Thursday, October 14, 2010

Call of Duty: Zombies Adds Halloween iPhone Fun

Call of Duty ZombiesMaybe it's all the buzz up over the upcoming series The Walking Dead (debuting on Halloween), but zombies have regained their place in contemporary culture. Clearly capitalizing on some of the overexposure, the iPhone app Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies (CoD Zombies) released its latest version and dropped its price from $9.99 to $4.99.

There has been some backlash over the price drop, especially from people who had to pay to play new maps. But as a first-person shooter video game for the iPhone, it can't be beat. Or, perhaps better said, the zombies can't be beat. What they lack in movement, they make up for in sheer numbers.

Still The Best First-Person Shooter For The iPhone.

When I had more time to hack around with computer games, I was a fairly avid first-person shooter player, especially early Medal of Honor (watch for the franchise reboot soon) and later Call of Duty. So, playing a first-person shooter on the iPhone always seemed like a nice prospect with less time commitment.

Except, most weren't well done. Either the graphics were weak or the programming lagged (both Brothers At Arms versions are good examples of such extremes.) CoD Zombies doesn't have either problem. Cramped maps are well-rendered with enough debris to create the illusion of an endless play area.

On the first map, Nacht der Untoten (Night of the Undead), the zombies have four access points that can be barricaded to buy you some time. You'll want more time. The natural tendency is to think you can keep one access point barricaded while pinning down the steady stream of zombies from a distance (that strategy doesn't work long term). However, letting zombies tear down barricades is always good for extra points, assuming you survive.

While I didn't purchase the original game, I did play test the game last year. I was surprised that even on the small screen you could feel a slight adrenaline rush when you hear barricades breaking down behind you while fending some off in front. For $4.99, there wasn't any hesitation to purchase the new version. Here is fan review from last year to give you a feel for it.

Some of the visuals are just graphic enough that the game does carry a 17+ age range. There is also a 4-player co-op for online play over a WiFi connection. And, surprisingly, the game works well across all iPhone operating systems (2nd generation or better for best performance).

If you did not purchase CoD Zombies before, the 1.5.0 version is well worth the investment. Basically, you get the entire game plus all the additional features for half the price of the original. Chances are Activision was trying to find a balance between what new CoD Zombie players ought to pay and how much was bearable for those who already owned the game.

New maps include Der Riese (Zombie Factory) and Shi No Numa (Zombie Swamp). If you have ever played the regular game, these maps are based largely on what has come before. The Ser Rise map is the largest and includes new features, such as teleporters that some people like. (I tend to be more of a purist so I could take them or leave them.)

Call of Duty Zombies Rises To A 7.9 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Sure, first-person shooters represent the best of mindless fun. And when any game includes zombies, mindlessness is to be expected. But it was very hard to pass up a zombie-infused iPhone app right before Halloween.

CoD: Zombies is available on iTunes. While this review only relates to the iPhone version, fans anxiously awaiting Call of Duty: Black Ops (early November) might be happy to know that zombies will eventually rise again on the newest Call of Duty addition.
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