have to go through 2 magazines in order to take them down, and the enemy doesn't flinch at all. I sometimes get the impression that my bullets are not hitting the target because the enemies usually don't react when getting hit, and it throws me off all the time. This combined with the fact that most of the enemies are rather bullet spongy, makes the shooting not feel quite right to me. You can't lean and shoot at the same time which is odd. I also don't like the zoom functions in this game. Eventually you get a scope for your Mauser Rifle, and both the FG42 and Snooper Rifle (yes, it's called the Snooper Rifle) have scopes. A major annoyance with these weapons is that you cannot move and zoom in at the same time. You can zoom in, but if you want to adjust your position while zooming in, you are immediately pulled out of zooming in and you have to re aim. That doesn't seem like a big deal, but eventually it got really annoying. There are also some really bull crap levels in this game. Most of the time, Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a tough but fair FPS, but the later levels can be brutal. The second to final mission is one tough level with enemies hiding behind corners wielding the FG42 which can make minced meat out of your health. The first stealth mission can get really annoying if you suck at stealth like I do. The only way for you to know if an enemy saw you is if you hear their voice saying "Is someone there?", heck sometimes an enemy will see you from across the map and make you lose the mission. The stealth gameplay is probably the weakest part of the game. Thank the Lord there are quicksaves. The levels can also get hard to navigate. With no map, you might get lost in levels that mostly consist of brick walls, or science lab tiles, not fighting a single enemy until you get to where the game wants you to go. On my first play through, I got lost on the second darn level, only to find out I had to back track to the middle section of the stage, then I could proceed. That was really frustrating. When Wolfenstein is a run and gun shooter though, that is when the fun begins. When everything is working as I expect it to, running at lightning speed, blowing away Nazis and zombies with their own weapons can be really fun. I especially like the FG42 weapon, it is loud, powerful and can take down even the toughest enemies faster, pretty much taking the also satisfying MP40's place as the work horse weapon. Its a shame that you get it half way into the game though. I also like the enemy variety. You get standard Nazi soldiers, scantily clad Nazi women who zip around and do back flips, zombies with shields that can be a pain to fight early in the game, and super soldiers with tons of armor. All of these enemies can put up a pretty good fight, with really good AI for the time. They flank you, they swarm you, and they have darn good aim, while still being fair and enjoyable most of the time. However, because the enemies are fairly smart for a 2001 game, your health will fall to the single digits and the game will become a save scumming cover shooter slowing the game to a crawl. Moments like those mostly happen in the last 3rd of the game though, so you won't have to worry about that early on. Return to Castle Wolfenstien definitely feels like a 2000s shooter, with all the design flaws of getting lost in levels, and bullet spongy enemies with wonky hit boxes, but when the game is firing on all cylinders, it can get pretty fun.

Though I have issues with the gameplay, I can say, presentation wise, my eyes and ears are more tolerable to 2000s graphics and sound. Running on ID Tech 3, the engine that powered Quake III Arena, Return to Castle Wolfenstein looks pretty good for 2001. Model detail is good, animations are very impressive for the time period, and texture work is also really well done. I actually really like the reload and weapon animations. Yes, they aren't as fluid or bouncy as any thing you can play today, but it seems like Grey Matter Interactive knew about how to make a weapon feel satisfying to use. The most dated part of the visual presentation is the lip syncing. During cutscenes, mouths just flap up and down, not aligned with the actual voices. In this game's defense, it came out before Half Life 2, so lip syncing in PC games has not been standardized yet, and supposedly, the Quake III engine was very limited on what you can do with animations, but because of games like Crash Bandicoot, having really quality lip syncing even with inferior graphical fidelity, I think it is a bit weird that the lip syncing couldn't be better. The sound design is pretty good too. The weapons sound AWESOME to use. The MP40, the work horse weapon in RTCW sounds really beefy and powerful. The Venom gun also sounds like the vicious chaingun that it is. Even the stabbing sounds for the knife are really good, and stealth killing an enemy with your knife is always satisfying. The voice acting is a bit dated but some performances are alright. The fake German accents reek of early 2000s games where Americans would make stereotypical foreign voices, and get a way with it, but the other voices are pretty good. Heck, Tony Jay, Claude Frollo himself voices the director of the Office of Secret Actions, which is pretty darn cool. The music though is really forgettable. It sounds like John Williams worship, but without much interesting melodies. It was written by one Bill Brown, supposedly the man who created the music for the Tom Clancy series, other ID Software titles, and for Windows XP, interesting. Overall, the presentation for Wolfenstein is good for the time it was released in. If you are a younger gamer who is turned off by the graphics of this game, its understandable, but I think games like these have a really charming early 2000s look to them that I always enjoy.

Now I would like to stress that I played Return to Caslte Wolfenstein on the IORTCW source port. The original sold on Steam doesn't have wide screen support and has even more hit detection issues. I would strongly recommend getting this source port because it offers some bug fixes, widescreen support, and some graphical enhancements like ambient occlusion, and even dynamic shadows. IORTCW is darn near essential for playing this game on modern operating systems.

In conclusion, Return to Castle Wolfenstein is not a bad game at all, in fact it's a pretty good game, but there are some dated design decisions and small annoyances that get in the way of the experience for me. I can see how this game brought many a millennial PC gamer or FPS fan hours of fun back in the day, but as someone who is used to more modern styles of run and gun shooters like the new Wolfenstein games, or the Doom reboot or games like Dusk, I was disappointed in Return to Castle Wolfenstein. There are moments of fun in this game, and I encourage you to try it just to say you played a classic, but some of these dated design decisions are just a bit too old and clunky for me.
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unironically enjoyed this more than the pc version
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breakfasttt 2021-07-07T20:32:19Z
2021-07-07T20:32:19Z
4.0
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quick-save system...games that have quicksave mechanics honestly suck. yeah that includes pretty much all early shooting games. the mechanic of quicksaving after every killed enemy, because why not? it's how the game is designed...is terrible. it wants you to replay parts over and over to do them perfectly, just mere seconds apart each time. it's kind of a shitty version of God Mode in a way. anyway, RTCW isn't a bad game...

it just felt really flawed to me. often, especially early in the game, you'll find yourself being turned around constnatly, without direction where to go or what to do. just endlessly looking for that one door that will complete the level. it's just annoying. i like how the combat felt, weapons actually have a penalty for firing to fast, so you control your shots...but halfway through theres all sorts of silly monsters and voodoo bullshit (electricity monsters were the fucking worst BS that causes so many reloading of quicksaves..)

i dont know, i like the way a lot of the game feels, but i guess my complaint is with a certain gameplay philosophy rather than how the game feels. quicksave, savescum games suck. you're forced to figure out how to exploit shitty AI and taught to save after every kill, rather than playing a whole level and learning the best routes.

6/10
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darkrecollections 2020-09-03T21:31:20Z
2020-09-03T21:31:20Z
3.0
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Catalog

scroopyd Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2024-04-11T06:58:43Z
2024-04-11T06:58:43Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
pearguy Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2024-04-10T21:37:12Z
2024-04-10T21:37:12Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bewater Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2024-03-21T02:06:24Z
2024-03-21T02:06:24Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
DirtyRatShit Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2024-03-20T20:41:38Z
2024-03-20T20:41:38Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Jaggeraz9599 Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2024-03-18T20:28:49Z
2024-03-18T20:28:49Z
3.5
4
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
traxovmytearz Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2024-03-15T00:19:46Z
2024-03-15T00:19:46Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
eliottstaten Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2024-03-14T00:07:21Z
2024-03-14T00:07:21Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
JeffFlex Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2024-03-12T21:48:22Z
2024-03-12T21:48:22Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
droppod40 Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2024-03-09T21:06:29Z
2024-03-09T21:06:29Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Kremling98 Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2024-03-04T19:38:59Z
2024-03-04T19:38:59Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
charredwind Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2024-02-14T04:46:41Z
2024-02-14T04:46:41Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Fujijimo Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2024-02-13T06:41:35Z
2024-02-13T06:41:35Z
1.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
ESRB: M
Player modes
1-64 players
Media
1x CD-ROM
Multiplayer modes
Cooperative , Deathmatch / FFA, Team play
Multiplayer options
LAN, Online
Franchises

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  • Previous comments (10) Loading...
  • americandragon125 2022-09-18 03:48:48.210777+00
    slightly better than just alright
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  • ... 2022-11-05 02:54:07.661465+00
    The gunplay is really fucking fun. But the stealth and zombie parts are kind of boring. There's not a lot of those though. Main issue was that I felt the seventh chapter was kind of easy? And the last few levels seemed pretty anti-climatic too.
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  • ... 2022-11-18 12:13:21.56348+00
    will say that the game becoming easier and a bit less interesting instead of stupidly harder and boring was a nice change of pace compared to other FPS'
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  • LanI 2022-12-25 17:00:58.122454+00
    My most replayed game of all time probably. It's still fun to boot up to this day and just b hop and try to finish the game as fast as possible.
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  • FruitSand 2023-02-09 07:00:06.505873+00
    F5/F9 : the game
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  • Lamneth 2023-11-09 17:32:47.522237+00
    #1 WW2 game god damn. well deserved but I might put company of heroes above it
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  • EJ_082887 2024-01-07 15:35:34.523708+00
    I’m stunned this is currently the top WWII game!
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  • Jaggeraz9599 2024-03-18 20:30:56.437711+00
    Great game, but I personally prefer the reboots over this one.
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