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.
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).
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
This 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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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!
And with that, we finish the Ras el-Hadid part of mission zero and we can move on.
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.