Luckily, I was also given the opportunity to run through several matches of the Nazi Zombie map Zombie Verrückt with Nick, so my efforts were not in vain. In case you were wondering, though: we got our Marine butts handed to us by the scurge of gape-mouthed, clawing monsters. In fact, we never even got far enough to turn the power on. (To be fair, it was just the two of us, and we were chatting more than concentrating on survival.)
As Nick mentioned in the last Co-Opticast: Treyarch has made a lot of improvements to the already fun stormy-night scramble, including multiple paths of progression. The farther along you move into the Asylum, the more split-second tactical decisions you have to make to be effective. Sure, you can rattle off mag after mag of MP-40 rounds and dance around zombies like a lightning-struck Michael Flatley, but to reach Round 10 or higher you'll need some smarts to go with those bouncy golden locks.
Too bad the competitive multiplayer doesn't offer a less frantic way to play... Flanking your enemy on the inspired lineup of deathmatch maps is relatively easy, thanks to a myriad of paths and choke points; that's as far as serious strategy goes. World at War attempts to build on Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare's award-winning formula, but unfortunately doesn't deliver the same tactical experience. Small-team servers are available -- as are the more intense Hardcore modes -- but don't provide a sense of accomplishment. This is partially due to a faulty respawn system and hit detection that sometimes crop up. Playing Call of Duty: World at War for anything beyond mindless mayhem is like the ninth inning of a Houston Astros game: it doesn't let you down until you actually need it to come through for you.
So after arguing with the competitive multiplayer, I find myself resorting to Nazi Zombies (the save-no-progress co-op campaign is fun...once) for a taste of strategy and tactical teamwork. It's true that having a team of morons can be frustrating, but only if you're absolutely dedicated to reaching a certain point. More often than not I find myself caught up in the atmosphere, a victim of the constant see-saw of urgency and relief. Everyone has an idea, and everyone gets the chance to try it; when one fails, the round ends and we're ready for another...when one succeeds, it feels great. Struggling to win against a human is a misplaced ideal -- Nazi Zombies is a far more satisfactory effort, and a testament to each player's resourcefulness.
There will still be the days when a fellow player entices me to join their party and fight together on the frontlines of a Domination match or a Ground War, but upon reaching level 65, I hope to still see servers full of Nazi Zombie slayers...for among the undead is where I find the true tactitions. Here's hoping you had a similar experience during our Official Games for Windows Live Co-Op Night this month (April 21st), and in the future: look for the four-star (level 65) Commander of the Army Van Lingo...he'll be the one crying in the corner, waiting for orders.