Return to Castle Wolfenstein (RTCW) -- This was a very good FPS type of game, in which you took on the role of an Army Ranger, who has been assigned the task of investigating what evil plans the Nazi Army is trying to accomplish, and try to stop them from completing those plans.
This game is more or less a remake of the highly popular 3D game that came out in the mid 80's, Wolfenstein. The developers of this game did a good job of trying to keep some of the same details and unique features that was in that original game. For example, you are still battling Nazi's for the most part (which is always satisfying, LOL), and the feature of being able to find secret areas is incorporated into RTCW. These areas can sometimes lend your character additional health, weapons, ammo, or armor. They may even grant you some treasure at times that was once part of the Nazi regime.
You play U.S. Army Ranger B.J. Blazkowicz, who is taking orders from the Office of Secret Actions. They have assigned you the task of investigating rumors of occult activity and genetic engineering that the Third Reich of Nazi Germany may be conducting. If they are successful in completing any of these strange rumors, than that would give them an advantage in the war, and as a defender of freedom, you cannot let that happen. Agent Blazkowicz starts the game in a castle, and as the game goes on, he learns more about the evil Nazi plans, and gets to take out many Nazi soldiers, undead zombies, and even genetically enhanced super soldiers. You start the game with basic weapons and equipment, but as you go on, you will have the chance to find and use some more advanced weapons. Weapons in this game included everything from a pistol to a flamethrower.
The opening movie sequence hints at what the Nazi's intentions are. There is a very powerful, and extremely evil warrior, (Hienrich), that was buried by priests in 943 A.D. Now in 1943, when the Nazi government is at war with the rest of the world, they have found the burial site of this evil warlord, and want to resurrect him, so that he will help them win the war.
Gameplay was superb in this game. Most of the functions in the game were keyboard driven, but they were set-up in a way that was not hard to use. The only thing I used the mouse for was to fire my weapon, and to look around. Movement was done by using the arrow keys. You could easily access your different weapons by using the number keys 1 through 0. Some of these weapons had an alternate fire mode, and if you hit the "Z" key when they were chosen, than you would go into that weapons alternate fire mode. If it was a rifle equipped with a scope, than you would go into a scope view, much like a sniper rifle. Some pistols had alternate fire modes as well, and they included dual pistol mode, or a silencer. Other keys that were used often included the "N" key (used to access your notebook), the "G" key (used to kick breakable objects, sometimes revealing secret areas), and the "C" key (used to crouch, good for stealth missions). The space bar was used to jump, which was a needed action at times. Some of the places that Blazkowicz had to infiltrate included Nazi castles, secret compounds, submarine docks, and even underground dig sites. There were really only three different types of enemies that you had to deal with throughout the entire game, and they were the Nazi Soldiers, the zombies, and the X creatures (which were basically the genetically enhanced super soldiers). Combat was very challenging in this game, and it was fun having to sometimes think about what tactic would work better for certain missions. The game screen itself was laid out in a very nice manner, with numbers and colored bars that kept you informed of your health, stamina, and ammo usage. Most of the weapons and ammo that you needed during the game would come off of the soldiers that you killed during the game, but there was also ammo stashes found throughout the missions. Some special items that you need to be on the lookout for include the following: Helmets and Flak Jackets (they can provide additional armor), First Aid Kits, Hot meals, and Cold meals (they can restore health), Beer Steins and Brandy Glasses (they can provide additional stamina).
The graphics in this game were very good. Each environment was richly detailed, a castle looked like a castle, and the Nazi's looked authentic as well. You had outdoor and indoor settings that you did battle in, and they were all appealing to the eyes. Some of the other characters in the game seemed to look somewhat "block-like" in appearance, but it was nothing too serious.
The learning curve in this game was excellent. It did not take me too long to figure out what keys did what in the game, and how to access needed info. like my notebook, and the always much needed options screen. As is quite often the case, the ESC key would bring up the options screen, which is were you could save and load games. There is a nice manual that comes with this game, and all your keyboard commands and other functions are very well described in this manual. There is no tutorial in this game, but frankly, I do not see that as being much of a problem, and I don't really think it is necessary with this game.
The replay value of this game is very good. There is a multiplayer option available in this game, and there are several different types of multiplayer games that RTCW will offer the Internet player. There is also a difficulty setting that will allow you to make RTCW a little harder if you are getting bored with the easy settings. The main feature that I think makes RTCW's replay value high, is the secret areas that are available in most of the missions. At the end of each mission, you will be given a summary of how well you did in that mission, including how many secret areas you found. So if you did not find ALL of them when you first played this game, than it might be fun to try it again sometime, and see if you can find those secret areas that you missed the last time.
Sound was very good in this game. Each weapon had sounds associated with them that seemed to make them sound like real weapons. There was a background music score going on that made the action seem somewhat more intense. Your enemies were quite vocal, with maybe the exception of the zombies, who just seemed to grunt and growl...LOL... There were a few times in which your superiors would brief you on what was going on, and I am glad that the developers made them easy to understand, so that I did not miss any important information.
I very much enjoyed this game, and although there were times when I thought that I was not going to be able to make it thru a mission, I kept my wits about me, and after a few tries was able to find a way out of the situation. As I mentioned before, I really like how they tried to keep RTCW as close to the original game as possible. They have certainly improved upon a game that many considered a "classic", and I for one am glad that they choose to make an updated version. There are also several different special editions of this game, including a Collector's Edition.
There is also a GOTY edition and Platinum edition.
This is a superb FPS game that will provide hours of enjoyment, pick this one up !!!!!