Wolfenstein 3-D

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Original North American box art.

Wolfenstein 3-D is a World War II themed first-person shooter developed by id Software and published by Apogee Software for MS-DOS on 1992-05-05, then ported to several other platforms. The game is the third game in the Wolfenstein series, and the first to use the Wolfenstein 3-D Engine. The game is based on a much older game, Castle Wolfenstein, and, like the original, you play a prisoner of war who must escape from a Nazi dungeon. Additional episodes were added where you infiltrate Nazi strongholds and kill Hitler and fictional Nazi leaders. Wolfenstein 3-D is a video game milestone being one of the first widely popular FPSes.

The game has been ported to several different platforms. There are effectively three versions of the game: the original MS-DOS release, the SNES and Apple IIgs port, and the Macintosh, 3DO, and Jaguar port.


I first played Wolfenstein 3-D in the early 1990s and was really impressed, not just by the 3D perspective, but also the gratuitous violence and digital speech. My favorite animation is the liquefaction death of Hitler. I rarely played the game fairly, usually relying on cheats to skip through most of the game, but I have played four of the episodes properly and have the feel of the game.

This was also one of the first games I spent a lot of time trying to modify. Before I had Internet access, I was able to get my hands on a map editor, and I made several custom maps for the game.


I own Wolfenstein 3-D on Steam. I have beaten the first four episodes at Bring 'Em On difficulty.


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4 5 7 6 6

Best Version: DOS

— This section contains spoilers! —


  • The game, for its time, is a beautiful example of a first-person shooter done right.
  • John Carmack's 3D engine is lightning fast, it even worked on medium-level hardware of the time.
  • Though cartoonish, the graphics are well-drawn and attractive. Adrian Carmack's pixel art is top-notch.
  • The enemy AI is pretty dumb, but it does sometimes cause some rather shocking results when they inadvertently sneak up on you from behind and strafe to avoid your gun fire.
  • Bobby Prince's soundtrack is really good, and his incorporation of Nazi and American political music was a fitting touch.
  • The sliding secret doors is a really cool addition. Tom Hall was right to nag John Carmack until he added them.
  • The addition of a secret 3-D Pac-Man level was pretty cool.


  • The game becomes monotonous pretty quickly. After the third episode, you've seen nearly everything the game has to offer save the remaining bosses.
  • The player turns far too slowly.
  • The use of lives and points doesn't really fit the game's theme and serves no measurable purpose.
  • Many of the levels have a ridiculous layout. While this makes the game more playable (a realistic map would be dull), it also hurts immersion.
  • In several levels NPCs will open a locked door long before you can get the key allowing you to short-cut large sections of the map or get stuck.
  • NPCs are able to shoot around corners even when their guns are clearly behind the wall.


  • Allowing save scumming kind of defeats the difficulty, but, if you try to play without saving, the game is ridiculously hard. So, unless you've memorized where the enemies are, you're kind of forced to use it.
  • A large portion of the secrets have not hints to where they are. This means, if you want to uncover 100% of the secrets, you'll have to check every wall in every map, a tedious task.


Box Art

Due to the Nazi imagery, Apogee used their logo as the cover art in several European countries.





Fan Art


John Carmack's commentary.
Did You Know Gaming?
Longplay - Bring 'Em On difficulty.



Role Staff
Chief Operating Officer Jay Wilbur
Director Tom Hall
Designers Tom Hall, John Romero
Writer Tom Hall
Engine Programmer John Carmack
Programmer John Romero
Additional Programming Jason Blochowiak
Graphics Adrian Carmack
Music, Sound Effects Robert Prince
Sound Driver Jason Blochowiak
Voices Tom Hall, John Romero, Scott Miller
Documentation Kevin Cloud


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