DOS Days

Wolfenstein 3D

Released: May 1992
Published by: Apogee Software Ltd.
Developed by: id Software, Inc.
Author(s): Jason Blochowiak, John Carmack, John Romero, Adrian Carmack, Robert Prince, Kevin Cloud

VGA 256-colour graphics


Wolfenstein 3D is a first-person shooter set during World War 2 with you trying to escape the Nazi prison of Castle Wolfenstein. It was released in 1992 as shareware by Apogee Software. As B.J. Blazkowicz, you must move through each level to reach an elevator that takes you to the next level. Along the way you have to tackle prison guards and dogs, pick up keys to unlock doors as well as health bonuses and ammo. Only the first episode of three was included in this shareware release, with information in the game on how your could order the full game.

The full game added Operation: Eisenfaust (episode 2), and Die, Fuhrer, Die! (episode 3). You could also order three more episodes of Wolfenstein 3D directly from Apogee Software: Called The Nocturnal Missions, this was a prequel where B.J. Blazkowicz must stop a Nazi plan for chemical warfare. It added these episodes:

  • Episode Four: A Dark Secret
  • Episode Five: Trail of the Madman
  • Episode Six: Confrontation

Intro and demo of level 1 in 256-colour VGA and Ad Lib/Sound Blaster audio

A 30th Anniversary Edition was released in May 2022 which comprised three new episodes with 10 levels in each. It also included a number of 'quality of life' mods such as mouse control.

The origin of Wolfenstein 3D came about due to id Software's John Carmack and John Romero having been fans of the original Castle Wolfenstein game on the Apple II. This game had been created by Silas Warner in 1981 through his company, Muse Software, after he watched the 1961 movie, The Guns of Navarone. It was the first game to include digitized speech and an early example both of stealth gaming and of the World War II shooter. Three years later, he released a follow-up, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein. His company went broke in 1987 after which its assets, including the Wolfenstein name, were picked up by a broker. Warner went on to work at MicroProse and Virgin Interactive.

In 1992, id Software bought the Wolfenstein name from the broker for $5,000.

John Romero recalls, "Around mid-April 1992, we decided that we could not come up with a better name than Wolfenstein,” he tells Polygon. “We decided to figure out how to get the rights to the name. Jay Wilbur was our biz guy at the time, and he tracked down the remaining assets of MUSE Software. [...] It cost Jay $5,000 to buy the rights to the Wolfenstein name.”. Romero, Carmack, and other id Software folks went to see Warner give a speech at KansasFest.

“We drove from Dallas with our brand-new Toshiba color laptop in hand, with the newly-finished Wolfenstein 3D shareware on it,” recalls Romero. “We listened to Silas give a history talk about Muse and the great stuff he programmed. After his talk we got to show him Wolfenstein 3D and he loved it. We had him sign a manual from the game which is displayed in id’s offices. We stayed up for hours at night, in the college dorm hallway, talking with him about Muse, the Apple II, and everything we could hope to hear him talk about. It was a great day.

During the KansasFest speech, Warner acknowledged his young admirers. “I got a call from some producers who wanted to build a new version of Castle Wolfenstein in 3D, using modern technology,” he said. “Actually, I have seen their product and it’s very darn impressive on an IBM.

Warner also spoke of Muse’s demise. “It was sudden and quite unexpected,” he said. “Our sales manager, who managed our growth, left us. The man we hired came from the consumer electronics business. He was every bit as smart and every bit as enthusiastic as our sales manager had been.”. The new sales manager fell ill, and died shortly afterward. In the fast-moving environment of the early games industry, this proved to be the end for Muse. “We had no sales. None at all. And developing a product is not very good when you have nothing to support it all,” said Warner. The company filed for bankruptcy: “Close the doors, lock it up, party’s over.”. Warner continued in the video games industry, moving to MicroProse.

System Requirements

System Requirements Intel 80286 CPU, DOS 3.0 or higher, 640 KB of RAM
Graphics support for VGA only* (320 x 200 in 256 colours)
Audio support for Disney Sound Source, Ad Lib, Sound Blaster, and Sound Blaster Pro. MT-32/GM available with an aftermarket mod.
Keyboard, mouse, joystick and Gravis PC Gamepad supported.
Original Media Shareware release: One 3.5" 720 KB (DS/DD) floppy disk
Commercial release: One 3.5" 1.44 MB (DS/HD) floppy disk (all 6 episodes), two 3.5" 720 KB (DS/DD) floppy disks, or four 5.25" 360 KB (DS/DD) floppy disks.
Installed Size (MB) 1.32 MB (shareware release with Episode 1 only)
2.35 MB (commercial release with all six episodes)
*Since the source code was released, several modded versions have been released by the community to allow the game to run in CGA and EGA graphics modes, as well as on systems as slow as XTs. See "Additional Files" section for more details.

From where can it be run?

Wolfenstein 3D must be installed to your hard disk. To do so, run INSTALL.BAT from the first floppy disk.


Copy Protection

Wolfenstein 3D has no copy protection.

How to Setup

To install the game to your hard disk, insert DISK 1 and run the INSTALL.BAT file:

You cannot install this game from a subdirectory on your hard disk as the source.

Shareware Release install (left) and Commercial Release install (right):

The default installation directory for the shareware release is C:\WOLF1
The default installation directory for the commercial release is C:\WOLF3D





Keyboard Controls

Arrow keys: Move forwards, backwards, rotate left/right
CTRL: Fire your weapon
ALT <held down>: Strafe left and right
SPACE: Open door/activate elevator

1-4: Choose weapon (knife, gun, small machine gun, large machine gun)

Other Keys:
F2 = Save game
F3 = Load game
F4 = Sound menu
F5 = Resize view window
F6 = Controls menu
F7 = End game
F8 = Quick Save
F9 = Quick Load
F10 = Exit to DOS

Joystick Controls:
Button 1: Fire your weapon
Button 2: Strafe left and right

Mouse Controls:
Button 1: Fire your weapon
Button 2: Strafe left and right
Button 3: Open door/activate elevator

Cheats/Debug Mode:
In version 1.0, start the game with wolf3d -next, then press Ctrl+Tab+Return to enter debug mode.
In subsequent versions, start the game with wolf3d -goobers, then press LShift+Alt+Backspace. You should see a message: 'Debugging keys are now available!". Note that this mode is disabled in Apogee v1.4 releases.

Once in Debug mode, you can use these shortcuts:
Tab+G: God mode
Tab+I: Free items
Tab+M: Memory map
Tab+W: Level warp
Tab+X: Extra stuff



To Quit the Game

Press F10 while in the game, then confirm with 'Y'.
Alternatively, press <ESC> to return to the main menu, then move the cursor down to 'Quit' and hit Enter, followed by 'Y' to confirm.


Supporting Documents


Additional Files, Drivers & Utilities

  • WolfensteinCGA - A modification made in late 2022/early 2023 to the original Wolfenstein 3D source release which renders the game in older video modes. The engine has also been modified so that it can be run on 8088 based CPUs, allowing it to be run on a wide variety of old PC hardware. Despite the name, it does a lot more than just CGA. It can run the game in Tandy, Hercules, CGA modes 4, 5 and composite, as well as EGA and an inverse monochrome for LCD displays. In addition, a timedemo has been added to the game for benchmarking. For more details, go to the GitHub page for this amazing project by jhhoward.
  • Wolf8086 - A modified version of the game executable from 2006 by Mike Chambers that allows the game to run on an 8088 or 8086 CPU. It also includes a timedemo for benchmarking. Note that this version does require a VGA card, just like the original game.
  • 30th Anniversary Edition - A fan-made version of the game, adding 3 new full 10-level episodes. The original episodes, if you have them, can be added into the game folder to provide access to these.
  • WolfDOSMPU - Adds MIDI playback support via the MPU-401 interface to Wolf3D or Spear of Destiny, replacing the OPL2-based music. Also includes a number of additional mods including an automap, gameplay bug fixes, modern WASD controls and more. It also works with SoftMPU if you don't have a proper MPU-401 interface. It is recommended to use this mod in conjunction with WolfMIDI. For more details, go to the GitHub page.


Save Games

You can save your progress at any time by pressing F2. This will show the 'Save Game' screen where you can pick from one of 10 slots to save your current progress into. You can also do a 'quick save' at any time by pressing F8, which does not bring up the 'Save Game' screen, instead just using the last slot you saved in (or the next available one).

You can reload from this at any time by pressing F3 to bring up the 'Load Game' screen which shows all the save game slots. Move the cursor to the one you want to load, and press <ENTER>. Just like 'quick save', you can 'quick load' from that previously saved game by pressing F9 to avoid bringing up the 'Load Game' screen.


Versions of the game known to exist

Version Date Comments
1.0 May 1992 Initial shareware release. Bottom information bar shows "Level" in the far left. All later versions show "Floor" instead. B.J.'s shirt is tan.
An extra life is given every 20,000 points.
1.1 10th June 1992 Several bug fixes with missing secret walls.
B.J.'s shirt is grey.
In v1.1 and beyond, an extra life is given every 40,000 points.
1.2 22nd June 1992 Also displays the in-game version number as 1.1.
1.4 1993 More bug fixes, such as when you activate a secret wall and save your game before it has completed opening, reloading from that save game will have the secret wall only half-opened. This was fixed in v1.4.
1.4 1993 Commercial release (episodes 1-6)
1.4e 13th April 1994 GT Interactive release (episodes 1-6)
1.4g 1st October 1994 Apogee release. This was the third v1.4 release, though the startup screen still shows just '1.4' in the lower-right corner.
Unknown 5th May 2022 30th Anniversary Edition. A fan-made, unofficial expansion pack for Wolfenstein 3D that contains 30 new levels, 10 levels in each new episode, two new guns (both that can be located on the original levels too) and an automap for orientation purposes.

Original Floppy Disk Contents

The floppy disks all have a volume label of "WOLFENSTEIN". Here are each disk's contents:

    Commercial Release (Episodes 1-6),
    Disk 1 of 1 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD):

    Directory of A:\
    CATALOG  EXE             28,715 03-08-1993 13:00
    DEICE EXE 17,303 01-01-1993 13:40
    INSTALL BAT 83 01-01-1993 13:40
    ORDER FRM 3,321 03-08-1993 13:00
    WOLF1-6 1 1,172,087 01-01-1993 13:40
    WOLF1-6 DAT 259 01-01-1993 13:40
    6 File(s) 1,221,768 Bytes.

    Commercial Release (Episodes 1-6),
    Disk 1 of 2 (3.5" 720 KB DS/DD):

    Directory of A:\

    Commercial Release (Episodes 1-6),
    Disk 1 of 2 (3.5" 720 KB DS/DD):

    Directory of A:\


Installed Directory Contents

Once installed, the following directory structure exists in the game directory:


    Shareware release (Episode 1 only):

    Directory of C:\WOLF1
    CONFIG WL1 522 01-16-23 5:10p
    AUDIOHED WL1 1,156 12-03-92 11:29a
    AUDIOT WL1 132,613 12-03-92 11:29a
    GAMEMAPS WL1 27,425 12-03-92 11:29a
    ORDER FRM 2,564 05-22-92 2:37p
    READ1ST TXT 6,090 12-17-92 7:34a
    MAPHEAD WL1 402 12-03-92 11:29a
    VGADICT WL1 1,024 12-03-92 11:29a
    VGAGRAPH WL1 326,568 12-03-92 11:29a
    VGAHEAD WL1 471 12-03-92 11:29a
    VSWAP WL1 742,912 12-03-92 11:29a
    WOLF3D EXE 109,959 12-03-92 11:29a
    CATALOG EXE 34,101 12-22-92 2:23p
    15 file(s) 1,385,807 bytes

    Full Commercial release (Episodes 1-6):

    Directory of C:\WOLF3D
    WOLF3D EXE 110,715 01-01-93 1:40p
    VSWAP WL6 1,545,400 01-01-93 1:40p
    VGAGRAPH WL6 334,506 01-01-93 1:40p
    AUDIOT WL6 320,209 01-01-93 1:40p
    GAMEMAPS WL6 150,652 01-01-93 1:40p
    AUDIOHED WL6 1,156 01-01-93 1:40p
    VGADICT WL6 1,024 01-01-93 1:40p
    VGAHEAD WL6 486 01-01-93 1:40p
    MAPHEAD WL6 402 01-01-93 1:40p
    11 file(s) 2,464,550 bytes