5 Ways Wolfenstein 3D Changed Video Games - Prima Games

5 Ways Wolfenstein 3D Changed Video Games

by Prima Games Staff

This week marks the return of the Wolfenstein saga with the release of Bethesda’s The New Order, a thrilling adventure where B.J. Blazkowicz makes his return, battling against the Nazi regime in an alternate timeline. This new Wolfenstein marks a return to form, focusing more on traditional action instead of supernatural power-ups.

Of course, many hardcore first-person shooter fans remember when the series took off, with id Software’s 1992 release, Wolfenstein 3D. It helped kick-start a genre that has dominated for over two decades.

How did Wolfenstein 3D change the FPS? We have five reasons right here.

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Wolfenstein 3D was super violent

At a time when video game violence was scrutinized (Night Trap and Mortal Kombat especially), Wolfenstein 3D didn’t hold back on the carnage. When you shot a soldier or dog, their limp, bloody bodies fell over, and you’d continue on your merry way mowing down Nazis. For good measure, the later boss battles – especially against Mecha-Hitler – shined, with plenty of gunfire and chaos to go around. On a side note, his death is the greatest in the game.

Wolfenstein 3D did downloadable content the right way

Following the game’s initial success, id Software went to work on a supplementary mission pack to keep players interested, titled The Nocturnal Missions. Featuring three stages with all-new challenges and plenty of firepower, the add-on was insanely popular, and helped set the trend for shooters today. Case in point – Titanfall just saw its first piece of downloadable content last week, and last year’s Battlefield 4 will get two more packs this summer.

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Wolfenstein 3D featured excellent controls

In the older Wolfenstein games, moving around in a 3D environment was rather dull. You could move up, down, left and right – but it never felt like the in-depth adventure it was supposed to be. However, with Wolfenstein 3D, the glorious feeling of wandering around in an open-world environment was certainly there. You could run around halls and shoot Nazis, or explore hidden rooms to find bonus goodies, including extra armor and health. Just being able to explore and find stuff, instead of plainly walking around a 2D room, made all the difference.

B.J. Blazkowicz set the standard for mature video game heroes

Back in the 90s, there were only a handful of video game characters considered mature heroes who soldiered on and obliterated their enemies for the sake of the greater good. B.J. Blazkowicz, making his true debut in Wolfenstein 3D, set the standard for the new class of heroes, shooting Nazis without a care in the world while faithfully completing each mission – even when his health dropped to the point that his face was bloodied and beaten. Future heroes would certainly follow B.J.’s suit, including tough guy Duke Nukem.

Plus, Blazkowicz hasn’t lost an ounce of aggression in the following sequels, namely Return to Castle Wolfenstein – still one of the Xbox’s better first-person shooters – and this week’s release of The New Order. Keep up the pace, B.J.!

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Wolfenstein 3D led to some of the best shooters from id

After the release of this classic shooter, id Software went on to produce a number of classics, including Doom and Quake, which inspired many of today’s fast-paced shooters. For good measure, PC gaming picked up significantly with a number of new shooters and mods that gamers created and downloaded.

Better still, Wolfenstein 3D was one of the first games to bring the first-person shooting genre to consoles, as a version arrived for the Super Nintendo shortly after the PC release. Even though dogs were replaced with rats, the fast-paced action of the original remained. Those concerned with the game’s mild censorship didn’t need to worry for too long, as a console port of Doom arrived shortly thereafter, with all its carnage intact. 

Wolfenstein: The New Order will release for PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 on May 20th. If you want to relive Wolfenstein 3D’s glory, download it now (for $5!) on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC.

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