* AbridgedArenaArray:
** Nuke till you puke!
** Firing Range is another popular map -- and it's frequently chosen whenever Nuketown isn't available.
* {{Anvilicious}}: Killing Castro in the first mission (or rather, his double) causes you to get the achievement "Death to Dictators", and the killing shot goes into slow motion while heavenly music plays. It's pretty heavy-handed, especially considering that Castro is a living leader of a modern country. The Cuban government was not pleased when they found out. They even accused the US of trying to do virtually what they failed to do in Real Life.
** Heavenly might be taking it a bit far... Castro's definitely portrayed unsympathetically, but everything you do in the game is made to seem shady at best, unethical at worst. The Castro mission was no exception.
** On the other hand, Castro is shown to be quite cordial with Dragovich. Castro may have not known how much of a CompleteMonster Dragovich was, but still.
* BreatherLevel: Project Nova, which also doubles as a NostalgiaLevel. [[spoiler: Until the end.]]
* ComplacentGamingSyndrome: Treyarch appeased the NUKETOWNNUKETOWNNUKETOWN crowd with a playlist that rotates on that map alone, though it's only available during double-experience weekends on consoles.
* CompleteMonster: [[BigBad Nikita Dragovich]] was a JerkAss since World War II, and has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. He most definitely crosses the MoralEventHorizon when [[spoiler: he throws Dimitri Petrenko (TheHero of Treyarch's previous game World at War) into a gas chamber and releases a chemical agent that melts human tissue just to see if it works.]] Even worse when it turns out that [[spoiler: even though he is killed and his main plan fails, [[TheBadGuyWins his plot to create a presidential assassin actually succeeds.]]]]
* CrowningMomentOfAwesome: Sergei gets one early on in the "Vorkuta" mission in which he ''impales a guard through his back with a pickaxe and tosses him over his shoulder.''
* EvenBetterSequel: To ''World at War''.
* FridgeBrilliance: Reznov, why are you so useless in combat since Vorkuta? [[spoiler:Because he's not actually there.]]
** Why do enemies keep shouting "VORKUTA!" during combat? [[spoiler: That's were you were brainwashed.]]
** [[spoiler: Right after Woods sacrifices himself, you hallucinate he's asking you if you're okay, before it turns out it's actually Reznov asking the question. They're both dead.]]
*** Wait, if [[spoiler: most of]] the missions are told via Flashback, why can I play as Hudson? [[spoiler: because he's the one interrogating Mason.]]
**** [[spoiler: Foreshadowed in ''Numbers'' when you, playing as Hudson, dish out a little bit of "Press X To Torture" on Dr. Clarke.]]
** After Vorkuta, how the hell did Mason sneak back across the Berlin Wall? [[spoiler: Dragovich needed him to because of the brainwash, and probably had some strings pulled to facilitate it.]]
** A common complaint about the multiplayer is that lag can make it look like you were killed after you hid behind cover, leading people to call them magic bullets. Remember, this is a game involving the Kennedy Assassination, magic bullets are par for the course.
* FridgeHorror: After playing ''Black Ops'', you can't help but despair [[spoiler: whenever you finish ''World At War'', knowing that instead of their much-deserved "heroes return", Petrenko will be horribly killed within a few months and Reznov will be thrown into a hellhole gulag for nearly two decades.]]
* GoodBadBugs: If afflicted by a Nova Gas grenade, the player's character will call out a warning. If they stay in it, they'll call it out again later. Wearing a Tactical Mask makes a player immune to the effects of Nova Gas, thus causing a player using it that decides to stand in the gas whatever reason to be yelling something like "GAS, INCOMING!" to DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment-levels for their allies to hear and be amused by.
* IronWoobie: Mason. Hell, he ''starts'' the game tied to a chair suffering ColdBloodedTorture. Reznov also qualifies.
* MemeticBadass: In-story, Dimitri, Reznov, and Sergei.
* MemeticMutation: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0zVL8IRRvo The floating apple]], a TakeThat against people who overreact to {{Game Breaking Bug}}s in multiplayer.
** On [[{{Imageboards}} /v/]], a brief but popular fad was syncing the ''Black Ops'' launch trailer with other songs, [[http://tubedubber.com/#OPTOVQFRggI:6Ni_c0IMP-c:0:100:0:1:true whether they fit the tone of the trailer]] [[http://tubedubber.com/#OPTOVQFRggI:hGLZqDXau98:0:100:0:0:true or not.]]
** "The ''numbers'', Mason! What do they mean?"
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFbPNpkcGGg Dragovich. Kravchenko. Steiner. All must die!]]
* {{Narm}}: The Russian Roulette scene in ''Payback'', between Bowman's "communist piece of ''shit''", Mason's sudden accent shift, and Woods' overacting -- "YOU CAN'T KILL ME!".
* MostAnnoyingSound: Barking dogs during a multiplayer match. Made even more annoying when they've been brought in by an enemy player.
* NightmareFuel: Reznov frequently shows up to help Mason in battle. Over the course of the game, one cannot help but get the feeling that something is wrong with how convenient his appearances are. This creepy, unsettling feeling reaches a peak [[spoiler: at the end of "Rebirth" and during "Revelations,"]] where it is revealed [[spoiler: he was a figment of Mason's brainwashed mind all along.]] There are also the implications that [[spoiler: JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was also a Soviet sleeper agent ("Oswald...compromised...")]] and that [[spoiler: Mason eventually kills JFK in the very last moments of the final cutscene.]]
** How about Reznov reverse brainwashing Mason to seek revenge on his enemies? Couple with the moral choices in ''World at War...'''
** Looking at intel can be exceptionally creepy, because all the ambient noise is erased from the room, as well as the music, except for this ongoing, creepy, wheezing noise like deep breathing or some kind of ventilation machine. It begins to wear on you after about two minutes and becomes [[ParanoiaFuel deeply unnerving]] after five. It's never specified [[NothingIsScarier what it is]], either...
** "Revelations." All of it. Mason [[spoiler: experiences a numbers-addled FreakOut as he staggers through the halls of the facility, experiencing flashbacks and suffering immense pain as the numbers affect him. The imagery, combined with the dissonant, echoing effect of the sound clips, is truly terrifying]]. It ceases at the very end, however, with Hudson doing his GlassesPull [[NarmCharm with a quick, action-packed guitar riff playing.]]
* [[OneSceneWonder One Mission Wonder]]: [[spoiler:Dimitri Petrenko.]]
* PlayerPunch: [[spoiler: Dimitri Petrenko]]'s death.
** [[spoiler: Reznov being DeadAllAlong]].
* RewatchBonus: The little details about [[spoiler: Reznov]] stand out much more on a second playthrough. Why is he [[spoiler:continuously going on separate missions with Mason's MACV-SOG unit?]] Why is he looking healthy and squared away like one of the American Marines, even wearing an American uniform? The answer to the first question is because [[spoiler:he's not really there.]] The answer to the second question is likely because [[spoiler:Mason is replacing an actual American on each mission with Reznov in his mind.]] It would be {{Foreshadowing}}, except it's cleverly hidden by [[spoiler:Weaver's presence; because Mason describes him as being absolutely trustworthy despite being Russian in a short throwaway line, we assume the unit has some sort of policy that lets defectors serve with them.]] The first time through, the player assumes it's just a weak excuse to [[spoiler: keep Reznov around for more of the game,]] and since most players ''like'' him, it's not even thought of as a problem. Even [[spoiler: Reznov's]] appearance in the tunnel isn't true {{Foreshadowing}}, because it's made to look like Mason's buddy is chastising him for being startled, hiding the fact that [[spoiler: he's just seen Mason talk to someone who isn't there.]]
** Additionally, [[spoiler: Mason's fanatical need to kill Dragovich and the others can easily be explained on a first playthrough by revenge and the fact that he was directly ordered to by John F. Kennedy himself. On a second run, you can see the compulsion programmed in by Reznov.]]
* ScrappyMechanic:
** Lag compensation. This is the game that started it all. With all the misplaced fan complaints about lag ruining their games, Treyarch decided to redo the netcode from the ground up. Unfortunately, the changes they made came with some rather negative effects on the gameplay experience. They added in something that attempted to "equalize" everyone's connection when the game starts, but this made the experience comparable to having a host from across the world. In addition, host advantage, which was virtually unnoticeable in earlier games, became ''very'' noticeable due to the changes. Having host was practically a requirement to use killstreaks such as the Chopper Gunner because, more often than not, if you're not the host you won't be able to kill anyone with it.
** Respawn point placement -- particularly on the Firing Range and Nuketown maps when playing either Capture the Flag or Demolition. Respawn points for each team are restricted to very small portions of these maps, and they rarely have any vertical cover. It's not too difficult for a team of experienced players to trap the other team into a corner, racking up kills as quickly as the other team's players respawn. Making this matter even worse, if the dominant team has a Chopper Gunner overhead and attack dogs on the ground at the same time, players on the weaker team are better off putting their controllers down for the next sixty seconds.
* ThatOneLevel: SOG is usually considered of the hardest missions due to RespawningEnemies.
** Specifically, respawning enemies with various heavy weapons, that you have to stand up in front of three separate times to pass a certain evil check point.
** Infinite enemies also appear at the very end of "Executive Order". Worst. Hallway. Ever.
* TheUntwist: It's actually not that hard to [[spoiler: figure out that Reznov was dead the whole time before the big reveal, even on the first playthrough, if you pay enough attention.]]
* WinBackTheCrowd: After the dedicated server brouhaha with ''ModernWarfare 2, Black Ops'' came to PC with dedicated servers and a server browser again. Not to mention the return of [[NaziZombies everybody's favorite gamemode from World at War]]. Black Ops 2 is also having this effect from the moment of its trailer's debut. Less linear gameplay and different endings based on how you do? The cries of stagnation are finished.