Review by dtm666
Reviewed: 07/09/03 | Updated: 01/28/10
Years ago, I thought this game was bad. Today... I still think it's terrible.
Anyone who has been into PC gaming is at least remotely familiar with Castle Wolfenstein 3D, the early 1992 cult classic by id Software that popularize the first-person shooter before Doom came along and took all the credit. Given that the game was such a huge hit among PC gamers, it wouldn't have been long before Wolf-3D would be ported over to various consoles. One of those consoles was the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
Ah yes... the SNES version of Wolfenstein 3D. People often look down upon this game due to various factors, chief among them being the horrendous censorship and neutering of the in-game content. I'll admit that I've been rather critical of this particular offering. Still, time has passed and I've recently sat down to give this game another go to see if it was deserving of the venom I've unleashed upon it oh so long ago.
STORY: In the orignal PC version of Wolfenstein 3D, you were fighting the forces of Nazi Germany in six episodes, each consisting of ten levels. But this being Nintendo, that concept was nixed and so instead, the Super NES edition has you fighting the forces of some doofus named Staatmeister, a guy who suspiciously looks like a clean-shaven Hitler. It doesn't really translate well. 1/10
GRAPHICS: Let's start off with what's changed; all the symbolism and evil moustauches of the PC original has been removed or replaced with "less offensive" content, all blood has been removed from the game, and hungry Rottweilers have been replaced with giant gray rats. They've replaced several of the Wolf-3D bosses with the equivalent bosses from the Wolf-3D sequel Spear of Destiny and replaced a majority of the PC version's crisp, colorful (albeit pixelated) graphics of the PC version with super-pixelated, blurry, and drab graphics.
Other than that, anyone who's played Wolf-3D on PC should recognize everything for the most part. However, everything seems to have a choppy feel to it, something I never experience on the PC version and something that further adds to the problems with the game. On the bright side, BJ's head has been redrawn and looks much nice, if not a little fatter. And also there's a couple new screens (title screen, intermission screens between "episodes") that look rather nice. But the in-game graphics are really unimpressive. 2/10
SOUND: While the replacement of German bits with English equivalents is a disappointment, I do have to admit that the overall sound quality isn't as bad as I recall it being. Every gunshot, death wail, and other sounds are fairly audible, if not fuzzy. The music in this game is fairly similar to the PC original and they don't sound too bad, but ultimately, I much prefer the MIDI stylings of the original than this Super Nintendo iteration. Your mileage may vary, though. 2/10
GAMEPLAY: Unlike the PC version, which presented you with six episodes comprising ten levels each, the SNES version boasts roughly 30+ levels featuring a number of levels similar to the ones from the PC version. It's a disappointment, but it's to be expected.
Now id sort of understood that you were getting a craptastic product, so they added a few things to the mix in an attempt to salvage the experience... didn't really work, but hey, they tried. For example, now you have a flame thrower and rocket launcher that can decimate bosses in roughly five shots or less. Although you can't save your progress as you could on the PC, you're given passwords which allow you to return to the beginning of a level. Another nice feature is the inclusion of a map, which is good for those who have little trouble getting lost.
To its credit, Wolfenstein 3D plays just as it did on the PC. You're still navigating corridors, seeking out items and secret areas, shooting enemies, collecting weapons, and finding the exit to the next level, which sometimes requires a key or two. For the most part, the control is fairly decent and responsive, although I'm none too pleased with the mapping and felt that this is a cumbersome set-up. So while it's not good, it's at least playable. 3/10
CHALLENGE: For what it's worth, the game does have multiple difficulty settings for you to choose from and the levels themselves aren't entirely difficult in themselves until the final set. The new map feature certainly lessens your chances of getting lost, but once you acquire flame throwers and rocket launchers, you'll be blazing through levels in no time. 5/10
REPLAY VALUE: Congratulations, you've just purchased a game based on a popular computer game. After a few hours of gameplay, you managed to win a game that was well below your expectations and nowhere near as good as the computer game it's based on. Therefore, you have exhausted all the replay value that was ever possible with this game cartridge. 1/10
OVERALL: Whether you knew about it or whether you simply blocked the existence of this game out of your memory banks, there can be no doubt in anyone's mind that the SNES version of Wolfenstein 3D is a ill-advised, mishandled, and botched attempt at bringing what was then considered PC gaming greatness over to Nintendo's famed 16-bit machine. Although the censorship can be considered a factor to the shameful quality of the game, the truth is that the Super NES simply wasn't the kind of machine capable of running first-person shooters properly and as a result, you're left with a mess of a game that neither has the top-notch presentation or the gameplay value that made Wolfenstein-3D such a fan favorite. It would have been a disaster whether the game was censored or not. The bottom line is that if you've enjoyed Wolfenstein 3D on the PC and are looking for a good console port, your best bet lies with X-Box Live Arcade or Playstation Network. This version simply doesn't cut it. 1/10
Rating: 0.5 - Unplayable
Product Release: Wolfenstein 3D (US, 03/31/94)
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