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World's First Hands On With iPhone's Wolfenstein 3D

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I'm sitting with id Software's Todd Hollenshead and Steve Nix in the XYZ Bar of the W Hotel when I bring up iPhone games.

"What's going on with Wolfenstein? I heard you were making one for the iPhone, and then I heard you were making two."


Hollenshead takes a breath, leans forward in his chair toward and me and sets me straight.

There are two games, he says. John Carmack coded both of them. One is Wolfenstein RPG, a Doom RPG style game created specifically for the iPhone. It's being published by Electronic Arts.


The other, he says, is Wolfenstein 3D, also coded by Carmack. The original title, all 60 levels packed into the title with a new set of intuitive controls made from the ground up for the iPhone.

What's it look like.

Sort of like this, says Nix, pulling an iPhone out of his pocket and launching the game.

The graphics are crisp, intense duplicates of the original. Everything is there, the grimacing visage of your character's face, the Nazis, the dogs, the Hitler. The only difference, Nix says, is that the game doesn't require you to activate doors, they open when you bump into them. That includes the secret ones.

After watching Nix play it for a few minutes I can't help myself, I ask, "Can I try?"


He looks a little doubtful.

"You'd be the first person in the world to play it outside of id."

"i'm OK with that."

He hands over the phone.

Initially, the game controls seem a little awkward as I poke at the on-screen icons showing left, right, up and down arrows on the left side of the screen and spinning right and left on the left side of the screen. You fire by tapping the icon for the weapon. Players bring up the map by tapping on a map icon at the top of the screen. In the game's map you can zoom in and out by pinching the screen.


Once I play for a bit, start sliding my finger around the icons, instead of poking, the movements become fluid, intuitive. I wander the brick hallways of Castle Wolfenstein, popping off shots at Nazis.

"Oh, look out for the dog," Nix says.

I back up and fire a shot into the German Shepard. It's not just a good reproduction of the original, it seems better. The game, which could be hitting the App Store as soon as today, will sell for $5.


With two Wolfenstein games headed to the iPhone already, I ask when Doom will be coming. Hollenshead says, "Wait for Doom," deliberately not answering my question, and laughs.

He also says he can see Carmack working on a game for the iPhone that would showcase the full power of the device, eventually.


Later, walking back to my hotel, I run into the guys from Mega 64 and tell them about the game. They sound as jazzed about it as I am.

"I think I'm going to buy it twice when it comes out," I say. "It's that good."