Wednesday, 23 March 2005

Enemy at the Gates

Castle Wolfenstein (1983) was originally released for the Atari XL and Commodore 64 by publisher Muse Software. id Software purchased the rights to use the name and released seminal FPS Wolfenstein 3D (1992). The first sequel, Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2002), ensnared me with its pulp Sci-fi/Nazi mythology and dark atmosphere. Now id/Splash Damage/Aspyr has ported Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory (2003) to Mac OS X. Originally planned as an expansion pack for RtCW, ET is a free multiplayer online FPS (sans bots).

After downloading ET (258MB standalone installer includes PunkBuster and does not require a commercial copy of RtCW to run) I leapt online and started playing the "Dora" Rail Gun map. Dora was the largest artillery gun built during WWII and its purpose was to pummel defenses during Operation 'Barbarossa', but did not see active service until 1942. The Rail Gun campaign sees Axis players defend and man the Dora as it begins bombardment of a nearby city. Allied forces are charged with blowing up the track and gun before the first shot is fired. The abundance of crystalline detail, fluidic animation and sound surpasses even Raven's Jedi Academy Quake 3 engine modifications. Now if only there was a Rachel Weisz avatar!

Improvements in ET will filter down to RtCW (Mac client) in a future patch. Therefore I'd encourage any Mac gamer, who doesn't own RtCW, to grab a copy.