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Wolfenstein 3D (often shortened to Wolfenstein and Wolf3D) is a first-person shooter developed by id Software and originally published by Apogee Software. The game is set during World War II, as the player controls a captured American spy named B.J. Blazkowicz. The game was originally released on May 5, 1992 for MS-DOS, but later ported to multiple other systems. The general gameplay is that of a maze-like layout where the player ran around collecting guns, ammo and treasure. The game originally included only 3 episodes, but later was enhanced by 3 more prequel episodes, known as the Nocturnal Missions.

Starting with the SNES port, later releases based on the DOS one had a different set of missions. These became part of what is known as the Original Encounter/1st Encounter/2nd Encounter/The Claw of Eisenfaust and is a prequel to the original game, however its story is largely ambitious and changes from platform to platform.


Early version of the main screen.

Id Software created Wolfenstein 3D after pioneering a 3D game engine used in Hovertank 3D and Catacomb 3-D. The game was inspired by the older games Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein for the Commodore 64, Apple II, and DOS, which were stealth-based and controlled in a top-down view. However, both games have no other relation to the current Wolfenstein franchise. It is considered the grandfather of the First-Person Shooter genre as it all started from here.

At an early stage the game was planned on being closer in style to its two-dimensional predecessors: it originally incorporated stealth like the original Castle Wolfenstein; hiding bodies, reusing uniforms, and sneaking past guards without shooting. However, they soon realized that the brutal and rapid nature of it was better for ‘just a blasting-action game’ like its predecessors Catacombs 3D. After stealth was cut, Tom Hall fought for the inclusion of secrets, reasoning that they would provide both a quick break from killing enemies and a little depth to the maze-like exploration.[1]


In Wolfenstein 3D, the player controls B.J. Blazkowicz, an American spy during World War II. The game is divided into two sections: the primary episodes 1, 2, and 3, and the prequel Nocturnal Missions, the episodes 4 through 6, which take place chronologically before the first three episodes. In the Mac/IIGS port these 6 episodes are collectively known as the 3rd Encounter.

Episode 1: Escape from Castle Wolfenstein[]

Main article: Episode 1

In events leading up to the game, B.J. has been captured and taken to the lowest levels of Castle Wolfenstein's dungeons. The game starts with the protagonist having killed a Nazi guard that was keeping his cell after pretending to share information in return for medical attention, and takes a pistol and a knife from the corpse. He then has to proceed with fighting his way out of the dungeons and up through the castle. Finally he reaches the end of the castle and is forced to battle Hans Grösse, a Nazi enforcer in charge of castle protection. As B.J. had already killed his brother and sister in Spear of Destiny and the Nocturnal Missions, Hans is delighted to fight. However, like the others, he is no match for Blazkowicz, who successfully escapes from Wolfenstein.

Episode 2: Operation Eisenfaust[]

Main article: Episode 2

Upon his escape, B.J. is tasked to thwart Operation Eisenfaust, a Nazi project spearheaded by one of their top scientists, Dr. Schabbs. Its purpose is to create an army of zombie mutant super soldiers, whom B.J. had already battled in the past (even destroying a stronger experimental version, an Übermutant). B.J. fights through Nazi forces, reaches Schabbs' lab and assassinates the mad doctor.

Episode 3: Die, Fuhrer, Die![]

Main article: Episode 3

Chronologically, this is the final mission of B.J. The brave agent moves on to the fuhrerbunker in Berlin to assassinate none other than Adolf Hitler himself and stop the War. After killing Hitler's elite forces and entering his floor, B.J. must overcome Hitler's apparent occult hellish powers, presented in the form of Fake Hitlers. In the final battle, Adolf Hitler appears in a mechanical suit of power armor with four chain guns. However, the Fuhrer failed to overcome B.J. and ended up being killed by him.

Episode 4: Dark Secret[]

Main article: Episode 4

There are 3 prequel chapters named Nocturnal Missions in which B.J. Blazkowicz goes after General Fettgesicht, a Nazi general planning to use chemical weapons created by Nazi scientist Otto Giftmacher. This is chronologically the first episode of Wolfenstein 3D, where B.J. goes after the brain behind the chemical weapons - Otto Giftmacher. The episode concludes with Otto dead and B.J. heading to find out Fettgesicht's location.

Episode 5: Trail of the Madman[]

Main article: Episode 5

After defeating Otto Giftmacher, B.J. needs to find out where the general is, and battles his way through the dungeons of Castle Erlangen, looking for the secret Nazi plans, and walks straight into an ambush by Gretel Grosse, a female Nazi enforcer and sister of Hans Grosse. After killing Gretel, B.J. captures important documents detailing General Fettgesicht's location.

Episode 6: Confrontation[]

Main article: Episode 6

B.J. is finally tasked with killing General Fettgesicht at the Offenbach military installation, ending his chemical warfare campaign. Despite heavy enemy presence, B.J. is able to locate the general and kill him, thus bringing an end to Nazi chemical program.


Current World Records[]

As of 27 May 2021, these are the current speedrun world records for the game found on speedrun.com:[2]

Can I Play Daddy any-percent speedruns:

Levels Player  Time (mm:ss) Platform/Port
Episode 1: Escape from Castle Wolfenstein Shinboy 02:39 PC/ECWolf
Episode 2: Operation: Eisenfaust Shinboy 03:48 PC/ECWolf
Episode 3: Die, Fuhrer, Die! Shinboy 02:58 PC/ECWolf
Episode 4: A Dark Secret Shinboy 03:44 PC/ECWolf
Episode 5: Trail of the Madman Shinboy 02:52 PC/ECWolf
Episode 6: Confrontation Shinboy 05:43 PC/ECWolf

I am death incarnate any-percent speedruns:

Levels Player  Time (mm:ss) Platform/Port
Episode 1: Escape from Castle Wolfenstein CapnClever 03:16 PC/DOSBox
Episode 2: Operation: Eisenfaust CapnClever 04:37 PC/DOSBox
Episode 3: Die, Fuhrer, Die! CapnClever 04:25 PC/DOSBox
Episode 4: A Dark Secret CapnClever 06:09 PC/DOSBox
Episode 5: Trail of the Madman CapnClever 04:22 PC/DOSBox
Episode 6: Confrontation CapnClever 07:37 PC/DOSBox

Overall, Wolfenstein 3D has not been a very popular game for speedruns as seen by lack of submissions on speedrun.com and the amount of runs found on YouTube.


Main article: Ports of Wolfenstein 3D

The game was originally released for MS-DOS and NeXTSTEP, but has since been released on multiple other systems such as the Macintosh, Apple IIGS, Acorn Archimedes, NEC PC-9801, SNES, Jaguar, and GBA. For the twentieth anniversary of the game, an HTML5 port was released on the Wolfenstein website.

  • The SNES port is actually an original game and campaign. It has an entirely different storyline that actually could make Return to Castle Wolfenstein and the 2009 Wolfenstein game part of an ongoing series (see The Claw of Eisenfaust transcript).
    • It's impossible to sneak up on enemies since they lack sprites for directions besides forwards.
    • Dogs are replaced with rats as part of Nintendo's censorship policy.
    • Hitler is replaced by the Staatmeister (State Master in English), though the battle is still the same.
    • Nazi Germany is called the "Master State."
    • Castle Wolfenstein is also not the first castle in the SNES port, it is instead the last castle you attack as part of a six chapter mission series.
  • The Atari Jaguar port has new textures and enemy sprites. It contains the original story from the SNES version but is uncensored.
    • The graphics for walls, enemies, and other objects do not become blocky or chunky at close range, a problem that the SNES & MS-DOS suffer from.
    • The Jaguar version uses the Doom Chaingun and Rocket laucher sprites. The backpacks are also taken from Doom.
  • The iPhone port, when it first came out, stuck to the original PC artwork. After receiving complaints from users, the weapon graphics were upgraded to the higher-res Mac Family graphics.
  • In the Xbox 360 and PS3 ports, the Pac-Man ghosts were replaced with Fake Hitlers possibly due to copyright issues. However, Blinky is still present in E6L10.
  • The HTML5 port features the original 3 episodes.
    • The player is allowed to start from any level they choose.
    • The Nocturnal Missions (episodes 4-6) are not included.
    • It features the same music as the original game, except it is played with higher quality instruments.
  • The Acorn port features a unique James Bond parody in the intro of the game.


  • As Wolfenstein 3D was approaching its release, the artists showed everybody the manual that they had designed. As Robert Prince read it, he noticed that rather than using the term ‘Nazi’ for enemies, they used ‘German.’ He said something to the effect that this demonym included many folks who opposed what the Nazis did, and they would dislike being the enemy in the game. Upon reflection, the designers came to agree with Prince's argument and altered the manual accordingly.[3]
  • The GOG and Steam releases of Wolfenstein 3D is the "Activision" branded version of the game, unlike in the Xbox 360 and PS3 releases, released by Bethesda.

See also[]

External links[]


  1. Interview with Tom Hall where he stated, ‘Initially, it incorporated stealth, like the original Castle Wolfenstein; kill guard, drag body out of sight, take their uniform, sneak past guards without shooting, but we soon realized the brutal, fast nature of it was better for just a blasting-action game, like it’s [sic] little predecessor, Catacombs 3D. I’m glad we got pushwalls and thus secret areas in the game – you have to have that 10% thing you do apart from the main type of gameplay. If you hate seeing pots and pans hanging there turning this square room into 'kitchen', blame me. If you like pushwalls, you can give me some props for that. I really fought to have those.
  2. Wolfenstein 3D - speedrun.com.
  3. Journal post by Robert Prince where he stated, ‘When Wolfenstein 3D was getting close to release, the artists showed everyone the game manual they had designed. It was impressive work. I looked it over and read it. Something jumped out at me. Instead of using the word "Nazi" for the enemy, they had used the word "German." I said something to the effect that "German" included many people that did not support what the Nazis did, so those German people would not like being the enemy in the game. They got what I was saying and changed the term. They were willing to listen to what I had to say though it was not about music/sound effects.