Wolfenstein VCS: The Next Mission - Atari 2600



It is the height of WWII. Germany has conquered most of Europe, and Britain is suffering under constant siege by air. The dark shadow of fascism looms heavy over the free people of the world. You are Sgt. Kozwoski of the Polish special forces. Captured as part of a resistance cell opposing the German and Russian occupation of Poland, you are transported to the dreaded castle Wolfenstein just over the border in Germany for interrogation and execution, or possibly worse. Escape is your first priority, but as a member of the resistance you won't pass up this opportunity to hurt the German war machine and avenge the people of Poland!

Return to the halls of dreaded WOLFENSTEIN. All new enemies, rooms and floorplans await you in this upgraded version of the original Wolfenstein VCS. Badder, Brighter and more Deadly! Do you dare brave the depths of Wolfenstein VCS:The Next Mission? Wolfenstein VCS: The Next Mission is based on Venture, extensively modified to bring you an exciting and new gameplay experience!

Improvements from the original version of Wolfenstein VCS:

  • There are 4 level layouts that repeat twice to make 8 levels rather than 2 layouts repeated 4 times.
  • Updated some colors to make them brighter.
  • The patrolling guards have 4 starting positions now. In the original they had only two starting positions.
  • Picking up the gun or ammo gives you exactly 8 bullets total. So the player can never have more than 8 bullets on hand. This ups the difficulty a pinch. 8 bullets is also the number of bullets in a German Luger pistol, and the max number shown by the ammo bar, so I think it works well.
  • Fixed a bug in the original for randomizing room contents that made ammo show up either too often or not enough.
  • The secret level is easier to find.
  • Updated two zoomed room layouts. One has a minor change, the other has a complete overhaul.
  • All enemies are animated with 2-frames.
  • Changed some of the enemies to creatures so it's not just room after room of guards.

Wolfenstein VCS: The Next Mission features a brand new, full-color eight-page manual created by Dave Dries, who is also responsible for the beautiful label. Includes cartridge and full-color manual.

Author Scott Dayton and Robert Mundschau
Number of Players 1
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 4K
Label Design Dave Dries
Manual Text Robert Mundschau
Manual Design Dave Dries
Bryan M Knotts on 09/26/2022 09:21am
I found this one extremely good! It's both faithful to the original library Venture, and with a spin that really is fitting for a Wolfenstein game. Highly recommend. For any who my be interested my YouTube channel has a review video which can be found here: https://youtu.be/jMLQOo28nbs
Kris Andreason on 09/13/2020 11:54am
Really fun hack on Venture. The only knock I have on this game and the original Venture is difficulty with the controls getting into rooms. This game is really fun and I love that it's modeled after the Wolfenstein franchise.
joseph fruggiero on 10/25/2018 04:49pm
OMG! I just want to send a huge THANK YOU Atari Age for keeping Atari Alive and that I'm so stoked that Wolfenstein is on the VCS you better believe the game belongs in my collection My next purchase will be Halo 2600
Christopher Veach on 03/12/2016 12:48pm
Simply put this is one of the best hacks for the 2600. If you like Venture, you'll love this even more. Must have for any Wolfenstein fan or Venture fan!
StanJr on 11/08/2009 04:26pm
Except for the basic, underlying gameplay there is no way to tell that this game is a hack of Venture. None. So much has been done to this game it borders on a homebrew.

And what has been done is exceptional. Completely revamped graphics and playfield layouts are just the beginning. In keeping with the spirit of the Wolfenstein franchise, you'll start with a short range weapon (the knife), and be able to upgrade to a gun, but you'll have to conserve bullets as extra ammo is scarce. Gone are the "extra lives" and in their place is a "hit point counter." Thus, each time you are caught, you'll lose HP rather than a life. This is significant because there are health kits scattered throughout the castle that can restore your HP.

With 8 challenging floors to explore and a secret bonus 9th floor, Wolfenstein VCS perfectly captures the essence of the Wolfenstein franchise and provides a completely unique gaming experience.

If you only own one VCS hack, make it this one. You will not be disappointed.
laurent dziubas on 03/05/2009 03:27pm
I always loved Venture, even if it is a bit "empty", and then I bought this game. Yes, you can see it is coming "from" Venture but what a difference , 50% hack, 50% homebrew but % great. It adds strategy to the game (think when to get the kit aid or the ammo to use well and not waste it). It really pushes me to try again and again once it is over to go further...always a good sign.
William Potter on 08/16/2007 09:49pm
I bought this game and have been unable to put it down.
The action is very like Venture but the feel is completely different. Above and beyond a hack and worth every penny.
Nathan Strum on 07/17/2007 08:54pm
Wolfenstein VCS is a pretty extensive hack of Coleco's 2600 port of Exidy's arcade game Venture, and inspired by the home computer game Castle Wolfenstein. I've never played the original Castle Wolfenstein, but I've played Coleco's Venture, and this is a definite improvement over that game. The problem is, Coleco's Venture just wasn't that great of a game to begin with. The graphics were minimal, the sounds sparse (none of the arcade game's music was included), and the controls were sluggish. Wolfenstein VCS manages to improve the graphics quite a bit, and adds a few nice gameplay elements, but its origins are still very apparent.

Wolfenstein VCS consists of two views - an overall map of the level you're in, then a close-up of each room that you enter. The goal is to avoid SS guards, retrieve different objects from each room, and escape to the next level. Get through all eight levels to escape from the castle and win the game. There are new layouts and more levels than in Coleco's Venture, and several changes which make the game more challenging in some regards, and less in others. For example, in the map view, you now only have narrow corridors to move through, and no space to go past the SS guards (although you can hide in some doorways). This changes the map view to almost a maze game, and is much more fun and challenging than Venture. On the other hand, when you shoot enemies now, you don't die if you touch them before they disappear. While that may have been annoying at times in Venture, it does lower the difficulty level quite a bit. Perhaps requiring the player to kill everything in certain rooms would have helped restore some of the balance. Or maybe have some rooms where you aren't allowed to kill anything, preserving more of the stealth aspect of the game. One especially nice change is that you start off with only a knife, and have to find a gun and supplies of ammunition to increase your effective killing range. This, more than almost anything, sets Wolfenstein apart from Venture.

The graphics (including a nice title screen) are considerably improved over Venture, except for the player's character, which is still just a big, floating face. I found this to be disappointing, since so much effort was put into giving the rest of the game a facelift, as it were. The rest of the new graphics look very good, and do tie in nicely with the theme of the game, helping to reinforce the story presented in the manual.

Although improved on several levels, in the end, it's still basically Venture at its core. If you like Venture, Wolfenstein VCS is certainly worth getting. If you don't like Venture, this may have enough improvements to keep you playing for awhile, but once you get to the end, you may not have much motivation to play it again, except perhaps to look for the hidden ninth level, which I haven't found yet.
Aarne Jernstrom on 03/28/2007 04:05pm
This is everything a hack should be. I bought venture 2: the abysmal abyss a while back - I was a little disappointed by how little had changed from the original version. Wolfenstein includes so many subtle and obvious changes that make it well worth the price of admission. Great work.
Raul Torres on 03/02/2007 02:49pm
I played the original in the early 90's. And when this came out I had to have it. The Game is awesome, well thought out hack of Venture. I find the game just as much fun showing off to those familiar with the title. The art label alone is worth the $20.
Daniel Zuccarelli on 10/28/2006 08:11am
I dig the idea of taking a newer game and doing something with it on an older system. But this isn't a port of one of the later Wolfensteins. In fact it plays like Venture (which is a mix of Pac-Man and Adventure, and if you don’t know those games I can’t help you) from the arcades.

There are a total of 8 floors (+1 hidden) and 4 rooms on each floor. You need to dodge the Nazi SS guards in the hallways (the Pac-Man-esque part) to gain access to each of the rooms. Once inside a room you need to collect the item (keycards, Nazi plans, radios, etc) fight the enemies inside and get back out. Get the items in all 4 rooms and move to the next level. Rinse and Repeat.

It’s a fun game, and holds up very well next to “professionally” made carts from back in the day. It’s also suprisingly deep, with different weapons complete with ammo, and numerous enemies to run from and kill.

3.5 out of 5

[review adapted from write-up @ www.thebbps.com]
Matthew Davis on 09/19/2006 01:09am
I LOVE THIS GAME. I've bought many homebrews from AA in the past few years, and I've enjoyed almost all of them. That said, this is my favorite of the bunch. I love Venture, I love Castle Wolfenstein, and the combination is fantastic. The game plays very smoothly, and has a LOT more variety than Venture (the game from which it takes its basic design). In addition to the added variety, which includes; more levels, more enemies, treasures and (!!) health power ups - the designer made a great addition to gameplay by starting you out with a "knife" (your shot only travels a short distance) and making you find a gun (and later bullets) to increase your range. This really adds a new level of fun in my opinion.

Highly recommended.
Raymond Blakey on 08/14/2006 02:02am
When I played the original Wolfenstein VCS, which was little more than a Venture Hack, I thought it was a glitchy piece of crap.

At this point you should be thinking, "I'd like to see you do better!"

However, the reason I used such strong language in describing what I thought of it was that the problem was it retained too much Venture and not enough of what this game really needed, its own flavor.

The idea at its core is very brilliant, use the Venture engine to create a gaming experience similar to that of the classic computer game Castle Wolfenstein (not to be confused with Wolfenstein 3-D by ID software). Plus it takes a very insightful person to remake a 20 year old computer game using 30 year old hardware.

I am thrilled to say that as of the newest rendition of this game, Wolfenstein VCS: The Next Mission is everything I would have hoped for in the original and THEN SOME!

The gameplay is smooth and not at all glitchy as with its predecessor. In fact sprite collision and movement is so smooth that I once almost got caught by one of the big SS Icons on the main screen and was able to avoid capture by the fact that the little dot that represented me just fit in the small space where the icon is clipped to make a square a circle on the VCS. That, my friends, is numbers perfect collision detection.

The colors and movement of the icons really make it feel like a very tense scenerio your facing. I could totally play this game with the Great Escape playing in the background, because it makes me feel just like Steve McQueen as I am sneaking through the darkend halls of this old castle, ever watching my back for the next Nazi menace to grab me from the shadows.

A fun adventure, with great atmosphere, and obviously created with a lot of love and care for the finished product.

Wolfenstein VCS: the Next Mission is a MUST for any 2600 collection and a Future Classic.

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