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  • Adaptation Displacement: Few people are familiar with the original Castle Wolfenstein.
  • Adorkable: B.J his moments.
    • One example in The Old Blood has him pulling an Alas, Poor Yorick on a skull he finds in Rudi's room, only accidentally drop it and awkwardly place it back on the desk he found it on. Then there's him trying to use that coffee machine on the train...
    • After being gifted with a new Super Soldier body to replace his old, dying one, B.J. becomes a lot more enthusiastic and cheerful. At one point he excitedly presents Set Roth with a couple of defeated Nazi robots, and seems disappointed when Set is too busy focused on something else to share his enthusiasm, making him come off like a kid showing off some cool new toys he found.
  • Anti-Climax:
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    • E2M7 seems like one at first, with the player able to get to the elevator in only a few minutes while only killing three enemies. That's because most of the level is part of an extensive hidden area that leads to three extra lives and a ton of treasure.
    • E3M7 is also an easy level for how late in the episode it is. There is a hidden maze that occupies about 3/4 of the level, leading to a treasure and extra-life cache, as well as a super-secret exit to a bizarre bonus level.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Otto Giftmacher of Episode 4, level 9. He's by far the easiest boss in the entire game due to him carrying a Rocket Launcher as his only weapon and his rockets don't have the hitscan ability that the other guns possess, while the relatively slow velocity of the rockets make them pretty easy to dodge. For comparison, his projectiles are way slower than Dr. Schabb's syringes and on "Death Incarnate" he has much less health than Schabbs too.
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    • To a lesser degree, Grettel Grosse can feel this way, due to being a re-skin of Hans Grosse. The level has plenty of cover, and your experience fighting Hans makes it easy to shoot-and-hide repeatedly until she dies. Just be careful not to die to the surprise party behind the exit door.
  • Breather Level:
    • The whole of Episode 5, while hardly a cakewalk, is much less maze-like and more straightforward than the episode before and after it. Offsetting this simplicity, the episode occasionally has you encounter rooms packed with a staggering amount of guards, making the episode have a more action-oriented experience rather than a puzzle-like one. One of the reasons for this is the episode was designed exclusively by John Romero and his design philosophy was to have levels that are oriented around a central hub, providing a sense of direction. As a result, the John Romero episode is one of the most highly-regarded parts of the game and in a way, was a precursor to one of Romero's most famous works, the Knee-Deep in the Dead episode for Doom which he solely designed with the exception of the final level.
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    • Episode 6, level 8. After the torturous labyrinthine nightmare that was the previous level (see below), the map in this level is almost ridiculously straightforward. It seems that the developers were being merciful to the players who had suffered finding their way to the exit of the previous level. The only problem to consider here in this level is the few amount of health pickups scattered around, which can be daunting if you play the harder difficulty levels, unless you happen to stumble upon the secret areas.
  • Catharsis Factor: You get to kill Hitler. Horribly inaccurate? Yes, but you get to kill Hitler! Bonus points as he doesn't just bleed and fall over like every other boss but instead explodes into a pile of gore.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • The mutants, especially in groups of three or more. Mutants do not make a noise when alerted. They can also shoot you in a split-second, and they will aggressively shoot at you in tandem. They also deal a ton of damage, even from across the room.

      Every other enemy in the game will make a noise when they see you and take a second to aim their weapon before shooting you. Ports of the game outside of DOS nerfed their damage calculation (otherwise, fighting them with a game-pad console would be infuriating, due to slowed turning speed).
    • The Officers can be just as bad. While they don't take much and are a little slower on the draw than the mutants, they hit rather hard and they're the fastest human mooks in the game. In groups, they can bring out the pain, and/or force you to retreat if they have SS or Mutants backing them up.
  • Faux Symbolism: Take a look at the maps of Episode 2, level 5 and Episode 6, level 3.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • For the patient players playing the DOS port, it is possible to safely clear out many rooms of guards by diagonally stabbing the knife into a doorway note  as the Nazis dutifully come through single-file to their deaths. It is a sound strategy for 100% Completion on E4M10 due to the overwhelming number of officers in the area.note 
    • The Macintosh-Family ports and their derivatives added two new weapons: A flamethrower and Rocket Launcher which behave like a plasma gun and rocket-rail-gun respectively. If you use them well, they can decisively mow down a horde of Nazis in seconds, and bring the pain to the bosses as well. It seems the game wasn't balanced around their inclusion and they make some fights a bit too easy.
  • Genius Bonus: One of the soundtracks in Episodes 3 and 6 has a Morse Code message in the background:
    TO: BIG BAD WOLF
    DE: LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
    ELIMINATE HITLER
    IMPERATIVE: COMPLETE MISSION WITHIN 24 HOURS
    OUT
  • Genius Programming: As Ronnie of Digressing and Sidequesting attests to, the game's use of Raycasting gives the illusion of 3D in a game that's actually as 2D as Super Mario World.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: For obvious reasons, this game was very popular in Israel during The '90s.
  • It Was His Sled: The last boss is a Stupid Jetpack Hitler, to the point where he’s used on the trope’s page.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Mein Leben!"
    • "GET PSYCHED!"
  • Narm: The voice acting for the DOS release of Wolf 3-D can be So Bad, It's Good, due the the non-native German lines spoken in the game.
  • Nightmare Fuel: A given, as this was a game that takes place during The Holocaust. Throughout the levels, you'll see piles of bones or puddles of blood/urine on the floor,note  bloodshed on the walls, decayed corpses inside of jail cells and even full skeletons of murdered captives in cages.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • Hearing a door open and you didn't open it. They're coming for you, somewhere...
    • Some of the music. Especially the distinct and ominous boss music. Any door you open could lead straight to the boss and they won't stop chasing you until either you, or they die.
  • Polished Port: The Macintosh port. Based on the SNES port, minus its bowdlerization, but retaining its automap feature, and additional weapons - this version in particular also boasted a complete graphical and auditory overhaul (With the Atari Jaguar port's sprites and textures which were redrawn at twice the resolution of the original DOS version). But at the same time, enemies had their directional sprites removed, incidentally removing their ability to patrol around levels and be stealthily killed, and Bobby Prince's memorable soundtrack is replaced with Brian Luzietti's rather blander, military sounding one. Todd Dennis' compositions on the 3DO shows off an orchestral soundtrack that definitely top Luzietti's ones.
  • Porting Disaster: The SNES version. Besides removing all the blood and Nazi references, the port suffered from awful graphics, low FPS that makes it virtually unplayable at times, horrible controls, simplified level design, enemies that can't be sneaked up on because they always face the player, and bad sound effects.
    • The GBA port was more mangled than the DOOM port despite using a less complex game engine. For example, though the GBA ports of Doom and Doom II manage to retain most of their soundtracks, some form of programming error means that music simply does not play in Wolfenstein unless you tinker with emulator settings. Those playing on original hardware are screwed.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Naturally, being the game that more-or-less set the template for the first person shooter genre, it's a given that the game has fallen victim to this. In fact, it's a common complaint of newer reviews (especially the GBA, which had the problems listed above):
    • The biggest thing that makes this game hard to appreciate is how there is no variety in the environments — every single room looks exactly the same, making it very difficult to tell where you have and haven't been if it weren't for the enemies you killed lying on the floor.
    • The other thing is the fact that Doom came out only a few years after and basically took every innovation this game made and improved upon it and just about every way, on top of introducing innovations all of its own, which can make this game feel very underwhelming by comparison. While Doom isn't free from this reaction either, most people can agree that it helped work out a lot of the kinks in Wolfenstein's concepts and arguably holds up much better.
    • Even among fans of "classic"-style shooters, it tends to suffer, due to its wonky pseudo-stealth elements and emphasis on Hitscan. Of course, Wolfenstein came out long before FPS designers had realized the difficulties hitscanner enemies tend to impose.
  • Sequel Displacement: Almost everyone thinks 3D was the first game in the series, but it's actually the third. Muse Software released two Castle Wolfenstein games in the early 80s.
  • Signature Scene: The battle with Hitler at the end of Episode 3.
  • That One Boss: The Death Knight in Spear of Destiny. It doesn't help that both he and the entire stage is surrounded by absolute swarms of regular mooks either.
  • That One Level:
    • The entirety of Episode 2 because of the mutants. Levels 4 and 6 start out with one (although this is true for the latter on the higher difficulties) facing you as soon as you begin, and if you don't have a Machine Gun or Chain Gun with you, you're screwed. Particularly, the fourth level is notable for having the highest amount of these damned mooks, which can be a daunting challenge if you play at the higher difficulty settings.
      • Episode 2, level 8 is yet another notorious map. Not just because of the mutants (and the regular sections are actually not that confusing), but because of a secret area that leads to an insane amount of pushable walls that seem to go nowhere and showing birdcage-sized room after birdcage-sized room in a labyrinthine concoction of monotony; varying with either nothing or collectibles. Also, there are TWO doppelgangers of Hans Grosse hiding in one of these rooms; the first being located at the center of the labyrinth, and the second located at the northeastern part of this monotonous maze. The main reason for these insane amount of secret walls is to find the elusive Easter Egg secret that contains a sign that says "CALL APOGEE, SAY AARDWOLF". Unfortunately, this is only featured in the original 1992 version of this game; later versions will just replace it with a pile of skeletons, rendering the search for the sign completely out of the question.
    • Episode 3, level 8 is a huge pain in the ass, with lots and lots of ambushes. The biggest offender, though, is the giant swastika room at the start, along with the rooms surrounding it, all swarming with Officers and SS soldiers. Make even the slightest noise, and they all converge on you at once from all directions (with even a few enemies from adjacent rooms joining in.) And even if you think you've killed them all, the rooms are set up to stagger their arrival, so there's probably still one or two more wandering around, waiting to get you when your back is turned.
    • Episode 4, level 5 itself is quite manageable in difficulty, but the map is rather rude because a key to finish the level can only be gained by a mandatory secret that isn't obvious. If you don't have a map of the level, then you'll probably be stuck smacking every wall until you finally locate the key.
    • Episode 6, level 1 is particularly fearsome for a starting level. The map is comprised of some ridiculously long stretches of hallways that have perpendicular corridors which almost always contain an Officer to ambush you when you least expect it. It gets worse on the harder difficulties where if you're not careful, you can expect to lose at least more than half of your health due to how damage calculation is indicative on those settings. And these corridors-with-perpendicular niches compose a good third of the entire map, meaning you had best tread carefully if you want to make it out alive. Fortunately, after that part of the map, the hallways become far less confusing and more linear, but you still have to look out for yourself because of the sheer number of mooks that will come to greet you.
    • Episode 6, level 6, the one level just before the infamous seventh one. While the map isn't particularly as dauntingly sizable compared to the very level that comes after it, it more than makes up for it with its confusingly asymmetrical corridors that can haze your progress to get to the critical locations. Add to the fact that there are unexpected ambushes lying around these corridors and the dangerously acute awareness of the mooks once you open fire, and you've got a rather unforgiving level to complete.
    • Episode 6, level 7 has a bad reputation as well. It really helps to see a 2D map of the level to understand why. Add in the over 140 soldiers in the map and be prepared for unexpected ambushes that can easily drain half your health.
    • Episode 6, level 9 from the original game and levels 16 and 18 from Spear of Destiny qualify, due to the swarms of guards (including mutants) that occupy the rooms of level 16, and the Death Knight in level 18 plus the fact that you start in a very disadvantageous room with mutants guarding the exits to safer ground.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • The Mutant gained much infamy not just because they're difficult to fight, but because of how they can start firing their weapon without a draw animation to warn you to take cover. Even at long range, the game's damage calculations can cause you to take significant damage and they always fire off two shots as long as they can see you. Fortunately, they only appear in Episode 2, the secret level of Episode 6, and a select few levels of Spear of Destiny but the contrast between levels with and without Mutants can be noticeable. Fortunately, in ports of the game, the Mutants are usually nerfed to attack more slowly and thus show up more frequently.
    • The maze-like levels can also be cited as some of the low points of the series. E6M1 is one example of a map that can be difficult for the wrong reasons, as you must traverse what is almost a labyrinth of niches — almost each one occupied by an Officer — to reach the exit room visible from the starting area. The original version of this level could be time-consuming just from slowly making your way through to kill each officer without getting shot in the face. Fortunately, ports of Wolf 3d usually use a much simpler version of this level.
    • E6M7 gained an infamy just from the sheer confusion that its maze provides. You've got a central hub where you need to obtain all the keys to open the exit, otherwise you can reach the end and will find yourself unable to open the exit. The problem is, navigating the maze without having a map handy, unless you print one onto a sheet of paper to follow. Yet another map that was greatly simplified in ports of the game.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: The Spear of Destiny prequel and its mission packs each have you battle a demon in order to prove that you are worthy of wielding the titular spear (which you've already collected at that point). Wouldn't it be more interesting if you actually used the spear, which is a holy relic with many religious affiliations, to fight those demons? Apparently the people behind the motion comic tie-ins to the 2009 game thought so, since they depict B.J. as using the spear to kill the Angel of Death.
  • Unwinnable by Insanity: In certain places, such as the health room in E2M9 (Schabbs level), you can push a secret wall and then quickly run into the square it is destined for. If you succeed, the wall parks on top of you. Congratulations! You are now stuck in a wall, totally immobilised, treated with a view of broken vertical lines and with enemies unable to shoot you, hence no way of dying or progressing.
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