Screw­ing over friends and fix­ing up win­dows in Call Of Duty: World At War’s Nazi Zom­bies

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - REVIEW - Dave Meik­le­ham

“You’re more ha­rassed handyman than Ash Wil­liams wannabe”

“Ge­orge! Get your snout out of the lucky dip weapons box and board up the back win­dow! Ge­orge?! GE­ORGE?! Annnnnnd now we’re all dead. Wun­der­bar.” Nazi Zom­bies may well be the great­est minigame ever con­ceived. You, three friends, 20 waves of Hitler’s finest goose-stepping brain-biters, and the naugh­ti­est gun ar­mory of all time. What could pos­si­bly go wrong?

Hon­esty time: I can re­mem­ber al­most noth­ing about Nazi Zom­bies’ par­ent game, Cal­lOfDuty:WorldAt

War. I re­call it was the first COD to dip back into the in­creas­ingly stale waters of WWII af­ter 2007’s Mod­ern

War­fare tore up ev­ery­thing we knew about the se­ries. I think Gary Old­man

might have phoned in a pay­cheque play­ing a shouty Rus­sian dude. That’s lit­er­ally it. Suf­fice to say, for me WAW may be the least mem­o­rable shooter in the fran­chise’s his­tory.

Then again, it did give us Nazi Zom­bies, so I can look past its vanilla story mode. The up­com­ing Cal­lOf

Duty:WorldWarII re­cently re­vealed its take on the un­dead-blast­ing minigame, so now feels like an ideal time to re­play what seemed to be a throw­away cu­rio that’s since blos­somed into one of the se­ries’ most en­dur­ing sta­ples. Not bad for a minigame which is es­sen­tially equal parts zom­bie mur­der and glo­ri­fied car­pen­try sim.

You’re not just a hope­lessly out­matched sol­dier locked in a coun­try house as the un­dead try to break through ev­ery sin­gle win­dow and door. In re­al­ity, you’re more ha­rassed handyman than Ash Wil­liams. Killing zombs is im­por­tant; board­ing up win­dow frames and ham­mer­ing doors is ev­ery­thing. Sur­viv­ing Nazi Zom­bies’ in­creas­ingly fren­zied waves de­mands tight co­or­di­na­tion and con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Fail to reg­u­larly talk to your team­mates, and you’re toast. Said com­mu­ni­ca­tion usu­ally de­volves into all four of you scream­ing at each other over head­sets, beg­ging your pals to re­pair that win­dow in the kitchen you’ve for­got­ten about. Away from pre­tend­ing to be a trig­ger-happy Tim ‘The Tool­man’ Tay­lor, WorldAtWar’s un­dead ace in the hole re­volves around guns. Specif­i­cally, how you’ll screw over your chums’ des­per­ate ef­forts to nab your­self a bet­ter one. That lit­tle di­a­tribe I opened on re­calls a time when I was ut­terly ob­sessed with Nazi Zom­bies. Ev­ery night af­ter work, a gang of my col­leagues and I would all fu­ri­ously fire it up, laugh our asses off, then con­tem­plate how some­thing so sim­ple could be so ad­dic­tive. The ‘Ge­orge’ in ques­tion was my then ed­i­tor of

OXM’s sis­ter web­site, GamesRadar, and com­pe­tent a shooter as my ed was, he also loved a sly spin on the minigame’s ran­dom­ized weapons crate when no one was look­ing.

Silly walks etc

The Mys­tery Box el­e­vates Nazi Zom­bies to com­edy ge­nius. On the sur­face, it lets you spend all that money you ac­crue from whack­ing the un­dead to buy bet­ter firearms. In prac­tice, it’s a joy­ous comedic de­vice which en­cour­ages play­ers to for­get there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’ as they rush off for an elicit spin on the crate when they think their pals aren’t watch­ing. The ul­tra ad­dic­tive ap­peal lies with the fact you never quite know what the Mys­tery Box will pro­duce, as the weapons are ran­dom­ized. The Holy Grail re­mains the laugh­ably lethal Ray Gun; a firearm so over­pow­ered, you’ll aban­don your win­dow-fix­ing du­ties in the vain hopes of land­ing one.

Of course, there’s an un­de­ni­able fu­til­ity at the heart of it. Fight­ing end­less un­dead on­slaughts is akin to try­ing to sweep leaves dur­ing a hur­ri­cane. Yet de­spite my greedy com­rades, and the slim chances of suc­cess, I’ll cher­ish Nazi Zom­bies’ brand of chaotic ca­ma­raderie.

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