Every once in awhile, someone will post an article about their son/daughter playing a retro game, and post their reactions. It's always interesting to see their reactions because they're not clouded with nostalgia. As gamers, we tend to glorify our favorite classic games, yet they don't always age well. Revisiting an old title doesn't have the same effect, because you've stored memories of the controls, levels, and gameplay elements somewhere up in your noggin. A fresh look at an old game is rare. I had one of those experiences last night. While the game isn't that old, it was still an interesting experience.
I was running solo, playing GRAW 2 for a while, until Baldy shot me a party invite. We had a group of four and were looking for something to kill an hour or two. We settled on Call of Duty: World at War's Nazi Zombie Mode. Wow, that's a throwback! We started a party in-game and my Level 1 Private rank made it painfully obvious to everyone that I had never played the game before. As most of you know, my wife used to play a lot of games with me, and she was not interested in the Nazi Zombies mode. I rarely had time to play outside of our time together, so I missed the boat the first time around.
Anyway, we jumped into the game and it took me a minute to get reacquainted to the controls. I'm no stranger to CoD games so that wasn't much of an issue. I also knew the layout of the room since I did try to solo it once. That experience was short, and I decided that Nazi Zombies are best slaughtered with friends. We got through the first round with no problems. I capped a few zombies in the head so I was enjoying myself. During the second round I was getting tired of taking very careful shots with the starting pistol, so I bought a rifle. It wasn't the M1, it was the other one. Total n00b mistake. That rifle sucked! It was better than the pistol though, so I wasn't too eager to ditch it.
After a few rounds, my party started chatting about moving to the next room. Next room? Wait, what? Oooohhh, that's right! I had completely forgotten about the other rooms. We mopped up the last few zombies for that round and my party asked me to unlock the next room since I had stockpiled a small fortune (hey, I'm an efficient zombie slayer). We moved on to the next room which was completely foreign to me. Now the zombies can come in from the original room, OR the new windows, OR a weak spot in the wall. Well this doesn't seem like a very good idea guys. Guys? They were too busy gawking over the new guns they had found, and the gun lottery thing-a-ma-bob. Oh, I get it. But that round was heating up so I didn't have a chance to see what all the fuss was about.
After that round, I headed over there and took a chance at the mystery gun thing... I don't know what the hell it's called. Anyway, I hit the jackpot. I don't know what this gun is called either, but it's big, it's clip holds 500 rounds, it has a very high rate of fire, and kicks like a bull. "Let's do this" I thought. I turned around just as the next round started, zombies were already breaking into the original room. They were piling up fast. I looked down the sights of that beautiful weapon, and squeezed the trigger. Zombie limbs flew everywhere! This is fun!
A few rounds later we headed upstairs. I guarded the stairs pretty easily with my precious. Oh dear, I was getting attached, but only had a clip left. I destroyed a few zombies, and then it happened. I heard that dreaded "click" instead of a "BANG" when I pulled the trigger. Empty. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Rage mode activated! I foolishly ran to the closest automatic weapon I could find, was quickly overrun and knocked down by zombies. My buddies had my back though. I was back up and kicking in no time... but without my precious.
I tried the BAR, but I wasn't too impressed. It just wasn't the same. I went back downstairs to try out the tommy gun. Meh... Eventually we all got overrun upstairs, and we were reset to the first room again. This time we went upstairs first, instead of going to the side room. That seemed to work out better. A few rounds later, we went down to the side room, so now we just had the windows, the wall, and stairs to cover. I was on window duty, and it was pretty easy. The stairs were the big problem. There was a steady flow down those stairs, and we needed more firepower. I tried the lottery thingie a few times in hopes that glorious weapon would reappear, but my luck had run out. Eventually, we couldn't hold them off any longer, and we all fell. Oh well, it was still loads of fun.
Clearly, I got sucked into the game. I fell in love with that machine gun, and it was such a rush. Even without the machine gun, I had a good time capping zombies in the head with rifles and tommy guns. As we all know, co-op can make a game good, a fun group can make it great. That's exactly what happened here. The co-op formula at play here is good and solid. There's constant pressure with little downtime, different strategies to try, and a real sense that you NEED your buddies to stay alive. You have to watch their backs, and revive them when needed. Everything else isn't that important. Graphics and sound are getting a bit dated, but I didn't mind. The controls were a bit wonky, but nothing I couldn't get over. Co-op and our team comradery were what made it shine. You could argue that there are elements missing, but Nazi Zombies' simple survival gameplay is a great little escape, and it's still relevant when put up against today's latest releases.