Reviewed by Reno
Aug 2nd 2003

Introduction:Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War once again sets you into the familiar role of Agent Blascowitz. The goal is the same as ever: Kill the Nazis, escape from Castle Wolfenstein and foil their evil plan of world domination.

The Game:Castle Wolfenstein has come a long way in the past 20 years. Despite repeated attempts to kill brain cells in High school I’m pleasantly surprised to find that I still have a very clear recollection of playing the original Castle Wolfenstein on my Apple II. The Original Castle Wolfenstein was a revolutionary game (it was the first talking computer game ever). I could go on and on about how revolutionary the original game was. That is one quality that Return to Castle Wolfenstein does not possess. RtCW is your typical, run of the mill 1st person shooter. Although RtCW is entertaining, there is absolutely nothing spectacular about it.

Single player mode was fun, but at times, VERY frustrating. I don’t know how many times I was just about to put down the controller and give up when all of a sudden I would walk through a room and see a button. I’d then think to myself “I’ve been through this room 1,077 times. Was it there all along?”. That’s the kind of frustration I’m talking about.

While I could probably continue picking away at the feast of petty annoyances found in RtCW, I feel driven to highlight a few of the games finer points. Anyone who’s ever played Halo will find the controls in RtCW very easy to become accustomed to (they’re almost exactly the same). The only major difference can be found during the weapon switch (in RtCW you can carry over a dozen weapons). Another thing that I found nice about the game is the ability to save absolutely anywhere. When you load your saved games, you’re brought back to the exact spot you saved, not some checkpoint you’d passed ½ hour ago.

Graphics & Sound:Being built on the Quake 3 engine, RtCW boasts some fairly impressive graphics. The character models and environment are superbly detailed and very well animated. 3 of the biggest graphical highlight are water, fog and fire. Nothing is more visually pleasing than lighting a guy up with a flamethrower. The only major graphical flaw that I could see is the complete lack of blood. You can riddle a guy with bullets and he’ll drop dead without losing a single ounce of blood. Maybe the Nazis in RtCW are zombies too?

Aside from the occasional bug, the sound in RtCW is great too. Each and every sound in RtCW drew me further and further into the atmosphere. One sound feature that I could definitely have done without was the background music. It was quite dull and unremarkable.

Innovation:While RtCW was a fairly entertaining game, I found that it brought absolutely nothing new to the gaming scene. It was almost as if Activison released RtCW for the sole purpose of appeasing the masses. At the time of RtCW’s release, Halo had been out for WELL over a year and FPS fans were getting very anxious. The game was apparently so rushed that Nerve Software even removed a few key features that may have set it apart from the rest (ex: the ability to wear enemy uniforms).

Mojo:What’s not cool about killing Nazis? Killing Nazis always makes for a load of fun. I actually had more fun killing the Nazis than I did killing the Undead. If you ever do get the chance to rent this game, make it your primary goal to find a flamethrower. The first time I torched a guy and watched him fall to the ground screaming in pain I found myself grinning from ear to ear. Sweet flame animation.

Lowdown:The only feature that might make RtCW worth buying is the multi-player mode. Though I haven’t had the chance to try it myself, I have heard that it is VERY entertaining. So in conclusion, if you’re a hardcore 1st person shooter fan and you have Xbox Live, you may want to consider buying this. If you don’t have Xbox Live I suggest renting it first and saving your hard earned coin for Halo 2.

Gameplay: 7, Graphics/Sound: 8, Innovation: 5, Mojo: 7. Final: 7


  • Award-winning multiplayer via Xbox Live and SystemLink
  • Two-Player Cooperative Mode (split screen) through the single player campaign
  • All-new Elimination multiplayer game mode
  • Six exclusive new multiplayer levels
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio and HDTV video support
  • New weapon: Shotgun
  • Complete updated single player campaign for console and console controllers
  • Prologue mission with seven new single player levels
  • Training level
  • New special items to overpower the Nazi army, zombies and X-creatures
  • Enhanced in-game movies
  • New in-game secrets with special rewards for finding all secrets on a level
  • Special bonuses for eliminating enemies via stealth
  • Auto Aim for better controller accuracy (toggleable on/off)

Return to Castle
Tides of War

ID Software
May 2003