Often regarded as the first true First-Person Shooter. Although very primitive entries in the genre had been available since 1973, it's definitely the Trope Codifier and pretty much any modern FPS traces its gameplay's descent back to it. Wolfenstein 3D was a shareware game developed by Id Software in just two months, and published by Apogee Software in May, 1992.The story is simplicity itself: American soldier B.J. Blazkowicz is imprisoned in the Nazi prison Wolfenstein, and must walk through endless corridors, find keys and shoot Nazis until he escapes. Following chapters, which could be mail-ordered, had somewhat more out-there storylines, with Operation: Eisenfaust requiring you to thwart a Nazi doctor performing horrible biological experiments, and Die, Fuhrer, Die! allowing you to take down Adolf Hitler himself. As he attacks you in anarmored battle suit with quad-miniguns. There's also a prequel trilogy of episodes, entitled the "Nocturnal Missions", in which B.J. assassinates a Nazi chemical weapons scientist (A Dark Secret), uncovers his plans for a chemical war (Trail of the Madman) and finally kills the general carrying it out (Confrontation).Wolfenstein 3D was a reimagining of the original Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, 2D Stealth-Based Games released in the 1980s. It was followed by Spear of Destiny in 1992, and in 1994 by "Return To Danger" and "Ultimate Challenge", two further missions for Spear of Destiny; Return to Castle Wolfensteinrevived the franchise in 2001, leading to the Enemy Territory spinoff and another sequel simply titled Wolfenstein. As a tribute to Wolfenstein 3D, Doom 2 contained two secret levels with this game's style.Wolfenstein 3D was also released for the SNES, with all swastikas and other Nazi imagery removed, the attack dogs turned into giant rats, and Hitler modified to be just a "generic" dictator (by shaving off his mustache and calling him Staatmeister). Wisdom Tree also produced an unlicensed Christian-themed modification (Read: level-for-level copy) based on the SNES port, Super 3D Noah's Ark, which changed the guns into a fruit-shooting slingshot and the enemy soldiers into animals. Rumor has it Apogee willingly let them use the engine, being angered at the Wolf 3D's bowdlerization at Nintendo's hands.Now online to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Get Psyched! (and ruin your productivity...). In addition, a new installment, WolfensteinTheNewOrder is being developed by MachineGames
Advancing Boss of Doom: Most of the game's bosses are fought in standard arenas with plenty of room to manuever around them. The Ubermutant from Spear of Destiny, however, is fought in a series of one-way hallways, making it impossible to circle around him. You pretty much have to constantly retreat while firing at him, which is made even tougher by the fact he's the fastest enemy in the game.
Authority Equals Asskicking: While not every boss is a High Value Target/commander (the Grosse siblings and the Ubermutant are just enforcers), every High Value Target/commander is a boss (even the scientist characters).
Hitler is a boss! Once you blow up his Powered Armor, he's only about 1/2th as tough as the regular bosses, but with extra dakka. He's still got several times as much health as the Elite Mooks and wields dual miniguns, though.
Boss in Mook Clothing: The Hitler Ghosts in the last level of episode 3. They have boss-like health (about 33% the health of a normal boss), which is probably meant to fool you into thinking the first one is really the final boss.
Boss Only Level: The only opponent in Level 9 of episode 1 is the boss, Hans Grosse.
Brutal Bonus Level: The Episode 3 secret level is pretty brutal, but brilliant fun too, while the Episode 4 secret level is practically a death trap unless you know the exact route to the exit (or are just plain crazy!).
Episode 6's secret level is fairly easy if you just want to exit quickly, but if you are seeking 100% completion, it is arguably the hardest map in the entire game.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Guards can open locked doors at will. Normally this could be justified by the guards carrying the keys, except that you rarely find one that drops a key upon death.
Critical Hit: On occasion, if you manage to shoot a Nazi before it is alerted, you can kill him in 1-2 shots. This is especially noticeable with SS Guards who normally require several hits to die as they have about twice the Hit Points of most guard types. Whether this is pure luck or not is ultimately found in the source code for the game.
This works both ways unfortunately. If an enemy gets the drop on you and shoots you at point-blank range, you will almost certainly lose over half your health. The Mutants are the most infamous for doing this because of their unreal reaction time.
Chest Blaster: The mutants in episode 2 have guns implanted in their chests, meaning they can fire at you instantly while other enemies need to take a half-second or so to aim first. The gigantic Ubermutant boss from Spear of Destiny has upgraded it to a chaingun.
Degraded Boss: Hans Gross makes irregular appearances after Episode 1. Twice in a weird push-wall maze in Episode 2, and Three times in the Secret Level of Episode 6 where at least one must be killed to finish the level. (Unless you lure a guard into opening the locked door for you.)
Dummied Out: "Call Apogee, Say Aardwolf!" It's still there (E2M8), if you know how to get to it.
In the PS3 version of Wolfenstein 3D, the Pac-Man ghosts are removed from E3M10, possibly due to copyright reasons, and replaced with Hitler Ghosts, taking out the fun quirk that makes the secret level famous.
Easy Mode Mockery: The easiest level, "Can I play, Daddy?", is symbolized by an icon of Blazkowicz in a baby bonnet.
Fake Difficulty: Unfortunately, the game engine can only support a certain number of sprites on screen at any one time before it stops drawing them. Certain levels, notably E4M10, suffer from Fake Difficulty when the enemies turn invisible.
A large part of the challenge of playing the game on the PC is the inability to strafe sideways like in a modern FPS, even when using mouselook (you have to hold down a seperate key to strafe, which also prevents you from looking left and right); this is corrected on the modern console ports of the game, as well as the unofficial Open GL port.
Flunky Boss: Most bosses are fought solo, while Hitler has a handful of officers protecting him. General Fatface, the Nocturnal Missions final boss, is accompanied by a small army of guards and Elite Mooks.
Friendly Fireproof: Enemies cannot hit each other, and their shots will go straight to you even if blocked.
Gatling Good: Taken to comical levels; Hans Grosse, Trans Grosse, and Grettle Grosse Dual Wield TWO Gatling Guns, the Uber Mutant has a Gatling Gun implanted into his chest, General Fettgesicht & Barnacle Willheim both prefer a Gatling gun in one hand, and a pistol-rocket-launcher in the other, while the Death Knight has TWO Gatling Guns and TWO shoulder-mounted Rocket-Launchers, making the Death Knight appear to be wearing black Powered Armor. Finally, Adolf Hitler has Powered Armor that has FOUR Gatling Guns, but this is only cosmetic (and temporary), and does not actually double his firepower. The Mech suit is an excuse to give Hitler a lot more Hit Points than most bosses.
Of course, the Gatling Gun is the player's ultimate weapon in the original Wolfenstein 3D & Spear of Destiny.
Attack dogs. Faster than other enemies, can deal high damage with their bites, but they only have a single hitpoint.
B.J. himself probably counts, given that on the default difficulty you can be killed by just 3 or 4 straight shots from a pistol at close range.
Gorn: Some of the boss deaths are surprisingly graphic and over-the-top (complete with a "Let's see that again!" replay.) Hitler actually disintegrates into a squishy pile of goo and organs upon death.
100% Completion: The game scores you on enemies, treasure and secrets found in each level, although getting all 100%/100%/100%s is physically impossible on at least one level (E2M8 due to a lot of mutually exclusive secrets) and technically impossible on a few (E5M5, E5M8, E6M2, E6M7 and E6M8 all have secret walls that, due to an engine bug, push a square too far, either blocking off an area containing treasure or parking on the treasure itself rendering it inaccessible).
It is possible to circumvent the bug with some trickery by pausing the game just as the pushback wall moves two spaces; if done correctly it should stop.
Hurricane of Puns: Just a quick glance at the list of potential titles id Software had considered before choosing the Wolfenstein name reveals several groaners, including Luger's Run, Luger Me Now, Tank You Very Much and Castle Hasselhoff.
Joke Level: E3M10, a Pac-Man stage also known as "Wolf Pack".
Kaizo Trap: Some of the exit elevators have Elite Mooks waiting in them, or are outright fake, so don't let down your guard.
Most episodes end once you kill the boss. At most, the boss drops a key that opens the door to the end of the level. The main exception is Episode 5. After you beat Gretel Grosse, the key she drops leads to a room where an entire platoon of Elite Mooks is waiting for you. This can be quite a nasty surprise if you were expecting a clear run to the exit.
Large and in Charge: The bosses are all about 8 feet tall. Even the two scientist characters. The only exception is Hitler himself, and even he is about 7 feet tall once you get him outside of his Power Armor.
Lightning Bruiser: The Ubermutant has standard boss health and damage output, combined with being the fastest enemy in the entire game.
Luck-Based Mission: Not only is the damage done by enemies random, the variation is huge; a basic pistol shot can take off anything from 3% of your health to almost half of your total health. Shots from longer range generally do less damage, but a close-range shot can still just wing you, and a long distance shot can seriously hurt you. The damage of your own bullets is random as well.
Meaningless Lives: Dying puts you back at the beginning of the level with only a pistol and 8 rounds, and you have the ability to save anywhere, so...
More Dakka: All three weapons are effectively the same weapon and use the same ammo. The only difference is the firing rate.
Nintendo Hard: A classic example. This is an old school game with an old school difficulty level. Enemies can kill you in just 3 or 4 shots at full health, are all equipped with hitscan weapons, and health and ammo is a lot more scarce than in Doom or Quake. Charging blindly into a room guns blazing like in Doom is a good path to "Nazi bullet bumrape". Instead more methodical room-clearing is encouraged, especially on the higher difficulties.
Non-Standard Game Over: While it doesn't end your game, if Dr. Schabbs, the boss of episode 2, kills you with his syringes, then instead of your head being all caved in and dead (see Shows Damage below), it turns gray and zombie-like (the stuff in the syringes turns you into a mutant).
No Fair Cheating: cheating for full ammo will deny you the chance to get a high score.
No-Gear Level: Sort of. The game starts with a prison break, but the player quickly obtains 2 of the 3 guns in the game.
Puzzle Boss: The secret level in Episode 4 looks like a run, shoot and hope job. It's actually a maze - there's a path from start to finish that goes past the backs of the guards without any of them seeing you. (Follow the blood spatters on the walls.)
A couple to id's previous game, Commander Keen. Try inputting the cheat code from episodes 4-6 and you'll get a message saying something to the effect of "Commander Keen is another great game from id Software, but you knew that already, didn't you, Cheater?"
Related to the above one, the hint sheet for the game gives a brief biography of B.J. Blazkowicz, including revealing that he's Keen's grandfather.
Shows Damage: As you soak up damage, the face in the status bar becomes more beaten and bloodied.
Sigil Spam: Well, the real Nazis emblazoned swastikas onto everything too, although we're pretty sure they didn't actually create whole levels shaped like them (E6M3).
Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Each soldier uses a different Gratuitous German phrase, except for the Apple Macintosh port (Where they all share the same pool of phrases) and the SNES port. (Where, due to being Bowdlerised, they don't even speak German. Like the Mac port, they all use the same generic sound pool, but with the thoughtful addition of having different human enemies will speak with different voice-pitches).
Soundtrack Dissonance: Surprisingly, the Pac-Man music on E3M10 is quite sharply contrasted with you running for your life!
Turns Red: Once you smash his Powered Armor, Hitler runs out to fight you. He's noticeably faster on foot, and is in fact faster than any of the other bosses in the original 6 episodes. He has somewhat less health, though.
Universal Ammunition: The three original guns all share the same pool of ammunition, though in the case of the first two it's justified (the Luger and MP40 do both fire 9mm bullets). The Mac, 3DO and SNES ports added a flamethrower and rocket launcher which had their own ammo pools.
Unwinnable by Design: Whatever you do, in the pushback mazes of E2M8, E4M2 and E6M10, don't box yourself in! If you do, let's hope you saved at the start of the level, otherwise you have to start the episode all over again.
You can do something similar in E2M9 and trap yourself in the health room if you push the three secret walls in a particular way, although this particular instance borders on Unwinnable by Insanity.
E4M7: This level is unique in that the locked doors are purposefully designed to be opened by enemies that are alerted to your gunshots. If you fail to keep the first door wedged open with a soldier's body, or are seeking 100% completion, you can easily get locked out unless you find its key - wouldn't be a problem, except it is behind a small pushwall puzzle that, if you mess up, leaves you trapped and unable to progress. Worse, the one pushwall that prevents you from getting the key has an eagle glyph on it, enticing you to press it, while the correct ones are unmarked.
Zombify The Living: The Episode 2 boss is Dr. Schabbs, a Deadly Doctor who flings syringes full of a "corpsokinetic animation serum". If B.J. Blazkowicz loses all of his health to a syringe, his HUD portrait turns an ashen color as he becomes an undead mutant like those fought throughout the level.