Ancient Ruins

So we are back on the mission with hopefully a new appreciation for the gold and treasure we have and still will accumulate.

I had originally had planned to skip the entire Egyptian mission as it was not part of the original PC version but I have to admit that this level was the one that changed my mind. It isn’t because it takes us to new level of game play or expands the plot in new and different ways, it’s just that it’s the best looking level and while I was expecting the level to look one way, it turned out different and much better.

Our Mission

As we are ‘done’ with village, we get a whole new load of text to give us some back ground. The four screens are shown below.

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The first gives us the level’s objectives and as you can see we only have one simple one – get from one end of the map to the other. The second screen completely revises history and the Egyptian culture. We first learn that while this place is obscure to western history, it isn’t unknown. We then learn that this place was for trial, execution and mummification of criminals. From Egyptology, such places existed in one form in that temples of Maat were built in New Kingdom times. Temples are believed to have been built in Karnak, Memphis and Deir el-Medina for this purpose. Where it drifts off script is the mummification part. Mummification is the well-known process of embalming, drying and wrapping in linen. This was a labor intensive process and generally reserved for the higher class of citizen – it wasn’t something that would be done to criminals. Criminals were more likely to be beheaded, sacrificed or drowned. Perhaps this was a place for ‘celebrity criminals’ to be executed! We also obliquely learn of a curse on the place. The curse seems to say that the dead will come to life if their tombs are disturbed.

Let’s ignore that and move on. Page three now tries to paint a picture of why this place has not been picked clean by grave robbers (ancient and modern). It seems that even the modern Egyptians fear this curse and stay away. It doesn’t explain how early European Egyptian explorers such as Howard Carter stayed away from the place. If this place was unknown to Europeans, that might explain it but otherwise, a curse like that wouldn’t stop them from turning the place over and extracting everything even slightly shiny. Finally, this page tells us that we don’t yet know what the Nazi are up to but if we remember the Major’s book, we know that some tablets are involved – so we do sort of know what they are up to.

The final pages gives us an overview of what we are trying to achieve, which is capture Helga and disrupt whatever the Nazi are up to. Yes, I guess we do need a reminder at this point.

Agent One Hides Again

Some things don’t change and again, as before, Agent One finds some excuses to stay out of the fire fight. This is shown in the brief cutscene. Stop the video at 2:55.

Agent One:     I’m going to the airfield on the far side of the ridge to see if we can get the jump on Helga. I need you to investigate the ruins. There’s an entrance to the lower tombs from the airfield. If all goes well, we should be able to meet up there.

Blazkowicz doesn’t say anything in this cutscene and I think he is just stunned in silence. Agent One is clearly taking the easy path again but why doesn’t Blazkowicz remind him that it was he that was supposed to be checking out the dig site while we (Blazkowicz) was risking life and limb to get to the command post in the village. If you look , Agent One only carries a hand gun so we can see how much resistance he is expecting. Ok, Agent One is clearly in charge here but why not just tell him what you think!

There is one other thing that doesn’t seem right. The Major’s book says that a portable lift is to be installed to get into the deeper tombs where the tablets should be but doesn’t Agent One just say that the lower tombs can be reached from the airfield? If it is so easy to get to the lower tombs from the airfield, why approach from the upper tombs, install a lift and then go to the lower tombs using it? Wouldn’t it be easier to just get to where the tablets are from the airfield entrance? It isn’t like the Nazi archaeologists shouldn’t know about the second entrance, Agent One knows all about it, so it must be common knowledge!

Yeah, yeah, just a game. Let’s get this level going.

This Place Reminds Me Of …

So we start the level alone again on the other side of that big wooden door that we ended the previous level. There’s no indication of whether we climbed it, dug under it or just opened it. All we know is that we did it without alerting anyone in the ravine ahead. It could be that there are two doors and a long passageway between them. That might explain how Agent One exploding a truck in the previous level hasn’t attracted anyone’s attention over here. Either way, the picture below left shows our immediate view. There are two portable buildings and a number of parked trucks – a place of either loading or unloading. While looking at the canyon walls, there seems to be something built into the left wall. The picture below right shows a close up of it.

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Hmm, fancy temple-like structure carved out of the sheer rock? Kind of reminds me of, well let’s wait a little longer before I say what I think. Actually, if we just wandered over here from the start, we would probably get shot in the back. So, let’s back up and start again.

Starting the level, if we go over to the cabin/hut building on the right, we overhear a conversation inside.

Soldier #1:       Why have we been stationed in the god forsaken place?

Soldier #2:       Yes, there are no Allies here and the heat is unbearable!

Soldier #1:       Why would Himmler send us out into the desert to dig in the sand?

Soldier #2:       There’s plenty of sand back in Chur.

I not certain about the last word in the conversation – it sounds like ‘Chur’ which is a city in eastern Switzerland not so far from the German border. Actually there is a locality in Chur called ‘Sand’ so if he is saying ‘Chur’, ‘Sand’ fits as a play on words. Ultimately, it really isn’t that important though. The whole point of this overheard conversation is to show that the rank-and-file soldier is unmotivated and unclear why they are stationed outside this ruin. This backs up the views of the now deceased Major who also didn’t understand why he was here. As the conversation implies, there are two soldiers inside and if you sneak under the window, they will both be in there when you pay a visit. The picture below shows that this building is being used as barracks. With only four bunks, this might imply that there is no more than eight soldiers stationed here (two shifts of four) – I guess we’ll have to see.

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The table on the left has a letter. Let’s check it out.

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I guess this is just telling us what we already know about this place. It isn’t safe and several people have already died. What this does show is that these people grouped here are part of the Dig Crew. So these people have actually been down into the tombs and they have mostly returned to tell the tale. It doesn’t seem that the stories of mummies returning from the dead are true. This seems to be the first message by Lieutenant Karsten Mehler. I would have thought that such a warning would have come from the Major. Perhaps this shows how far he was detached from the mission.

The killing was likely to have brought out some more soldiers but once we have dealt with them, it’s worth checking out the other hut. It’s likely that one soldier will still be inside and can be quickly taken out. As the picture below shows, this is the command post for the dig team. Again, there is a note on the table.

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I guess I first read the message but somehow missed the word ‘broken’. I guess I’m not keen on the working but it seems that equipment has been found broken and there seems to be some rumor that the breakage was caused by some sort of sporting activity. When he talks about ‘excavation equipment’, the only thing that comes to mind is the lowly shovel. So, what could a shovel be used for? German’s were not into bat and ball sports such as cricket of baseball though we can’t discount them (we have to remember they are sports of the Allies). Perhaps the shovels are thrown being used like a javelin or hammer. Possibly they were being used as golf clubs or a made up game. The point is that the soldiers are bored and are finding something to do to pass the time. Since they have this spare time, it implies that the heavy work of the excavation is already done. One other thing: this note has come from Sergeant Schluter, is this a reference to Sergeant Schultz of Hogan’s Heroes? I don’t know if he says ‘I see nothing – NOTHING!’

Having taken out everything living, it’s time to move up the path to whatever is up there. At this point, I remember looking, with caution, up the path and saw something that looked like the picture below left. Then I made the connection with what was seen earlier and recognized this seen as looking something like the entrance to the city of Petra. The classic entry to the city of Petra in Jordan is via the Siq. The Arabic word Siq is a literal translation of the word ‘shaft’ in English. It is a water-weathered crack in the rock which after running for ¾ miles, opens out at probably the most famous Petra building, the Treasury. A view at the end of the Siq is shown in the picture below right. OK, it is a stretch to compare them but as I cautiously approached the ruin ahead, it was the Siq approach to the Treasury in Petra that I thought of.

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Thinking about Petra and the Treasury, the structure in the canyon shows signs of looking like the lower portion of the Treasury. Compare the picture below with the view earlier above. Both appear to have a definite Roman influence. This shouldn’t be too surprising for Petra as its main buildings were built when Rome was the ascending power. Perhaps the main difference is that the Petra building has clearly been extracted from the face rock while the ruin we just saw stands out from rock face. Now we don’t whether the game designers wanted to do this same effect and couldn’t or didn’t look too hard at Petra pictures to see it or were simply not trying to show any Petra influence in the building.

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If we want to link this place into all the details we have so far (the level notes clearly say Egyptian and the classical Roman design), this ruin would seem to have be built later than the era called Ancient Egypt and more likely be late Ptolemaic to early Roman province. This would put it later than Cleopatra but not too much later. That would basically align with the founding of Petra which certainly wouldn’t be called an Egyptian city.

Into the Ruins

We don’t enter the main square of the ruin as an archaeologist but as a soldier and it soon develops into a fire fight. It sort of spoils the effect but it is important for the game as this is essentially a combat game! Below left is what the main square looks like. Clearly, any thought of this looking like Petra is destroyed now. In the middle stands an obelisk which is maybe fifty feet high (or more!). When I think of obelisks, I think of Karnak which has several large ones. They were covered in hieroglyphics but this one seems to be clear (unless extensively weathered). My only concern here is how this one was erected. We would have to assume that it was cut elsewhere and taken in but there seems to be little space to actually stand it on its end. As to the rest of the buildings, I’ll leave for the moment as there seems to be something curious on the ground by the obelisk. The picture below right shows some of the kills. While we see the expected Germans, the third body appears to be an Egyptian. Not so surprising, you say, we are in Egypt, but the notes say that the locals stay far away from the ruin, yet here one lies dead. Did he suddenly loose his fear of the place that has run through his ancestors for hundreds of years? If I hadn’t killed him, I would have wanted to ask him.

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If we turn around, there is a wall built not out of the rock but individual blocks (below left). At first this looks artificial in comparison to the rest of the ruin complex but this too is modeled on Egyptian buildings. This time, we have to go back much further to early Dynasties. If we compare with the picture on the right, there is a clear similarity. This building is the Djoser Funerary Complex which originally surrounded the famous Stepped Pyramid of Djoser. At the time, this was a revolutionary building technique designed but the mortal but future god Imhotep. This design was a rock translation of earlier mud-brick, wood and reeds. The Djoser complex is in the Saqqara area in the Nile Delta – that is long way from our fictional ruin. The Djoser Funerary Complex building was built with one real door and many false ones; our game building has a real entrance too. If we go inside and follow the ‘L’ shaped passage, we met a soldier facing the wall. He is in the classic position for a dagger silent kill but you may not want to do it that way. Instead, from a distance, shoot the fuel container by his side. The explosion will both take him out and blow a hole in the wall that reveals a golden chalice (our second of the mission). Without any obvious sign of concealment, the chalice seemed to be somehow buried in the rock. I can only assume that it was concealed with a stone block so tightly that we cannot detect that this is a hidden niche in the rock. We can only assume that with the limited time the Germans have been here, this wasn’t hidden by the Germans and is a genuine discovery.

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As this passage ends in a dead end, we have to go back to the main square. The obvious next direction in into one of the tombs as shown below left. The fact that there seems to be light inside should provide further evidence that it is currently occupied. This façade seems to show elements from era discussed but I also think of the façade of the Temple of Seti I, which is even older than anything mentioned so far. There is also some scaffolding but with the ladder fallen, it will do us no good. Just inside, if we can ignore the Germans for a moment, we can see some Hieroglyphics on the wall (below right). We have been making the assumption that this Ancient Egyptian rather than just old and in Egypt. These writings on the walls are the first evidence that this building is at least two thousand years old (give or take).

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Is seems that the Germans are finally stepping up their game and are providing a bit more of a challenge with ambushes and the like. One of the more interesting set pieces is the following. We soon reach a junction with two options (below left). The left hand option leads up a slope while the other continues on the level. We know that our destination is down so the upward slope seems the wrong one. The level path has a box with a flak jacket which is good. There also is a non-descript tunnel which heads down – this look promising. When the tunnel levels off again, we are met by a single Nazi and a collapsed passage (below right). There doesn’t seem to be anything else down there so we head back up. The set piece is that as we climb the staircase, Germans at the top through a grenade down at us and we have to work hard to avoid. When we get back to the top, it’s time for revenge…

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Going back to the junction, we have no option but to go up. At the top is a sneaky hidden treasure. Below left is a picture of the left hand wall at the top of the ramp. Now if you know it’s there, it’s obvious but as you will typically turn to your left at this point, you will turn away from this wall surface. When you break the wall – as below right – you will gain a single bar of gold. Since this is processed gold, we have to assume that a Nazi soldier must have hid and rebuilt the wall. Whoever did it did a good job though. Let’s not even think about where the gold came from at this time. Our treasure weight is now at 27.5 lb again.

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Emerging from the ramp, we are out in the open again on a platform above the rough rock wall. This allows us to get a good look around the ruin site. Below left shows the view looking back from when we emerged from the ramp. We can see the top of the scaffolding and the eagle-eyed will see there is something on the top platform of the scaffolding. When we jump down to it, we find a health pack which is probably useful at this point. The view looking back from the scaffolding is shown below right. What we get from these views is that this, not often visited ruin, is actually an impressive place. It would seem unlikely that a place is this good state of repair would not have been well known to the European archaeologists.

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Actually looking around, I am reminded of the set of the 1963 film Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (see below). It’s clearly different but both provide a mix of old and new Egyptian (old and new being relative terms) and enclose the entire view as is required of both a film and a first person video game.

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So where to next? Well the view from the scaffolding shows an arch in the distance. When we head through it (below), our one and only level objective is completed and we can move on.

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Further Reading

There is a whole wealth of Egyptian books, documentaries and websites that there seems little point in listing any. There are a few websites that show some really cool pictures. For Petra, I would suggest this site as it has aerial shots different from the standard views. This site provides some info about the Djoser Funerary Complex. This site provides some pictures of the Cleopatra film set.

Coming Next

This last level was fairly simple so let’s continue on and find the entrance to the lower levels.

Categories: Mission 0 | Leave a comment

Nazi Gold and Nazi Treasure

At this point, if you, as Captain Blazkowicz had found all the gold available so far, you should be carrying eight pieces of gold. If we make the assumption that these gold bars were of standard size bullion, your total additional load would be eight times the 400 troy ounces. This works out to be a fairly hefty 220lb (or 100 kg). While we can marvel at how this additional load doesn’t seem to hamper movement, perhaps something more important to think about is why is there this gold and treasure (we found a chalice) here in the first place. This article discusses why these exist in the game in the first place.

The first thing we can say is that RtCW has hidden gold and treasure because as a homage to Wolfenstein 3D, such things were necessary. Beyond the challenge of finding these secret areas, there was some precedent to idea of where there are Nazis, there might be treasure of gold (but not in a happy leprechaun way!)

From times of the first warrior kings, the king would subject his people to taxes to raise money to pay for his accommodations and lifestyle and, to fight his wars. The Nazis were in a similar situation as money was needed to buy from neutral counties. Their plan was to source gold from two sources: from within the country by taking it from those that “didn’t deserve it”; from outside the country by appropriating it from occupied countries treasuries. Let’s look at each in more detail.

Nazi Treasure within Germany

When I say “those that didn’t deserve it”, I’m referring to the Jewish communities within Germany but even before a community was specifically targeted, there was an attempt to define art into desirable and not desirable. Hitler, as a failed artist, considered himself an art expert and defined a Nazi ideal of art work in Mein Kampf. This ideal split along the lines of classical art (generally pre 20th century) and modern art (broadly modern styles such as Cubism etc). By 1937, offending artwork was removed from German art galleries and displayed in Munich to allow public scorn. After receiving 2 million visitors, the ploy didn’t seem to be working. After trashing such undesirable art, they had a hard time selling it so they instigated a public art burning similar to the previous book burning. This horrified enough outside Germany that more of this art found buyers from outside the country.

Once a country embarks on a process of public art confiscating, it is soon likely to switch its attention to its private collections. The Nazis had a public policy of harassing their undesirable races and the Jews, with prominent rich families, became the ideal group to exploit. While the Jewish oppression began as soon as Hitler gained control in 1933, it was only on February 21st 1939 when an official plan to relieve them of all silver and gold began. This silver and gold was melted down into ingots and sent to the Berlin banks to use as collateral to buy military equipment and food from neutral countries.

Concentration camp rings

Concentration camp rings

While I guess this was slightly tainted gold, it gets quite a bit worse. The Nazis wanted to much more than dispossess the Jews and others of their wealth: what they ultimately wanted to do was remove them from the world. This was done via the plans of removing the ‘undesirables’ and taking them to concentration camps to be murdered by gassing and other less desirable ways – this of course being the Holocaust. Originally, the Nazis were murdering and burying the bodies but after they realized that these mass graves were fowling the water supply, they decided to dig up the bodies and burn them. You would have to wonder who has the bright idea but until that point, the bodies were being buried as-is but on September 26th 1942, someone had the idea that the bodies (both living and dead) could be striped of wedding rings and even gold fillings. These too were melted down and turned into ingots. So, as this game is set in March 1943, it’s possible that this could be some of that gold….

A horrible thought. Let’s try and move on.

Nazi Gold Outside Germany

Moving onto slightly better sources of gold bars, we should also look outside of Germany. Germany occupied many countries within Europe and while the Nazis seemed to get some sort of pleasure in occupying other countries, they were quick to get to the country’s central banks and strip them of their gold. This happened in enough places that an organization named the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg für die Besetzten Gebiete (The Reichsleiter Rosenberg Institute for the Occupied Territories). This rather long named organization we can fortunately abbreviate to ERR. They originally had a mission to collect Jewish and Freemasonic books for German study but in 1940, its aims were changed to collection of any Jewish artifacts of value this seemed to mostly be artwork as that was difficult to hide but plenty of gold was included with that.

Why Gold in Wolfenstein?

So, we have already established that finding gold and treasure is a requirement in any Wolfenstein homage, we still have to ask why we are finding any gold at all. After all, there seems to be an efficient transfer in place from those that have it to those that don’t. What we need to add to the mix is why is there any around outside of this process? To explain this, we have to bring Hermann Göring into the story.

Hermann Göring

Hermann Göring

Of all the Nazis in Hitler’s inner circle, perhaps Hermann Göring was the only one that provided any military experience. He flew aircraft during the First World War and won a coveted Pour le Mérite medal after a claimed 22 aerial victories. After the war, he joined the Nazi Party and took part in the failed Beer Hall Putsch. He avoided arrest and was smuggled out of Germany. When the Nazi Party gained control of the German government, Göring was given a ministerial post and created the Prussian police force known as the Gestapo. When Hitler decided to ramp up the Nazi military machine, Göring was given the head post and this allowed him to take the Field Marshal position when it was ‘made available’. When the Second World War started, Göring was able to score a number of quick victories in Poland and France so Hitler promoted him to a special rank that made him the top ranked soldier in the German military. He also became Hitler’s official successor. After military losses in The Battle of Britain, Africa and the eastern front, he lost his standing with Hitler but continued to hold his military ranking. As the war ended, he moved to the western front to avoid surrendering to the Russians but that didn’t save his life as he was found guilty of war crimes at Nuremberg. He avoided being hanged by committing suicide by cyanide capsule smuggled in on the night before his sentence was to be carried out.

Great, you say but what has this to do with anything? Well, Göring had an upper class upbringing and had always enjoyed the finer things in life. When the ERR was created for the collection of Jewish books, it was Göring that expanded its scope to collect quite a bit more. Not only that but he was a frequent visitor to Paris to oversee activities and took the opportunity to skim off his choice of pieces of art. While Göring became the poster child of Nazi plunder, all the other top leaders were doing it to a lesser degree. It is from this action plus the fact that everyone had to hide their stash from everyone else that means that where ever we find Nazi soldiers, we will likely find hidden treasure.

Merkers gold

Merkers gold

We have so far found one treasure (a chalice) and we will find plenty more later but this still isn’t the gold we are finding. The gold was certainly coming in to Germany from other countries and less savory places and it was also being spent to pay the bills but nearing the end of the war, the German issue wasn’t money to pay for military hardware but their inability to convert this money into hardware. So, at the very end, the gold was moved out of the Reichsbank in Berlin and moved to basically anywhere else. A large piece of that “anywhere else” became the disused mine in Merkers though there were many other theories of where other gold could have gone including leaving the country entirely and heading to places such as South America. Could the gold have been stored in other places such as the locations we are playing in? Well it is possible.

But in Egypt?

This is the weak link in the story. While we could believe that gold bars are being hidden in Germany, can we really believe that someone would “steal” (steal being a relative term here) gold and take it to Africa? I don’t think we can really make a case for that. The next option is that it was taken as part of the expedition to be used to buy favor and anything less locally. This doesn’t seem likely either as all the documentation we have found so far indicates that the Germans aren’t exactly welcome visitors. Certainly, there have been some local mercenaries that might be paid for but this seems like far too much money for that. There doesn’t seem to be large future payments either – at least not as far as we can tell. So, we are left with the only other option which is that this is Nazi plunder. We have to believe that this gold had been found in the village or in the archaeological dig and has been melted down. It is being hidden so this isn’t Nazi policy and is being done by all manner of people from possibly the NCO level to the Major. I guess it’s possible though we have yet to find any smelters capable of melting gold.

Further Reading

As usual, I have very excluded many details from these stories.

More on the Nazi Plunder can be found here.

The full story of Merkers gold hoard can be found here.

More details about Hermann Göring can be found here.

A timeline of the Holocaust can be found here.

Coming Next

Next we are going back to the game. The next level is the one that I think is the best looking one in the Mission Zero series. We are going to enter the archaeological dig!

Categories: Background, Mission 0 | Leave a comment

Ras el-Hadid, Part 3

So we are still in the increasing large village of Ras el-Hadid. When we get to this level, we get some clues that this next level will provide some resolution on our initial objectives. Below is the objectives screen from Ras el-Hadid Part 3. Again I only included the first screen as the second and third screens are unchanged. If we recall the original orders, we were to get to the command post and find any Nazi documents. Our level objectives, in part, tell us to infiltrate the command post and take some Nazi documents. So the mission seems to be coming to a close. We also have to get in contact with Agent One on the radio again so nothing’s changed there.

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The level again starts in a quiet corridor but again when we turn the corner, another soldier is loitering. If we wait long enough, he’ll go into the wine cellar room. A question to ask is why are there wine cellar barrels in a Muslim village? It could be that these hold water rather than wine but why would the Egyptians store water above ground? Their large size would make it unfeasible for the Germans to bring them in. Ignoring that, the room does hold a secret behind the central cupboard (see below).

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Given that we find an ammo clip and a bottle of German’s favorite wine (yes another Chateau Latour ’38), we can assume this was hidden by one of the lower ranking soldiers. It could have been this specific soldier that we had to kill. He was just hanging around, checking his stash.

Moving on, before entering the open area, there is another clipboard on the wall. Its contents are shown below. This is a copy of the notice we saw in the first level. On the first level, it made sense to post it around where the villagers lived. Who would see it here?

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Moving into the open space triggers a conversation between two patrolling soldiers that are just about to start their shift. If we are quiet and listen, we hear the full story.

Soldier #1: Thomas, I do not leer at the General’s wife. She should have closed her curtains or something.

Soldier #2: Let’s go, it’s after curfew and I haven’t gotten to shoot anybody for weeks.

Soldier #1: Jawohl … but I think I’m in love.

This is supposed to be some comedic filler but there does seem to be a problem with it. We have to assume that the first soldier is talking about something in the present tense which implies that the “General’s wife” is somewhere nearby. But, from all the notices we have seen, this operation is under the command of Major Gerhard Wechsler, not a General. So who could he be referring to? And, why would this General take his wife into the theater of war? Possibly this was a mistake in the voice acting or script or, originally it was planned to have a General in control of the operation until someone realized that Helga, being only a Colonel would not be able to pull rank on him.

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Just so we can have a look around, I’ve included pictures from both ends of this open space, above. The right picture shows a locked gate ahead and a small courtyard beyond. The way into this courtyard is to take the door on the left (where the gossiping soldiers came from) and follow it around. As they seemed to start their shift from this building, this must be something like a mess building. This building has some food and more soldiers to shoot at but little else. Before leaving, there is a notice on the wall (below). This one seems to be here to give us some idea of the moral of the Nazis under the Major’s command. It seems that the Nazis are not performing the duties as expected of German soldiers. This could either be the difficulty of their mission or the quality of their commander. We already know that the Major already feels this mission to be beneath him and what he says and acts affects how his soldiers behave.

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When we leave, we are beyond the locked gate what we thought might be a courtyard is actually a long-ish ‘T’ shaped corridor. The corridor offers few side options but we see what is probably the largest single building yet, standing behind a stone wall. The only way to it is via a locked gate so there is no way to get to it yet (see it below). The building appears to have two towers which could be used for lookout. This seems to look like minaret towers of a mosque though with the gate closed, we can’t be certain.

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At the lower end of the ‘T’ corridor we come across another door. When we go in, we hear another wireless transmission:

Otto, Franz, come in. Hello.

So, who we thought was “Hans” was actually “Franz” – seems like he is getting a little worried about the prolonged radio silence. Possibly these were the only three radio stations in the village – though thinking about it, there should be at least two more as Agent One talked to us twice. After he is forcibly removed from his job, we get to talk to Agent One on the radio again. Stop the video at 2m 36s.

Agent One: BJ, are you there?

Blazkowicz: Affirmative.

Agent One: That Nazi command post isn’t going to be as easy to crack as I thought. When you are ready to go in, I’ll be up on the roof top to give you a hand.

Blazkowicz: Let’s do it!

So this is it. What we probably saw on the other side of the wall is the command post. At this point having overheard it, Blazkowicz should have told Agent One that Helga isn’t in the compound and really, what is the point of taking on a dangerous mission of storming the compound to not find her. OK, there’s the book that is potentially in the compound but if we can get Helga, we wouldn’t need the book, would we? I guess Agent One is still in command and says we have to storm the compound and get the book and blah, blah, blah….. And orders are orders. At least the Nazi are not expecting us.

Well, that doesn’t seem to be true. Before we get out to the ‘T’ shaped corridor, we hear “Intruder! Alarm! Alarm!” As we were just heading back out there, I assumed it was that was spotted but, thinking about it, Agent One just said that he would be on the roof so, it is more than likely that he was spotted up there. So, not only did he send us in on this crazy mission to storm the outpost but he was dumb enough to get seen! Thanks Agent One!

Going In

The only “good” thing that comes from this is that the Nazis have opened the gate. They also move the truck that is blocking the entrance too. Do they want me to go in?

Ras3_gate2

It seems they do because as soon as we enter, it seems that we are being ambushed. As we go through the gate, Agent One shouts “I’ll cover you!” and then the fighting begins.

The battle isn’t too difficult once you have tried it a few times but the first time can be a bit of a shock. The problem comes from the Nazis being on both sides and this time trying to not get killed. Agent One does provide some help though if you let him do all the fighting, he is unlikely to make it. If Agent One does die, the mission is over though it is quite likely that we could complete the mission, as laid out, without his help.

Ras3_courtyard1Ras3_courtyard2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the shooting’s done, we get a chance to look around and see what’s happening. The pictures above show the view looking up toward the command building (left) and on the ramp looking back down (right). Now we can look at this building, it doesn’t appear to be a mosque but clearly, it is the biggest building so far so must be the most important. I would guess that this is the building of the administrative head of this place. I guess the new administrative head (the major) would pick it as his now HQ. One other odd thing is that there are army trucks. How exactly did they get here? I can imagine them being dropped from parachutes but that didn’t happen in the Second World War as far as I can see. They could have been driven through the desert from somewhere, but where? The Germans were rapidly backpedalling at this point so they would be unlikely to have come from the west. So they came from the east or the south?

Ok, no good answers, let’s move on. Actually before moving on, it’s worth checking out the covered well in the courtyard. If we assume this to be an oasis town, the water table should be high enough to make a well workable so this seems to fit reasonably well (no pun intended). The point of or interest is that down the bottom are two bar of gold. Lucky Blazkowicz gains another 55lbs of gold taking his total additional weight to 165lbs. How did this gold get down here? If we are assuming that this was put there by the Nazi (only possibly true), storing it so close to the boss would be risky. So either this is the Major’s gold or his unfortunate lackey that had to fetch the water. Given this is such a dirty place, it is more likely the water carriers gold than the Majors. It is possibly Nazi stolen gold, stolen from the Major. Pictures of the top and bottom of the well are shown below.

Ras3_welltopRas3_wellbottom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So now into the building to take on a boss like Major? If he’s like the Wolfenstein bosses, he’ll have a Gatling gun in his chest! Umm, maybe not. When we rush into the building, we hear the following from within:

I knew it! Helga has come to kill us all! Corporal, go check that out! Yes corporal, now!

So now we get the full picture of the Major. The only way to describe him is a Paper Tiger. Alternatively, he may really fear Helga von Bulow for some reason. Either way, it doesn’t seem like a boss level battle is about to begin. Why does he think Helga is going to kill him though?

The inside seems quite palatial with marble floors and a fancy stair case. Upstairs we find what we are looking for. Pictured below is what seems to be a book. When we pick it up, another objective get checked off, so this must be the Nazi documents that we were looking for (see below). Since we are still in a mission, I’ll leave the reading until we get a break in the action.

Ras3_book

There is one more room to check out at the end of the corridor but there is also a narrow window looking out into the courtyard. I included it below more for artistic reasons than anything else. The reason for holding the grenade is so that the window view isn’t blocked.

Ras3_view

So, the last room. This room leads out through the window and onward but there are some other things to check out first. The first thing of interest is the poster on the wall. Apart from its colorfulness in an otherwise drab room, it seems to have a note on it but there doesn’t seem to be any way to read it. The kick/damage icon does appear over it though, so a particularly high kick (a karate kick perhaps?) sets its hidden action in motion as it slides over.

While it slides, it’s worth checking out what it’s all about. The top says “SOLDAT”, which is German for soldier – so far, so good. What the wording below the picture appears to be something else. This is actually Dutch and can be translated as:

“For your honor and conscience, up! – Against Bolshevism – The Waffen SS calls you”

nederlandersThis seems to be motivation poster to drum up bodies for the Waffen SS but why is it in a combination of German and Dutch? The reason basically boils down to the fact that this graphic was originally taken from a Dutch poster made by the Nazis and used in Holland. Why the German “soldier” word? Well, it’s actually a replacement of the original word. The picture on the right shows the original poster and you don’t need to be fluent in Dutch to work out what the original headline word means. So this is a Dutch motivational poster. It was in fact created in 1942 so it does fit in here. What it might imply is that Major Wechsler saw service on the western front in Holland, saw the poster and liked it so much that he took it with him on the current mission in Egypt. To try and make it better context with where they are, he changed the first word to “SOLDAT”. I guess that explains it.

So by now the poster should have moved over to reveal a switch. When it is pulled, a trapdoor in the opposite of the room opens revealing two more gold bars. At this point Blazkowicz must be sighing at the amount of gold he now has. Assuming all that was available was found, he is carrying eight bars and assuming the 400 troy oz. weight of each, he now has an additional 220lb in weight (100 kg) – quite impressive for him to carry! So whose are these? I feel that these would likely be owned by the Major himself. He either used the existing safe structure of the building (this is a sort of safe) or got one built for him in short order. Possibly the safe builder took out two of the bars and hid them in the well. They could have been there from the original building owners, though that would seem like a lot of wealth for this not particularly rich settlement. Perhaps it was taken from this archeological dig nearby? Pictures of the wall poster and the safe/gold are shown below.

Ras3_posterRas3_safe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So should we jump out of the window now? (well with 220lb of gold on our person, we probably shouldn’t!). No, there’s one more thing to check out – the letter on the table, included below:

Ras3_mess3_1

Ras3_mess3_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This letter finally sets up the own situation. The command structure seems to be Major Wechsler reporting to Oberst von Bulow reporting to General Von Stauff (I’m noting the mixing of the von’s capitalizing here). The Major went over von Bulow’s head in contacting the General but the General told her about this. The result is her coming over herself to take command. This may explain some of the Major’s fear of her, but only some of it. She also says that “The future of the Third Reich may very well hinge on the success of your operation”. That’s quite a lot to hang on what essentially seems to be an archeological dig. Clearly we don’t have the whole picture yet of what’s really going on. What’s more, do (I mean did, as he should now be dead!) the Major really know the bigger picture here? He knows enough about the mission, I assume, but he doesn’t seem to connect it to “The future of the Third Reich”. Perhaps if he did know, he would be more committed to the mission. His lack of success may reflect on this disconnect and the resulting neglect of his companies duties.

Anyway, enough of this – it’s time to jump through the window and continue on. We should have completed our last objective as the headquarters was certainly infiltrated. After dealing with the last Nazi, we turn the corner and seem to find that the town is disappearing into desert. Agent One clearly said that the command post was in the center of town, it seems like it’s on the edge of town instead. The picture below left shows the side wall of the command post and it looks like we are heading into desert. At this point, we also hear an explosion; worth checking out.

Ras3_ravine1Ras3_ravine2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above right shows the burning remains of one of the trucks like we saw in the compound. It is facing away from the compound so it was either leaving or was backed into the narrow ravine to block and defend someone from leaving the town this way (ie us). As this has been a two man mission so far (OK really a 1.1 man mission as far as we can tell), Agent One must have done this. Sure enough, a character is visible in the distance beyond the truck wreck. He calls “BJ! This way” if there wasn’t any doubt.

Ras3_agentone

The Big Read

So that’s the level and the Ras el-Hadid done? No, hold your horses, there’s still the Nazi report to read. The cover and five pages are as follows:

Ras3_doc_1Ras3_doc_2

 

Ras3_doc_3Ras3_doc_4

 

Ras3_doc_5Ras3_doc_6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This gives us a whole load of new information, some of it quite extraordinary. We’ll start with the simpler stuff first rather than go through it in written order.

Firstly, we now know what the Nazi are after. They want a pair of ancient tablets that are to be found in the ruin area. Professor Werner Schmidt is in charge of this activity and we had earlier found his sleeping area in Part 2. While he is a civilian, he is working directly for Helga rather than the Major. If this is the extent of the Major’s knowledge, he knows why they are here but not what the finding of these tablets will achieve.

The document gives plenty of detail about the village and inhabitants which we already know. What we don’t have is a date to try to define how long the Germans have actually been here. The Allies found them about a week ago but we don’t have any indication of how long they were here earlier. It’s possible that they have been here for months and months.

We learn that their goal (and possibly ours) is a place deep inside the maze of tombs that are deep within the ruins. These tombs appear to be in an intact state as superstitions of the locals have kept them away. This really appears to be a grade one quality archeological find! Unfortunately, there is no information of how the Germans learned about the site or the tablets that are inside. A portable lift (note that’s the British term rather than the American ‘elevator’) has been fitted into the tomb structure. US Patent US1658042 from 1926 indicates that such things existed then, so this sounds possible. I would questions if the effort would be worth it though. We’ll have to wait to give it a better look.

We also gain some info about where the essential areas are laid out relative to each other. From the over the shoulder view of the map that Agent One showed Blazkowicz, he seemed to imply that the ruins and airfield were to the east of the village but these notes say the exact opposite. It could be that we saw the map upside-down but the word “airfield” was written the right way so we were seeing it the right way. Maybe there’s some special military convention on maps different from how the rest of us use them.

We also learn that the mission is supplied with Ju52 Junkers cargo planes and me109 fighters to support them. All I’ll say at the moment is its not reasonable for a Ju52 to carry an army truck unless it is in an unassembled state. I’ll cover these when we see them later but we learn of a supply line from the airfield to the command post and back. The road to the airfield seems to be the one we are currently on.

Finally, the big bomb shell – N24 55’ 24”, E33 42’ 18”. I put the coordinates into Google Maps to get a more specific location of where we were but it gave me a place east of the Nile. Checking the coordinates, I had them right, this appears to be nowhere near north Egypt! So, what do we have here? These are the options, and some of them seem unlikely.

• For security reasons, Agent One gave Blazkowicz false information of where they were going.
• Agent One wasn’t told the correct information either and he too believed we were going to northern Egypt.
• There’s some sort of space time portal in the village and we have just crossed Egypt in a single step.
• After play testing, someone with some Egyptian knowledge pointed out that the sort of things that we are going to find in the tombs wouldn’t realistically exist in an oasis town so it would be better to move the location and hope no one notices. As the voice acting and graphics were already in place, the relatively easy to modify Nazi documents was the place to change it.

Very likely to be the last one but I like the first and second options. The third one is interesting but would need some explanation.

The maps, both of all Egypt and more detail are shown below and put this village (they are back to calling it a village) in the middle of nowhere but on the eastern side of the Nile somewhere between Luxor and the Aswan area. This area of Egypt would be more out of sight from the British Army and it would allow the Germans to take transport ships up the Red Sea and then unload trucks that could take the soldiers, archeologists and equipment overland to Ras el-Hadid. Any further supplies could be brought by Ju52 transport planes. That now seems to fit better!

Hadid_map1Hadid_map2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And with that, we finish the Ras el-Hadid part of mission zero and we can move on.

Coming Next

As I said last time, it seems appropriate to hold off on the game until I can talk about some other details that are relevant to what is going on. So next time I will write up something about all this German gold and treasure that we seem to keep finding.

 

 

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