by Howie Howard
previewed on PC
Starting a genre
I remember way back to the early 1990s when computer gaming was still in its infancy and searching for its place in the world of entertainment. It was a transitional time when game companies were trying to figure out if their product was actually a form of entertainment like movies were, or simply a child’s toy. Many of the games in production during that time were crude side scrolling affairs that didn’t offer much more then a simple pixilated character that tried to make its way through different levels. Once you got to the top you were finished.
Then came the year 1992 and a young company named id Software introduced its action shooter called Wolfenstein 3D. Wolfenstein 3D was revolutionary as it differed from the side scrolling games of the day. It looked like it was 3D because the action took place from a first person perspective. The player assumed control of the character and he commenced to make his way through a world that looked real. The player was required to open doors, find items that powered up his character and of course mow down a variety of evil enemies equipped with different weapons of mass destruction.
It is hard to believe but it was over 16 years ago that the original Wolfenstein 3D changed the world of video games forever and firmly established first person shooters and computer gaming as a viable and real form of entertainment. Nine years after the original its sequel, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, came out and we were treated to enhanced graphics and more of the same gameplay as the original. If you enjoyed bashing the Nazis and their hoard of super natural creatures then Castle Wolfenstein was the game for you. During the past seven years I have often wondered when we would see another edition of Wolfenstein as I fondly remember playing the original game wherein I played super soldier William Joseph “BJ” Blazkowicz. Blazkowicz certainly is an appropriate name for our hero because “BJ” can again be found blasting his way through the third episode of Wolfenstein.
Aim for the new
The new game, aptly named Wolfenstein, is developed by Raven Software and its producer is Activision. Raven feels that since the original Wolfenstein 3D was released almost a generation ago that the new game should be simply called, Wolfenstein. The game is aimed at today’s gamers who may not know about the franchise from the past. The developers also want a game that includes all of the elements that fans of the original have come to love from its past incarnations. Wolfenstein is slated for release sometime in 2009, probably near the end of the year. In classic id and Raven fashion they continue to say, “it’ll be done when it’s done”.
Wolfenstein is based on a modified version of the Quake IV engine. It will contain a multi-player option which should make the legions of online gamers happy. The new Wolfenstein game is by no means a remake of the original, it starts right where Return to Castle Wolfenstein left off in 2001. Our hero “BJ” Blazkowicz again assumes the role of super hero as he attempts to destroy the Nazis and their hideous looking demons during World War II. The new Wolfenstein differs from the previous two games as it is not a linear and completely scripted game. Yes, the goal as the main character is to ultimately destroy the Nazis but how you get to that point is entirely up to you the player. The game contains side quests that are available from the various non-player characters that you come across during your travels through out the game. You can choose to accept or decline the missions. However, doing the side missions is where you find valuable items that can be used to upgrade the character.