id Software Wolfenstein 3D Classic

Achtung, baby -- Wolfenstein 3D is back, with id Software porting the legendary FPS to the iPhone.

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id Software Wolfenstein 3D Classic
  • id Software Wolfenstein 3D Classic
  • id Software Wolfenstein 3D Classic
  • id Software Wolfenstein 3D Classic

Pros

  • Playing Wolfenstein — again, hours of entertainment, you won't need to safeguard that floppy disk any more

Cons

  • Getting weird looks in the bus as you scream out "Mein Leben" when confronted by an SS trooper

Bottom Line

This new version of Wolfenstein 3D for the iPhone is a lot of fun and a great addition to the App Store. Those who played the game a long time ago will enjoy playing it again. Those who are experiencing it for the first time may find it a little confusing at first but will get into it fast.

Would you buy this?

Achtung! When we recently learned that Wolfenstein 3D had been released for the iPhone, we had no choice but to review it. For a measly $5.99, John Carmack and id Software give you the chance to relive your childhood by shooting Nazis and mutants. What could be better than that?

For those who have never played this game before, Wolfenstein 3D is set during World War II and lets you play as B.J. Blazkowicz, a captured OSA super agent. The game starts just after you have overpowered a guard in your cell. Armed with a gun and 16 rounds of ammo, you need to escape from Castle Wolfenstein where you are being held and stop the Nazis.

This game was originally released in 1992 for the PC and is one of the original "first person shooter" games. It has been ported to a few different platforms over the years, and the code was released in 1995. More recently, John Carmack (the lead programmer of the original version), ported the game to the iPhone. This version has graphics and sounds that are very similar to the original version; they work fine on the iPhone screen.

If you remember playing the original version of this game on your 386, hearing the first "Achtung" screamed out by a guard will bring back a host of memories from your childhood and teenage years. Finding the machine gun in the secret room just where you remembered it was will bring a smile to your face. Hearing SS troopers dying with cries of "Mein Leben" will remind you why you used to play this game so much.

You play the game by holding the iPhone sideways, giving you a landscape viewing area. There are four different layouts for the controls available, allowing you to choose where you want the directional arrows and the firing button to be placed. We found the default mode to be the easiest to use, allowing you to move forwards and backwards or turn left and right with your left thumb. Control of your weapon is then left to your right thumb. Moving sideways is done by tilting the iPhone. We found this quite usable, even when playing on a crowded train.

You can no longer control the opening of doors the way you could in the original version; doors will open automatically when you go near them. This is similar behaviour to later id Software games such as Quake. It makes it easier to play the game as it takes away one control that you would otherwise have to deal with. It also simplifies the opening of secret rooms, as their doors just open when you go near them. It does make opening a door into a room full of enemies a little harder to deal with, however, as you can't simply close the door and run away anymore.

Wolfenstein 3D consists of six episodes of 10 levels each. Unlike the original PC version of the game, you can now chose to play any of the standard eight levels or the boss level without having to do all the preceding levels, but you'll still have to find the secret level if you want to play it. Whenever you complete a level the game will record whether you completed in the 'par' time, whether you killed all the enemies and whether you discovered all the secret doors in the level. This allows you to go back and replay the levels where you didn't manage to do all those things, and gets rid of the code system the original game used.

The game has been well adapted to a phone environment. Pressing the home button automatically saves where you are in the game. When starting up it takes about 3 seconds until you are playing exactly where you left off. It can be a little disconcerting to get a phone call while you are absorbed in the game.

In this version of the game, getting killed will see you restarting the level with just a revolver and 16 rounds of ammo. This can put you in a hard position, but the levels are designed for that to not be a huge problem.

This new version of Wolfenstein 3D for the iPhone is a lot of fun and a great addition to the App Store. Those who played the game a long time ago will enjoy playing it again. Those who are experiencing it for the first time may find it a little confusing at first but will get into it fast.

For a look at what to expect in Wolfenstein 3D, check out our slideshow.

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