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