Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The SS is in big trouble!

Return To Castle Wolfenstein is a First-Person Shooter game using the Quake III engine, created by Id Software. It's the Spiritual Successor (hard to call it a "remake") of Wolfenstein 3D, also created by Id, and it was released in 2001.

The game is set During the War, following the story of B.J. Blazkowicz, a soldier sent to investigate a secret/occult Nazi plot. After being captured and escaping Castle Wolfenstein, he finds out the Nazis are resurrecting corpses as well as developing all manner of advanced technology (like a viral V2 missile, rocket planes, Super Soldier cyborgs), all of this fitting into a mysterious plot to bring an evil conqueror back from the dead.

A 2009 sequel simply titled Wolfenstein was made using a heavily modified version of the Doom 3 engine and follows directly from the story of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, including several returning characters.

There's also a free standalone game running in the same engine and with the same thematic, called Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. Originally, it was going to be a free addon for Return to Castle Wolfenstein, but that changed during the development.

In the QuakeCon 2010, Id announced that the source code of both this game and the multiplayer standalone game Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory have been released under the General Public License version 3 (or GPLv3 if you want).

Tropes used in Return to Castle Wolfenstein include:
  • Amazon Brigade/Bodyguard Babes: The Elite Guard are an all-female group of bodyguards to a Nazi commander by the name of Helga von Bulow, who is as mean as her name suggests. They are also "reportedly" bound together as part of a witch's coven, which presumably means they can feel you killing their comrades, though this never seems to affect their morale.
  • Anachronism Stew: Ooooh, boy!
  • Black Magician Girl: Marianna Blavatsky, before Heinrich... rewarded her.
  • Climax Boss: The Übersoldat, and arguably Olaric (the first boss).
  • Deadly Doctor: Plenty of them: Deathshead, Doctor Zee and several other pistol-wielding eggheads.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: Certain objects such as chairs can be picked up, thrown and destroyed.
  • Dual-Wielding: Only the American Colt can be akimbo'd.
  • Dynamic Entry: You can kick doors down. It only seems to open the door faster though.
  • Electric Torture: The PC and Xbox port of the game starts with the sound of this happening to your partner Agent One.
  • Elite Mooks: Come in 3 varieties: the female Elite Guards who are equipped with silenced submachine guns and dodge and roll around alot, SS Black Guards who carry high-powered rifles, have higher than normal health, and wear headshot-deflecting helmets, and the Flamethrower Troopers/Venom Troopers who carry heavy weapons and have significantly higher than normal health.
  • Embedded Precursor: The Xbox port and PC "Game of the Year Edition" include a remake of the original Wolfenstein 3D.
  • Fat Bastard: In addition to missing an eye because of a debacle involving undead in 1939, Helga von Bulow is rather obese as well. And she has an attitude problem...
  • Flat Earth Atheist: Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse is a hardcore skeptic that wants nothing to do with the resurrection of Heinrich I and isn't a member of the occult groups in the Nazi hierarchy and likewise hasn't seen the instances that would prove to him this is even feasible. His only concern is with his scientifically proven projects. He even disobeys orders by retaining one of his working prototypes because he considers "Project Ubersoldat" his life's work, and he isn't willing to completely drop it no matter who asks for any reason. These choices end up inadvertently saving his life.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Venom Troopers and Flamethrower Troopers.
  • Gatling Good: The Venom Gun.
  • Ghostapo: Operation: Ressurection aims to raise a warlock named Heinrich I (based on the old German king) from the dead under the command of Himmler's SS.
  • Giant Mook: The Protosoldats are a cross between this and straight out mini-bosses.
  • Heal Thyself: Medical backpacks are present in levels every now and then. The player can also heal himself by eating food.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade:
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Nazis here fall into both Stupid Jetpack Hitler and Ghostapo varieties, but they pretty clearly have no clue what they're doing. Pretty much every time they create/release something, expect the Nazis who created/released it to die horribly if they're nearby.
    • Averted with the final version of the Ubersoldaten, who are clearly obedient and very effective in battle. They're one of the reasons why Deathshead is made out as the only competent Nazi in the game.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Health can be restored by eating food, cold meals restore less health than hot meals though.
  • Immune to Bullets: The Ubersoldat aren't quite "immune" (Deathshead comments that they weren't quite ready yet), but they can take a lot of hits. By the time of Wolfenstein, he seems to have somewhat solved the bullet-proofing problem with their successors, the veil-powered Heavy Troopers.
  • Infernal Retaliation: The Undead levels sometimes feature fire undead who can spit fire streams to his attackers.
  • Interface Screw:
    • The crosshairs (basically a circle and a dot) turn red while over an enemy. While aiming at a friendly character, the crosshairs turn into a circle with a line through it. Guess what color the circle with a line through it is.
    • Anytime BJ is set on fire, either by fire statues, fire undead or flamethrower soldiers, flames cover most of the screen.
  • Karma Houdini: Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse.
  • King Mook: The fire zombies have miniboss-level health and a really annoying fire-breathing attack. Fortunately, there are only about 3 of them in the entire game.
  • Ludicrous Gibs:
    • Can by triggered by explosives, high powered weapons, and having a body wedged IN A DOOR!
    • You have to gib some enemies to make them stay dead. Of course, they're fragile enough to be gibbed with bullets, but it's still annoying.
    • It's also possible to gib unsuspecting targets by knifing and throwing a chair at them at the same time.
  • Man On Fire: It's sadistically satisfying to use the Flamethrower on Nazis and hear them suffering. Especially the Elite Guard.
  • Melee a Trois: A few levels feature 3-way battles between the player, the Nazis and the undead.
  • Mythology Gag: The above picture is a reference to the title screen of Wolfenstein 3D.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: The SS Paranormal Division warlocks don't really know what they're doing, and Deathshead is smart enough to stay away from their ceremonies.
  • Nintendo Hard: This game is noticeably more difficult than most of its contemporaries, to say nothing of casualized modern FPS games. Health pickups are quite a bit rarer than in other games, and Armor pickups are especially uncommon (for most of the game, you'll usually have less than 30% to 50% of your total Armor). This is combined with the fact that enemies, especially Elite Mooks, can mow you down very quickly too. This is especially noticeably in the last few levels.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: B.J. Blazkowicz (see Stripperific below).
  • No Swastikas: The German version replaces them with two eagles resembling the Quake III Arena logo, as well as other Nazi references.
  • Prequel: The console ports of the game have a small campaign which takes place before the first level of the PC game.
  • Press X to Die: There is a set of buttons in the third level of the second mission, which are boarded up, complete with a red sign with skulls on it. All of the buttons do the same exact thing. In addition, the original PC version has a Cyanide Pill you can kill yourself with.
  • Shock and Awe: The Tesla weapon.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Lots of this going around. There's a whole bunch of buried zombies, Olaric and Heinrich I.
  • Shoot the Medic First: A valuable strategy in both the Multiplayer portion of Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Enemy Territory.
  • Shout-Out:
    • An occultist named Dr. Merkwurdigliebe appears as a hidden enemy in the village assassination level near the end of the game.
    • The Doom guy's pain sounds can be briefly heard in the intro cutscene.
  • Shown Their Work: Most of the weapons you can wield were real WW 2 weapons that behaved more-or-less as shown in the game. Even the Venom, which you might take as part of the sci-fi aspect of the game, is actually based on the real-life Leimberger gatling gun; the M3 "Snooper" Rifle's scope gives black-and-white imagery and not the (inaccurate) red or greenish tint usually seen in media (it was however not developed until 2 years after the game; it was also never equipped with a suppressor). There are, however, exceptions, some of which go into straight-up Critical Research Failure territory, such as the silenced Sten, which, when overheated from full-auto fire, stops shooting by itself and seems to release steam (????) from the barrel ports; the scoped Karabiner 98k (Mauser Rifle) is incorrectly loaded with stripper clips and is treated as a semi-auto weapon, and the Panzerfaust, which is depicted as a rocket launcher as opposed to being a recoilless anti-tank rifle in real life.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Two of them: one of infiltration, and one of assassination.
  • Strapped to An Operating Table: Agent One.
  • Stripperific: Try not to get distracted fighting off the Elite Guards. There is also a lingerie-clad prostitute who is getting ready to service Major Hochstedder in Paderborn before you rudely interrupt them and put two in the Major's head.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Experimental germ warhead, mutants, Übersoldat, Tesla guns. This trope is the very basis of the franchise.
  • Super Soldier: Deathshead, the SS's Special Projects chief, wanted to build an army of them for Hitler. Then Himmler repurposed them.
  • Those Wacky Nazis
  • Tin Tyrant: Heinrich.
  • Translation Convention: B.J. Blazkowicz is implied to be fluent in German. Germans speak accented English, peppered with German phrases. In combat, they speak only German. Similarly, readable documents are written in English.
  • The Unfought: Deathshead:

Vat? It's not possible! Ve vill meet again another day!

"So how do I disarm this thing?"
"I told you, just clip the red wire! ...or was it the blue one? Agh, hold on while I go get the manual."
"Never mind, they all look gray to me anyway."