Developer: id Software
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store
Wolfenstein 3D Classic - I was fourteen years old when I got my first taste of what a first person shooter (FPS) was. After I took my hands off the keyboard and mouse attached to my family’s 486 DX2 computer that powered Wolfenstein, it was a done deal; I was hooked!
Like many others, it was Wolfenstein 3D that started my love affair with the FPS genre. The guys over at id Software have taken the time to prep, port and optimize the game for the iPhone platform. I was a bit nervous while I loaded up the game — under the label Wolfenstein 3D Classic — hoping the game didn't get screwed up in translation...
For the uninitiated, Wolfenstein 3D Classic places you in the shoes of an American solider trying to escape a Nazi fortress. While trying to escape over the course of the game’s 60 levels, you get to take out Nazi soldiers and attack dogs with a variety of guns and projectile weapons. As a cautionary note, you’ll see lots of swastikas throughout this game, so you’ve been warned if the sight of that symbol conjures an emotional response. Wolfenstein 3D Classic is a great example of a run 'n gun shooter that is awesome fun (even to this day!), so I'll primarily focus on how well the port is executed.
By far, my biggest concern with Wolfenstein 3D Classic was how it would handle replicating the keyboard/mouse scheme of the original game. To my surprise, id Software has delivered a control scheme that I truly believe will become the standard for FPS shooters on iPhone. On the default setting (which is my preference), control of your character is handled by a a virtual joystick in the bottom left corner. Holding up and down controls movement forwards and backwards respectively, while holding left or right tilts the camera left or right. You will not confuse this setup for a keyboard/mouse combination, but in no time, you’ll be mowing through Nazi’s with relative ease. As a cool advanced option, you can enable the accelerometer to use strafing (side to side movement) giving you even more control. Shooting is handled by an onscreen button in the lower right and it works like a charm.
Wolfenstein 3D Classic replicates the look and feel from the original game, and it performs flawlessly. I haven’t experienced an ounce of slowdown or throughout my hours of playtime. All the original sound effects and scores are pulled off well also. Extra considerations include use of the iPhone’s vibration when you’ve been shot, and a map (that can be zoomed in and out of) that can be referenced while navigating throughout the levels of Wolfenstein 3D Classic.
Though I’m excited that id Software has faithfully ported over Wolfenstein 3D to the iPhone, I’m even more excited about the future of the First Person Shooter genre on the iPhone. I can imagine classics like Quake, Duke Nukem 3D, and Doom working great using the blueprint found here. It’s easy to nitpick Wolfenstein 3D Classic by citing the fact there isn’t any multiplayer or any substantial graphical updates relative to the original, but those aren’t reasons to rob yourself of what’s unquestionably the best FPS on iPhone right now.