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I'm old enough and have been in computers long enough to remember not only id's Wolfenstein 3D, but also the old Apple ][ Castle Wolfenstein.  Both were stand-out games for their time and were a lot of fun.

On its own, this is a pretty good FPS.  There's a fairly wide range of locations, from inside a castle, to out on an airfield, to outside a villa at night.  Some decent weapons, including a coupla different sniper rifles and a mini-gun.  The flamethrower is particularly well done.  The AI seemed pretty good to me, in general.

Most of the levels were very linear.  That's especially apparent in the castle levels.  There are all these door-looking textures that don't go anywhere.  Even the ones that do open are usually just off-shoots from the main track.  Normally, that's not a big deal to me.  But for some reason it stood out several times in this game.  It's hard not to compare this to Half-Life.  While HL was pretty linear, somehow it didn't often feel like it was.

A couple of levels that did allow some roaming prompted a lot of back-tracking.   Mostly because it was a little difficult to keep track of where I was.  The entire levels looked nearly identical.  They looked good, but there wasn't a lot of distinction of one room from another.  I had to pass the same spot a few times before I was able to put it in place amongst all the others.

This game kept track of how often I had to attempt a level before solving it.   IOW, how many times I loaded a saved position.  I kept forgetting to look at that stat, but I do know that one level prompted at least 45 attempts.  I wouldn't be surprised to learn some took even more than that.

One was a boss level.  You have to take on a super-soldier.  He has a coupla instant-hit weapons, so circle-strafing doesn't work.  He ends up cutting you down pretty quickly.  There's one area you can hide in while keeping an eye on the bad guy, but I still kept getting hit often enough that I couldn't last it out.  In the end, I got lucky and found a spot behind a pillar that caused the AI to cycle.  He'd start one way around the pillar, then hit a spot where he decided to go the other way.   He'd move a little ways back and then start all over.  Meanwhile, I could plink away at him as he partially appeared around the corner.  Eventually, I killed him.

There was another boss I had to get past that took a bunch of tries.  I give it a bunch of attempts before resorting to a walkthru.  With this guy I never really had time to look around to try to figure the trick out myself.  Finally, I broke down and looked at the walkthru.  It turned out, there was a little bridge that he walked across that I could shoot out with a panzerfaust.  Unfortunately, it took another coupla dozen attempts before I figured out how to get him across that bridge.  It appeared to me that I had to hide on the left side of the fissure in order to entice him over that way.  Instead, I was supposed to hide on the right and he'd go left on his own.  That was pretty frustrating, to have part of the clue and still not be able to solve the puzzle.

Most of the rest of the restarts were when I lost a lot of health on my first foray into a room.  I'd go back and clear the room again, using my previous knowledge to save on health and ammo.  But there were sections, especially against large contingents of crack troops, when I had to try again and again before figuring out a defect in their AI that I could take advantage of.

Interestingly, the final boss wasn't all that hard to kill.  I knocked out his minions with the flamethrower and then just circle-strafed him until he was dead.  I think it only took three or four attempts.

I think the first boss, the super-soldier in a big room with some health and armor on the sides, was supposed to be reminiscent of the guy at the end of episode 1 of Wolf 3D.   Unfortunately, this new one didn't have the incredibly gleeful "Gutentag!" that greeted you when you found that older one.  And that sort of thing was a disappointment through the entire game.  I kept hoping for sounds from the original.   Things like the guards yelling, "Mein Leiben!" when you shot them, or maybe even the same "Achtung!" when they saw you. IOW, more sights and sounds reminiscent of the old game.  I don't ever remember getting that feeling while playing this game.

I had a really hard time finding the walkthru for this game, so here it is.

Overall, it's a decent FPS.  It wasn't as nostalgic as I had hoped.  On my brother's Game Total Value Scale, Threat of Sleep Loss.

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Last modified: January 25, 2003
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