Monday, April 24, 2017

Wolfenstein 3D Homebrew: Sega Genesis Demo Impression

Over the last few years, Wolfenstein 3D has gotten some treatment from a YouTube user who has shown some stuff he has done for a Sega Genesis port he is developing. He has put up a new demo recently for the first time in two years which allows players to do the first episode similar to shareware, but also have an opportunity to play the second episode by beating the first. Credit has to be given to gasega68k for getting it to work on a stock Genesis and to play surprisingly well. Here is a link to his YouTube channel and his topic on Sega-16.

Wolfenstein 3D has not been a widely ported game. After it's debut on DOS computers in May of 1992, console versions wouldn't come until 1994. A widely censored SNES port and Jaguar port would release that year, followed by a 3DO version a year later. All three were their own set of levels, witht the 3DO version having the original 60 levels Mac computers would get their own version based on the console ports. A very long time would pass before releases on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 would have exact ports of the DOS version. Lots of people tinker with the idea of what systems could potentially do at their limits and gasega68k was able to get the DOS version to not only work, but not be plagued with issues.

Obviously, graphics and audio are going to take a hit when going on to a Genesis system. Yet, Wolfenstein looks fantastic on it. Other than some pixelation up close and some blurryness, it doesn't come off as an eyesore. The animations are all there. Color palette wise, it does well on the Genesis. Some colors are either washed out or dull looking, but it's to be expected and this guy has did the best to his abilities of what was capable. The same can be said for the audio. Gasega68k put up the best at handling the audio capabilities of the system. Sound effects are very good on the guns, doors and enemies with them being identical. Other ones replicate stuff like collecting treasure and keys with the system's soundchip. The music is very good. DOS and Genesis music have some similarities and some tracks show that. Some of them feel a bit more livelier (some are good, some are decent) but still retain that run and gun attitude and getting out alive.

As of the latest updates, it is about as close to the PC as you can get from a gameplay perspective. Options are there to load and save games along with checking high scores. You can pick your episodes (which will be the case whenever this is finished), difficulty, and get on with the episode chosen. It plays very well. This can be played with three or six buttons to run, fire, strafe and open doors and passageways. Nothing is altered. Everything is in their original locations. Enemies, ammo, walls that can be pushed, you name it. There isn't any slowdown or framerate issues. It'll take a level or two to get used to the controls, but by the end of an episode, you will play like a pro like on DOS computers.

I do have my concerns a little bit with at least one level of the game. One in particular will be the secret level of Episode 4 where 75 officers come after you once you fire a shot. The PC version glitches out at a certain number of enemies in one area. Other than that, it's the same Wolfenstein that you grew up and loved, which I have since 1995 on Windows 95 with a demo of it. I wish the best of luck to gasega68k and his efforts. I look forward to seeing this and the other episodes.

Demo Final Score: 8.5 out of 10

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