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Call of Duty: Black Ops 2: Nuketown Zombies
Score: 85%
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2; 1 - 4 (Online)
Genre: First Person Shooter/Survival Horror

Nuketown Zombies Sing This Song:

No, not "Doo-dah, Doo-dah" - it's the same manic screaming and grunting that has you looking for an exit on the normal Zombie levels, but that doesn't make it any less disturbing. So, yeah, a good first step to explaining Nuketown Zombies is to start with what's the same as other maps. The zombies come at you in waves, increasing in difficulty. There are zombies that look, well, like zombies, and they limp and drag themselves toward you, shambling as they go. Well, that is, unless they're excited, in which case they may run at you like a spider monkey, whooping, screaming and grunting as they try desperately to occupy the exact same space as you.

There are also magical upgrades (if you opt to turn them on) and you aren't required to shoot off their heads to kill them (unless you turn that option on).

Nuketown also features weapon upgrades in the form of chalk outlines on boards that, if you have the dough, will offer up a weapon or its ammo. At the start of the level, you have your handgun (and four grenades) and you have access to an Olympia shotgun and an M14 rifle. Often, there is a Revive vending machine either from the start or almost immediately after the start. In one game I played, however, it simply wasn't there, so I may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time when it was supposed to be dropping in. There are some additional weapon offerings in the bus and truck in the center of the start area, should you spend the money to unblock the way. Additional weapons can be discovered by opening up areas, as in the original Zombie levels.


Welcome to Nuketown, Home of Tomorrow:

Actually, rather than being the future community of tomorrow, it appears that Nuketown is, in fact, a nuclear test site. To whit, there are several features placed in the map to support the nuked feel as well as playing on the fact that it was a demonstration community.

For one, there are "collectibles" scattered around. These take the forms of 50's-styled mannequins, posed in various places or, perhaps, sticking out through the window of a car, having been displaced by a blast. You can't do anything to damage these mannequins, save to remove their heads. However, you can take their heads off with an accurate shot (or a slice with your combat knife, if you can reach 'em). In a similar fashion, there are towers of nicely stacked luggage trunks, with a small terra cotta planter on top. Shooting it changes its appearance. Just sayin'. Also scattered around are teddy bears. These have a very collectible feel as well. What happens if you get them all? How should I know, but I'm sure there's something. And even if there is no reward for knocking the heads off of every mannequin in town, it at least makes it less likely that you'll mistake one for a zombie - or worse yet, mistake a zombie for a harmless mannequin.

Adding to the post-apocalyptic neo-ground-zero-esque appeal, the houses and buildings are suffering from serious damage, from parts that are blown open, parts that are blown off and parts that are on fire. The environment took quite a brunt of a blast and you'll need to learn to take advantage of the unique features (such as a slightly open garage door) while being wary of unique dangers (such as a hole in the roof in the aforementioned garage). Attention to detail means that Nuketown Zombies has an awesome assortment of eye-pleasing visuals, from a huge mushroom cloud billowing in the distance to very realistic spiraling tornado-like flames in a back yard. (They remind me of a similar flame effect I saw in real life at the Backdraft Backlot Tour at Universal Studios way back when.)

Other maps have vending machines that serve up power-ups to any players who can afford them. Well, Nuketown offers the same vending machines, eventually. In the normal maps, these vending machines are in preset locations and you have to buy your way past blocked obstacles to get to more of them. Nuketown has obstacles to unblock (quite a few, actually), but the vending machines aren't even there at the beginning of the game. They are "dropped in," bomb-style, as the game progresses. I've never seen one actually drop in, but the arrival of a new vending machine is accompanied by a warning and a bomb blast. I haven't noticed if you take damage or not, but you may want to get indoors or duck down when the blast goes off, just as a precaution.

The layout of Nuketown is different than other levels, as well. For one thing, the other Zombie levels have a couple of buildings with one or two areas each and that's about it (not considering the Tranzit Mode, of course). Nuketown, on the other hand, has a lot of different areas to open up, each with various additional doors or blockages to clear. In turn, these buildings open to back yards, with additional areas to open. A lot of this level occurs outside, with the buildings more or less connecting these outdoor areas. Additionally, these outdoor areas tend to feature long "corridor"-esque areas, which are perfect for forming the zombies up into "trains" in order to make them easier to manage and to maximize the effectiveness of your ammo. It feels so good to work up a line of zombies trailing after you and to fire a shotgun into the undead mass and see three zombies twirl to the ground from your one shot.


You Wanna Go Where Everybody Wants Your Brain:

Everybody? Well, darn near. The name of the game is Survival, here. No, seriously. Survival is the only game mode offered on this map, so it's pretty much a matter of trying to keep the teaming masses who want to eat you from having you for dinner. Mind you, you can play this scenario in Single player, Split Screen Two-Player or Multiplayer, but there is no "Grief" or "Tranzit" mode for the Nuketown map. Just Survival. Be warned, though: while it might be nice to have some friends to catch your back, having multiple players can trip you up...

In addition to your run-of-the-mill (or, I guess, farm?) zombies you would expect to find in the other Zombie maps, Nuketown has more familiar faces who have joined the macabre buffet - specifically some ex-CDC agents. (I say "ex" because I'm fairly certain the CDC has strict regulations against being undead at work.) In a Solo game, the CDC agents are a bit amusing, end of story. In a Multiplayer game where players look like CDC agents, however, things start to get a bit tense. When you're packing a two-shot shotgun with the reload speed of a retiree and resources are limited, you don't want to waste ammo shooting Frank in the face when he runs straight towards you, when you could be using it to blow away actual zombies. Okay, Frank. That's close enough. Stop clowning around, already...


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AHHHHHHHhhhhh! Huhn! Huhn! Hee-hee-hee...ArghHhhhhh!


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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