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Video Game: Wolfenstein (2009)

"Who would dare oppose us?"

Wolfenstein is a First-Person Shooter using a modified version of the Doom 3 engine developed by Raven Software. It's the sequel to 2001's Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

The game's plot features, once again, American super-spy B.J. Blazkowicz, in his attempts to foil a plan by the Nazis to harness the power of the Black Sun, an ancient alternate dimension which the SS are using to create all manner of Super Soldiers and monsters. Besides an arsenal of WWII-era firearms and several experimental Nazi energy weapons, B.J. is also assisted by a magic amulet that allows him to tap into "The Veil" between dimensions and harness special powers such as Bullet Time and an energy shield.

Wolfenstein takes place in and around the fictional German town of Isenstadt, and uses a partial Wide Open Sandbox system, with the player traveling through the town, buying weapons from the Black Market, interacting with residents and members of the German resistance groups Kreisau Circle and Golden Dawn, and traveling to specific areas of the town (i.e. Warehouse, Cannery, Dig Site) to take part in story-based linear missions.

Followed by Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Check the character sheet.

Recurring tropes from the series include:

  • America Wins the War: And prevents an entire city being destroyed in the process.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: General Zetta. Deathshead after him, though he still doesn't directly fights the player.
  • Bad Boss Fat Bastard: General Zetta.
  • Diesel Punk: Mixed with a heavy dose of Ghostapo.
  • Elite Mooks: The black latex wearing female Elite Guards are back, this time with magic powers and the ability to resurrect killed enemies as Despoiled.
  • Gatling Good: To date, the only Wolfenstein game without such weapon in the SP arsenal.
  • Ghostapo: The Paranormal Division is back, and takes this trope even further with extra-dimensional travel, Nazi mages, energy guns and yes, Nazis with jetpacks.
  • 100% Completion: Collecting all intel, gold, and tomes of power. Getting all intel grants you free weapon upgrades, all tomes of power grants you free Medallion upgrades, and gold... does nothing, but you'll want to get all of it to buy things.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: "Can I play, Daddy?", "Don't hurt me!", "Bring 'em on!" and "I am Death incarnate!"
  • Large and in Charge: General Zetta in his Veil form, and the Geist Queen. Subversion with Hans Grosse: he's tall, yet he's The Dragon to the game's Big Bad.
  • More Dakka: This time, the emphasis is more on the supernatural weaponry, but the trope still makes his presence, what with the large anti-air cannons the player can use, and the upgraded MP40 and MP43.
  • Nazi Gold: Required for buying upgrades at the Black Market.
  • No Swastikas: Removed for some releases.
  • One-Man Army: Though this time he works with La Résistance, most of the time you face every mission on your own, with very little help.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: With energies and beings from Another Dimension being present, this was expected:
    • The Elite soldiers can create Despoiled and use Veil-powered weapons.
    • There are various encounters with Veil-powered beings and the Veil itself allows you to see the Veil-exclusive Geists.

Tropes exclusive to Wolfenstein include:

  • Abandoned Hospital: The Hospital mission is set in a hospital that, while not quite abandoned, fits the look quite well. It's been commandeered by the Nazis, and by the time you get there, the place has been ransacked, and most of the patients and staff have been either abducted to serve as test subjects for their sick medical experiments or eviscerated by the invisible, Axe Crazy assassins that prowl the hallways.
  • Action Bomb: The Explosive Sniffer.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Zeppelin. It carries not only airplanes but other Zeppelins, in addition to hordes of Nazis and their dimension-warping superweapon. Needless to say, the parasite fighter planes do not last long, dangling miles in the sky with a saboteur on board...
  • Another Dimension: The Black Sun dimension. The Veil acts as a frontier between the real world and the Black Sun dimension.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The enemy players will not react to you at all unless you are within a certain distance of them (at which point they will know where you are with unfailing accuracy) meaning that, once you've got the sniper scope, you can snipe groups from a distance and watch as the Germans show absolutely no reaction to their comrades' heads exploding.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Heavy Troopers can withstand an absurd amount of damage (it takes more than 200 bullets from a fully upgraded assault rifle to kill just one), but can brought down rather quickly by shooting the cooling cylinders on their armor, causing them to simply overheat and explode.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Veil Assassins.
  • Bag of Spilling: Justified at the end, when BJ tears apart his Thule Medallion in order to destroy Hans' own by driving the crystals into it, thereby guaranteeing that this item will not show up in any sequel.
  • BFG: About half of the player's inventory is made of huge, silly and highly satisfying weapons:
    • The Leichenfaust 44. A Nazi superweapon powered by extradimensional energies. It fires large globules of said energy that cancel out gravity within their area of effect and reduce enemies to piles of scorched bones.
    • The Particle Cannon.
    • The Panzerschreck rocket launcher, which can be modded to be multi-shot and fire guided missiles.
    • The Tesla Gun.
  • Blatant Item Placement: The city is veritably littered with large bags of money, gold bars and similar. And you can pretty much help yourself - nobody seems to mind your nicking their stuff right before their eyes. Mostly because you've got a huge gun.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • Scribes from the SS Paranormal Division in the early game, before you acquire better Veil powers.
    • Veil Assassins can be particularly difficult if the player encounters them unprepared, without the right weapon equipped.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: The opening cutscene has BJ use a nearby mook as one of these.
  • Bullet Time: One of the special powers granted to the player by the amulet, Mire, allows the player to avoid shootings by slowing time up.
  • Bullfight Boss: Your boss fight against the Altered in the Hospital mission. It's immune to all conventional weaponry, forcing B.J. to get him to run into a series of electrical pillars around the arena. Once they are destroyed, the Black Sun portal he came in through collapses and pulls him back inside, killing him.
  • Concept Art Gallery: Cleverly used in many instances as in-game Intel.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: In the Castle mission, you fight alongside La Résistance in order to save their leader. You'll be hearing this phrase (and variations of it) a lot:
    "We have to save Caroline!"
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Nazi officers sometimes cry out "Mein leben!" when they're killed, just like the SS Nazis did in Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of Destiny.
    • Towards Return to Castle Wolfenstein:
      • The Heavy Troopers are implied to be an offshot of the Ubersoldaten. Their creator, Deathshead, noted at the time how the armor wasn't up to his specifications; the Heavy Troopers are practically bulletproof now. If you can sneak by them undetected, you will also notice how it sounds as if they're breathing through a pump, just like the Ubersoldaten.
      • It's interesting to note that the otherwise superior 1946 Ubersoldaten models featured in Wolfenstein: The New Order can only be defeated by destroying that very same breathing pump, forcing the beast to remove its armored faceplate.
      • Wolfgang Statz, the SS General you assassinate in one of the side quests appears to be the same one seen speaking with Himmler in the ending of Return to Castle Wolfenstein.
      • In the SS Headquarters, you can find out that the Nazis have you pegged as the one who destroyed Operation: Resurrection and the Ubersoldat program.
  • Cool Airship: The Zeppelin. It's gigantic, multitasking as a flying airport, Cargo Ship, doomsday superweapon, troop carrier, laboratory, and all-around heavily armed flying fortress.
    • Awesome, but Impractical: Despite all of this, or perhaps because of it, its design is woefully wasteful, seemingly for aesthetics. Half the aircraft's weight must be the massive metal doors everywhere. The other half is composed by the tons of swastikas. You could sew together another Zeppelin from all the Nazi flags it carries. Still, it's not as if you could mount the Thule portal on anything smaller...
  • Dark World: Moving through the Veil can cause some objects to look very strange. Examples include all light sources emitting a blue flaming aura, and brand new fighter planes looking as if they had already been shot down before they've even engaged in combat.
    • The city of Isenstadt itself looks very different as seen from the Zepellin, through the Veil. It is full of what appear to be massive Ley Lines in a pattern not unlike a crater.
  • Death from Above:
    • The Jetpack Troopers.
    • Some areas of Isenstadt itself feature heavy (and random) bombardment.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • Despoiled. Later levels throw more Despoiled at you, who are damaging enough to wreck your day, especially with a platoon of Nazis also trying to kill you on top of that.
    • The hulking, bulletproof Altered serve as the boss of the Hospital mission. You also encounter two of them in the Castle mission, but by then you have the Leichenfaust 44, which kills anything in one shot.
    • Most of the elite mooks are first introduced as a sort of Mini-Boss partway through a given level. Later inverted with an Elite Guard, who forms the core of a Mini-Boss battle at the airfield, long after you've dispatched a number of her compatriots with ease in Isenstadt.
      • That in itself makes the Elite Guard degraded mooks from Rt CW. Whereas in the previous game they were more lethal and agile than regular infantry and made each fight a challenge, in Wolfenstein the arsenal you have at your disposal means they rarely stand much chance.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The Particle Cannon, which vibrates matter at such incredibly high frequencies that it instantly reduces enemies to green ash.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: Real world and the Veil, once you get the Thule Medallion. It's a strange area between dimensions that can alter the appearance of the environment (i.e. brand new airplanes appear derelict) and is what powers the Amulet's abilities.
  • Dungeon Shop: BJ encounters a black marketeer just before boarding the zeppelin, who takes time out from looting the (heavily defended) hangar to sell him whatever he needs.
  • Enemy Summoner: The Elite Guards can raise any Nazi corpse as a superpowered, fireball-throwing Despoiled.
  • Escort Mission: Subverted. Sometimes you come across prisoners whom you need to free. However, freeing the prisoners involves simply untying them; they then tell you that they'll find their own way to safety from there.
  • Evil Gloating: At the final point in the Hospital mission, Blazkowicz comes across a Nazi officer standing in front of a Veil portal. His gloating is interrupted when he is rather violently Killed Mid-Sentence by a giant, mutated abomination that destroys him.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Nazi Scribes have very deep, inhumanly-resonating voices.
  • Exploding Barrels: But of course! Lampshaded by an intel report you can find on the zeppelin, in which a Nazi scientist asks a commander to not let his men smoke around the red barrels, which have a tendency to explode.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: The Heavy Troopers are big and bulletproof, but their attacks are easy to dodge and shooting their easy-to-hit weak points makes them blow up.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The front cover of the game depicts a flaming Nazi skull. Later on, you meet the Despoiled.
    • You find documents or hear Enemy Chatter describing several of the more powerful enemies before you meet them.
    • At one point you get to use a prototype Veil-powered tank weapon at a weapons factory. 99% of players will wish for a more portable version to take home. The Leichenfaust 44 is just that.
    • Throughout the game, you are told by various Golden Dawn scholars that harnessing too much power from the Black Sun was disastrous for the Thule civilization. Then, during the Zeppelin mission, you find a document warning Deathshead that doing so will cause a power spike that might destroy the whole zeppelin. Of course, in his attempt to kill you, The Dragon does just that, with predictable results.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Veil Assassin is actually pretty easy to kill... if you can hit him, or see him, or avoid his two-hit kill...
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The opening scene has your character stopping an onslaught of bullets with an energy shield that then erupts outwards, killing all the shooters. Later in the game, not only the Shield itself becomes usable as a Veil power, but the fact that it disintegrates everything is also a purchasable function.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Some minor examples with the blueprints the player comes across, some of which depict either weapon upgrades that aren't actually available in the game or weapons that do appear in the game but which the player cannot acquire.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Drache Troopers, the Veil Assassins and Heavy Troopers.
  • Glass Cannon: Most of the special enemies can't take much more damage than the regular Mooks, but can deal heavy damage very quickly. This is especially true for the Elite Guards.
  • Gun Accessories: The game had extras for every weapon, from the mundane like carrying more ammo, through the utilitarian like loading the Kar 98 with stripper clips instead of single shots (something it should do anyway), to the extremely silly such as building a magazine-fed Panzerschreck that fired homing missiles. Some weren't visible, like shortening the laser gun's charge-up time from one full second to half a second.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Blowing off a Nazi's head with the upgraded Kar98 results in an enormous fountain of blood spewing out of the guy's neck as he slowly slumps to the ground.
  • Hold the Line: After the Castle mission, you return to Isenstadt only to find that the Nazis have been building radio towers. While Erik Engle places the explosives on one of these radios, you get to keep the Nazis from reaching both of you until he completes the tower.
  • Hub City/Hub Level: Isenstadt, in which the player can interact with various resistance groups, buy weapon upgrades, and tangle with random Nazi patrols between missions. Also, all locations in the game are either in or around it, and can be accessed via its streets or sewers.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: By the end of the game, you'll be carrying three real-life guns, a rocket launcher, a flamethrower, a Tesla Gun, a particle cannon, and a Disintegrator Ray.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The Black Sun not only fuels the Nazi war machine, but it's home to a variety of very nasty native species that the Nazis experiments are allowing to come into our world. Also, traveling to the Black Sun and back tends to turn humans into insane mutated monsters unless the jump-gate is perfectly attuned (which it usually isn't).
  • Humanoid Abomination: General Zetta. The other soldiers under his command even comment there's something unnatural about him. And then there's his boss fight.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Used to prevent the player from accessing areas until the plot requires it, such as unreachable ladders that may later automatically get lowered, plot locked doors, unclimbable ledges, and impassable barricades, which may be cleared by a higher power such as a tank.
  • Interface Spoiler: The weapon menu.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: When Blazkowicz enters the area where the Veil Portal is under the Hospital, the Nazi officer standing in front of it is viciously torn apart by a giant hulking mutated beast that used to be a poor scientist who got sucked in while proclaiming how powerful the Nazi army is destined to become.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In the Hospital level, a scientist explains to a Nazi officer that everyone who passes through the interdimensional portal comes back a monster, then notices Blazkowicz and cowers, demanding to be protected. The officer says, "No, it is you who will protect me!" and tosses the scientist into the portal. He starts a rant about how the superior Nazi war machine will destroy the allies, only to be ripped in half seconds later by the gigantic mutant emerging from the portal.
  • Layered World: The Veil. Viewing objects through it may be different than viewing it normally, such as brand new fighter planes appearing derelict to the point of crumbling.
  • Lightning Gun: The Tesla Gun. It produces an electrical discharge that arcs out at any targets that come within range. If nothing or no one is nearby, though, it just kinda throws sparks.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The fate of every soldier who got in the way of the Panzerschreck.
  • Made of Plasticine: Enemy soldiers die in 2 or 3 shots (1 or 2 shots once you upgrade your weapons, and one with Empower on). While this is reasonable by real-life standards, by action-movie First-Person Shooter standards, it's rather weak. The game makes up for it by throwing squads at you, and with the semi-occasional Elite Mook.
  • Mana Meter: The charge on the Thule Medallion.
  • McNinja: This time, the female Elite Guards were turned into agile, ninja-like martial artists. There's even a piece of concept art that shows they were supposed to carry swastika-shaped shurikens, but unfortunately, they ultimately went unused.
  • Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode: While the previous entry in its series was known for its excellent multiplayer, this game managed to completely ignore the majority (if not all) of the innovations RTCW brought. No wonder, just about every fan of RTCW's/Enemy Territory's multiplayer consider the 2009 game to be a complete joke in this regard. Heck, the team responsible for the multiplayer component getting fired on release speaks volumes.
  • Mooks: It's raining Nazis!
    • Giant Mook: The Heavy Soldiers, equipped with Power Armor and a particle beam cannon.
    • Super Powered Mooks: The Nazi Scribes have the same Veil abilities as the player (mostly super-speed and indestructible shields) as well as a unique cloaking ability. Most of the higher-end enemies also have some variety of magic powers.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Most of the interdimensional beings can be killed by World War II-era machine guns.
  • Oddly Named Sequel: This game is a sequel to an entry in its series named Return To Castle Wolfenstein.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: When not commanding troops, Scribes recite Latin phrases in their deep, inhuman voice. These are actually pretty stoic quotes from Cicero and Lucan.
  • Over Heating: The quadruple cannons found, among other places, in the Airfield and the Castle.
  • Plot Lock: Used to keep the player out of mission specific areas and newer sections of Isenstadt until called for by the plot.
  • Portal Cut: If you're going through a Veil Door and exit from the Veil at the same time, you'll get killed.
  • Power Crystal: The plot revolves around the Nachtsonne Crystals mined outside Isenstadt. Unlike most examples of this trope, the crystals themselves are inert, but can be used as "lenses" for Black Sun energy, giving off various effects depending on the type of crystal used.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: In the Castle mission, Deathshead and Hans kidnapped Caroline and when Blazkowicz saw them, he's asked to pull his gun aside.
  • Recycled Title: Even though it doesn't have the "3D" in the title.
  • Regenerating Health: Lampshaded by Hans Grosse during the final boss fight.
    "That should have killed you, Blazkowicz!"
  • Shoot The Scribe First: Otherwise he'll shield enemy soldiers from your attacks as they generously pump you full of lead. In fact, saving him for last means he can now spend all his time shielding himself, which just makes killing him that much harder.
    • Shooting the Elite Guard first is also advised, as they can resurrect dead mooks as Despoiled.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Wolfenstein is easier than RTCW or Wolf3D, what with modern FPS mechanics such as Regenerating Health, and the game's own gimmick, the veil powers. Enemies also suffer from Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy aim and have noticeably less health than in previous games, with the basic soldiers dying after only 2 or 3 bullets and even the Elite Mooks being killable with only several bullets. The Harder Than Hard difficulty is only marginally harder than the Normal difficult in most other FPS games.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Some of the Nazi special units seem a whole lot like those found in F.E.A.R., particularly the Powered Armor-wearing Heavy Trooper with a gun that disintegrates people and the acrobatic, cloaked Veil Assassin.
    • The Tomes of Power hidden across Isenstadt look exactly like the items of the same name in Heretic, another game Raven Software was responsible for.
    • The Isenstadt tavern is called Raven's Nest and is adorned with Raven Software logo. There is also an ad for Raben Bier (Raven Beer) above the doors of the black marketeers Downtown hideout.
    • The Zeppelin crashes down in fire in the ending. You know, like a lead zeppelin.
  • Silliness Switch: One of the cheats unlocked by beating the game turns all character heads into pumpkins.
  • Some Kind of Force Field: Aside of the Veil shield, cast by both Blazkowicz and the Scribes, some areas are protected by a forcefield. They normally require the player to use the Empower ability to be destroyed.
  • Stripped to the Bone:
    • What both the Particle Cannon and the Leichenfaust 44 do to enemies.
    • The Medallion's Shield ability also does this, when upgraded with a Reactive Crystal. The same counts for the Mire ability and one of it's upgrades, but only when activated.
    • Use of Veil energy can do this to someone, and promptly bring them back as super-fast skeletons. Elite Guards can make them as well.
  • Stripperific:
    • Once again, the Elite Guard dress in skin-tight leather/latex outfits, often unzipped nearly to the navel, and complete with Combat Stilettos. The effect is subverted by the fact that their rib cages are glowing.
    • When BJ breaks into the bedrooms of Nazi officers in the Officer's House mission, he typically encounters a number of young women wearing very little.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: By way of exploding barrels, dynamite being planted at certain places, and heavy projectiles such as rocket launchers (the Panzerschreck), this is to be expected.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: It wouldn't be a Wolfenstein game without it. In this case, the Jetpack Troopers.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Generally averted. While ammo pickups for all the heavy weapons are relatively rare, each individual pickup gives nearly full ammunition, which means that a player can easily play through entire levels using nothing but heavy weapons. It's even noticeable for the Particle Cannon, as Heavy Troopers actually spawn with relative frequency in Isenstadt, meaning ammo can be freely replenished even outside of missions.

    The player can also completely replenish the ammo for any weapon between missions at a Black Market hideout, for a flat and generally inexpensive fee. This does, however, cut into the funds available for upgrading weapons and Veil powers.
  • Truce Zone: In the Tavern level, the player has an opportunity to approach various German soldiers while they're drinking and overhear their conversations. If you deliberately try to talk to them however, one will find them less than hospitable.
  • Unique Enemy: Mostly, there are only 7 to 8 of each of the special enemy types in the entire game, even though most of them are only slightly tougher than a regular enemy. Contrast this with RTCW, where Elite Mooks would make up the entire enemy force on several of the levels.
    • Averted with certain Elite Mooks like the Scribes and Heavy Troopers, which will join the rotation of randomly encountered enemies in Isenstadt once you've first encountered them on missions. Elite Guards and Sniffers will also appear, but with less frequency.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: The game gives you ostensible stealth options such as a couple of suppressed guns and the ability to silently knock someone out from behind, but just about any action you perform causes every enemy in the vicinity to come down on you, so it's rarely even worth bothering with stealth, and unlike RTCW there are even no missions taking advantage of these abilities.
    • The silencer's description states it makes it harder for people to see you after taking the shot. It's rather hard to miss someone's head exploding into a slushy mass, even if the gun was silenced. The silencer makes it harder for enemies to spot you after you've fired. At best, the silencers are useful only for picking off a handful of soldiers before the rest figure out what's going on.
    • Blazkowicz's cover is blown the moment he arrives in Isenstadt, thanks to some moles in the resistance ranks.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The game allows the player to be exceedingly cruel to anyone on the opposite end of the barrel. Options include simply shooting them to exploding limbs with high caliber weapons, burning, blowing up, stabbing them in the throat with bayonets or vaporizing with one of the rayguns. All of it's excused by them being Nazis (and by the looks of it the worst psychopaths from all branches of the Heer and SS).
    • The player also gets the option to mow down defenseless scientists, SS secretaries, and prostitutes. The former two are somewhat justified, obviously.
    • Player stats tracked by the game include number of enemies electrocuted, immolated, dismembered, or dissolved using various of the games more powerful weapons.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Zeppelin, on which the Thule portal is mounted, has a mechanism which allows the portal to be pointed downwards. Then, when the Black Sun is harnessed, the energy gets shot at the ground.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: The game uses a Hub based system centered around the entire town of Isenstadt, which you can explore for collectibles and scripted sequences involving the townspeople, all while fighting Nazis throughout the streets.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: One is hovering over Isenstadt for the duration of the game. Naturally, BJ destroys it in the end.

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