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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Action
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 500 MHz    RAM: 128 MB    Hard Disk: 660 MB

Return to Castle Wolfenstein
May 3, 2002 | Eddie Park

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Sure, I speak German! Sauerkraut, bratwurst, Volkswagen...
RtCW contains a lot of voice. Unfortunately, most of it is in English. So, here I am in the middle of a Nazi encampment, and I need to determine what the guards are talking about. Thankfully, they all seem to insist on practicing their English, complete with thick German accents, making it easy to understand what their plans are.

Despite this little annoyance, the voice acting itself is quite good. If you're good at sneaking around, you'll hear plenty of different conversations between guards, sometimes with relevant information about your mission, and sometimes just about casual conversation. When in combat, guards will shout orders and warnings to each other. Sometimes their shouts will even clue you in to what their combat tactics may entail, all of which serves to make you forget the outside world even more. Fans of the Legacy of Kain series may recognize at least one of the voice actors in RtCW, all of whom are excellent.

The music is unremarkable in and of itself, but is used to great effect to enhance whatever mood needs to be projected. The game can be completely silent music wise, only to have a driving beat kick in when a guard spots you and sets the alarm off, helping enhance the feeling of urgency as you discard stealth for run and gun tactics. At all times, the music is unobtrusive, allowing players to mainly concentrate on the sound effects.

The ability to concentrate on sounds is particularly important. Similar to Deus Ex, positional audio cues will help alert patient players as to what may be going on in the next room. Guards footsteps, conversations, even coughing can help determine what the best approach method may be. A stereo setup is strongly recommended when playing RtCW, as it makes great use of the left and right channels during gameplay.

Included in the audio package are all the usual touches. Weapons chatter in different ways, the flamethrower gives out a satisfying whoosh noise, and the venom gun starts its barrel rotation with a high-pitched whine before releasing a hail of bullets. Footsteps will click on stone, be muffled on carpet, and swish through grass in outdoor environments. And believe me, there's nothing more distinctive than the "tink tink" noise of a grenade bouncing its way towards you.

Your mission is to pick up a copy of this game.
For those that missed the subtle point that I made in my opening, here's the short version of my review: Buy this game, as it is great. The single-player portion is immersive, compelling, and even jaw-dropping in certain places. It uses compelling character animation, varied missions, and great use of environmental factors, both graphic and audio, to create an experience guaranteed to make you forget to eat or sleep. The multiplayer version, while not supremely addictive, is tons of fun, with a very strong sense of team-based play and four character classes to choose from, allowing players bored with one class to try their hand at three others.

Sure, there are tiny arguments as to why this game may not be a must-buy. The system requirements listed are a bit stiff, though honestly it doesn't look that bad even when run with low quality textures. There are reports by some gamers that the audio goes out of sync during the game, which I'm sure must be annoying. And there are those that argue that they had to wait too long to buy this game.

Again, I reiterate - even if this game were to come out a month after it did, I would still heartily recommend it to any and all Mac gamers out there. I mean, come on, we all played the beach test demo to death, and how long did it take until we got bored of just that one level?

As has been stated before, a review is just one person's opinion. It isn't holy writ, a constitutional draft, or the last word on a game. However, in my humble opinion, RtCW is easily a no-brainer purchase for anyone even remotely interested in FPS titles.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Publisher: Aspyr Media
Mac Version: Westlake Interactive
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