Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Made using iortcw 1.5a for 64-bit and HD support

Intro, Content Warning, apologies etc

Return To Castle Wolfenstein is 15-rated, containing violence, some swearing and also Nazis in rather fetching leather catsuits. If you don't want to see that, you should probably stop reading now.

I draw particular attention to the fact that the game includes the Swastika, which is illegal to display in Germany as part of their continuing attempts to avoid Germany going off the rails like that ever again.
As with Wolf:NO, I shall be replacing the Swastikas with symbolism commonly associated with LSD, in order to avoid offending people, or at least to offend them in a different way.


Before we get going, it is worth mentioning the original Wolfenstein 3D. I'm going to gloss over the even-more-original Apple II games because I've never seen them.

Wolf3D was revolutionary at the time and could also be quite creepy, with the music adding tremendous atmosphere. Despite having a solid-colour ceiling and floor and being entirely made from cubes, the game managed to instill a sense of revulsion at the atrocities of the era.

Somehow it also managed to sustain this, in spite of the bizarre legoland architecture, gigantic boss-monsters, and the fact that the hero could repair virtually all of his perforated organs with food and sticking-plasters. By rights he should have ended up like the Michelin man; rotund and covered in bandages. BJB will also quite happily eat dogfood (unlike the Michelin man, as far as I know.)

Many of these traits apply to RTCW as well, as we shall see.

The Knife-man: Impulsive Punishment

As usual, the game starts with you in prison, next to the corpse of someone you've just murdered. In RTCW, you do actually get to see this happen, unlike Wolf3D where you wake up with no memories, staring at a corpse like some kind of whodunnit movie where the protagonist has been framed.

Your initial weapons will be a pistol and a knife. In an improvement on Wolf3D, where the knife was virtually useless, BJB can now stab at around five times a second, like a gourmet chef on amphetamines. This makes a highly disturbing sound like shears or military-grade scissors. When combined with the kick - another new trick he's learned since Wolf3D - the result is devastating and many Nazis have been heard to shout 'Mein Gott!' at the mere sight.

I should also add that, as per Wolf3D, BJB has the remarkable ability to absorb food through his feet, and also armour. A flak jacket and helmet should put you up to full protection, which is sensible enough. Where it starts to get a little freaky is that he can have up to about 5 helmets on his head at once without looking like a complete tit, and somehow their protective powers are combined.

This uncanny ability is compounded in Wolf:NO and WOB where he is able to grab massive sheets of scrap metal from broken robots and somehow absorb their potency into himself through unnatural means.

Eat with your feet

Having escaped the first level, you'll be in the castle proper.
Two of the Nazis will have a chatter, and then one goes to stand by the window, while the other heads to the barracks. It is possible to drop down onto his head, which interestingly, does not alert him to your presence and you can hop down and slip away without him being any the wiser.

Once you have massacred enough people to permit entrance into the rest of the level, you will end up in the dining room, where the Captain is having his dinner. To your immediate right is a small ledge, and it is possible to jump onto this and get to him immediately without going down through the basement. This doesn't get you all that far because the gate is locked, but it does make things easier in terms of kicking the guy to death and eating his lunch.

You can also hide down by the gate and wait, while the others frantically jump around like morons, trying to get up into the dining area.

The fact that they're not very good at it means that they will generally come at you one by one, allowing you to murder them with impunity.

I Like Trams

Without doubt, one of the most entertaining sections of the game is the 'tram' level, which is actually about cable-cars, but who cares.
First, eradicate all resistance using the usual technique of kicking the Nazis in the balls and then stabbing them in the back. Do this to the mechanic, the guys in the upper section and then go downstairs to deal with the others. If you like, you can throw a few bang-sticks around for good measure.

Once they are all dead, save and activate the pulley mechanism. In a few moments two new troopers will arrive in the cable car, so make sure you run back upstairs to greet them.

There are umpteen different ways of dealing with the new arrivals, but be aware that they are all clairvoyant and know exactly where you are, so hiding up on the roof of the cabin with a big-ass sniper rifle will avail you naught. It is also worth mentioning that RTCW is one of the only games I've ever played where your enemies are able to climb ladders, so techniques that will save your ass even in far more modern games will get you into trouble here.

One possibility is to make your way to the very edge of the left-hand railings (facing outwards) and crouch, while simultaneously stabbing and kicking. For some unaccountable reason this will drive the oncoming troopers in the cable car into a frenzy, and they will begin to jump and dance inside the car. If you throw grenades at the cable car, their dancing can become so extreme that one of them falls out and is dashed to pieces on the rocks below.

"Just jump out and think of a wonderful thought."

What really seems to annoy them is this; stand on the furthest part of the railings and as the cable-car approaches, jump on the roof of it. Crouch there and they will not know what to do. Sometimes one trooper will shoot the other, in either case, one of them will usually remain in the car, so quickly jump down and hit the START button and wave him goodbye.
This will drive the trooper utterly insane, such that he will either jump out of the car on the way to #2 station, or on the way back to #1 afterwards.

Now that the troopers are out of harm's way and the cable car has been sent back from whence it came, go into the cabin and bring out the chair. Carefully throw it down into the space where the cable-car would be, and then save. Now jump down onto the chair (tricky), which will cause BJB to have a screaming fit.
You probably won't be able to get him out of this state so you'll have to reload, but when you've done it you'll see why it has to be tried.

Here's one I made earlier, as posted on YouTube:

Because of the aforementioned Psychic Nazis, you can't do clever things like sending the cable car empty to the next station and then recalling it when the Nazis enter to investigate, and although you can hide on the roof of the car, the Nazis are wise to this trick and will still try to kill you.

Finally you get to murder a few more Nazis before running into Kessler, who takes you home via a cutscene which is triggered as you enter the room. This is fun, because it has some scope for abuse.
For starters, jumping into the room causes BJB to freeze in mid-air, levitating gracefully while Kessler talks to him.
Alternatively, you can lob a couple of grenades into the room before Kessler seizes control, though this is limited in its applications since the game will end if he is killed, and unlike certain other games such as Doom or Deus Ex, it's reluctant to let you pass onto the next level if you're dead yourself.

Less 'killed', more 'reduced to little wet bits'

Where am I? In The Village.

On the following level, The Village, steal everyone's lunch. Cut up the Nazis, but not the barmaid.

Technically the barmaid is also a Nazi since fascist states tend to split neatly into party members, corpses and corpses-to-be, but whatever... she's a civilian and killing her will destroy BJB's positronic brain.
It is also worth bearing in mind that she's extremely fragile - a kick in the shins or a warning poke with the knife will slay her instantly, and by extension, you.
Interestingly, she appears to be immune to being shot by the (other) Nazis - stray shots and friendly fire from her own side will cause her to bleed but nothing more serious than that.

When everyone else is lying dead, make your way into the streets. Take the back approach, having first gunned down the people who are guarding it using the machine gun placement. Once they're dead, you can creep up behind the sole surviving guard and kick-stab him in the back.

Now you are free to visit the sniper tower. The best way to deal with him is to lob a grenade up through the ladder hole. He won't be able to kick it out of his tower because it's enclosed, and even if the blast itself doesn't kibble him, the shockwave will usually make him say 'uh!' and fall dead down the ladder to land at your feet. Retrieve the lovely mauser rifle, as it has got a gunsight.

Next we come to the Dig site. It is possible to kick-stab the seal blocking the entrance, so do that and save the dynamite for later.

Once inside, things get rather nasty with lots of horrible undead things crawling around and trying to eat you. I find that the kicking and stabbing technique works well here too, especially on the undead knight things. You just have to keep falling back when they swing with their axe. Once you find Zempf's journal, be sure to take the dynamite as well.

In the chamber where the firey thing is, I suggest lobbing about four grenades, one by one to the firepit while it is still hatching. That way it should be destroyed before it has time to burn you.

On the next level, the second firey thing is more of a problem, although if you run out quickly and then all the way back, the Nazis should take care of most of the other things for you.
Given what's at stake, the sensible thing would be to have some kind of truce against the common enemy, but instead they will divide their attention between killing the undead fiends and killing you, resulting in their own inevitable demise.

For the firey thing itself, I suggest dynamite as this will also destroy all other enemies in the vicinity (including you, so stand well back.)
Don't forget that those three traps guarding the levers work equally well on the undead and Nazis.

Jesus thinks you're a fuckwit

Now it's time to go to church. As we approach, there is a murmuring of discontent from the troops, who are discussing the grim fate of one of their comrades. Exactly which country all these Nazis came from is unclear since their private discussions invariably take place in slightly accented English.

Coming round the corner, one of the leather-clad Nazi death-bitches turns up and manages to utter the question "What are you gaping at?" before receiving a shotgun round between the eyes courtesy of BJB. Rather than celebrating their freedom, the death of their oppressive commander galvanises the troops into an inexplicable thirst for vengeance. This is a shame because it means they'll have to die too.

Alternatively, If you stop only to pick up some health, you can just barge past them while they're lamenting over Josef, kick the door open and blow the death-bitch away with a tommy-gun. If you run headlong into the other section of the building and don't hang around, the three Nazis will generally be content to stay in the other room and thereby avoid meeting the same fate as Josef.

Before you get to the church itself, you'll face two more death-bitches, who for some reason give away their ambush by saying 'Get ready!' in a stage-whisper.

"You realise you've just destroyed an extremely beautiful woman...?" -Chelmsford 123

Dynamite does a fantastic amount of damage and has a large blast radius, so it is quite possible to liquify both of them with a single charge.

"...And then their flesh and bones were strangely merged, forever to be joined as one..." -Genesis, 'Fountain of Salmacis'

Finally, you get to move into the church, where all the remaining surviving death-bitches are waiting in ambush. Unfortunately their AI is only designed to cope with this particular contingency, so we'll do something else instead.

Run into the church, fire two shots to wake them up, and then run back out, closing the portcullis behind you. They can't really cope with this. Take the sniper rifle and train it on the door. As soon as it opens, take their heads off. If they get through, they can't cope with the portcullis anyway and won't try to shoot you through the bars. You should wind up with four dead ladies. If not, you'll have to go hunting.

They may be able to climb ladders, but they can't figure out how to open a portcullis

Go to the altar (reading the note) and kill the death-bitch who is probably lurking around in the base of the tower. There is another bitch upstairs and she likes to play with grenades, dropping them down the ladder, but that's okay because it's one of our favourite games as well.
As with with the ex-sniper in The Village, throw a grenade or two up the ladder and she will be toast (or possibly go 'uh!' and fall on your head).

Now you can polish off the others. Downstairs there is another little ambush, but you can easily disrupt this with a grenade to flush out the death-bitches, and there's also another portcullis for you.

Stabbing them through the portcullis also works well

Finally, you must confront and destroy an unspeakable horror.

I like trees

What could be more pleasing than to run around the lush countryside of Nazi Germany committing random acts of terrorism? This time your task is to break into a secret missile base by stowing away on a truck. The catch is that you mustn't be 'detected' or BJ will be struck dead on the spot.

In practice you can do whatever the hell you like as long as you destroy the panic buttons first. I usually do the following: First, kickstab the people in the cottage and take the covert route as given on the map until you reach the sniper tower. Kill the occupant, smash the panic button, and use his Mauser to destroy the panic button by the roadblock too.
You may also wish to destroy the two by the roadblock, but you don't have to since they can no longer 'detect' you and that's all that matters. Now this entire segment of the level is safe.

In the second segment, hide up in the hills and blow the panic button out. You will have to be a little careful here because if the sentry in the sniper tower starts firing, the people down the way will hear it and they'll 'detect' you to death.
Once they are all dead, get the custom sniper gun and make your way back to the tunnel, there to kill the two sentries.

Now crawl up the hill and take down the sentry outside the complex, or at least his panic button, and also the panic button in the office upstairs. Whether you leave the guy upstairs alive is up to you and may make things more fun later if you do.

Now the entrance is safe, ye must do two things. Firstly, sneak around the side and go in the window. Pick up the sniper rifle and leave, since it has a 'scope fitted which is an optional extra on your stock Mauser. Then go back out through the window.

The second thing is to run in through the front gate and charge into the back of the van, which will leave with the guards all jumping up and down and firing at it. Not suspicious at all.

It is in fact possible - although not easy - to climb up the mountains near the final guard's hut, skirt around the complex and down into it, allowing you to smash his panic button. For that matter, you can also drop down from the entrance tower and run around the wall until you are able to shoot the panic button with the OSA rifle.
However while this prevents him from being able to 'detect' you, it tends to cause him to run away from the ending area, which is not good since he has to be there for the truck to leave.

Rockets and stuff

Now you have to get to the control room and abort the launch.
As you enter, several of Germany's brightest rocket scientists do the sensible thing and bow down in worship.

CORRECT way to worship a passing deity

Some of the less bright rocket scientists will attempt to shoot you...

INCORRECT way to worship a passing deity - note aggressive posture, discarded shells

...and end up decorating the floor as a lesson to all who refuse to do you worship.

"Grandma always told us that if we ever saw a god we should throw rocks to scare it away" -Latchkey Kingdom

The outer perimeter of the base is fairly straightforward, but it is worth noting that you can destroy the radar installation simply by kicking it.
The downside is that you have to run like hell afterwards to avoid being liquified by the blast, but it can be done and you will then be able to save the dynamite for less wholesome purposes in the next level.


You should have a Mauser rifle with a scope by now, which means you can sit happily in the starting tunnel for a while, popping the heads of the people in the control tower and later the charlies who turn up on the runway.

The control tower is interesting, but in a bad sort of way.

What's wrong with this picture...?

Hint: Satellites haven't been invented yet

While it is more than possible to skitter down the slope to the runway, the usual route of entry to the complex proper is via a grille in the roof of the control tower which drops you down into a store room. Exactly why they have a grille leading directly into the armoury so the rain goes all over their ammo and weapons is not explained, but it's their problem, not BJB's.

Inside, you'll come across a guy behind a desk, notable for the fact that as soon as he sees you he kicks the desk over and starts shooting. That's cute, but the only person allowed to flip tables around here should be me.
Fortunately, if you can kill him first, either by a sniper round to the head or something utterly gratuitous like a Pantherfeast, you will find that the table is rigged and you can in fact knock it over yourself assuming he didn't do so first.

It is worth noting that if you lob dynamite into the guy's field of view he will flip the table out of panic, shortly before the explosive device disassembles him. Note also that the table must be flipped by hand or by kicking it; no explosives, no matter how potent, can do the deed on your behalf.

Note that it is possible to jump on the table before the guy flips it, which will send you on a fun journey across the room.
Finally, if BJB flips the table while he is standing on the edge of it himself, he will go on the Long Journey which will not be fun at all.

In order to get the rocketplane operational, you'll need to run through a pre-flight fuelling sequence, which fortunately for you, is largely automated. The instructions are written down for you - clearly BJB is quite good at reading technical German even if he can't speak it very well.
Alternatively, you can get a verbal description from a technician, who is even better at worshipping you than the rocket scientists.

"Oh Lord, you are so big..."

Note that when you leave the airbase and start the Secret Weapons Facility mission, you do get to keep all your weapons, so try to avoid squandering the pantherfeasts as they will be useful later.

The Gun Is Good

The next few levels, regarding the SWF are relatively straightforward exercises in applied murder, where BJB gets the plans for the Venom gun followed by the weapon itself. The project book makes interesting reading - again, BJB's command of technical German is admirable.
Note that when using the Venom gun, shooting Nazis in the nuts seems to make them explode, whereas shooting them in the head or chest merely kills them.

When going after the submarine, you may as well use up all the Pantherfeasts you have because you will not be allowed to bring them into occupied Norway, unfortunately. Customs, I suppose.

Death's Head's Sex Labs

The X-labs make wide use of 'Tesla technology' which is not wholly implausible given that Tesla's inventions - in particular the ability to transmit electricity long distance via AC power transformation - made our technological civilisation possible. Like Edison, Tesla went a bit loopy in the last few years of his life, and he died in America so it wouldn't have been all that easy for the Germans to get their mits on any kind of superweapon plans he may or may not have had.
Even so, unknown technology secretly invented by a known genius is a considerably easier explanation to swallow than the 'it was invented by some Hebrew mystery cult thousands of years ago' bollocks that Wolf:NO tried to sell us.

It is also worth noting that inside the X-lab complex itself, the Tesla fields will kill anything instantly. So, if you run out of the starting area, run back in and throw the switch, curious Nazis will bumble into it and destroy themselves. This works also for the Lopers and even the prototype soldiers.

Finally, you're locked in a test chamber with what Death's-Head calls the 'Ubersoldat'. However, this is a delusion on his part.
The only person or thing present which can accurately be described as the Ubersoldat is BJB himself. No normal human being could kill the entire staff of a high-security prison complex using only a fruit-knife and a pair of shoes. Then we have his freakish ability to absorb food and sheet steel by osmosis, so the fact that Death's Head's little toy will get perforated in short order is only further proof.


This, is Xerxes.
Following Operation Resurrection,
Any, unauthorised members,
Of the National Socialist Party,
Must have their brains, physically removed,
To prevent, possible re-animation.
Remember, a smooth operation, is,
Everyone's, responsibility.

Like the forest section and some of the more annoying missions in Thief 2, this mission sees you wandering around occupied Germany in a village full of Nazis and loose women, with the stricture that you must not be 'detected'.

In practice, there are exactly two panic buttons, one in the village and one by the chateau. It is very possible to stealth or rush your way to them and smash them, leaving you free to go on a murderous rampage once nobody is able to call for help.

Unlike the barmaid in The Village, the scantily-clad bedroom ladies are not made of glass and can withstand being kicked in the shins or given a warning poke with the knife without instantly expiring and causing BJB to self-destruct. Not that I recommend attacking sex workers of course - even Nazi sex workers - but it is useful to know in case you do accidentally injure one.

If you can spare a pipebomb, use one of them to crack open the locked cellar crawlway near the start. Strangely the explosion won't lead to your detection, but it will open up a passageway that leads, by a circuituous route, to the apothecary where The Alchemist lives.

Although he's dressed in a burgundy nightgown, has clearly been running his potion shop for some years, and in fact has nothing linking him to the National Socialist movement in any way, shape or form (other than happening to live in Germany during WW2), The Alchemist does carry a gun and the game will permit you to kill him without penalty. On my 2013 replay, I decided that he was sufficiently mental that I should just steal his gold and sneak out of his house, leaving him unharmed.

Later, when trying to locate all the secrets and reading that one of the 'loose women' had a large stash of gold in a chest by her bed, I headed back to the start of the level and encountered The Alchemist walking down the road. This got rather awkward.

The Alchemist is trying to kill me

Granted, he was standing by the corpses of some soldiers I'd murdered, and was now the last surviving occupant in the village besides a couple of whores and a barmaid. That would be enough to make anyone get a bit nervous, but all the same this did pose a problem because I didn't want to kill him.

Trying to sneak past him almost worked until he saw me out the corner of his eye and began firing rapidly (only a few seconds later thinking to ask "Vot? Who are you...?"). A bizarre chase ensured, which ended with the Alchemist backing away down the street and vanishing into one of the wine cellars.

If you end up trapped between The Alchemist and a moral dilemma not to shoot him because he's so weird, a handy trick is to duck behind one of the walls, get him to shoot at you and then duck back. When he runs out of ammo, you should be able to run past him while he reloads.

The Dig

I've skipped over the Chateau because while it's entertaining enough, there's only so much you can say about murdering beautiful but evil young women in leather catsuits.

Once this is all done and you've catastrophically failed to prevent the annointing ceremony, BJB will attempt suicide by jumping into a pit, to try and atone for his failure.

Instead he finds himself in yet another dig site, and is shortly attacked by yet another evil death robot.

After you've blown up the death robot, two soldiers will come out. I'm not sure why - perhaps they're jealous because the robot got some pantherfeasts and they didn't. We'll probably need to save the rest for later, but I'm sure a sniper round to the head will be an adequate consolation prize.

Once they're dead, you can go around to where the robot came from. There will be a couple more soldiers and a locked door.
A single pantherfeast can blow a man to little wet bits or utterly destroy a tank. Several can blow up a robot. But no amount of them can open a shed door made from rotten wood if the door has been locked.

Clearly they should have made the robots out of wood

Instead, you'll have to drop down a hole into the dig site proper, fortunately cushioned by a deep pool of water, which I think is the first proper pool we've seen since the X-labs.

In Quake, the lightning gun would make you burst when used underwater, or while standing it in. Lava acts in basically the same way since it's effectively boiling orangeade.
This trick, of firing the lightning gun underwater while in god-mode, can be abused to make Dimensional Shamblers explode too since the effect will somehow travel back up their own lightning stream.

...if that sounds bizarre or confusing, that's because it is. But I digress.

In stark contrast to Quake, the Tesla cannon works normally when immersed in water, somehow failing to fry the player, let alone anyone else who happens to be submerged. This is probably a bug, and is slightly disappointing because this map has a number of Nazis standing in a pool of water and it would have been fun to electrocute the lot of them like fish.


Back in the castle again, you seem to be in a more-or-less untouched section which is full of ancient seals complete with the usual complement of undead fiends inside them and the occasional half-eaten Nazi.

Curiously there are a couple of ancient tombs which have been sealed for centuries. Inside these tombs are gold bars, but gold bars stamped with the Swastika and made from the gold teeth of concentration camp victims. It is not explained how they got there. Either way, BJB doesn't seem terribly fussed about the gold being made of dead people and stuffs them in his pocket anyway. Somehow.

Otherwise there is little to remark on about this level, although the church scene is kind of interesting.

"Blessed is the church, service, makes me nervous" -Simon and Garfunkel

In the final sector there is a large drop, leading to the exit but you can't just jump and flee the level since the door is locked.

There is also a small, locked room with a Nazi barracaded inside, and a murder-hole through which he occasionally shoots.

It may amuse you to post grenades through the window and watch him squirm. Dynamite is a particularly fine choice since the room is too small for him to flee.

A present from Joe


And now we come to the epic finale. You are offered a meagre selection of weapons including a complete Tesla gun just in case you somehow avoided bringing your own. Exactly why, I'm not sure - in my experience the thing is barely able to kill human foes, let alone death robots and supernatural fiends.

Also in stark contrast to Quake, where the end boss is a sea anemone that sits there waving its fronds oblivious to your presence, BJB has to fight the forces of darkness incarnate in a final confrontation in a steelyard somewhere near Grimsby.

At this point I think we're long overdue a few words about Madame M. Blavatsky, since I'm not entirely sure who she's supposed to be.

There was, in the 19th century, a very famous mystic known as Madame Helena Blavatsky, who wrote a number of books of weird shit before dying of a 'flu plague in 1891. Had she survived until 1943, she would have been 111 years old so we're probably not talking about the same person, notwithstanding Death's Head remark of 'Good Lord, is she still alive?' in his annotated project book.

Given that Madam H. Blavatsky was fat and ugly while her namesake in RTCW is young, beautiful and heavily into the Goth look, we'd probably be looking at Madam M. Blavatsky as the granddaughter of said famous mystic, leaving aside the fact that she died a virgin, may in fact have been a lesbian, and that her daughter would have taken a different name anyway.
But whatever... this is a Wolfenstein game, and they tend to play a little fast-and-loose with reality (or go completely off the rails, as in the case of Wolf:NO).

Whoever she is, Madame M. Blavatsky - now wearing opera gloves that consist entirely of body-paint - does her ritual and the fantastically dangerous robots are turned into those frail undead knights that are trivially easy to kill. As a reward for her faithful service, MMB gets turned into a sort of dead thing, which is arguably the most dangerous foe present besides Heinrich himself.

Madame Blavatsky has seen better days

Your task, then, is to battle a supernatural thousand-year-old maniac. This is left as an exercise for the reader.

Hitler:  Well, Heinrich... you've spent over a billion Reichsmark on your project
         to resurrect Prince Heinrich and usher in the new golden age.  Did it work?

Himmler: Uh, yes and no, mein Fuhrer. Madame Blavatsky raised our spiritual overlord and master from the grave, but before he could usher in the new golden age, the crazy American murdered him! Hitler: Nonsense! The prophecy of Simon the Wanderer said that he could never be destroyed! Himmler: Simon the Wanderer didn't have a Venom gun, mein Fuhrer.

After this, BJB is refused a medal, even though they could have made up a fake mission to reward him for as a cover, or given him a medal 'for valiant actions that must remain classified' or something. He consoles himself by indulging in his favourite past-time, murder.

Made with various text editory things. Return to Castle Wolfenstein and all its works are the property of those who own it.

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