Home > Demo Impressions, Gaming, Xbox 360 > “Wolfenstein 3D” Demo Impressions

“Wolfenstein 3D” Demo Impressions

There are a few reasons why I decided to try the demo of Wolfenstein 3D for Xbox Live Arcade a couple days ago. For starters, I was looking for shooter demos (in fact, you may see a surge in shooter demo impressions around here before too long), and I was interested in seeing the roots of the FPS genre. I bought Doom on XBLA a while back, and thought that was pretty good. Since Wolfenstein 3D was made by the same developer, I thought it would be worth a look. Maybe I was dumb to expect much from a first person shooter made in 1992, because I ended up being disappointed. Perhaps this game was good back in its day, but after only a few minutes of playing it’s easy to tell that Wolfenstein 3D does not stand the test of time.

The first shortcoming you’ll notice is the graphics. Of course the character models look pixelated, but my main problem with the visuals is the lack of variety in the environments. The levels I played in the demo were dull and repetitive. The floor and the ceiling are both gray, and even though they are different shades, they are similar enough that sometimes I felt like the walls of rooms are floating in a vast open space. Sometimes you’ll see some tables and pillars lying around, but they too seem to be floating. Take a look at the screenshot below and maybe you’ll understand what I’m talking about:


Yes, that’s a dog being shot. If it makes you feel any better, it’s a Nazi dog…

The gameplay, sadly, is just as dated as the graphics. There are only a handful of enemies, and barely any weapons at all. There’s no aiming up or down; you can only move the reticle left and right. Turning around feels slow and sluggish, and unfortunately there is no place in any options menu where you can change the aiming sensitivity. Worst of all though, is the level design. Expect to see a lot of perfectly square rooms and long hallways, and expect to get lost. The developers did add a few things to certain rooms to set them apart from one another, such as paintings of Hitler and giant swastikas (apparently the levels of the demo take place at a Nazi prison, although the only reason I know that is because of reading about the game on various websites), but they still prevent the inevitible moment when the player gets lost in the vast expanse of hallways and square rooms.

With no multiplayer to speak of in this XBLA version of the game, all five dollars you spend on Wolfenstein 3D go towards a single player experience. From what I’ve read, each of the six episodes in the game contain ten levels, which adds up to sixty total. Not bad for the price of a foot long sandwhich at Subway, but my demo impressions leave me wondering whether or not they’re actually worth playing through. The game may be important in the history of first person shooters, but today it just doesn’t seem to hold up. If you want a good five dollar shooter from the Xbox Live Arcade, take a look at Doom. That game is old, but it’s better in everyway than Wolfenstein 3D (plus it has online multiplayer). Only those looking for nostalgia or a history lesson will find much worth out of this game. All else should tip their hat to its historical significance, but then move on, just as the first person shooter genre has.

By Josh60502

  1. June 6, 2009 at 8:24 am


    Didn’t Microsoft make a Wolfenstein game for the Xbox not too long ago?

  2. June 9, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    It hasn’t come out yet, but I know one is on the way.

  3. can
    February 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm

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  4. June 15, 2013 at 12:04 am

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