Wolfenstein 3D – A great DOS game

By | May 17, 2009

I am a fan of DOS games, and I used to play this game a lot, many years ago – Wolfenstein 3D. So recently, when I looked it up, I was pleasantly surprised to see the game still alive and kicking on its 17th birthday, and it has even been ported onto so many platforms like Gameboy, Atari, Apple Mac, and the iPhone. If you want a very light, playable, 3D game, Wolfenstein 3D still rocks.

Today, everyone regards Wolfenstein as the granddaddy of all 3D games, because that was the game that launched it all. Everything else 3D came after that. For a 3D action game that only weighs 2+ megabytes, and takes up only minuscule memory on today’s PCs, this is still a highly enjoyable game.

You can run the game in an emulator (a good Open Source one is DOSBox), directly from Windows XP, or straight from a USB flash drive. Using DOSBox, I just played the game again (for perhaps the 10,000th time). You pick up treasure, health supplies, ammunition, find secret levels and battle the forces of Nazi Germany along the way. I admittedly used some cheat keys (hint: the list is here), which is why I could breeze through to the ending and meet the Boss of Wolfenstein, Hans Grosse. DOSBox can be used to emulate DOS on Vista and plays virtually all DOS games.





(Above) Fighting Hans Grosse in GodMode….

In order to run Wolfenstein 3D along with DOSBox from a USB flash pen drive, just follow a few simple steps. A few notes:

  • Z:\ is always the default drive in DOSBox
  • F:\ is your USB drive (assuming) but we can call it a “floppy”
  • The Wolfenstein folder is named dosgame1
  • The Wolfenstein execute file is always wolf3d.exe

Just follow the DOS commands in the DOSBox pop up like below to mount a virtual DOS drive.


Once the USB “floppy” drive has been mounted, DOSBox will treat it as the F drive.


While the original Wolfenstein episode 1 is shareware, the other 2 episodes plus 3 Nocturnal Missions pack (6 in total including the shareware version) are not.

But fret not, I want to point out that custom Wolfenstein mods have always been created and developed by dedicated amateur fans of the game, ever since iD Software released the source code as GPL back in 1995. Today, you can download many fully playable and customized mod scenarios at The Wolfenstein 3D Dome. These custom mods come with new maps, walls, levels, weapons, sprites, and enemy characters. Check out their news section which has been active all this while. This site is one of the best Wolfenstein 3D sources on the whole Web.


Screenshot from one of the Wolfenstein 3D mods, Frayed.

Since 1992, Wolfenstein 3D has spawned several versions like Spear of Destiny, Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2001) and a spinoff – Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory (WET).

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory (released in 2003 by Activision) is still widely rated one of the best FREEWARE multiplayer first-person shooter WW2 video games that you can download online. It is a 258 Mb download. The graphics are still OK when you compare it to the latest games.

That said, the original Wolfenstein 3D still rocks. The numerous custom mod spin-offs created by hardcore fans are highly engrossing (even difficult), and yet none of them are more than several Mb in size. The graphics may not compare to modern games, but even if you’re not into 3D shooter games, Wolfenstein 3D can get you right into the thick of action in a minute. Who knows, you might even get hooked.

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