Wolfenstein - New Order

I feel so extraordinary, something's got a hold on me
I get this feeling I'm in motion, a sudden sense of liberty

- True Faith, New Order

Content Warning, apologies etc

As with many of the games I've taken apart recently, Wolfenstein: NO is 18-rated, containing violence, swearing and the alt-right. 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. While I can understand where they're coming from, I'm not entirely convinced that blotting out the past is a good idea, since it will prevent future generations from being able to learn from history.
Still, rather than run the risk of having the whole site blocked in Germany over one game, I shall therefore be replacing the Swastikas with symbolism commonly associated with LSD.

One last point of note is that this review thing (Autopsy? I'm not sure it qualifies as an 'anti-walkthrough') was written linearly while playing the game. I have decided to keep this format, partly because it's funnier to see how I responded as things developed throughout the game, but also to avoid undue spoilers.

Begin at the beginning

"People who do things are people who get things done" -Bill Nelson

Unlike Fallout 4 - which still doesn't work - the game ran perfectly as soon I realised that it needed a 64-bit windows emulation and opened with a memorable (if quiet) opening theme. I'm told that the audio team used valve equipment and tape machines to try and get a late 1950s or early 1960s vibe for the soundtrack. In that sense they failed utterly, but did manage to produce some rather pleasant 1990s shoegazer rock. Besides, anyone still recording to tape gets kudos from me.

I'll scoot through very first part of the intro where you're aboard the plane as there is little to say. It is mostly an irritating montage of WW2 battle scenes, where you are given a series of tasks and about 15 seconds to accomplish each one before you die.

Were it really BJB doing it, this would not present a problem since having been trained in this kind of aircraft he would know exactly where everything is and precisely what to do. Instead, we have a 'Human Revolution' situation where the protagonist has apparently had a stroke and suddenly wakes up with his eyes rolling everywhere and no recollection of how to perform basic tasks such as opening his office door or in this case, knowing where the cargo bay or gunnery hatch is located.

Who am I? Where am I? What am I?

The Nazis have advanced jetfighters, AT-ATs and robotic dogs. This is not something which fazes me particularly since this kind of fantasy tech has always been a mainstay of the series, and indeed some of it comes straight out of Return to Castle Wolfenstein. That said, it is worth keeping in mind that one of the reasons the Nazi war effort failed was because they kept bickering over which projects should receive their limited resources, so even if they had had this kind of technology in the lab it is unlikely that they would have been able to mass-produce any of it.

After that, things start to get more fun and significantly more Wolfenstein-like in that you actually get to run around and shoot Nazis in the head without the game constantly grabbing you by the scruff of the neck and dumping you somewhere else like a wayward kitten.

Things start to get irritating again when you meet up with your retarded companions and decide to do a head-on assault of a castle run by the SS. Among other things, you get a motorcycle-sized rock dropped on your head with no ill effects whatsoever. Once inside the castle, Fergus teaches you how to hotwire locks by shorting live and neutral together, thus popping the circuit breakers or fuses and leaving the door totally inoperable.

Do NOT try this at home. Ever.

Finally, after wrestling with the most badly-designed incinerators I've ever seen, you get killed by a Star Wars garbage crusher only to wake up again and be forced to decide whether the useless, incompetent Wyatt with the spice-blue eyes or the experienced but rude and sarcastic shithead Fergus should get the chop.

The Spice must flow!

While I can kind of appreciate that this is the game's way of saying that life isn't fair and that you will be forced to make choices you'd rather avoid, this kind of moralising is annoying and when push comes to shove, the purpose of the game is to entertain the player, not piss them off.

After that, the room explodes and you get lobotomised in the same old way as DX:HR and Fallout: New Vegas.

Don't arrange to have me sent to no asylum

"Let me get this straight, you play a brain-damaged inmate in a lunatic asylum...?"

Now things really take a turn for the worse, as BJB is washed up somewhere and brought to a hospital. While he may have survived having his skull smashed by a large rock, the little chunk of metal in his head has left BJB comatose with a head full of scrambled eggs until the year 1960.

Let's take a step back. Before they started going after the Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and other 'undesirables', the Nazis had been perfecting their extermination techniques on another segment of the German population as a sort of trial run.
The object of this exercise was to allegedly improve the health of the German people as a whole, by culling the sick and the insane in a sort of Darwinistic purge. To facilitate this, hospitals were combed for the disabled and the incurably mad, so that they could be put out of their misery in the same way we might kill a sick animal. This was known as "Action T4" should you wish to do your own research.
It is poignant to note that when the 1971 film of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' was filmed in Munich, the Oompa-loompas had to be shipped in from abroad because all native Germans that size had been exterminated.

While the game loosely touches on this, in that Death's Head's men constantly turn up to get more meat for his experiments, the elephant in the room is BJB himself. The fact that they frequently visited the hospital and yet somehow allowed BJB to sit in a wheelchair drooling for fourteen whole years without putting a bullet in him beggars belief, and is a mystery which the game does not even attempt to explain away.

Finally, the Nazis decide to close the hospital, bringing about two dozen storm troopers for the comparatively simple task of shooting a handful of lunatics in the head and escorting the staff off the premises.
This goes astray as an over-enthusiastic Nazi murders the staff against their orders, before devolving into a systematic execution of all within. BJB manages to evade this by attempting an ISIS-style beheading on the Nazi using a butter knife. After a brief spell of dizziness, he gets up and starts running around athletically despite the fact that he's in his early 40s and hasn't moved his legs for nearly 15 years.

BJB commits a few more murders, kidnaps Anja, the only survivor of the Mental Hospital Massacre, and then escapes in a car.
Incredibly, nobody stops an obviously-stolen high-ranking vehicle being driven too fast by a mental patient in a blood-spattered hospital gown who's never driven a vehicle with a synchronized gearbox before.

"Hey kid, shake a leg - maybe you're crazy in the head. Baby."
'Drive' - REM

Eventually BJB slips into some kind of flashback coma and nearly crashes the car, at which point the Nazis finally realise that something untoward has happened. A few more people are given ISIS-style executions and the car is driven onwards to Anja's grandparents.

Maybe you'll see things my way, before we get to Grandma's place

"I'm sorry, but this game is just bollocks."

Eventually, Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf turn up at Granny's house. For some inexplicable reason Anja's grandparents are outside and awaiting their arrival, which either means that they had some form of premonition, or that the whole world and his dog have heard about the Mental Hospital Massacre and the Nazis will shortly be arriving to execute the lot of them.

In the car boot, a live Nazi is found. Once he is extracted, the grandparents beat the shit out of him, apparently as a scapegoat for the fact that their child was murdered by a completely different Nazi who would have been shot for insubordination if BJB hadn't disposed of him first.

So. It's 1960. The Nazis made it onto the moon 10 years early and now have technology which we do not. The game stated in the intro that even in 1946 they had extraordinary technology and nobody knows how this happened, so it is likely that this discrepancy will eventually be explained.

Meanwhile, in the farmhouse, BJB is incapable of comprehending that the war is over and that there isn't a US Military anymore. This is excusable, since a 15-year coma patient is likely to have had large parts of his brain atrophy.
The atomic bomb was a military secret until it was used on Japan, so whether BJB would have heard of them in this timeline (and thus understand the explanation he was given) is an open question.

BJB reacts by going down into the cellar while his friends put on some music and try to pretend everything is awesome. Once downstairs, you can steal Anja's grandfather's gold watch and then interrogate the nazi guy with a chainsaw that doesn't start.
True to his brain-damaged state, BJB does something totally moronic and threatens to behead the guy if he doesn't give an answer that he likes. Anyone remotely sensible would cut off parts of the guy so that he can still answer if he needs any initial persuasion.
Eventually the Nazi gives a satisfactory answer, at which point BJB murders him anyway for shits and giggles, thus leaving his hosts to have to find a way to dispose of a very, very messy corpse.

Supposedly the Nazis are keeping the resistance members in a prison, which makes me suspect that the writing team has also just awakened from a 15-year coma with heads full of scrambled eggs.
A more plausible explanation is the guy is giving BJB an answer that he'll LIKE, even though it isn't true. This is one of the reasons torture doesn't really work. More to the point, BJB won't be able to come back for more questions if it turned out that the guy was lying, because he hasn't got a head.

As a reality check, the whole thing about the resistance members being imprisoned is astonishingly unlikely. It is historical fact that resistance members would either be shot on the spot, or given a short trial in a kangaroo court with a 90% conviction rate, followed almost immediately afterwards by the guillotine. Such fates befell Helmuth Hubner and later Sophie Scholl of the White Rose group, who did little more than propogate ideas which the Nazi Party disapproved of.

There is no valid reason why the Reich would stop doing this, barring some weird sort of Nazi apologism on behalf of the game (this is not helped by the "We are not trivialising genocide, honest!" splash screen when the game starts).

The way the Nazis are portrayed is rather ham-fisted. It focuses almost entirely on the evil deeds of a select few which take place at a personal level, and thereby misses the wider point completely. The true horror of Nazi Germany is not that some people were extremely evil, it was the mundane bureaucracy of it all, the banal way in which the whole system was geared up to systematically locate and destroy certain groups of people on an industrial scale, and that most normal people were just kind of okay with it, or provided with a mental scapegoat.

Let my people go!

Once your pet Nazi has been safely beheaded, everyone (else) performs what appears to be a seance, and collectively head off to try and rescue the resistance folk.

Is there anyone out there...?

The checkpoint provides a slight problem, but nothing that can't be overcome with a suitably large amount of murder.

According to the game's notes, Anja's grandfather lives by one rule: 'do to others as you would have done to you'. He promptly demonstrates this by blowing someone's head off with a shotgun, and then shouts his genocidal plans to you so loudly that they literally echo around the complex.

"Is that Margaret Thatcher?"

JM: "You know what... I think I've been looking at this game all wrong.  I've been bitching about it because
     the plot is bollocks... actually that's EXACTLY what I need for a new anti-walkthrough.  I HAVE to buy it!"
SF: "Oh?"
JM: "Yeah, it's hard these days, the QA is so better than it used to be, it's really hard to bend a game backwards."
SF: "Have you ever considered getting a job doing QA for games?"
JM: "Not really.  Bugs are fun.  If I reported them, they'd get fixed!  I mean, yeah, crashing ones are a problem.
     Ones where you can do something the designers never intended?  That's fun.  One of the reasons I loved
     Goat Simulator was because it was their policy to only fix the crashing bugs and leave the rest alone."
SF: "Yeah, QA is a really big focus these days."
JM: "Well, they don't seem to have done any QA on the writing."
After a little bit more fun popping heads, you'll come across a large, open area where some random guy impassively watches your murder spree from the gantry.

Shortly afterwards you'll end up in some kind of control room with what appears to be an early 1970s Ford Cortina bricked up on cinder blocks.

Getting in the car gives an amusing reminder of BJB's status as an absconded mental patient.

JM: "That thing that looks like a computer.  What is it?"
SF: "It's a computer.  Is that from 1960?"
JM: "No.  That's 1978 or later."

SF: "I hope I didn't destroy the only computer I needed to use."
JM: "Doesn't matter.  It's not like he can use a computer.  He won't even have a WORD for computer."
SF: "I hadn't thought of that.  Though, they did HAVE computers in the 1940s.
     They broke the Enigma code."
JM: "They were a state secret, at least in the UK."

"Sssss.... the Future Machine sickenssss usssss..."

There will be one final part of the checkpoint. Again, Anja's grandfather demands a blood sacrifice of all within. Killing just the humans is not sufficient, as he will refuse to move the car until you have also dispatched the robo-dog sleeping on the porch, making its dreams of electric sheep considerably more permanent.

Finally you will have to destroy a couple of honest-to-god robots, although since the Nazis have clearly mastered the art of fabricating LSI semiconductors 20 years early, this is hardly surprising and continues the game's bizarre narrative that we would be in a technological paradise by now if only Hitler had prevailed.

SF: "I'm just killing these... robotic dogs..."
JM:  "NO...!"
SF: "I'm sorry, you don't like that, do you?"
JM:  "The only thing better than a dog is a robotic dog!"
Afterwards, you catch a train, despite not having any papers. The game very abruptly cuts to BJB banging Anja in what might be a poorly-handled attempt at some kind of romantic subplot.
Normally I'd be all for making love not war, but there's a time and a place for everything, and randomly cramming a sex scene into a game about shooting Nazis makes about as much sense as having the Doom marine sneak off into a quiet corner of Hell to crack one off.

Tommy's Holiday Camp

"This game is one big plot hole."

BJB then tries to get into the prison. This means crawling around a couple of buildings and stealing an experimental laser welding machine which is just lying on someone's workbench. Given that LASER is an acronym for 'Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation', it is unlikely that the Nazis would refer to it as such, even if they stole the technology from some other continuum as I am starting to suspect.

You will at some point need to sneak through some kind of local commmand centre, filled with large 1940s-looking computing devices that contrast strangely with the late 1970s DEC terminals or late 1980s Solbourne workstations seen back at the checkpoint.

Annoyingly, BJB has lost his silenced pistol by this point. This is somewhat sensible as bringing it on the train is unlikely to go down well, but unfortunately it does mean that BJB is reduced to messy ISIS-style killings since he only has a knife and a welding tool.

On the less sensible front, the prison itself constantly echoes with Big-Brother style appeals to not cause any trouble and to serve your sentence. Once again the game shows us a rose-tinted vision of the Nazi regime where dissidents are treated like naughty children instead of being guillotined or shipped off to death camps.

Once in the cell block you will find your colleagues apparently being brainwashed. Fergus, who has somehow avoided the fallbeil for the last 14 years, asks BJB what he's been up to. Rather than tell him the unpleasant truth, BJB makes shit up and boasts about committing a number of unprovoked murders, leaving out various bits like the chainsaw beheading and shooting dogs in their sleep. That said, "Drooling in a wheelchair for 14 years" is perhaps not a particularly uplifting story.

By any sensible measure the escape attempt ends disastrously since only Fergus and BJB get out alive and the Nazis, convinced that a full-scale rebellion is in progress, actually do something evil for a change and order the mass execution of the entire prison population.

Hence BJB's actions have resulted in the deaths of about a thousand people, in order to rescue one man who constantly hurls insults at you throughout the entire venture.

JM: "Some of the White Rose got lucky, mind.  Roland Freisler wanted to guillotine a bunch of them as a present for
     Hitler's birthday.  However, he forgot to bring the evidence folder containing the case against them and the
     trial had to be postponed.  Someone else presided over the next trial, and most of them were acquitted.
     The one who wasn't ended up in jail but the trial kept getting postponed until the war ended."
SF: "Poor Hitler never got his birthday present, then..."

Tomorrow Belongs To Me

Fatherland, fatherland show us a sign
Your children have waited to see
The morning will come when the world is mine...
Tomorrow belongs to me!

--Cabaret (see also the Sensational Alex Harvey Band for a de-Nazified version)

Shortly afterwards you'll end up in the Resistance HQ where the last vestiges of the Clouseau Circle are hanging out. BJB promptly makes an idiot of himself and rubs most of the rebels up the wrong way, but the fight is quickly interrupted by a mad old lady in a wheelchair who rolls up and exhanges injuries with BJB.

SF: "So, do you remember where we got to?"

JM: "You were climbing around buildings, while the PA was blaring authoritarian slogans at you in the style of Soviet Russia,
     which makes me think that the designers have confused Nazism with Stalinism.  You found a newspaper cutting which described
     how one of the robot dogs killed a bunch of people by mistake but they were only rapists so that was okay.  Then you found
     another one describing how you broke out of prison and that described YOU as a rapist as well at which point you realised
     you'd completely fallen for their propaganda."
BJB is given the option of having a nightmare, which brings up the opening level of the original Wolf3D, complete with 8KHz sound samples, but sadly he wakes after reaching the exit.
The game does not emulate such oddities as BJB's uncanny ability to run much faster sideways than he can forwards, and it doesn't have the gold artifact hoards either. This is slightly disappointing, since the Nazis did hoard artifacts in castles to keep them safe from allied bombings. It is also confusing given how Wolf:NO tends to scatter such things in completely bizarre and improbable locations despite attempting to be more realistic game.

A Night at the Museum

"Oh it gets better. Wait until you see the Hebrew deathsphere." -Turnsky

Your next mission involves going to London where the Houses of Parliament have been converted into a gigantic eyesore containing their top-secret R&D facility. Unlike with the train, you need to present your papers this time. Once there, your dickhead companion promptly goes full terrorist, blowing up the car park and preventing you from entering the building.

Once you have scrabbled around sufficiently to breach the walls of the fortress you discover the appalling truth - the top-secret weapons facility has a museum and visitor's centre, and you could have gained access simply by paying a couple of Reichsmarks at the front door.

After a number of improbable incidents involving attempted suicide via the elevators, you find yourself in a laboratory where a cutscene takes place, but instead of using voiceovers, the screen splits to show each speaker until your field of vision resembles a sliding block puzzle.

Documents are found describing various high-tech devices. BJB grabs all the papers he can find and also loads up with about 30 kilos of what appear to be Polywell fusion reactors and accessories.

Robert Bussard woz 'ere

BJB says that they are ancient technological artifacts which is slightly depressing because the earlier games have generally involved ancient magical artifacts. Counterintuitively, the magical version is actually more realistic... some of the top-level Nazis actually were deeply into the occult. The Nazis really did have the Spear of Destiny - later returned to Vienna following their defeat. Whether this artifact ever did pierce Christ's side or has any magical powers is debatable, but the Nazi Occult trope has a significant basis in reality.

By contrast, New Order leaves reality entirely, instead going with the Clarke Von Dungleberry school of thought that the pyramids were built by aliens, the Holy Grail was a fusion-powered bioreactor, Sodom and Gomorrah were nuked and so forth. It becomes very difficult to reconcile these two concepts without falling down the "ALL the conspiracy theories are true!" rabbithole, and that way madness lies.

As a consolation prize for laying this tripe on you, the game does let you steal a really cool laser welding device from the top-secret research lab. (Perhaps 'let' is the wrong word - you can't leave without it)

Finally, you end up fighting a couple more robots. BJB, in true WW2 Make-Do-And-Mend fashion, is able to gather up pieces of robot as they fall, and somehow grafts them onto his body to repair his armour. This works even if the pieces of random metal are bigger than him, although for some reason he is not able to pocket the cars in the car-park and use those as armour, which would have made things a lot easier.

Swastika Eyes

I see your:
autosuggestion psychology, elimination policy
A military industrial
illusion of democracy
Swastika Eyes, Swastika Eyes, Swastika Eyes

-Primal Scream, XTRMNTR

Once you have liberated the three helicopters, thereby telling central Berlin 'THE REBEL BASE IS HERE!', Anja makes the staggering claim that the Jews were responsible for the success of the Nazi regime. You are asked to find a brick in order to help prove this.

BJB promptly falls into the sewer thanks to the Clouseau Circle's utter contempt for health and safety, presumably some kind of reaction against the rules and regulations of the Nazi totalitarian regime.

"What's that, Lassie..? Billy's fallen down the well?"

Aktion-T4 is finally mentioned, albeit in relation to Klaus' child. The fact that BJB and Caroline somehow evaded it is once again glossed over and if anything, it makes things worse because it means the writing team knew what they were doing was stupid, but did it anyway.

Fergus, meanwhile, lapses into survivor's guilt and gets even more hostile towards BJB. Presumably if you rescued The Kid instead, he would be moping about being useless and inexperienced instead of being too old and frail.

Once all the tasks are completed, BJB's colleagues betray him and he is sent to a concentration camp. The pretext given is some cock-and-bull story about finding a Jewish concrete engineer who has somehow escaped the Nazis elimination policy for the last 20 years. However, the resistance group wanting to dispose of BJB seems a far more plausible explanation.

BJB is singled out by the Nazis as being exceptionally well-built despite 14 years as a vegetable, and is promptly stuck in front of the controls of a cement mixer. Exactly why they even have manually-operated cement mixers when they have AI systems and late 70s computer technology is not explained. The job BJB is given could have been automated even using 1940s technology.

BJB hits off with the old engineer about as well as can be expected from a multiple murderer who's recently escaped a mental hospital.

Through judicious use of the word 'fuck', BJB persuades the old man to abandon his lifelong ideals in exchange for a couple of favours that should, theoretically, grant him absolute control over the concentration camp, and, also theoretically, free all the inmates. BJB doesn't mention that the last prison break he did ended in thousands of deaths and the old man doesn't ask.

BJB then breaks into the forbidden areas of the complex, but without obtaining any kind of makeshift weapon first, so he is unable to pick up the crowbar or saws left lying around. Predictably he is immediately mugged, beaten up and murdered before coming back to life in the incinerator, after which you get to go on yet another ISIS-style killing spree.

Rise and walk, my son!

To its credit, the game does actually start to convey the horrors of Nazi Germany for once, instead of the sugar-coated cartoon version it's largely been feeding us until now.

Just like last time, the escape attempt goes horribly wrong and the entire wing is sent to the firing squad by someone who looks very much like Margaret Thatcher.

The Engineer saves the day, and Thatcher vows to hunt you down, which she does, appearing just as you escape and shooting up most of the people you were trying to save.

Back at base, The Engineer says he's part of some weird cult that has been building machinery centuries ahead of anything else. The game hedges its bets by saying that some of it is 'so advanced it appears to be magic'. This might have been more convincing if not for things like the Spear of Destiny (in 'Spear of Destiny' funnily enough), or the many undead fiends, demonic manifestations and full-blown summoning rituals in RTCW.

Like Nikola Tesla, the cult doesn't do anything sensible with the technology once it has been created, simply inventing things for shits and giggles and then going "That's cool, what can I make next?". Roth says that this is their way of worshipping God, by making cool shit for Him.

Unless God is also telling them how to make the stuff, this explanation is total bullshit and an insult to engineers everywhere. After the low-hanging fruit is gone, technological progression does not occur in a vacuum but by building on pre-existing technological infrastructure.

Consider building a VLSI device. The machine you're reading this on probably has a dozen VLSI chips in it. Designing one requires specialism in a large number of fields which only exist because people are actively using or researching those technologies. Writing it all down only gets you so far - people who have actually worked with the technology are also necessary to keep it alive, since the written medium tends to be a lossy, imperfect record of one's experience.
Once the chip is designed, we need to fabricate it, in a factory about the size of the Elgin industrial estate in Swindon. The immersion lithography machinery alone is unlikely to get much change from a billion dollars or so, and depends on there already being stable power infrastructure and a supply of exotic materials such as isotopically-pure silicon - which in turn requires another factory about the size of the Elgin industrial estate to purify it to the required level.
The only conceivable way to produce semiconductors in a garage workshop is by some kind of advanced molecular deposition technology, which will require computer control, which will require exactly the kind of VLSI device we're trying to make in the first place.

In addition, a lot of progress is incremental, e.g. "how can we improve on this?". Semiconductor features sizes have shrunk down from multiple microns to under 10nm over the course of decades of gradual process improvements and discoveries in the field of materials science, not through theoretical work by a handful of crazy old mystics.

Even if we accept that this is vaguely plausible, the game does not explain how the Nazis, having found a cache of advanced technology, have managed to reverse-engineer any of it at all, let alone 23rd century technology. If someone from 1760 tried to reverse-engineer a smartphone, they wouldn't even have a proper grounding in electricity, let alone the theory behind radio waves, semiconductor technology, quantum mechanics, digital logic, stored-program machine code, operating system design or Fast-Fourier Transforms.

It is interesting, in a train-wreck sort of way, to note that by doing this, the writing team has inadvertantly justified the Nazi's anti-semitic goals, since in the Wolf:NO universe there really is a Jewish conspiracy to secretly control the world, and the Nazis were the only thing standing in their way. The Engineer says as much himself, by mentioning that they attempted to bolster the Allies by providing them advanced technology (but too late to turn things around).

But back to the game. The Engineer promises to help your friends access a large cache of divine technology, but for this they have to capture a U-boat, since the cache is in the bottom of the sea. BJB is sent to fetch more equipment to help build something, and he once again falls into the sewer, opening up yet more avenues for the Nazis to locate the hide-out.

"This never would have happened if the Nazis had been in charge" -Sofox

Down in the Sewer

After another quick shag, BJB is given a mini-sub and told to go through the sewer into the most heavily-fortified part of Berlin. During this escapade he has a significant mental breakdown and starts rambling about leeches a'la Raoul Duke in 'Fear and loathing in Las Vegas'.

"Look," he said, "you've got to stop this talk about snakes and leeches and lizards and stuff. It's making me sick."

Meanwhile, Anja goes off the deep end as well and starts reading extracts from her psycho cousin's diary of serial killings. These entries appear in your inventory as reels of tape, but unfortunately are the American NAB standard and not the cine-hub or AEG pancake formats used in Germany.

After that you get to sneak around and murder Nazis, which should be what springs to mind when Wolfenstein is mentioned, rather than porn.

Once this is done, the writing team start to lose their tenuous grip on reality even more. Your so-called allies come up with yet another Wile-E Coyote scheme to try and dispose of BJB, namely hollowing out a torpoedo and putting him inside it - presumably in the hopes that he'll be fired at something. The fact that no torpedo is ever going to be designed to be opened from the inside is a problem the game does not acknowledge.

Left alone in a tiny, pitch-black enclosed space, BJB has another minor breakdown and then wakes up inside the submarine. The interior of the torpedo is now somehow lit up like a Christmas tree and you are able to escape.

The next task, obviously, is to overpower the U-boat through the careful use of applied murder. The captain offers you a fair trial according to maritime law if you surrender. BJB, of course, does not show him the same courtesy.

As an aside, a note in the captain's cabin relates how, after a skyscraper collapsed, an architect was given a kangaroo court trial and summary execution in a brief flash of lucidity from the writing team. It should be pointed out that the Engineer has blood on his hands for this, since he was the one fiddling with the concrete to produce bad batches of it and the architect was a civil engineer, not exactly a high-ranking Nazi.

On this note, the game does not, as far as I can see, explain what is so special about the super-concrete, aside from saying that it's made it possible for them to build things extremely rapidly. From this we can guess that it does not need to be cured. Concrete undergoes an exothermic reaction when curing, and large structures require active cooling to prevent it overheating and losing structural integrity. Without such cooling mechanisms, the Hoover Dam would have taken more than a century to set. If this super-concrete is able to skip that step entirely, the massive cityscapes and bridges featured in the game become eminently plausible.

Anyway. Once the crew have been exterminated, you have to install a radio device and raise some buoys to re-establish contact with your allies. The game does not explain how Anja has been able to transmit more episodes of her cousin's murder spree before this is done.

Once this is done, BJB has another relapse, laughing about the word 'buoy' and making deranged comments about drowning cats in the river.

Babylon Rising

"Two thousand years of looking for utopia
Two thousand years of Babylon rising
Don't be afraid: the threat's not for real
Be very afraid: you've made your last deal"
--Babylon Rising, Threshold (Psychedelicatessen)

After this, you get to go down into the cache. Set the Engineer, now appears to be out of his depth and makes a couple of minor mistakes, until eventually you get inside the halls of wisdom.

It is, unfortunately, not filled to the ceiling with knowledge as promised, but appears to be more the Broom Cupboard of wisdom - small, but with the occasional useful knick-knacks scattered here and there.

Fergus starts to go into the same kind of mental daze as Anja and BJB himself, rambling about how he's in Atlantis with a crazed wizard and a psychopath.

Meanwhile, in their apparent attempts to find BJB's breaking point where he finally puts his foot down and says "Fuck you, I'm not doing that" the team decide that BJB should be sent to the moon, so that they can start a nuclear war using the submarine.

This will be done by hijacking a train and impersonating a high official who is already booked to go to the moon. Set suggests using what Turnsky referred to as "the Hebrew deathsphere". The Engineer simply calls it 'spindly torque thing', so clearly inventing names for things does not get them closer to Yahweh.

At the scene of the crime-to-be, BJB launches the deathsphere and bizarre things occur which cause even BJB and Fergus to balk at the atrocity and go "WTF just happened? What did we do?!".

By sheer luck, the official you're trying to get at hasn't yet fallen into the sea, so BJB has to go and rescue him.

Getting there is difficult, but not impossible. I stand by my assertion from Return to Castle Wolfenstein that the Ubersoldat is not some tin soldier that Death's Head has cobbled together, it 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, and the fact that he managed to reanimate himself after taking a jet-fighter in the forehead, having his skull smashed, his throat slashed twice and then being stabbed in the chest is only further proof.

As you approach the conclusion of the vertigo-inducing mission, the soundtrack switches to a lazy acoustic number in stark contrast to the massacres in progress. BJB then traps himself inside the rail car that the Nazi was trapped in, but manages to end up safely back in the base by sheer force of will.

"Think of it as Satan's dreidel" -Turnsky

We like the moon

After presumably having been briefed on what a computer looks like and how to use a text-based menu system, BJB takes a shuttle to the moon. This isn't an eye-opener in itself since the Nazis were extremely good with rocketry even in our timeline, and in this one they have also stolen some kind of Hebrew antigrav technology.

However, things start to stretch credulity a little once you get there. Firstly, BJB has to go through customs even though the Nazis have created a one-world state, but we also have problems with the communications.

Firstly, there's a time delay. That's not too bad, it seems to be a round-trip of about 2.5 seconds on average, real figure dependent on where the moon is at the time since the orbit is elliptical. However, you would need a fair chunk of power to send a signal to the moon, and that will be a great big finger pointing at the Clouseau Circle HQ saying "Here I am". It's even worse for BJB - anyone transmitting a signal strong enough to be received on Earth from the moon is going to be pretty easy to pin down.

Fortunately this doesn't happen, although the fact that the Nazis will inevitably discover you means that you won't be able to get back OFF the moon. Even if you remained undiscovered, the man BJB is pretending to be didn't have a return ticket due for several weeks or months.

Anyway, you make your way through the labs, past computer tape drives that don't have any reels of tape in them, and out onto the lunar surface.
I was a little suspicious at first because BJB's movements on the moon were clearly in Earth gravity. However, this is only the case within the complex - on the moon surface itself you get the proper 1/6th gravity. Presumably another example of the same gravitic engineering that allows the Hebrew Deathsphere to levitate.

Once inside the command module, BJB finds a scalpel and has another one of his psychotic episodes. This time we have a flashback to the concentration camp where he remembers an encounter with The Engineer which didn't have time to happen since we can account for nearly every second he spent with Set. This is followed by some rather gruesome self-harm on BJB's part. While I suppose cutting your wrists is one way to remove a tattoo, asking The Engineer if his advanced technology includes laser tattoo removal would at least have allowed BJB to keep using his shooting hand without waiting a month for it to heal. Set, after all, has the same problem.

Sofox: Of course BJB can self-harm and still fire weapons.  He's the Ubersoldat.
Anja's stories about her psycho cousin continue, and it becomes increasingly likely that this 'cousin' is actually her - either through some kind of multiple personality disorder, or because she's scared that BJB will be turned off by the fact that she's a confessed serial killer. Either way she seems to be out of her gourd - which is perhaps not surprising since many slightly insane people go into psychiatry to try and understand their own condition.

BJB gets to the computer and haltingly figures out how to use it. This is made more difficult by the fact that the letters IOP and the number 0 are missing from the keyboards, which interestingly seem to be in the UK/US QWERTY layout instead of the German QWERTZ standard. None of the accented letters are available either.

Press '0' to continue

Finally he gets it to print the launch codes for the submarine onto punch-cards. BJB is then instructed to get back to the hangar so that he can hijack a cargo shuttle and land it in the Nautica facility. After the shuttle takes off, BJB goes insane once more, stabbing the pilot several dozen times. Predictably, this causes the Nazis to shoot down the shuttle and you crash-land in the middle of London.

At this point the Nazis finally realise where the Clouseau HQ is and attack it, while you are given the unenviable job of getting all the way from London to Berlin as quickly as you can. This is interrupted by a giant robot.

So sad, it ends - as it began

Somehow, BJB and Klaus manage to complete the 600 mile drive from London to Berlin while it's still daylight. Or more likely, it took them so long that it is now the day after the Nazis attacked the HQ.

Either way, you have to get inside. Frankly, the resistance HQ was a total deathtrap, with the electrical systems overloaded and sparking, dozens of untended candles on a wooden floor beneath a load of newspaper cuttings and half a dozen ways for civil engineers to accidentally stumble on the base by doing routine checks on the sewers. So the fact that the HQ has caught fire and been overrun by shock troops is of no surprise whatsoever - the bigger mystery is why it took so long for this to happen.

Fortunately the Nazi infestation is fairly easy to deal with, since there are relatively few enemies inside and they are mostly easy kills - especially for someone who just blew up a giant robot. Predictably, various companions die, which might have had more of an emotional impact if those companions hadn't been constantly hurling abuse at BJB for the entire duration of his stay there.

Finally, possibly in revenge for their fallen comrades, the surviving team members send BJB into Death's Heads's complex so that he can release the prisoners before they nuke it. Or more likely, to make sure that he's at the ground zero site when they launch.

BJB makes his way through the complex to an excellent arrangement of the title music, and discovers Death's Head's brain collection before being assaulted by Maggie Thatcher's friend. He drugs you and attempts to murder you but is then surprised when you recover unexpectedly, saying that there must be something very wrong with your cerebral cortex. Again, the theory that BJB is the Ubersoldat cannot be ignored.

BJB's meds kick in shortly afterwards but he manages to give some vague help to the captives before getting trapped in an elevator. Death's Head says 'hi', looks through his brain collection and locates Wyatt (or Fergus), whom he reanimates as a Cortex Reaver in true System Shock style. Wyatt begs for death and BJB happily obliges, melting his friend's brain with the laser cannon.

A few more atrocities are in order before Death's Head himself can be taken down...

...which all seems rather pointless since the plan is to vapourise him anyway.

Once the mad old man has finally been winkled out of his shell, BJB attempts to murder him only to be fooled by the old hand-grenade suicide trick.
Rather than doing something sensible such as knocking the thing out of the old man's hand or leaping over to the other side of his mech, BJB just stares at it and waits for it to go bang.

After this comes an ambiguous ending where BJB gives the order to fire while the escapees are still within flashburn distance and the credits roll. Given the crew's apparent track record of finding ways to kill BJB it is possible that they're breaking out the champagne having finally found a way to rid themselves of him forever.

On the other hand, given that BJB has been murdered several times during the course of the story, his return is pretty much guaranteed. For one, there is still some unfinished business with Thatcher. And the rest of the world, for that matter - the Glorious Leader is still out there ruling a Nazi world, with some kind of superweapon installed on the moon and there is NO plan for what to do even if the empire did just collapse with Death's Head.
In this future there is no powerful force such as the USA or the Soviet Union to manage any kind of de-Nazification process. The Resistance now consists of a number of terrorists armed with nuclear weapons and some extremely powerful technology, so there is a hell of a lot of scope for a sequel.

And of course, we have the sound of the helicopter after the credits. Most likely they have sent someone around afterwards to try and ensure that BJB is finally dead, and thereby providing him with a ride to hijack home. Wherever home is.

Made with various text editory things. Especial thanks go to Sofox, for showing me the game, and Turnsky for his commentary.

Wolfenstein: New Order and all its works are the property of those who own it.

Back to the front page