Sunday, June 07, 2009

Wolfenstein 3D (Xbox 360) Trial Impressions

Been a while since I tried a demo off of the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, and I can think of no more fitting a title to break that drought than the grandfather of the first person shooter genre, Wolfenstein 3D.

Now gracing Xbox LIVE Arcade, Wolfenstein 3D looks and feels like it did in yesteryear, which is great because it really preserves the feeling of the original classic. Set during World War II, you play as B.J. Blazkowicz, an OSA agent escaping from Castle Wolfenstein and bent on stopping the Nazi regime. You leave your cell with a Knife and Pistol, and venture out to find each area's exit while collecting treasure along the way, and thus increasing your score.

Make no mistake about it kids, Wolfenstein 3D is old school. The trial version features the first two levels of the game, and all the areas are blocky, sprite-based rooms connected to other blocky, sprite based rooms. You can get one other weapon in the trial, a Machine Gun, which shares ammo with your Pistol, and is basically just a rapid fire version of it. Careful though, as you're capped with a ammo count of 99 bullets. You'll fight Nazis who use both Pistols and Machine Guns, and also have guard dogs rush you in crazy zig-zag patterns, attempting to take a chunk out of you. Being a classic shooter, as I mentioned, each area has an exit button that you need to locate and press, and there's also several hidden areas across each map which contain extra Health, Ammo, or treasure. Secret areas are accessed by pressing the right spot on a wall, so be prepared to spend a lot of time pushing against random walls if you're going to try and find them all.

One cool little tidbit is how the game will tie in for players looking to pick up Wolfenstein, which will be releasing August 4th. As you play through Wolfenstein 3D, you'll earn Gold which you'll be able to spend on customizable weapon upgrades in the as-yet unreleased sequel. We're seeing more and more Xbox LIVE Arcade and retail game interaction these days, which is a good thing and a nice way to add incentive to the Xbox LIVE Arcade market.

Because of how dated the game is, it will _not_ be for everyone, even for me. At only 400 Microsoft Points, ($5.80), Wolfenstein 3D will not set your wallet back much, but if you don't like it's classic style or simply lack the nostalgia for the title, you'll want to try the trial version first.

Me, I missed out on Wolfenstein 3D back in the day, and will be passing on it again; it's bland-looking levels are too repetitive for me. Back in the '90's, I started off with Doom, and while Wolfenstein 3D is the genre's grandfather, Doom is id Software's masterpiece and father of the shooter, introducing the weapons and fast paced multiplayer gameplay that's made the gaming industry what it is today.

Conveniently, Doom is also available on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 400 Microsoft Points. Classic goodness for everyone!

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