back to article id Software Wolfenstein 3D

With the EDL taking the opportunity to whip up support after the latest riots, it seems a fitting time to resurrect the memory of shooting fascists. Indeed, it must be heartwarming for id Software to know it invented the gaming genre that is now outselling porn: Wolfenstein 3D was the definitive first-person shooter. …


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  1. gribbler


    I remember spending hours and hours playing this as a kid, great fun. They don't make 'em like this anymore - in fact all the latest first person shooters are just too hard for me!

  2. LuMan
    Thumb Up


    Wolfenstein 3D for DOS is still available for $15??!! Really?? Hasn't everyone downloaded it for free yet. Seriously, though, I did think it was a freebie now.

    WRT not being able to aim vertically, there's no need. Even in Doom. The engine only requires you to aim in the horizontal direction of the baddie as the vertical component is non-existent in Wolfenstein and forced in Doom. Now, Hexen on the other hand...

    Still love the game and will play it at tea-time (like the old days).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Steam has it for $4.99...

      1. irish donkey
        Thumb Up


        Buy the ID Game pack for £20 and get all of ID's old games.

        Doom 1-3, Quake 1-3, Wolfenstein 1+2, Hexen.

        All your old favorites for £20 bargain.

  3. probedb


    I remember writing a .wad file editor for RISC OS to change everything :) Ahh them were the days.

    1. Eddie Edwards
      Thumb Up


      I remember porting it to RISC OS :)

      1. Ben Holmes
        Thumb Up

        @Eddie Edwards


        Wasted many hours playing !Wolf3D

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Excellent! @Eddie Edwards

        Great job on the conversion!!

        I wasted ages on it when I should have been doing homework!

        Found this -

    2. ElNumbre

      Duke it up...

      Yeah, I had the dos version and reinvigorated the game by applying an 'adult' patch which replaced a bunch of the textures with pictures of highly pixellated lady bits. It was great for a 14yr old lad.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    got me back into computer games...

    Happy days indeed.

    Still remember the boss on the final level - Adolf Hitler in that strange Deep Sea Diving suit thing - "Oh Eva...." in his death throes.

    Did anyone else slavishly find all the secret passages. Wasted hours ...

    1. Goat Jam

      Secret Rooms

      Yep, couldn't move on until I'd strafed along the walls of the entire level banging space bar as I went.

      Happy days!

  5. sebacoustic
    Thumb Up

    kraut comment

    As a native German, I always had a laugh when the SS soldiers scream "Bratwurst" at you. It freaked me out when Blastkowyz gained health-points from slurping up a puddle of blood somewhere.

  6. Si 1

    Still fun

    I had a lot of fun recently replaying Wolfenstein 3D on the iPhone. Certainly it's no match for titles like NOVA2 or Infinity Blade in the graphics department, but I found it very amusing listening to the varied screams that the Nazis would make as I gunned them down. Then of course there's mecha-Hitler, who was also hilarious (and difficult to kill).

    It might be dated graphically, but it's still fun to play I think (particularly on the iPhone where John Carmack has made some excellent tweaks to the gameplay).

  7. Danny 5
    Thumb Up

    i grabbed it from Xbox arcade

    Never even touched it once, as it's too dated and barely playable, but sheer nostalgia forced me to buy it (as well as Doom).

    I don't particularly like FPS games, but i had great fun back in the day playing Wolfenstein, Doom and several incarnations of Quake.

  8. Z 1
    Thumb Up

    Great game

    But my god, did it make me feel ill. Didn't stop me completing it though!

  9. KroSha


    I still remember the first time I saw Hans: "Guten Tag!" he yelled as he opened up with those chain guns and blew me to hell.

    I still play Final Doom on my PS3, and PSOne discs can be had from 99p on the tat bazaar.

  10. Alan Bourke

    I wish people would stop saying

    that Wolf 3D invented the FPS, because I remember playing multiplayer Maze War on the Macs in college in the late 80's, and that game dates from the mid 70s. So iD may have brought the genre to the masses but they didn't invent it.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Polygon games

      Not to mention all the solid poly games on the Amiga. Okay, it wasn't powerful enough for doing texture mapping (largely down to it's graphics chip being designed for smooth scrolling) but they were around years before.

      Starglider 2 and Carrier Command are a couple of examples.

      I imagine there's a lot of PC flight sims that were earlier too.

    2. Guido Esperanto

      surely some mistake

      you mention gaming and macs in the same sentence.

    3. ThomH Silver badge

      Insert obligatory Midi Maze reference here?

      And Faceball 2000 was doing first person shooting on the Gameboy before Wolfenstein 3d came along — you can't get much more mainstream than that.

      I think it's Wolfenstein that inspired most of the subsequent games though.

    4. asdf


      Didn't the Ultima series have a 3D first person out before or around same time as Wolfenstein? I remember it was slow as hell though on my machine.

  11. Iain Turnbull

    Seems a bit harsh

    Fair enough, it's dated, but I found it to still be a really enoyable nostalgia trip - I have it for my Xbox, and it gave me a couple of evenings of good entertainment while I played through it again.

  12. Simbu
    Thumb Up


    Ah, my ill-spent youth! Many an hour was enjoyed playing Wolf 3D. You've not mentioned two of my favourite aspects of the game though: finding the secrets (runnings along a wall hammering spacebar) and the ridculous noise it made when you pick up treasure!

    For future installments might i recommend the following:

    - Commander Keen

    - Raptor: COTS

  13. Mondo the Magnificent
    Thumb Up

    Retro goodness

    Man, that brings back memories

    I remember dialling up with a 9600BPS modem and downloading that from a BBS, it took an eternity

    Playing it took hours and it was just groundbreaking compared to most other games at the time

    I spent hours walking along the walls, pushing the space bar in order to reveal all those hidden tunnels. I recall finding a network of tunnels that lead to "Aarvark" being written on a wall with a number to call. Was this a mystery prize?

    My fondest memory of Wolfenstien 3D was at a friend's house, he had an AdLib sound card fitted in his 286/AT and when I pulled the trigger, the bleeps and blips were replaced by real bangs and booms. Frikkin awesome! Needless to say, I soon fitted a sound card in my 286.

    Then came the mods, the pictures of the Furher and Swastikas were replaced with photos of nekkid ladies... oh joy :¬)

    The successors like Doom, Heretic, Quake, Duke Nukem 3D and so forth left Wolfenstein 3D sidelined until the "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" was released almost a decade after the original. As great as RTCW was, it just didn't have character of the original

    Thanks El Reg for taking an old man back to those pioneering days of PC gaming,

    And thanks to American McGee and ID Siftware for raising the bar in what could be achieved on 286 and 386 machines with basic colour graphics cards..

    I think I have tears in the corners of my eyes...

  14. mark l 2 Silver badge


    "Wolfenstein 3D for DOS is still available for download from id Software for $15"

    Thats a lot to ask for a DOS game that came out nearly 20 years ago when the iOS version is only £1.49 from itunes

  15. Lottie
    Thumb Up

    I remember

    getting this as a shareware title with just the first bunch of floors. It was amazing back in the day, but I think it's one I'll leave alone for fear of tarnishing the memory.

    I also seem to remember having to use the spacebar to open various hidden areas in the walls.

    It's wonderful to see the progression from this game to Doom to DN3d to what we have today.

    Any chance of reviewing "Midwinter"? It was a pretty awesome game back in the day and did the first person thing (allbeit skiing and shooting) before Wolfenstein.

    1. fatchap
      Thumb Up


      Midwinter is a game that is begging for a remake. Would love to know who owns the rights to it.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mein Leben!

    Funny playing this again - the duck-and-cover-behind-scenery aspect of modern FPS's is missing so hitler is a bastard.

    <old man mode=on>

    Funny how much stuff as moved on these days...


  17. Anonymous Coward


    I'm so sad I even mapped all the levels on graph paper

  18. Jim 59


    The big engine jump was Doom->Quake I think, which introduced that first-person swaying motion. Jaw dropping at the time. Wolf may be dated, but was efficiant coded. Modern FPS games require about 500 x the memory and processor speed. I find their universes to be much too big sometimes, so large as to induce a feeling of pointlessness as you walk round them.

  19. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge


    It's Blazkowicz!

    Also, what's that seemingly 3D modelled source port in the second image?

  20. P. Lee

    eh? Wassat? Wolfenstein *3D* you say?

    I remember when t'was but a 2D game on t'Apple ][+

    Real Jerry voices wi' nowt but a speaker... a right proper game, on a proper computer!

    Kids these days, don't know they're born!

    Hand-coded assembly and games that didn't crash! Them was times when publishers had real respect for their customers.

    1. Mr Floppy

      Different game

      but they were great. I had beyond castle wolfenstein on the C64. It was in colour! Good ol 8 bits of it.

  21. Charles Calthrop

    dog food and secret passages

    I think the character in this was linked to the character in doom, didn't they have the same name or anything?

    Anyone else remember eating dog food if your health was <8% and running along the walls with spacebar held down to open the secret passages? THere were 10 levels, 1-9 where 9 was when you took down old adolf, 10 was a bonus level which you got to from level 1, just after you got the schmeisser there was a room on the right with a secret room and in the secret room was a door to level 10 iirc. God I loved that game

  22. 404

    Missed Wolfenstein... but Doom? Bwaaahahahahaha

    I still have the install media in fact. Doom rocked and then, and then... Quake came out and you actually had to aim. Lordy... was an officer in a Quake Clan (Clan of the Camper - CotC) for years. Spent so much time playing it caused serious issues with the 1st wife (upgraded to a gamer wife at a later date lol).

    Friend came in from Cali and we installed a Quake server under my desk during my tech support manager years at an ISP with a DS3 connection- sounded like a helicopter landing on boot up. See, it was a Pentium 166 w/64MB ram (expensive!) with overheating issues so my buddy, in his infinite wisdom, brought some medical-grade equipment fans that we cut holes in the case to install on the top and sides - no guards either - grabbed it wrong while running during installation and ended up with stitches lmao... One time had 12 buddies come in from different states for a LAN party at the same ISP (at which time I had become a sysadmin), played for three days straight raping and owning Quake servers from dual homed DS3's.

    Ah, those were some times - no DSL, ISDN/frame relays were $$$, and 56k modems were king.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Doom - well said, especially ...

      LAN death matches at work (only during lunch hours, of course). Mashing a chainsaw into the chest of a work colleague (time after time) is a vastly more effective team building exercise than all that raft building BS..

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    those white uniformed dudes were quite hard to kill - when there was a room full

  24. b166er

    Raise a glass to Carmack & Carmack

    Loved this game, along with Command & Conquer, Dune and Championship Manager.

    Was always reminded of it even years later watching NT's 3D maze screensaver.

    1. Ben Holmes

      Championship Manager...

      ...isn't a game. It's a spreadsheet.

    2. asdf

      what about

      daikatana? Catchy tag line and that was about it. Carmack's coke years I guess.

  25. Shakje

    It's worth remembering two of the less well-known games

    which WP says came before DN3D and both of which were graphically fantastic for the time:

    Rise of the Triad (intended as a sequel to Wolf3D) which featured some of the best weapons ever included in a FPS game, character selection, and was extremely silly and fun.

    Terminator Future Shock which I remember finding insanely difficult, also very fun, and with free look.

    I've seen ROTT in the AppStore, but not purchased it as of yet, I loved that game though and would highly advise anyone to check it out.

    1. Lottie

      Oh hell yes!

      My dad still plays Terminator: Future Shock in DOSbox on his PC. I made the mistake of leaving the install media at his and never got it back.

      Also, ROTT was such a kick ass game. I loved the super textures and the sounds.

      1. Lexxy

        ROTT tribute sequel

        ROTT was great and a dedicated fan has made an excellent tribute sequel which you can run SP/MP+Coop on Doom2.WAD running on the (very latest SVN) zDoom sourceport. God/dog mode included...


        1. Anonymous Coward

          ROTT on Ubuntu

          You can download ROTT free from the Ubuntu Software Centre, and probably other Linux repos too. Not sitting in front of it now, but I'm fairly sure it's the full version and not the shareware one.

          Always loved the suicide suggestions it made when you went to exit the game. Games need a sense of humour, even if it's darker than a black hole.

          Good times!

  26. Richard 31
    Paris Hilton

    Call Apogee and Say Ardwolf

    This was the first game i ever bought, i remember it taking an eternity to arrive as it had to be posted from the USA.

    The only thing it missed was being able to do the whole strafe left and right thing now assumed to be the default today.

    Twas also the game that practically forced me to get a SoundBlaster 2.0 card in all its 8-bit glory. Just to hear Nazi after Nazi in their death throes.

    1. Eddie Edwards

      Try holding Alt down!

      Not only did Wolf 3D invent the move, it also invented the misnomer for it (look up the word "strafe" in a dictionary sometime).

  27. jef_

    Not sure if there was any shooting... maybe doesn't count as a FPS but how about I remember playing it on Acorn Electron. 1982 beats this anyway!

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      3D Monster Maze...

      ...on the ZX81 certainly predates the Electron...

    2. The elephant in the room


      On the Spectrum and C64 had shooting when in flight mode, and labarynthine underground bunkers that I tried to map. Never did finish it, but I did succeed in delivering "vital 12939 supplies" to a space station once. As this was a wireframe object I discovered that if you walked round the other side of it that 12939 written backwards is PEPSI!

  28. Danny 5

    look at all

    the potential mass murderers posting on here, don't you know FPS games turn you into a homicidal maniac?

    tsk tsk

  29. carter brandon

    Played it recently on DOS Box

    and remembered the first level as though I had played it the day before. No doubt I am far from being the oldest gamer, but I was 41 when Wolfenstein was released, and just yesterday I began replaying Ultima Underworld 1, which was released a couple of months before Wolfenstein. The new 3D look was implemented in both, but the games couldn't have been more different, and whereas I doubt I could play Wolfenstein all the way through again, UU1 has immediately drawn me in. I wish modern games had the same playability instead of just being good looking.

    Cue someone rushing to tell me how good <insert game name here> is. :)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was on an internship from college in the mid-1990s. After lunch one day I settled into a side room with a huge pile of old PCs and the task of hooking each of them up to a monitor and keyboard so that I could wipe the hard drives before they went to some charitable "PCs for kids" organization.

    One of them, an old 286, had a copy of this game on it. I'd heard of it, but as an Amiga fanboi I had no time for "crappy PCs" with their agricultural off-the-shelf hardware and even worse excuse for an operating system. I fired it up anyway out of idle curiosity.

    No more hard drives were wiped that afternoon.

  31. John Gamble

    FPS In The Eighties

    The earliest one that I remember was Midi Maze (, a 1987 release. And there were undoubtedly earlier ones, if the games mentioned above count.

    Fun game, had a tendency to crash the "network" though.

    1. Steven Roper

      The first 3D game I remember seeing

      was Atari Battlezone in 1980. You drove a tank around an outline-vector landscape with cubes, pyramids and enemy tanks littered around the place. Other "3D" games that predated Midi Maze were 3D Pacman, Elite, Mercenary: Escape From Targ, and SubLogic Flight Simulator, all of which were released on the Commodore 64 in or before 1985.

      I also remember a Wolfenstein lookalike known as Gloom, released on the Amiga in the early 1990s. My friend and I played it for months on our A1200s, until we had choreographed the exact sequence of moves required to clear every level and complete it without losing a life. It had 21 levels, in 3 areas of 7 levels each known as Spacehulk, Gothic Tomb and Hell, and we could do a full clear (that's killing every mob in the game including trash and bosses, rendering the levels what we called "safe for children"!) inside of an hour. Fun days, indeed!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Anyone remember walking around the "billboard" furniture. If you walk round the table, it "rotates" with you!

    Ah yes, I spent ages playing then in my dinner hour. Great stuff.

  33. Scott 26

    Don't forget

    ... Ken's Labyrinth - Ken Silverman's early Build Engine game

  34. Martin Huizing

    Sad to see... one mentioning the secret rooms or secret levels. I'd play it 3 times over with my pinky on the Ctrl key pushing walls.

    1. AdamWill


      The infamous one was the big secret wall maze with one correct path through it, which revealed a wall saying "CALL APOGEE SAY AARDWOLF" (IIRC). It was meant to be a kind of hidden contest; the first person to do it won $1,000 or something. It was one of the earliest hacked contests, as someone hacked the game resource file and found the texture map, which blew the whole contest. They issued an update which made the maze impossible to navigate, so no-one would find it...

      BTW, I believe I'm still, technically, the official Wolfenstein 3-D FAQ maintainer. That thing could really use an update.

  35. -tim

    The early days of Wolfenstein

    One of the founders of id Software who used to use a tag line something like "The computer is the game" was upset with a few of us for making our own map editors. He came around and by the time doom came out and became impatient with us not figuring out the details to the point where he sent a C structure to help point us in the right direction.

    1. AdamWill

      well, not entirely

      id were still fairly anti-mod with the initial release of Doom; they tried to force a license on modders (I forget the precise details of it). It took a few months before they entirely embraced the third-party mapping scene, and the rest is history...

  36. Skizz
    Thumb Up

    I remember...

    ...spending a few hours with the SoftIce debugger reverse engineering the Wolfenstein code to work out how it ran and then building my own (superior, of course) renderer that had more features and fixed the 45 degree bug.

  37. Steven Davison


    My memories of ROTT were playing with friends over a LAN at my house, and using the FKey taunts....

    "Where ARRRREEEE You?"

    Ovvveeerrrr HEERRRRREEEEEE!"

  38. mogens

    1D Remake

    Blazkowicz and nazis reduced to a single line.

    With the orignal sounds "mein liebe!".

    Surprisingly fun.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great Game

    I remember sitting behind my 12 year old son while played. He moved through each room effortlessly. I couldn't watch for very long because the fast 3D graphics gave me vertigo.

    I remember Sandra Bullock playing Wolfenstein 3d in the 1995 movie "The Net"

  40. AdamWill


    The hero is BJ Blazkowicz.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Played wolfstein on an Apple II

    Very weird getting hearing speech out of speaker that could only play clicks.

  42. Prosequimur
    Thumb Up

    So many happy memories

    This game was awesome!! I remember playing it on the Acorn systems at school. Does anyone else recall a cheat code you could use on the Acorn systems? I can't recall exactly how it worked (or even if it did) but I do remember that the code word was "-legalize_marijuana".

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Also on PS3 !

    Last year (iirc) I even bought this game for the PS3 on the PSN store. Its pretty cool and a true blast from the past; even comes with several trophies!

  44. Head Cloud Monkey
    Thumb Up

    Motion sickness

    Just played it again today for the first time in 18 years and the motion sickness is still the same...... still find myself moving my head to see round corners too :-)

  45. Jason 19


    All you need to remember for Wolf3D is MIL

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