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Video Game / Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

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"No hill for a stepper, right Billy Boy? No hill for a stepper."
The fifth game in the longrunning Wolfenstein franchise, and a stand-alone prequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order. It was released on May 5, 2015 digitally with a physical edition on July 21, 2015.

It is 1946, and the Allies are losing World War II thanks to a sudden technological leap made by the Nazi regime. B.J. Blazkowicz is sent on a secret mission to Castle Wolfenstein, in order to retrieve a folder held by SS Officer Helga von Schabbs that holds the secret location of Deathshead, the Mad Scientist responsible for the Nazi's sudden technological advantage.

At its essence, The Old Blood is a tribute to the older entries in the series, especially in that it plays with the Ghostapo elements that The New Order severely downplayed.


Contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Newspapers, journal entries and the collectible letters paint a portrait of the world around you and what's going on.
  • Alternate History: A newspaper mentions that D-Day was a total catastrophe for the Allies (with the Germans sustaining minimal casualties), and that the surviving Allied soldiers are being used as slave labour to build a museum to commemorate the Nazi's victory.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Annette is searching for a woman who is heavily implied, though never outright stated, to be her lover. If BJ saves her rather than Kessler, the she and her friend are seen sharing a long embrace - and a seemingly passionate kiss - in the epilogue.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: B.J. swears he's going to kill to Rudi's pet Kampfhund Greta after she eats Wesley's entrails. And follows through. Rudi loses it.
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  • Angry Guard Dog: The Kampfhunds, which have been surgicially mutilated with installed armor plating.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • The real Paderborn is situated in the Mittelgebirge where no hill rises more than 400 metres above the ground and sheer cliffs are never seen. To make this short: Whatever we see in the game, that is NOT Paderborn. Of course, considering that the game is said to take place in an entirely different region of Germany, it's probably meant to be a different town with the same name. Reusing names from the considerably worse-researched Return to Castle Wolfenstein naturally led to errors like this.
    • During the closing credits, an airbase identified as RAF Kinloss is shown with large mountains in the background. The real RAF Kinloss is on a flat coastal plain with no mountains anywhere nearby.
  • Artistic License – History: As The Old Blood is a retelling/re-imagining of Return to Castle Wolfenstein the story harkens back to the time of Heinrich I, in this case focusing on his son Otto I, the first Holy Roman Emperor. The story mentions a burnt down church from the 10th century which looks suspiciously like a gothic edifice. The eponymous Castle Wolfenstein, apparently built by Otto I, is way, way too big and sophisticated to be a 10th century building, during which time people tended to build small wooden strongholds. The latter, though, is at least partly explained to be the result of upgrades and additions made by the Nazis with their Super Concrete.
  • As Long as There is Evil: Invoked by B.J. at the end of the game.
    Blazkowicz: The Monster never dies no matter how many times you kill it. It just sheds its skin and changes form.
  • Asshole Victim: Helga, after the Eldritch Abomination she awoke attacks her instead of eating B.J.
  • Attack Its Weakpoint: Used repeatedly through the game.
    • Headshots do more damage to Nazis. And can instantly kill zombies.
    • Supersoldaten can be brought down more quickly by aiming at the glowing "power cell" on their shoulder. If they still have health after you knock it out, they become temporarily immobilized, allowing B.J. a chance to pry off their chestplate so that he can then directly shoot their heart.
    • Both bosses require this to be destroyed. You need to repeatedly immobilize Rudi by shooting the power cells on his shoulders so you can pry off his armor; then you can kill him by shooting his exposed chest. King Otto's Monster is only vulnerable to shots in its mouth.
    • The Heavy Soldiers are vulnerable to hits to their oxygen tanks, with predictable results if destroyed.
  • Broad Strokes: Appears to be a very loose retelling of the first two chapters of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, given that both involve Agent One getting tortured to death (with electricity, no less), B.J. escaping the titular castle via cable-car/tram to escape into Wolfburg, meeting Kessler along the way and then running into the Nazis' latest archaeological project which surprise, surprise, also includes the undead.
  • Bag of Spilling: B.J. loses all his weapons and armor upon being captured in the first chapter, although he gets his weapons back fairly quickly afterwards by looting enemies in the prison. Later, when he visits Pippa and goes undercover as a waiter to steal the folder from Helga, he stashes all his weapons in a chest in Pippa's house, and later, as she turns into a Shambler, he retrieves his weapons from the same chest despite having picked up the same ones earlier in the chapter.
  • Big Fancy Castle: The titular castle Wolfenstein is back, and this time it's as big as a mountain.
  • Body Horror: Supersoldaten; when you peel off their chestplate, you can see their exposed, beating heart.
  • Bonus Boss: The game has the entire first episode of Wolfenstein 3D as its secret levels, including the boss battle against classic Hans Grosse.
  • Cable-Car Action Sequence: As in Return to Castle Wolfenstein, escaping the titular castle involves fighting in and around a cable car and its way stations. BJ doesn't make it all the way down before the Nazis destroy it this time.
  • Call-Forward: Before he dies, Agent One shows Blazkowicz that his trick for keeping calm is to count to four and inhale, then count to four again and exhale.
    • Apparently Fergus has been needing to pee all the way since the ride to the RAF base.
  • Checkpoint Bluff: The first scene of the game involves B.J. and Richard Wesley (Agent One), dressed as Nazi officers, trying to get cleared at Castle Wolfenstein.
  • Clarke's Third Law: While The Old Blood is at first glance a return to the Ghostapo elements that defined previous Wolfenstein titles, it's unclear if the paranormal events in the game are truly magical in nature or advanced, alchemical science. Yes, there's a Zombie Apocalypse in the latter half of the game, along with an Eldritch Abomination boss you have to fight, but it's also mentioned that King Otto's weapons were derived from "alchemical" science gleaned from parchments found in Istanbul, which are heavily implied to be from the Da'at Yichud, who are explicitly stated in the base game to be an ancient society of advanced engineers and scientists. Even the mist that creates the Zombie Apocalypse is said by one SS researcher to be a biochemical formula, not magic (although to be fair he doesn't get a chance to investigate and prove this). Additionally, the monstrosity you fight at the end has exposed metal plating, despite having been locked away since King Otto put it there, further substantiating this theory. On the other hand many of those living in the area experience recurring dreams that accurately predict the zombies and the presence of the giant monster. Also the zombies burst into flames upon reanimating which seems hard to square with even the wacky science of the Wolfenstein setting, leaving the whole thing ambigious.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • During the initial breakout in the prison near the beginning of the first chapter, B.J. makes a reference to the Supersoldaten guards being similar to the ones he fought in Deathshead's X-Labs.
    • The Powered Armor worn by Rudi Jäger in his boss fight behaves like a combination of the classic Wolfenstein 3-D bosses (dual chainguns, side-stepping while firing, noticeably faster than an Ubersoldat) and the Heavy Veil Troopers from Wolfenstein (2009) (glowing weak points mounted on his shoulders).
    • In the prologue, it's mentioned that there was an assassination attempt on Hitler by a "terrorist" known only as the "Wolfenstein Assassin". This seems to be a reference to the events of Wolfenstein 3-D, as there are hints that the assassination attempt was actually successful, and Hitler was secretly reanimated as an undead ruler (one Nazi researcher mentions that, upon meeting him, he seemed pleasant enough but had cold clammy hands and a vague rotting odor). This is still possible as of Hitler's appearance in The New Colossus, because old Adolf is... not in the best of health.
    • The splash screen in the main menu shows B.J. shirtless and kicking a Nazi. The pose is lifted directly from the cover artwork of Wolfenstein 3-D.
    • The Final Death Mode is called "Mein Leben", which was the death quote from Nazi soldiers from Wolfenstein 3D.
    • A piece of official artwork where B.J. is giving a stomp to an unfortunate Nazi is based off another piece of artwork for Wolfenstein 3-D.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Poor Wesley. First tortured by Jäger for hours, then fried half to death in an electric chair, only to be killed by Jäger and fed to his dog.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: When you start climbing a pipe to escape the dungeon at the beginning, you may notice that a higher section of pipe is a lighter shade of green than the rest. This is unsurprisingly the section of pipe that breaks off, sending you to the ground - as well as the pipe you use as a tool and weapon.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: On the PC, the default settings move the crouch command to the "c" key, from its location as the control key in The New Order. Playing both games in close proximity can lead to some frustration when trying to execute certain maneuvers.
  • Deadly Gas: The Mystical Plague That turns Wulfburg into a zombie-riddled conflagration manifests as a greenish, misty gas the seeps from the cracks in the ground. Subverted in that the gas is harmless to the living as long as they remain living, reanimating anyone who dies after breathing it but doing nothing to hasten that death. The only reason Wulfburg is in serious trouble is that the gas was released by an earthquake that killed quite enough people to provide plenty of zombies to kill the survivors.
  • Diesel Punk: Not quite to the same extreme as in The New Order, given it's still 1946, but still, pretty evident with the advanced looking electrical train in and around Castle Wolfenstein, and the steel reinforced village.
  • Disposable Woman: Pippa has only one scene that establishes her as an old friend to B.J. and Wesley before a Shambler kills her.
    • Annette can become this too if you choose to save Kessler, though the choice isn't made apparent before it happens.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Just like in the original, the "Can I play, Daddy?" difficulty is represented by an image of very worried B.J. in a baby bonnet and sucking a pacifier. Its description is "Very easy difficulty setting for the spineless gamer."
    • To a lesser extent, the "Don't hurt me" difficulty is represented with B.J. having a This Is Gonna Suck look on his face.
  • Eldritch Abomination: King Otto's monster. A giant monstrosity resembling a cross between a mummy, a troll and Frankenstein's Monster with an eerie greenish Throat Light. No one knows where it came from, or how it came to be, aside from being a Sealed Evil in a Can that Helga (foolishly) opened. The rantings of the sanitarium patients in Castle Wolfenstein, along with scattered documents and audio interviews, seem to suggest that, even while sleeping, it has some kind of telepathic hold over the minds of the people of Wulfburg. It appears in their dreams, haunting them and driving them mad.
  • Expy: Helga von Schabbs, who is almost an exact replica of Helga von Bulow from Return to Castle Wolfenstein. They both meddle with the occult, cause zombie outbreaks (Bulow awakened thousand-year-old corpses, while Schabbs releases an alchemical gas that reanimates the dead), and resurrect ancient horrors. To top it off, both Helgas have a sidekick who they constantly insult and put down at times. They even have the same hairstyle.
  • Fake Static: Kessler chides B.J. on killing too many Nazis in open gun battles in Wulfburg, saying he should be more stealthy. Blazko blithely ignores his advice, making these noises when Kessler tries to clarify himself.
  • Flesh Golem: King Otto's Monster was created as one, and was originally part of an army of such things. They were so horrid and hard to control that he gave up on them and sealed them away.
  • Foregone Conclusion: We know B.J. will survive this game, since it's a prequel to The New Order. The game also ends with B.J., Fergus and their allies assembling for the final assault on Deathshead's compound. From playing The New Order, it is a doomed effort and that all that BJ gave that day to make it possible will have been in vain. He may live to fight another day, but the war itself is already lost.
  • Gatling Good: B.J. can use mounted chainguns as portable weaponry, though this slows him down and prevents him from switching to other weapons, until he drops it or puts it back.
  • Genre Shift: Quite jarringly, from a Diesel Punk World War II shooter to a localized Zombie Apocalypse arising from a vaguely Cosmic Horror Story lore.
  • Ghostapo: Zigzagged. You encounter a Zombie Apocalypse and an Eldritch Abomination in the second half of the game, but they're creations of alchemy, and it's implied they ultimately belong to lore scavenged from the same Jewish Super Science cult, the Da'at Yichud, who Deathshead stole from to begin his technological revolution. The abomination, in fact, is a Flesh Golem — and the only remnant from an army of such monsters used by King Otto I.
  • Giant Mook/Heavily Armored Mook: The game has 1946 versions of the Heavy Armor shotgun soldiers and Ubersoldaten from The New Order. The Ubersoldiers in Old Blood have a glowing weak point that can be targeted to stun them (being an earlier prototype version of the 1946 Ubersoldiers encountered in New Order), while the Heavy Armor soldiers have an oxygen tank on their back that can be exploded.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • King Otto I's experiments in alchemical Super Soldiers led to him causing a Zombie Apocalypse and creating a Flesh Golem that turned into a veritable Eldritch Abomination. He promptly buried it all away and tried to erase all knowledge of it.
    • Naturally, when Helga von Schabb's efforts to dig it up succeed, this happens again.
  • Grammar Nazi: Played for Laughs as a Literal Metaphor. In Chapter 2, you can find two soldiers arguing in a cellar. If you listen to their conversation, one insists on correcting the other's poor grammar. Blazkowicz found an actual grammar Nazi!
  • Hollywood Cyborg: The Kampfhunds and Supersoldaten enemies are dogs and humans, respectively, surgically mangled with implanted armor and devices to increase their strength and defenses.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: B.J. can still wolf down a bowl of dog food in under a second flat, and by doing so, heal bullet wounds.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Played to the extreme that you can carry two of almost every weapon, for dual-wielding purposes. Parodied in a scene in the second half of the game where B.J. has to store his weapons in a chest temporarily. It takes around twenty seconds for him to do so, and this is after it's acknowledged he's been running around shirtless.
  • Last Lousy Point: The only way to complete all of the character galleries is to collect all of the "old silver" in the throwback Wolfenstein 3-D nightmare levels peppered throughout the chapters.
  • Laugh with Me!: When Jäger burst into laughter at the disguised Blazkowicz's "Hot Dog" comment, the mook standing next to him quickly forces out a laugher so nervous that it sounds like he is fearing for his very life.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Averted with Greta; although her albino nature makes her a rarity, it doesn't make her any tougher than a normal Kampfhund when you have to fight her.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to The New Order, this game, as a prequel, is more akin to the old Wolfenstein games in terms of tone, with wackier supernatural elements to it. The villain, Helga von Schabb, is much more comparable to an Indiana Jones Nazi villain compared to the horrific, sadistic, realistic Nazis in The New Order.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: What happens if you hit an enemy directly with an explosive.
  • Murder, Arson, and Jaywalking: Greta, Rudi's beloved attack dog, has a description page giving a short list of unwholesome likes such as violence, a taste for human meat, and "tickles behind the left ear".
  • Made of Iron: Just like New Order, B.J. shrugs off impacts and injuries that would kill lesser men. At one point, he gets jumped by a Nazi soldier in the prison, and they proceed to stab each other in the chest for a few moments until the latter dies of his injuries.
    • When Rudi tortures Blazkowicz in the electric chair, he stabs Blazkowicz with a pipe through the leg. B.J. doesn't suffer even a mild limp afterwards, especially impressive given that said pipe is already covered with the blood of countless Nazis, yet is strangely not infested with more disease than a medical quarantine.
    • While trying to escape castle Wolfenstein, BJ first falls out of a gondola into the water several stories below. Then the gondola explodes and falls on top of him. He's perfectly fine.
    • When Helga sees through Blazkowicz' cover at the tavern, she stabs him through the hand with a knife. The second his captors are distracted, he rips the knife out and turns the tables on them, and while his hand is scarred for the rest of the game, his injury doesn't appear to bother him a bit.
    • Fergus' bladder may qualify - he's had to pee since the trip to Kinloss, before almost getting another chance shortly before arriving at Deathshead's compound, before flak interrupted.
  • Mechanical Monster: You fight a Panzerhund, a giant robotic dog, as a mini-boss towards the end of the Castle Wolfenstein arc of the game.
  • Mundane Utility: BJ's new pipes can be used as shivs, a bludgeon, climbing axes, a pry bar... or to smash open boxes.
  • Mystical Plague: The cause of the Zombie Apocalypse in Wulfburg is a blend of this and a Synthetic Plague, being a product of occult science and alchemy and manifesting as a sickly green gas that alternates between killing upon exposure and reanimating the body afterwards to being effectively inert as long as the person's alive, but the moment their heart stops...
  • Mr. Fanservice: The splash screen shows B.J. kicking a Nazi while shirtless, showing every inch of his muscle-bound chest. Justified in that B.J. spends most of the first third of the game shirtless after having his fake Nazi uniform confiscated after being captured.
  • Mythology Gag: The scene where B.J. (while trying to speak German) inadvertently calls himself a hot dog in front of an amused Jäger and the checkpoint officer may be a reference to how the original Guard enemy's shout of "Achtung!" was commonly mondegreened by players as "Hot dog!"
  • Nazi Gold: Returns as a form of collectible. This time around, it's not used as currency, it just looks pretty and is achievement-bait.
  • No-Gear Level: Once again, BJ is captured and forced to escape from the titular castle, this time starting only with some lengths of pipe as weapons. It's actually quite a while before any weapons are found that the player can hold onto - the supersoldaten have MG46 machine guns, but they must be dropped when they run out of ammo or the player progresses to a new area.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: The non-violent, student-centred anti-Nazi movement that Ludwig's wife Sophie belonged to is based off of the White Rose, down to Sophie sharing her name with Sophie Scholl, and being executed alongside two other members.
  • No Swastikas: Played straight with trailers and the German version of the game to avoid being banned. For uncensored versions of the game, this trope is averted.
  • Nostalgia Level: Hidden in each main chapter is a mattress that, when used, puts you into a level from Wolfenstein 3-D's first episode. This also means that the E1M1 easter egg from The New Order returns only this time, taking the level's secret exit doesn't put you back in the main game, but actually loads the secret E1M10 level instead. And yes, you get to fight a very retro, very 2D Hans Grosse.
  • One Steve Limit: Apparently averted, as the Kessler who appears here doesn't seem to be the same Kessler from Return to Castle Wolfenstein, as he and B.J. don't seem to know each other, despite B.J. mentioning other events from Return to Castle Wolfenstein (namely Deathshead's X-Labs) at other points in the game. Also, Helga von Schabbs has nothing to do with Return to Castle Wolfenstein's Helga von Bulow, nor is there any connection mentioned between her and Dr. Schabbs from Wolfenstein 3D.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Anyone who dies in Wulfburg while the alchemical gas is active immediately turns into a zombie, which are referred to as "shamblers" in-game. You'll often shoot enemy soldiers and see them turn the moment you take away their final hit point. The shamblers are also all on fire as a result of the zombification process making them burning hot instead of deathly cold, and some retain enough intelligence to fire upon you, although their rudimentary motor skills are shot to the point that they simply just spray sporadically in your direction.
  • Pipe Pain: For a melee weapon, the player gains a pipe that can break into two pieces. The shorter, bottom piece has a sharpened tip and can be used as a shiv, and the longer piece has an 90-degree elbow pipe fitting and can be used a club. B.J. uses it to do everything from climbing certain walls, to takedowns, to amateur demolition, to propping open doors so he can power-slide under them.
  • Powered Armor: Rudi Jäger wears one of Deathshead's prototype suits of armor for his boss fight.
  • Rock Beats Laser: The game could be summarized as "the latest in Nazi military technology, beaten by a metal pipe".
  • Raising the Steaks: On two occasions while fighting his way through a burning and zombie infested Wulfburg, B.J. is forced to fend off attacks from reanimated Kampfhunds who had the unfortunate circumstance of perishing in areas where the gas could affect their corpses.]]
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: BJ can take some advantage of the zombification gas in the latter part of the game by killing some of a group of clustered enemies, causing the remainder to have to deal with the newly created zombies.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Throughout The Old Blood, you are constantly reminded of the critical importance of locating Helga's folder, since it contains the location of Deathshead's compound, giving the Allies one final chance of winning the war. The game ends with B.J. on the truck taking him to the RAF airfield where the invasion force in charge of assaulting the compound is being assembled. Those who played The New Order know that the invasion will be a total failure and that the Nazis win the war.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: You can dual-wield the Schockhammer, a double-barreled automatic shotgun, and wield a sawed-off double-barrel shotgun in the second half of the game. Both are excellent weapons for killing the Shamblers.
  • Shoot the Dog: Castle Wolfenstein is filled with multiple opportunities to stab dogs. Mostly because they're cybernetically enhanced monsters that will rip B.J. to bits if the alarm sounds, but most of them are asleep and don't have a good sense of smell. You can also shoot dogs in the 3D Nightmare levels.
  • Shoot the Medic First: As with their 1960 counterparts, commanders are capable of summoning countless numbers of other troops as reinforcements, making eliminating them a priority.
  • Shout-Out: Positively dripping with easter eggs:
    • Right at the beginning of the game, look down. The keyring on the jeep Wesley's driving is shaped like the rocket launcher from Quake III: Arena.
    • You can find Nuka-Cola in the vending machines at the gondola station in the prologue.
    • The iconic helmet of the Dragonborn can be found in Helga von Schabbs' office. It even gives you 11 armor in a reference to Skyrim's release date being 11/11/2011.
    • There's a Cacodemon chew toy in Rudi Jäger's room.
    • Multiple references to the Cthulhu Mythos:
    • A photo in Helga von Schabb's office shows herself and a hunting party standing over the corpse of a massive ape.
    • The Old Blood continues the thematic references to Inglourious Basterds, with the game being divided into two parts with subsequent chapters that sound liked something ripped straight out of Quentin Tarantino's war film ("Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves" and "The Dark Secrets of Helga von Schabbs", for reference). The game is also peppered with hidden Seinfeldian Conversations with topics that range from the proper usage of German grammar to wine to artwork.
    • In Chapter 3, B.J. can fool around with a skull in Rudi Jäger's office and briefly do the Alas, Poor Yorick scene from Hamlet.
    • While B.J. is escaping the cell blocks, a pair of guards can be overheard discussing the SS Paranormal Division. One says he joined thinking they'd be looking for the Holy Grail.
    • BJ infiltrating an alpine mountain fortress, being captured, and escaping and finding short-lived refuge in the rural village below is reminiscent of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. No skiing, though.
    • Once again, the Cable-Car Action Sequence can be directly traced back to Ur-Example Where Eagles Dare.
    • A very subtle one can be found in the chapter where you escape your cell - when your only weapon is the pipe. On the floor, nearby one of the generators, you can find a pipe wrench and a crowbar.
  • Sniper Pistol: You can pick off an enemy from an absurd distance with a silenced pistol. As B.J. might say, "Fuck you, physics."
  • Stealth Pun: A Nazi soldier argues with his comrade over the correct grammatical use of lay and lie. A Grammar Nazi if you will!
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Not as bad as in New Order, but still, enough to put the Allies on the losing front. Advanced guns of all kinds, new heavy armor, cybernetic modification to create the Kampfhund, Panzerhund and Supersoldaten creatures...
  • Survival Mantra: As in New Order, "Count to four, inhale, count to four, exhale." This time, however, it's used by Wesley/Agent One during his torture, and he teaches it to B.J. just before he dies.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: It really wouldn't be a Wolfenstein game without them.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Wulfburg.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: After being captured and imprisoned by the Nazis in the prologue, B.J. has no shirt on for at least two-thirds of the game until he reaches Pippa's house. Pippa offers him a shirt, but admits she's more than happy to watch BJ go about shirtless.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: Wulfburg is surrounded by these. When the zombie apocalypse starts, one can see that they're in disarray, and Nazi shamblers constantly fall from them. One even crashes from the sky in flames.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: After Helga breaches the dig site, she unleashes a greenish gas that reanimates those killed by the resulting earthquake into burning zombies that stalk the desolate streets and kill anyone they come across. Anybody they kill also instantaneously becomes one of them provided enough gas is in the air, and that should tell you how utterly fucked Wulfburg is.