Call of Duty Zombies For Idiots: The beginning (1/17)


In Call of Duty: World at War the series added a new feature that would change the franchise and that would create hype in all fans of gaming…Nazi Zombies. It was such a simple rhetoric yet carried so much potential. For those of you who have been living in a Pineapple under the sea, Nazi Zombies was a game mode that was unlocked after the campaign. The premise? You’re a pilot who’s plane crashed and you are stranded in a forest and then suddenly…Nazi Zombies. You take shelter in a nearby creepy abandoned house, because why not, that is conveniently stocked with chalk drawings of weapons that you can purchase and use, because magic. You then fight off wave after wave of terrifying Nazi Zombies rebuilding the barricades on the windows, unblocking doorways to access new areas of the map and finding a mystery box that can present you with a random weapon (including a ray gun, because zombies).


I would call myself a casual gamer, so I was familiar with the Call of Duty franchise and of course had played the first Zombie map. However I lost touch with the franchise for a few years and once again picked up the controller for Black Ops III. I was eager to play another round of Nazi Zombies, see what cool additions they had made and how the series had progressed from its humble origins. Little did I know the one map I picked was in fact Shadows of Evil, I would learn from writing this series that this map was one of the more complex ones out there. Needless to say I was lost, confused and seriously out of my depth, so I naturally became curious about what Treyarch had done to the game, and at some points question what drugs were taken to come up with some of this stuff. The following series is a consequence of that curiosity. This will be an informative look through each map, finding the main Easter Egg, and following the story.


The following series will follow the chronological release of each map and by episode 3 will only cover one map per part. I will run through rough Easter Egg guides to help the storyline flow for you. The Zombies story is incredibly complex and contains a vast network of theories and background information. The parts I have included are mainly gathered from Character quotes, hidden messages (radios, TVs, etc), cut-scenes and trailers. However I have gone through many forums reading up on theories and included ones that I think best fit the narrative of the story.


How it all started


I have already touched upon the game that started it all but I will go into a little more depth into how and why this mode came about. It’s hard to imagine a world without Nazi Zombies, only in digital form I do not want to imagine a real Nazi Zombie world. However this now iconic game type was a last minute addition by developers, even Treyarch’s Mark Lamia admits that the Zombies mode shouldn’t exist. Under the pressure of delivering a stand-out Call of Duty game (which isn’t easy after Modern Warfare was released), delivering a different and impressive World War II game (again very difficult) and working with new development engines there was no scope for creative expansion beyond the main game. It came as a surprise to Lamia when he found out that a small team were branching off the co-op development and were exploring new game modes. After overcoming pressure from those above him, Lamia played a prototype of the mode, became addicted to the game, and felt the satisfaction we’ve all felt of killing numerous undead Nazis, thus came the bare-bones development of Nazi Zombies.


This all seems fairly reasonable and normal, so what the hell happened? How did this basic concept end up as something so confusing and just bizarre? The answer is, because of you. Fans wrote theories and stories to fill the void surrounding the lore of the original zombies. Following this the fans continued to communicate with Treyarch through social media and blog posts about the zombies franchise. This in turn led Treyarch development team to leave little clues and Easter Eggs throughout the DLC maps for Zombies for those fans that had written theories surrounding the story. On advice from fans Treyarch kept a tight lid on releasing any information about the Zombies games to allow fans to explore the maps, solve the puzzles left by the team and figure out what it all meant. I guess one man’s confusion is another’s pleasure. So let’s start off with the Map that, well, started it all off:


Nacht Der Untoten


This was essentially two floors of hell, the player had to survive unlimited waves of increasingly powerful zombies only using the weapons on the wall. Once enough zombies were killed, and points gathered, the player could open doors and clear debris. This led to new rooms containing the Mystery Box, which held more powerful weapons but what weapon you got was a game of chance. The Ray Gun was the first Wonder Weapon and did what it said on the tin, it fired Rays killing zombies pretty efficiently. The Sniper Cabinet was another purchasable item that granted the player access to the Scoped Kar98k. Explosive barrels surrounded the perimeter of the map to take out large groups of Zombies approaching. Upon being killed some Zombies dropped power-ups, these power-ups included an Ammo Refill (Max Ammo), a Nuke, a Repair (Carpenter), Insta-Kill, and Double Points.


The Story:


It is only much later that we discover how our four American soldiers ended up in this hell and why the place was invested in Zombies. Over the course of this series you will fully understand what this sentence means. The Zombies were created due to a newly discovered Element 115, which has the ability to reanimate cells, among other things. The Zombies were accidentally released from a facility called Verrückt, where the Germans were trying to gain control of a Zombie army. The release occurred when the Germans compromised an American scientist/spy, this prompted a rescue mission by American Marines. The Marines sent in two aircraft, one crashed on route in a remote field and the survivors are the playable characters. The other aircraft made it to our next map Verrückt.

In the DLCs there were three new maps and so began the slow addition to Zombies that would turn it from a simple kill all zombies shooter to an extravagant puzzle. With each DLC release more and more was slowly added to this growing experience:




Perk-a-cola machines were included for the first time, this allowed a player to use points to buy perks which aided them in moving faster, surviving longer, dealing more damage and more. The Cola included in this map was Speed Cola, increasing the player’s reload speed. This map introduced us to a concept that would soon be a necessity in any step of a Zombies game, the power source. In this map the player needed to locate and switch on a power supply in order to operate the Perk-a-cola machines and turn on traps, which were first included in this DLC. Only Musical Easter Eggs were in this Map. A new trap was added, the Electro-Shock Defences, which created an electric barrier for zombies to run through and die.


The Story: Here the American Scientist, Peter McCain, who fled here after discovering the Element 115 Meteor in Shi No Numa, called for an extraction. A team of Marines entered the location only to find it empty, one by one the Marines lost sanity and died, all except one, Tank Dempsey. Richtofen followed Peter to this location and came upon the lone survivor, knowing that Dempsey had knowledge of the secrets hidden here Richtofen took Dempsey to test the true power of Element 115.




Shi No Numa


This map really set a turning point for the rest of the franchise; here your characters had voices. A story was starting to unfold, told by both the characters and the Easter Eggs that lay around the map (in the form of radio messages)


Additions: In this map several new additions were made. Firstly a new Wonder Weapon was obtainable from the Mystery Box; the Wunderwaffle DG-2, which fire lightening towards the Zombies and can chain them together in a conga line of death. New Perk Machines were include; Juggernog (allowing the player to take more hits), Double Tap (increases the players rate of fire). The new enemy, the Hellhound, is literally a Dog from Hell, they’ll spawn around the player and rush toward you, after killing the last hound a Max Ammo will be dropped. The new Traps are the Flogger (a giant flogging death trap). A Zip line was introduced as a mode of transport, a feature that would later become a Zombies’ essential.



The Story: Our brave heroes now have names; there are four playable characters that are introduced. Tank Dempsey, an American Marine who fought at Verrückt. Nikolai Belinski, a Soldier from the Red Army, rough, ready and stereotypically Russian. Takeo Masaki, a Soldier in the Imperial Army, he holds honour above all else. Finally Edward Richtofen, a Doctor and a Nazi Officer, borderline psychopath who is partly at fault for the Zombie outbreak, but also responsible for many Wonder Weapons. The Element 115 was discovered here in a Meteorite by an American Spy and taken off to be analysed. At the same time a Nazi scientists and member of Group 935, Richtofen, also discovered the Element and its capability to reanimate dead cells. However the Shi No Numa we play is after these events and after the second visit from Peter McCain. Something went wrong and it is believed Peter died in Shi No Numa collecting a larger source of Element 115, possibly killed by Edward Richtofen for being an American Spy. A theory is that Richtofen warned the Japanese about Americans in the Jungle, a squad dropped into the American base and killed all those inside, however one Japanese Soldier became infected causing the outbreak.


Through much digging and messages from later maps we find out our heroic unit is not exactly a band of misfit soldiers. Tank, Takeo and Nikolai were all captured by Group 935 and experimented on in an attempt to control their minds. After the brainwashing was successful they were given false memories of their past, and taken around with Richtofen as a makeshift unit to support and defend Richtofen. Tank was at Verrückt and was captured by Group 935, however not much else is know. Nikolai was taught to believe he was a Soldier from the Red Army, however his drinking stems from a pain-relief serum of mostly Vodka he was given during the experimentation. Takeo was made to believe he killed his family due to dishonour and this is why he lives by such a strict code.



Der Riese

Additions: Apparently people were getting too tired to just run around the maps all the time, so in this DLC map a Teleporter was introduced (only after manually connecting the outer pods to the main Teleporter). This little addition was incredibly useful in later rounds to get out of a tight corner. As well as unlocking the Teleporter you would also unlock the Pack-a-Punch machine, which allows the player to spend points (totally worth 5000 points) and upgrade a chosen weapon to provide more firepower in the increasingly difficult rounds. There seems to be a theme in the additions to Der Riese as the Monkey bombs and Bowie knife was also introduces, which gave a one hit kill up to the tenth round. What solves a zombie problem better than an exploding symbol bashing monkey and a larger knife?


The Easter Eggs again appeared in the form of radio messages, which slowly unveiled the complex past of Der Riese and the Zombies mode.


The Story: From the radios a new character is introduced, Dr Ludvig Maxis. He is the lead in creating these new Wonder Weapons and all that seems to go wrong in the Zombie universe. In the radio messages we can hear that Dr Maxis is not happy about the funding being cut, and that he needs more of Element 115 (which the Americans seem to have in Nevada). Maxis has been working on new Weapons, an unknown project called The Giant (possibly related to Origins), and Teleportation. During his experiments Dr Maxis has been attempting to gain control of the Zombies, in order to command them, however all attempts thus far have been futile. In another Radio message Dr Maxis’ Daughter Samantha is introduced and given a pet Dog. Maxis creates a new organisation called Group 9-3-5, which seems to compromise of volunteers from several nations who have been sworn to secrecy in creating a “new dawn”. However one Radio message suggests that some of the “Test Subjects” have escaped and started to overrun the facility.


Join me next week when we explore Black Ops and the start of the intricate, puzzling Easter Eggs.

Alastair Roberts36 Posts

Xbox/PC gamer, connoisseur of the pun. I'm easily entertained by games so don't judge when I say I enjoy Call of Duty. Achievement attempter and mostly failure. My moments of skill are quickly buried by moments of stupidity Reach me on Twitter @aj_roberts1993


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