Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a sequel to the early, seminal first-person shooter, Wolfenstein 3D. However, with the advances in graphics technology and gameplay design since the original game, without the name and the occasional in-game references, it might be unrecognizable as a part of the series.

It features a story-based single player campaign (taking up many of the themes from the original game), as well as a team-based networked multiplayer version which features different character classes that must work together in order to win, similar to the concept of Team Fortress. Although there are only four classes - lieutenant, medic, engineer, and soldier - the soldier can be one of several subclasses depending upon the special/heavy weapon that he selects. Some unique weapons not found in other WWII-themed first-person shooters include the airstrike beacon. The multiplayer demo included a beachhead assault map similar to the opening of the movie Saving Private Ryan.

Wolfenstein is well worth it for the multiplayer game alone, so the fact that you get a solid single-player game in the box can only be considered a bonus.

Wolfenstein borrows much of its structure from No One Live Forever, last year's best shooter. Like NOLF, Wolfenstein is primarily a run-and-gun shooter with some stealth sections mixed in. It also features enemy guards engaged in conversations as you approach them, a largely defensive AI for those guards, and between-level cutscenes that recount meetings between your superiors back at home base. Unfortunately, the dialogue in Wolfenstein is not nearly as sharp as that of NOLF. The overheard conversations never manage to rise to the level of humor displayed in NOLF, and the game fails to create any memorable characters--not even the game's own hero, B.J. Blazkowicz, who never says a word. The between-mission cutscenes are especially tedious; they're long and visually and dramatically uninteresting.


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