Wolfenstein Wiki

The Knife is one of the weapons used in Wolfenstein 3D. The player spawns with it and the Pistol every time they either start a new game or die. Like the Pistol, you cannot hold down the fire key to continuously attack.


The Knife is much less useful than the Pistol. It only does damage when you get right in front of an enemy, but enemies can do the most damage to you at point-blank range. In addition, you'll probably get shot once or twice while running to an enemy. If you run out of ammo, retreat and find more instead of trying to stab the enemy to death. It deals 1-16 HP of damage, so you need at least 2 hits to kill a Guard.

If you have to use the Knife on an enemy, make sure to hit the fire key as fast as possible so that the enemy has little chance of firing back. When dealing with a single enemy that is aware of you, a good strategy is to wait around a corner and attack them when they come round.

If you have no ammo during any boss fight (including the 'ammo rooms' that can be found usually within secrets), then the best way to deal with them is to get on the opposite side of the boss around a small island and quickly run out and stab them several times. When the sprite animation of the boss about to attack shows up, quickly run back behind the island and wait for the boss to stop attacking, then repeat.

It is surprisingly useful against Dogs. One hit will kill a Dog, and Dogs will only attack when they get in melee range.

Damage calculation[]

Damage done by the knife is calculated in a simple way.[1] rand is a pseudo-randomly-generated integer between (and including) 0-255.[2]

Note the floor function around the division—due to the use of bit shift rather than true division, the output is rounded down. The maximum damage (255/16) is therefore 15 rather than 15.9375. The minimum is zero, even with a successful hit.



  1. WOLFSRC/WL_AGENT.C from the Wolfenstein 3D source code on github.com, line 1133
  2. WOLFSRC/ID_US_A.ASM from the Wolfenstein 3D source code on github.com