Call of Duty has easily become the breakout IP of the seventh generation. It has created a whole new audience for first-person shooters and has completely revolutionized not only the FPS genre, but online multiplayer in general. While Activision’s milking of the franchise is looked down upon, the series has done some great things, and I want to recognize the best content that has come from the franchise with a series of editorials. And what better what to kick things off with one about the beloved Zombie mode?
Originally known as Nazi Zombies, “Zombies” in Call of Duty has appeared in Black Ops as well as World at War, plus an iOS spinoff based entirely on the game mode. It has become immensely popular and will see a return in Black Ops II, featuring all new modes to go along with the usual Zombie gameplay, including, for the first time, a full-fledged campaign!
In order to compile this list, myself, my brother, and two friends, one who has competed in official Black Ops Zombies tournaments and has spent literally days in the mode, played through all the maps and assigned a score out of five to each map. This created a final score so we could see the final result of the maps, listed from worst to best. Let’s start out with the bottom of the barrel, the five worst Call of Duty Zombie maps.
Click here for the Top 5 Best Call of Duty Zombie Maps
Top 5 Worst Call of Duty Zombie Maps
05. Nacht der Untoten
The original Zombie map is great fun, actually. In World at War, it introduced us to the zombies gameplay, including the secrets, the strategies, and the box that we’d all come to know and love. Looking back now, it’s a pretty barebones experience, but its simplicity is what makes it better than a lot of the other zombie maps that made things way too complicated, which I will get into here in a little bit.
But anyway, the original Zombies map isn’t necessarily a “bad” map, it just ranked poorly when compared to all the other maps. It is a lot less pretty, features a lot less unique content, and doesn’t include the main characters of the Zombies saga. An upgraded version became available for Black Ops that adds the Mule Kick perk that was made available on the moon, which allows players to have three weapons instead of just two, but in the end, it was really just the same map with somewhat improved visuals and a new HUD.
04. Dead Ops Arcade
Dead Ops Arcade is an interesting twist on the Zombies formula, but the problem is, is that it’s not even really Zombies. The game is an top-down arcade style twin-stick shooter that has virtually nothing to do with the rest of the Zombies maps, if anything. While it can be entertaining in short doses, playing this for any prolonged period of time is ill advised. The gameplay can become repetitive, and it lacks the charm of the other maps.
03. Call of the Dead
Ah, now we are getting to the maps that I feel are legitimately awful. Dead Ops and Nacht der Untoten are only considered the “worst” because they just aren’t as good as the “best”. However, this map and the next two are really, really bad maps that consist of poor design and sloppy execution. First, let’s go over Call of the Dead.
On paper, Call of the Dead looks really cool. It swaps the main protagonists of the Zombies storyline for various celebrities, including Robert Englund and Sarah Michelle Gellar. It features a brand new setting on a frozen movie set, which introduces new hazards such as freezing water, and also features a Nemesis-like boss that follows players around the map. And guess who that boss is? Well, George A. Romero of course, the father of all zombie fiction!
So how did they mess this one up? Quite simply, the layout of the map is atrocious. For new players, it will be a confusing mess to traverse the area, and for people that have played through the map repeatedly, it’s pathetically easy to just move around the map in a single route to last for rounds with absolutely no threat of losing. George himself quickly becomes a non-factor as well, turning this into just a typical zombie map with humorous quips from fresh voices.
And then you’ve got the Easter Egg. You see, the Zombie maps all come built in with their very own Easter Eggs that are often very long and very complicated, which require an absurd amount of skills to figure out, or a handy video walkthrough on the Internet. These secret objectives often take a full party of players and are tied to achievements, meaning that 100% completion for Black Ops requires one to suffer through these ridiculously obtuse tasks.
Call of the Dead features a secret that is incredibly glitched. There are many times that I experienced where doing all the steps in order, exactly how it is supposed to be done, yielded no results. Having crazy long and difficult secret objectives for players to find is great and all, but when they are glitched, that makes them more frustrating and agonizing to go after than genuinely fun.
Moon was the last new Zombie map released for Black Ops in the DLC pack that released last year. In Moon, we are treated to a very different setting, as the protagonists are sent literally into space through a teleportation machine, and have to deal with new hazards such as the lack of oxygen. Moon, like Call of the Dead, should’ve worked, but there are numerous reasons why it doesn’t.
For one, there are way too many gimmicks. Moon is just one gimmick room after the next, completely eliminating the feel of the Zombies mode in favor of flashing lights and confetti. While the setting itself is very cool and even somewhat terrifying, that atmosphere is tarnished by the silly cast, which are usually an entertaining bunch. Moon becomes less about mastering strategies and trying to dominate the (glitched) leaderboards and more about working through one gimmick room after the next.
For two, the Moon is supposed to be the climax of the Zombie storyline that runs through all of the maps. Unfortunately, it fails miserably in delivering a satisfying conclusion. After all that hard work, after all those Easter Eggs were uncovered, and that’s the end that they give us? Moon is insulting to diehard Zombie fans.
Probably the most hated Zombie map by most people, “Five” also ditches the usual cast of characters, but this time it’s for various political figures from the Cold War. This map is unlocked after completing the campaign in Black Ops, and it also has a variety of problems that makes it downright dreadful.
The map starts off slow and stays slow through the duration. The first room that players are in can be survived inside for a ton of rounds. The adjoining hallways and the elevators eliminate a lot of the challenge from the map, plus the Pack-A-Punch room results in near invincibility to the undead masses. There is a lot of variety in the map, but navigating through the area is kind of a chore, and this map is also irrelevant to the overall zombie story arc.
The gimmick in “Five” is that a thief zombie shows up and steals perks. This is annoying, considering that it’s nearly impossible to kill the thief without powerful guns that have had a dip in the Pack-A-Punch machine. On later rounds, the thief completely throws off any strategies due to this fact, making the map an absolute bust even for people that enjoy it enough to play it all the way through.
Granted, “Five” can be fun at first. I remember dumping hours into the map as I learned its secrets, but it then became exposed for what it really is. Just a boring, shallow map with a weak online community of players that stick to the Zombie maps of far better quality. What makes “Five” worse is that it is one of two Zombie maps that are featured in Black Ops. That’s right, for Black Ops, there is a single map, accompanied by the basically not Zombies mini-game Dead Ops Arcade, and then there is “Five”, which has to be unlocked by beating the campaign in Black Ops. Talk about a disappointment.
So, there you have it — the Top 5 Worst Call of Duty Zombies Maps. If you are interested in reading my opinions about the Top 5 Best Call of Duty Zombies Maps, please refer to the link at the top of the page.
Just in case you’re curious, here was the complete list in its final form, but don’t peak if you want to be surprised at what the top Call of Duty Zombies map is, as determined by me!:
08. Call of the Dead
07. Dead Ops Arcade
06. Nacht der Untoten
05. Kino der Toten
04. Shi No Numa
02. Der Riese