Return to Castle Wolfenstein – Ultimate Guide

Teaching you the basics to Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

Definitive Guide to Basics

Welcome to Return to Castle Wolfenstein

It’s 1943. World War II is raging across Europe. The Third Reich will embark on any plan that will help them win the war, and this includes going far beyond conventional warfare. You are U.S. Army Ranger B.J. Blazkowicz. The Office of Secret Actions has assigned you to investigate strange rumours of occult activity and genetic engineering. You are about to embark on a journey deep into the heart of the Third Reich to battle the most horrific creatures ever unleashed. You must face zombies brought back from the dead through dark magic and destroy mutants created through twisted science. All the while there’ll be legions of Nazi soldiers battling to win the war. Use your wits, agility, and firepower to defeat the enemies awaiting you. There are times for stealth and there are times for all out firepower. Half the battle is figuring out which works best.

The Briefing

Each map will begin with a mission Briefing from the OSA (Office of Secret Actions). Briefings provide information about your mission and your mission objectives. You must complete all the objectives before proceeding to the next mission.


In Return to Castle Wolfenstein you can run in with guns blazing, use stealth, or a combination of the two. Sprint for a quick burst of speed, lean around corners to get the lay of the land, walk to move silently, and kick to quickly open doors.

Walking and running

By default, you will always run. Use CAPS LOCK to toggle between run and walk. Though walking is slower than running, walking allows you to move silently and open doors silently. You can change the default Always Run setting in the Options menu.


Kick by pressing the X or G keys. Kicking can be used as a melee attack or to open doors at double speed. Guards are more likely to hear when you use Kick to open a door.


Sometimes you need an extra burst of speed. Hold down the Sprint key, (SHIFT), while running for maximum speed. The Stamina Bar shows how much energy you have for sprinting. Stamina regenerates over time. Jump by pressing (SPACE). Jump to dodge enemy fire and reach areas otherwise inaccessible. Press (C) to duck down. Crouch to take cover or to crawl into low-lying windows or vents.


One of the most important skills to master is Leaning. Lean to look around a corner without danger of being spotted by the enemy. To lean, move to the edge of a corner and press the left (Q) or right (E) Lean key. You cannot use a weapon while leaning.


To swim, point yourself in the direction you want to go using your mouse, and then use the walking controls to swim. Remember to breathe. If you stay underwater too long, you’ll drown. Weapons will not fire when submerged under water. Be careful when swimming because enemies outside the water can shoot at you.

Stealth and Taking Cover

To successfully complete your missions, you have to employ stealth tactics. Going into every situation with more guns than brains will leave you dead on the floor (and out of ammo, too!). Some situations require waiting for the right moment to sneak up behind an enemy or to sneak past unobserved. Some missions are entirely dependent on not being spotted.

You will be equipped with a variety of weapons. Most are loud and will assuredly give away your position. Some weapons are silent and allow you to strike quietly from the shadows. There is always a trade-off so evaluate what’s best in each situation.

Kicking in doors (X or G keys) allows you to open doors quickly, but it is loud and will likely draw a lot of attention. You can also open most doors slowly and silently by holding down the walk key (Caps lock) while opening the door. Both methods have their proper time and place.

Taking Cover will help you stay alive. Use Crouch (C) to hide behind objects and lean (Q or E) to peer around them. Listen for the enemy to reload their weapon. When they do, they are vulnerable. Of course, when you reload, you’re vulnerable too, so watch the ammo counter.


When an alarm is sounding the enemy will be ready for you. You can turn off alarm sirens from any nearby Alarm box by using the Activate key (F or ENTER) or by simply destroying the box.

Picking up Items

Weapons, ammo, treasure, and many other items can be found along the way. Pick them up by walking on them, or by getting near them and pressing the Activate key (F or ENTER). If you can’t pick up the item, you’re either unable to use it (such as ammo for a gun you don’t have) or don’t need it (such as a health pack when you’re at 100%).


Personal Weapons

The further you progress into your mission, the more lethal the weapons you’ll find. Of course, the resistance will also be more deadly. Select weapons by using the number keys (1-0). The Next ([) and Previous (]) Weapon keys or mouse wheel cycle through the weapons.

  • 1 – Knife
  • 2 – Pistols
  • 3 – Sub Machine Guns
  • 4 – Rifles
  • 5 – Assault Rifle
  • 6 – Grenades
  • 7 – Rockets
  • 8 – Venom
  • 9 – Flamethrower
  • 0 – Tesla

Hit the weapon key repeatedly to cycle through weapons of the same class. A list of available weapons will appear on the top-right of your screen while selecting. Your choice will appear in the lower right along with the ammo count. You can’t select a weapon that doesn’t have ammo available.

Firing/Using the Current Weapon

Press the (left mouse button) or hit (CTRL) to fire the currently selected weapon. Hold (CTRL) down to create a burst of gunfire for weapons that offer a repeating fire mode (like machine guns). Some weapons overheat if fired continuously. Watch for a red bar near the weapon icon. Overheated weapons need to cool down before they can be fired again. Your Crosshair indicates where you’re aiming. As you move or repeat fire, the crosshair will grow. This means your shots are less accurate. For the most accuracy, stay still, fire in short bursts and crouch when shooting.

Explosives have timers. If you hold your fire button (left mouse button or CTRL) while holding a grenade, you will hear the five second timer tick by. If you’re still holding the grenade at the end of five seconds, it will detonate in your hand and likely kill you. However, timing a grenade throw properly is the best way to catch an enemy before they can react.

Ammo and Reloading

Most weapons require ammunition. Check the amount of ammo in the gun’s clip or magazine; when it gets low, it will turn yellow and then red. If a gun runs out of ammo, you automatically reload. Be careful reloading at the wrong time gives the enemy a clear shot. To reload your weapon at any time press the reload (R) key. Pick up more ammo by running over dropped weapons. The Nazis also have a number of storerooms with ammo. Be on the lookout for those. You can’t select a weapon if you are out of ammo. Be mindful, several weapons share the same kind of ammo so using all the ammo of any one type can render multiple weapons useless.

Ammo – Weapon

  • 9mm – Luger, MP-40 and Sten
  • .45 caliber – Colt and Thompson
  • 7.92mm – Mauser and FG42

Alternate Fire Modes

Alternate Fire Modes are secondary ways to use some weapons. Hit (Z) to activate the Alternate Fire Mode. Use the Alternate fire mode on rifles equipped with a scope. Zoom In (= ) or Out (-) to adjust the view. Be careful of weapon sway (indicated by the green/orange/red bar on the left).

Mounted Weapons

To control a mounted machinegun, move behind it until the Hand icon appears. Press the Activate button (F or ENTER) to mount or dismount. Hold down Fire (left mouse button or CTRL) to shoot. Mounted weapons can also be destroyed so enemies cannot turn them on you.

The Environment and Inventory

The Hint Icons

Hint icons appear at the bottom centre of the screen. This indicates something in the scene directly in front of you can be used or activated.

  • The Hand icon indicates something you can operate (like a door, emplaced gun or lever) or pick up (like a health pack or weapon). Hit Activate (F or ENTER) to use or take the object. A Hand icon with a line through it indicates the item is not currently available.
  • Ladders and other things that can be climbed are identified by a Ladder icon. Look up and move forward to climb the ladder. Descend a ladder by backing onto it. Ladder cages help you get down safely.
  • The Breakable icon indicates you can damage or break an object. To break something, damage it by kicking it or using a weapon. A blue bar appears below the breakable icon indicating how much damage is required to break the object. Hidden areas can be found behind breakable paintings and walls.
  • If your knife is drawn, sneak up behind an enemy to activate the Backstab icon. A quick thrust will swiftly dispatch the enemy.
  • The Exit hint shows when you’re near the end of a level. A summary will be displayed of your completed mission objectives, secrets found, treasure acquired, how many attempts it took to complete the level, and the time you needed to finish.

Special Items

The Hand Icon appears when you can pick something up. If you run over or next to an item, it will be picked up. If you already have the maximum of a particular item (such as being at full health), you can’t pick up more. But you can return to replenish your ammo or health.

  • Health – Health can be found in a variety of forms. The most common are First Aid Kits, Hot Meals, and Cold Meals.
  • Weapons – The majority of the firepower you need to defeat the enemy can be found in the field. Be sure to pick up weapons from fallen enemies.
  • Ammo – Picking up weapons from fallen enemies gives you the weapon and the ammo. If you already have that type of weapon, you will pick up the ammunition.
  • Armour – Helmets and flak jackets can be found to increase your protection from gunfire.
  • Stamina – Beer Steins and Brandy Glasses are available in some levels. These will immediately add to your total stamina.

Inventory Items

Some items are put into your inventory. Cycle through your inventory using the (,) and (.) keys. To use an inventory object, press (‘). Inventory Items include Wine Bottles and Books. Drink Wine for Health. Read Books to learn about the plans of your enemies.


Binoculars enable you to find enemies in the distance. Press the Binocular key (B) to use them. You can zoom in (= ) and out (-). Remember – you can not fire your weapons when using the binoculars.


Chairs can be picked up if you are holding a one-handed weapon. Use chairs to get to hard to reach locations. You can even put a chair on a table. You also get additional protection from gunfire when carrying a chair. Pick up a chair with the Activate key (F or ENTER). You toss it down the same way. You can swing a chair to hit someone using Kick (X or G keys).


Most doorways swing in and can be kicked open quickly. Others lift up when activated but won’t open with a kick. Some require a switch to open. You need to find the latch or button to open it. The method to open the door isn’t always immediately obvious. All doors that can be opened will show the Hand icon (see Hint Icons). Some doors can’t be opened at all. Permanently locked doors will not have Hand icons.

Secrets and Treasure

The Nazis have hidden hordes of stolen gold and treasure. Look for secret passages, breakable paintings, and hidden rooms. When you finish a level, you will find out if you discovered all of the goodies. Go back and look for ones you missed.

Notebook, Clipboards and Letters


Your Notebook (N) contains current objectives and mission information. Refer to it to find out what to do next. An icon appears when your Notebook is updated.

Clipboards and letters

The Hand Icon will appear in front of clipboards and letters you can read. Hit Activate (F or ENTER) to read one and again to put it back. Story and other information can be found in these documents.


You will face fierce resistance in your attempt to complete mission objectives. The enemies range in difficulty and intelligence.


The most common enemies are soldiers of the Third Reich. They range from infantry to officers and even more powerful soldiers. Watch their tactics to learn how to anticipate their actions.


As if the Nazis weren’t monstrous enough, you will face zombies from beyond the grave. These undead creatures are relentless in their pursuit of flesh. They will attack you and Nazi soldiers equally.

X Creatures

Attempting to create stronger soldiers, the Nazis created horrible monsters. The early attempts, accidents, and mutated beasts are all kept locked within well-fortified bases. Break in and destroy them to stop the Nazis from creating more.


Killing a civilian is absolutely forbidden by the OSA. Doing so is an immediate mission failure. If you see a red crosshair over a character, they are considered a civilian.

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