Treyarch brought back their much-loved zombie survival mode from 2008's "Call of Duty: World at War" for their just-released latest entry in the series, "Black Ops." For a first-time player, the rules seem simple enough: gun down wave after wave of the walking dead through a series of barriers, fixing entry points as needed and doing your best not to end the day passing through whatever functions as a digestive tract in an animated corpse. As anyone who embraced the mode in "World at War" knows however, if you start a Zombies match without a rough strategy for survival in your head, making it to double-digit rounds becomes a remote possibility.
This guide is for those who are just starting out with Zombies and want a little bit of an extra edge. What follows are some general strategies for surviving the onslaught as well as map-specific tips for the two new areas featured in "Black Ops."
GENERAL TIPS FOR SURVIVING THE ZOMBIE HORDES
Safety In Numbers
If zombie movies have taught us anything, it's that going it alone is a very, VERY bad idea. So make sure you've got at least one friend to bring along into your match, preferably two or three. The more eyes you've got, the better the chances of preventing or plugging those zombie breaches before they get out of hand.
Much of the tension in Zombies comes from having to manage your limited resources. All players start with a pistol and 500 points to spend, enough on either map to buy a rifle or a shotgun. Feel free to pick one up, but don't bother using it until round three or four. Rely on your trusty knife melee attack instead. First-round zombies go down with one knife swipe, second-round zombies with two, and so on. To maximize your points, put 6 pistol bullets into each zombie BEFORE knifing it into re-death.
One of the scariest words you can hear over your headset when playing Zombies is "Breach!" The zombies have broken through one or more barriers and are now streaming into the relative safety of your play area. If you plan it right however, a breach can be a good thing. During the early rounds when your knife is still a valuable weapon, position yourself so you can cover one or more windows and let them come. Downed zombies will sometimes drop power-ups, but only if they've breached; what you're looking for in the early going is a x2 point boost.
Crawlers Are Your Friends
"Crawler" refers to a still-functioning zombie who has had his legs blown off by an explosive blast (not to be confused with the gas-spewing Nova zombies in "Black Ops" which do, in fact, crawl). Creating a crawler and keeping it alive at the end of a round is an invaluable strategy; they're slow, the slowest enemy in the game, and easily avoided. A round won't end until ALL zombies are put down, so make your adorable, little crawler and then run around re-upping your ammo, buying new weapons and opening doors without the hassle of a pursuing horde. Beware though: crawlers will simply expire on their own after awhile. If you suddenly hear the round-ending guitar riff, quickly regroup with your team and prepare for the next onslaught.
Roll The Dice On Random Boxes
Only a handful of firearms are available on the walls of your play area. As valuable as those locations are for offering the ability to buy more ammo, the most powerful weapons in the game -- including each map's unique gun -- are only available from the Random Box. Spend 950 points and the box will spit a random firearm out. You don't HAVE TO take it -- and probably shouldn't if it's a sniper rifle, pistol or the like -- but this is your only option for getting a hold of the zombie-ending alien Ray Gun or either map's unique Wonder Weapon.
Silent But Deadly
Nova zombies are the worst. They crawl on all fours, giving them a lower-profile. They're fast little buggers. Worst of all, they emit a cloud of toxic, vision-distorting gas when downed... UNLESS you take them out with a knife or a Ray Gun blast. Unless you've got the latter from a lucky Random Box roll, your best bet is to take them out from a distance.
This one really ought to go without saying. The only way to survive in "Black Ops" Zombies is to function as a group. Resist the temptation to wander off. Work with your team. Shout out breaches. Take turns spending points to open doors. Cooperation is necessary for survival.