Video Game: Nazi Zombies

Let's be honest: People don't play CoD:WaW to play CoD:WaW; they play it to play Nazi Zombies.
Nervous Nick,

Four batshit insane grunts take on the undead hordes of the Axis. Or replace the grunts with four historical figures from the 1960s, four horror-genre celebrities, four oddball civilians, or four gangsters from the 1930s who somehow managed to survive the apocalypse, possibly less insane but still pretty Crazy Awesome.

A bonus mode in Call of Duty: World at War and a standalone iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad game where you originally play as one of four silent US soldiers holed up in a wrecked base near an airfield, it eventually turns through Downloadable Content into... a somewhat-better-explained plotless series of American (and later, Soviet, Japanese, and Nazi) soldiers massacring the undead 'til they join their ranks.

Call of Duty: Black Ops, the successor to World at War, includes Zombie Mode, a direct sequel to Nazi Zombies. The Hardened and Prestige editions of the game come with the four original maps from World at War. The first new map revealed features John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara and Fidel Castro fighting an outbreak in the Pentagon. Cue the rejoicing. The subsequent maps continue the tale of the WW2 zombie fighters, as well as another tale featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Danny Trejo, Robert Englund and Michael Rooker, as themselves fighting another outbreak, this time out in an abandoned Siberian outpost, where they were filming a zombie movie for George Romero, who becomes the boss zombie himself. The final Black Ops map in the Nazi Zombie saga, released in the "Rezurrection" Map Pack, is called Moon. It should be no surprise where it takes place.

The next game, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, also features this. Five maps were created during the lifespan of Black Ops II: Tran Zit (the biggest map to date and the setting for the new campaign mode, also containing the five Survival maps)the 1960's "apocalypse of the future", Nuketown Zombies, the Chinese skyscraper zombcaper, Die Rise, the mysterious Alcatraz island, Mob of the Dead, and an underground western town in Angola, Buried. The final map in Black Ops II is called Origins, and it features the original characters from World at War and Black Ops, takes place in World War I, and contains three giant fucking robots as map elements.

Zombies return in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare as DLC, making it the first non-Treyarch game (Advanced Warfare was developed by Sledgehammer Games) to contain the mode, as well as the first time the mode is not available by launch. However, as Advanced Warfare and the Black Ops series have different continuities, the zombies now have different origins. They are now an Alternate Continuity result of the bio-weapon Manticore and can be optionally fought in the Exo Survival mode's Riot map, serving as a teaser.

The Zombies mode will return in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 on two fronts: the "main" first map will be Shadows of Evil, a Spiritual Successor to Mob of the Dead, set in a 1940's city-slicker environment. Four hardened criminals fight off zombies and more as they're lured into a mysterious game by an even more mysterious figure. An pre-order exclusive map, The Giant, features the original crew of Richtofen, Dempsey, Takeo, and Nikolai, in a remake of fan-favorite World at War map Der Riese, picking up the story from the cliffhanger ending of Origins.

The Nazi Zombies story is very complex; it involves practically everything from the Illuminati to the Third Reich to aliens to the works of George Romero. Each map contains tons of little Easter eggs only the most observant of players will find and these little clues often play a bigger role later on. The ongoing Story Arc is also mostly played out through increasingly complex Easter eggs while the backstory is told through audio logs. Word Of God is mostly averted as Treyarch almost never has anything to say about the story, leaving fans to try to put the pieces together by themselves. The general synopsis can be found here, put together through said audio logs and Easter eggs.

Tropes for this game:

  • After the End: The setting of Zombies in Black Ops II, as a result of Richtofen's Grand Plan in "Moon".
  • All Just a Dream:The not canon ending of the final map of Black Ops II, Origins, reveal that all this was imagined by two kids fooling around with action figures.
    • Or Was It a Dream?: Dialogue implies Samantha's father is still a mad scientist who "has a plan for all of us", and judging from the sirens, it's implied to take place during World War 2, during an air raid.
  • All Your Powers Combined: On a musical level, the three singers of the Easter egg songs, Elena Siegeman, Clark S. Nova, and Malukah all collaborate with Kevin Sherwood for "Archangel".
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Fidel Castro and Robert McNamara in Five.
  • Abandoned Hospital: "Verrückt". Actually an asylum, though.
  • An Ice Person: Anyone, once they get the Winter's Howl gun (which, as the name suggests, freezes zombies).
    • It gets better when you Pack-A-Punch it.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Generally in effect when a new cast is introduced, or new features.
    • "Five" replaces the original four with real-life figures JFK, Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon, and Robert McNamara. A map later, Call of the Dead features the tale of Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, Robert Englund, and Sarah Michelle Gellar squaring off with a zombified George A. Romero on a movie set.
    • Black Ops II introduces a system where you can build various tools, devices, and weapons, and introduces a new main cast consisting of Action Girl Misty, Insufferable Genius Marlton, crazy conspiracy theorist Samuel Stuhlinger, and Badass Grandpa Russman. Also, Clark S. Nova and Malukah take over music duties from Elena Siegeman until Origins, where they collaborate.
    • Mob of the Dead is a dark, sombre story of four murderous mobsters fighting to escape an overrun Alcatraz in Purgatory.
    • Shadows of Evil is a map based in the 40s, where four people with dark and gruesome pasts end up fighting off the hordes of Cthulhu. And if you complete the Easter Egg in full, Richtofen from Origins comes and takes away the key to saving the world. It is implied Morg City, where SoE takes place exists in another dimension.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Radio transmissions in Shi no Numa, experiment records in Der Riese and film reels in Kino Der Toten. When you play by yourself in Kino der Toten, you hear Richtofen making one last note before they're transported to the theatre during the loading screen.
    • This occurs even more so in, Die Rise. Hidden televisions allow you to hear what just has been going on outside the world... and it is not pretty.
  • Artifact Title: By Black Ops, it's safe to say that the zombies aren't Nazis anymore.
  • Arc Welding: Found in every map.
  • Arc Words: "You must ascend from darkness."
    • "Beware the Doc" and "Teddy is a liar" for Richtofen's arc
    • "Letting go" first shows up in Mob of the Dead and remains a theme for the final three maps. A savvy fan decoded a cypher on the lyric video of "Where Are We Going" that further points to this phrase: "Let go and the beginning will become the end."
  • Ascended Fanfic: One of the most popular custom gamemodes in previous multiplayer COD (or just about any other first person shooter) was/is "zombie mode" or some variation of it. So much so that it led Treyarch to simply include it as a factory gamemode.
    "It's a little gun, but it has a long barrel, like my college roommate."
  • Ax-Crazy: Richtofen. Good lord.
    • Samantha, too.
    • Billy Handsome....Just....Holy shit.
  • Badass: "Tank Dempsey gnawed through his bamboo cage, then gnawed his way through his captors, armed only with a Medal Of Honor that he keeps secreted in various orifices."
    • Nikolai Belinski's only reason why he's fighting zombies? He scared the living shit out of Josef Stalin and promptly got sent to the front lines. And that was just from shaking hands with him.
    • Everyone in Tranzit/Green Run, who managed to survive missiles to the Earth that caused lava flows and toxic gas.
      • Hell, let's just say every playable character.
  • Badass Boast: More or less all of the characters do this in-game.
    • Richtofen, especially, has one in his theme song for Tranzit, Carrion.
    Lyrics: "I was spawned from eternal night, by infernal right, and I need your carrion. Neurons fire when I violate, pupils dilate, and I feel your carrion. I bring doom and defile light, your entire life, will now cease to carry on! I've returned and I'm not alone, never to atone, and forever carry on."
  • Badass Bookworm: Robert McNamara, who often makes accounting jokes while slaughtering zombies.
    • Same goes for Marlton in Black Ops II, seeing as he's a bespectacled nerd who still manages to slay zombies with the best of them.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: A variation in an early trailer advertising Nacht der Untoten, it ended with four nameless American soldiers putting their backs together to cover all angles from the approaching zombies.
  • BFG: Excluding the already massive machine guns that you can hip-fire, the Wunderwaffe and the Thundergun.
    • The Jet Gun may not function as well as the Wunderwaffe and Thundergun, but good lord is it big.
    • Subverted in "Der Riese", where the starting pistol (the weakest gun in the game) becomes a portable, concealable Grenade Launcher when upgraded.
    • Introduced first as a power-up in 'FIVE' is the Death Machine, which is the crown jewel of BFGs as it is a fricking minigun!
      • And you can upgrade it too! It becomes the Meat Grinder and holds 550 rounds per 'magazine'... More Dakka anyone?
    • The Paralyser. A gun so big, you can't aim down sights with it (The Thundergun and Jet Gun also cannot aim down sights.) And it is very useful.
    • In Origins, we now have the water cooled MG08. The fact that is is meant to used by two people, in a static position...
      Kennedy: "As Teddy Roosevelt once said: walk lightly and carry a BFG!"
  • BFK: The Bowie Knife, which kills most zombies with one strike before round 10.
    • Danny Trejo wields machetes in the Call of the Dead opening cutscene, but not in-game, unfortunately.
  • Big Bad: Richtofen. He swaps bodies with Samantha in Moon to gain control of the zombies, if you carry out his Grand Scheme.
    • Dr. Maxis takes over as the announcer in Buried, if you listen to his commands. If you stick with Richtofen, Dr. Maxis is gone for good, which may or might be the better choice.
  • Bigger Bad: It's heavily implied that some unseen supernatural force more powerful than Samantha, Richtofen, or Maxis is secretly behind all the zombie mayhem, but is never definitively revealed.
  • Blood Bath: Richtofen longs to bathe naked... IN YOUR BLOOD!!!!!
  • The Bluebeard: Nikolai.
  • Boom, Headshot: Not necessary, but gains you the most points (other than knifing - and since zombies will kill you in one or two hits, and knifing zombies can take up to five swings, this isn't recommended) and uses less ammo. However, on the later rounds, people care less about headshots and more on staying alive.
    • However, headshot damage multipliers still help with the staying alive bit.
    • Characters will often brag aloud about their headshots.
    • One of the Perk-A-Cola machines (Deadshot Daiquiri) gives you a perk that adjusts your quick aim to the head instead of the chest.
    • As of Tranzit, it is possible to gain a 'persistent perk' that increases the power of headshots.
  • Bond One-Liner: All the time. Nikolai makes shitty ones all the time, and then gets a bit confused on the aspect of it being after a kill.
    "You are dead now! But you were dead before! Ah, fuck you!"
    Nikolai again, in Black Ops: "Do you know how to say 'own' in Russian? OWNT!
    Nikolai also seems fairly adept at rhyming: "Nikolai cannot die! Hey, that rhymes!"
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Kino der Toten, one of Dempsey's "Out of Ammo" quotes is:
    "Hey, player! Drop the chips and get me some ammo!"
    • And then at the start of Ascension, Dempsey may say:
    "Hey, Treyarch, can we get a new objective!?"
    • Dempsey has more such "Out of Ammo" lines in Shangri-La, right down to outright mentioning when he'll be saying another "Out of Ammo Line".
    • Again with Dempsey.
    Dempsey: "Hey, Player. If you looked at your score, you'd see we weren't doin' so well. And it's YOUR FAULT!"
    • Also, Richtofen has this to say:
    "I'VE BEEN RECOGNIZED BY TREYAR- I mean the Illuminati!"
  • Breather Episode: Nuketown is this for Black Ops II, being the only one that doesn't feature an Easter egg, though you get to listen to Richtofen carrying out his scheme on the Moon.
    • Mob of the Dead takes a break from the Maxis/Richtofen arc and doesn't advance the main plot, but it is in no means Lighter and Softer than the other maps.
    • Before that, Call of the Dead probably qualified by virtue of being a Crazy Awesome love-letter to horror fans, with an all-star cast, and an original song written for the game by Avenged Sevenfold.
  • Buffy Speak: Nikolai does this in Shangri-La when low on ammo.
    ''I need one of those floaty green ammo container thingys."
  • Butt Monkey: Robert Englund gets hit in the face by George Romero, thumped on the back of the head by Danny Trejo and karate-kicked onto his back by Sarah Michelle Gellar.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Takeo and Dempsey on Moon. Pokemon style, no less.
  • Celebrity Survivor/Celebrity Star: The "Escalation" DLC features four celebrities as zombie-killers — Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Englund, Michael Rooker, and Danny Trejo.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The intel in Black Ops reveals that Dempsey and company were guinea pigs for the virus, but instead of turning into zombies, they got stronger and healthier, but were inflicted with Laser-Guided Amnesia.
    • For the Evulz: Word Of God confirmed that Richtofen is Edward from the messages and he lacks the aforementioned amnesia, and he's the one who infected them.
  • Character Development: Later in a match, especially on Der Riese, the characters will insult each other less and yell about trying to help each other more.
    • Character Development can also be applied to nearly every map, as we learn more about the characters and their backgrounds through more quotes and radio messages.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The generic Marines in Veruckt, and Tank Dempsey and Nikolai Belsinki in all of their maps (with Takeo Masaki and Edward Richtofen preferring to use a Precision F-Strike here and there).
    • The Tran Zit characters also invoke this trope, to somewhat of a lesser extent.
    • Everyone in Mob of the Dead invokes this, but if there's one who takes the cake, it has to be Billy Handsome.
      Billy: There's layers to this shit. It's like peeling back an onion...OR SOME FUCKER'S FACE!
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Most of the weapons get straight upgrades that are required. However, the MG42, Browning M1919 and the Wunderwaffe get lackluster upgrades. Of course, machine guns are cool in their own way... not to mention the Wunderwaffe. And not to mention necessary - a low rate of fire will kill you on rounds nearing or past 20.
    • Even a friggin' pistol that shoots grenades, an alien Ray Gun, and a bazooka are worse than the machine guns and the Wunderwaffe.
    • Rebalanced in Black Ops, where the machine guns do less damage, allowing SMGs and assault rifles to compete, even at higher rounds.
    • Shows up in Tranzit, where you build a massive Jet Engine that can suck up zombies and rip them to shreds... however is notably weak compared to other Wonder Weapons and lacks their efficiency.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Implied by the revelation that the Shadow Man in Shadows of Evil is a servant of Cthulhu.
  • Creepy Child: Samantha. Good god, Samantha.
  • Darker and Edgier: Black Ops II is not as fun as the previous maps. There are still some wonderful one liners, but in general, many of the situations in the game are not Played for Laughs.
    • And topping off this trope is Mob of the Dead, the darkest map in the series, with very, very few lines Played for Laughs. In this map, we also have straight up criminals instead of jerkasses and soldiers as protagonists, including Billy Handsome and Sal DeLuca.
    • Buried is incredibly dreary and solemn. It's clear the crew has gone through hell to get here and they spend the entirety of the map in dark, tight spaces, following the orders of unseen people in the hopes of saving the world. No matter who you help, it's heavily implied the four are killed regardless. Either Richtofen has the world as a plaything, only to be trapped in Samuel's body, or Maxis destroys the Earth for nothing. Even the Easter egg song, "Always Running" is far and away the saddest song.
    • Origins has the original four back, but not the crazy schizophrenic Richtofen, Comically Serious Takeo, crass drunk Nikolai, or Blood Knight Dempsey. Instead, we have a very solemn battle to save Samantha from Agartha.
  • Deadly Doctor: Guess.
  • Defcon Five: Played straight. Handwaved with DEFCON ONE locking down critical access to a few rooms, and FIVE releasing enough security to get you some new toys.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Ascension begins this way. The color only returns when you turn on the power. Lampshaded at the start, right before Gersch requests your assistance.
    • Also, shown at the end of the Ascension side quest/easter egg where Samantha lets out a howl that disorients the players and brings back the monochrome coloring for a few seconds.
  • Depraved Homosexual: The fans suspect Richtofen of being this.
  • Diesel Punk: Very much so. Much of the Nazi tech in the game just echoes this.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Crosses over with Double Entendre, many of the characters are prone to this.
    Nikolai "Taste my Russian steel!"
  • Double Entendre: Nikolai is full of these. Both good and terrible. For some reason they tend to involve Dempsey.
    (on Moon) "Such explosive power in my hands! No dirty thoughts, Dempsey."
    (getting a Shotgun) "Hey! Who wants to try out my new boom-dick!?"
    • And then we have this little gem from Call of the Dead's easter egg:
    Dempsey (to Richtofen after getting the last item): "Kinda sick of me to ask this, but Richtofen, is that a rod in your pocket?"
  • Downer Ending/The Bad Guy Wins at the end of Buried, which is the last map before Origins, players have the choice of either siding with Maxis or Richtofen. If Maxis wins, he banishes Richtofen from the Aether and uses his powers to open a rift to Agartha, which will destroy Earth in the process. If Richtofen wins, he destroys Maxis' soul, possesses one of the characters, gains full control over the Aether, and uses it to turn the Earth into his personal playground.
  • Drop the Hammer: George Romero (seriously) uses a giant hammer made out of a stage light.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Nikolai would love to be doing this. He can't.
    • What he can't drown, he shoots. Like his first wife. She was bitch.
    • And there's no bloody Vodka in these Perk-A-Cola dispensers.
    • After Call of the Dead, Nikolai finally gets his vodka and makes references to being able to drink from it.
  • Eagleland: Tank Dempsey, a cross between type one and two, being an ultra-violent, ultra-patriotic psycho, who nonetheless sticks up for his un-American comrades.
  • Earworm: The Pack-A-Punch jingle:
    "Friends, neighbors, ladies, gentlemen, if you're feelin' underpowered, I'll help you make amends.
    Just stick your weapon in the slot, and let it change your luck.
    Few things in life are guaranteed, but I promise this won't suck
    Punch your fists into the air and raise a rebel yell!
    There's lots of bad 'uns out there you need to send to hell!
    With Pack-A-Punch, I have a hunch, all your problems will be gone, but if you end up on the ground, sing a country western song.
    Pack-A-Punch (Everybody)! Pack-A-Punch (Yee-haa)! Pack-A-Punch! Pack-A-Punch! Pack-A-Punch (Everybody)! Pack-A-Punch! Pack-A-Punch(YEE-HAA!!!)Pack-A-Punch (WAA-HHAAAW)!"
    • Most of the Perk-A-Cola machines account for this, too.
  • Easter Egg: Every map has a piece of music you can find - Lullaby For A Dead Man, The One, and Beauty of Annihilation.
    • Nacht der Untoten: In the Help room there's a radio that, if knifed or shot at, will play music from the campaign. In the Black Ops version, destroying all the barrels causes a new song called "Undone" to start playing.
    • Der Riese included audio tapes scattered around the level, which chronicles the origins of the zombies.
    • As does Kino der Toten, which also includes the full version of "115" (the song that plays on the game over screen of Der Riese).
    • Five has three telephones that play Eminem's "Won't Back Down".
    • Moon probably has the grand daddy of all Easter Eggs. After following a rather elaborate set of instructions, you set off Richtofen's Grand Scheme (with the help of Dr. Maxis for the second part). YOU BLOW UP THE EARTH! If you go back to No Man's Land/Area 51 after that, it's essentially a wasteland.
    • Buried has two different endings: Richtofen's side, where Richtofen causes Dr. Maxis to simply cease to exist, and then joins a character in their body, or Dr. Maxis' side, where Maxis throws Richtofen out of his spot as the "Demonic Announcer" and then starts to destroy the Earth to get his daughter Samantha back.
      • In short there are three types of Easter Eggs per map: Radios that serve as the backstory for Group 935 and their research along with the above listed music and major Easter Eggs that affect gameplay and the storyline.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: In easy mode of Black Ops II, all Easter Eggs are disabled, save for the musical ones. These things can only be done on Original difficulty.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The result of the Easter Egg and Maxis' plan in Moon.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Der Riese, though parts of it are on the surface.
  • Enemy Mine: One bloodthirsty American Marine and one always drunk Red Army soldier fight zombies alongside a mad Waffen-SS doctor and one fanatical Imperial Japanese officer. Cool.
    • In the trailers Dempsey and Takeo team up, despite them being direct enemies. Same goes for Richtofen and Nikolai.
  • Endless Game: If this mode DOES have an ending, it's most likely not what you would expect.
    • Which turns into Canon Discontinuity which each new map. Just when you think they're all dead, the teleporter overuse takes them to a new place. Except, maybe, for Five.
      • And then in Call Of The Dead the original cast shows up trapped, and you can help free them.
      • Subverted in Mob of the Dead, if you carry out the Easter Egg to completion.
      • And again in Origins.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Well, except for Shi no Numa and Five, which are Japanese zombies and zombified White House/CIA/American zombies. It's now simply Zombies Mode in Black Ops and the iOS ports, due to the fact you don't fight just Nazis anymore.
  • Everything's Worse With Space Monkeys
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Applied to Nikolai and Richtofen, in that their respective factions are scared shitless of them. Especially Nikolai, who scared Stalin.
  • Evil Laugh: Dempsey does this occasionally, but Richtofen indulges in this very often.
    • Expect to hear the announcer do this a lot when the Mystery Box is moved.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Averted with Dr. Richtofen, who has a high-pitched voice in spite of being a Nazi Mad Scientist.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Mob of Dead, where four, blatantly obvious criminals fight against hoards of the undead, led by an evil guard in Alcatraz. Yes, that Alcatraz.
    • Maxis vs. Richtofen, where the former wants to destroy the Earth, and free Samantha, and the latter wants to heal the Earth, and make it his own plaything, making the lives of whoever is still alive, complete hell. Either way, the result is crappy.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Richtofen in Moon, not that he was good to begin with, what with attempting to kill his partner, Dr. Maxis, and his daughter, Samantha Maxis, before the events in Der Riese, and brainwashing the other characters and using them as experiments, among other things.
    • Dr. Maxis pulls one in the Buried easter egg, by becoming the announcer and planning to destroy the world.
  • Fan Nickname: For the Zombie in a Space suit on Moon, Spaceman Spiff.
  • Feed It a Bomb: The Margwa in Shadows of Evil is only vulnerable when it has a mouth open, at which point you need to feed it bullets until the head explodes. Do this three times and it will die.
  • Feel No Pain: Zombies, being zombies, do not react in pain to the weaponry that hit or dismember them - they keep coming unless they die. They'll even generally crawl after you if you've knocked their legs off.
  • Film Noir: "Shadows of Evil", is explicitly going for this. Its characters are all Film Noir archetypes like "the Femme Fatale", "the Cop", "the Magician", and "the Boxer".
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Well, not friends, but as they are under increasingly serious attack, the characters will act more like a team. (At least they say they will. Whether they do or not is up to the players.)
  • Flaming Sword: The Keeper Sword in Shadows of Evil is wreathed in flame, similar to the Keepers.
  • Foreshadowing: Everywhere. For some notable examples:
    • The fly trap easter egg in Der Riese feels like a horror movie where you communicate with an unseen demonic force. Come Moon, it's revealed that's exactly what you're doing: whoever's soul is within an alien device is taken to another dimension, the Aether, where they can control the Zombies. Richtofen knew this all along and only in Der Riese did he realize it was all just a game to Samantha.
    • On the Wii version of Kino, one can find a very poor quality video clip revolving around the Great Leap Forwardnote . In Black Ops II, the first DLC map is in a location called "Great Leap Forward" in Shanghai, China.
    • Takeo muses in Ascension that the zombies are the greater threat than Richtofen and resolves to focus on the former. In a way, he's right: whatever force controls the Zombies and is the source of power behind whoever is the Demonic Announcer is a far greater threat than Samantha, Richtofen or Maxis.
    • In Nacht, Der Riese, Ascension, and Shangri La, the Moon is clearly visible. You can just see a red smudge that grows more and more visible with each map. The final map of Black Ops and the Wham Episode of the story takes place on the Moon.
    • In Shangri La, Takeo and Dempsey both realize Richtofen is up to something big. Turns out in Moon, everything so far has been a part of his grand scheme to take over the Zombies.
    • Some of the survivors of Black Ops II seem to realize Maxis intends to destroy the Earth, although considering all the insanity and hysteria of the apocalypse, the player probably didn't take them too seriously. They should have.
    • The translated cypher on the lyric video for "Where Are We Going" - "Let go and the beginning will become the end." - revealed what the final map would be like - a return to the original six major characters during the first zombie outbreak, which (for now at least) seems to wrap up the story and has the characters finally reaching the fabled [[spoiler: Agartha.
  • Forgot to Pay the Bill: Nikolai sometimes says this in Kino der Toten.
    "Who didn't pay electric bill?"
  • Four Is Death: Takeo when finding a nesting doll on Ascension:
    "One becomes two becomes three becomes... Death?"
  • Frickin' Laser Beams:
    • If a gun fired bullets before you upgraded it in the Pack-a-Punch, chances are, it'll now fire lasers.
    • The Ray Gun technically counts, but it's more like O-shaped beams of death.
    • The Mark II variant plays straight as, well, a laser.
  • Gambit Roulette: Richtofen used the group to help him find Samantha so he could switch bodies with her and gain control of the zombies.
    • Dr.Maxis had a counter plan. Not only being hinted at still being alive, he had recordings instructing the party how to weaken Rictofen. That was the destruction of the Earth's atmosphere, essentially loosening Rictofen's control over the zombies on Earth.
  • Gatling Good: On the map Five, you can find a power-up which gives you the Death Machine, a portable minigun with unlimited ammo, for a limited time.
    • The Death Machine serves as a power-up for the rest of the Black Ops maps.
  • Giant Mook: Most of the "Boss Zombies" fall into this category, including George Romero, Brutus (aka the Warden), and the Panzer Soldat.
  • Ghost Town: Considering that Buried is set in an underground, mostly-abandoned ghost town, and you'll wonder why they built it there in the first place.
  • Groin Attack: This happens to Nikolai.
    "Oh No! It's biting area is closer to my fun fun area!"
  • Griefer: Actually encouraged in a game mode called Grief, where two teams must compete to win, despite being technically co-operative. You have actively sabotage the other team to survive, as you can't directly attack the opponents.
    • 1. Using an EMP Grenade while you're using the Mystery Box. It cancels the spin and you don't get your points back!
    • 2. Using said EMP, however now on the Pack-A-Punch not only powers it off, but will get rid of whatever gun was in it. Massive trolling.
    • 3. Blocking you from using the Bus by blocking the doors. Good luck running through the fog with no idea where to go with those bloody denizins coming after you...
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Important to the Mob of the Dead map's storyline. The four mobsters intended to escape Alcatraz using a plane constructed by Weasel, but infighting caused Sal, Billy and Finn to turn on the former and kill him on the prison roof; a crime for which they would be exectued via electric chair. They ended up in the Afterlife, where they attempt to recreate their escape while fighting zombies. Save for Weasel, the mobsters cannot recall what exactly happened, but regain their memories (if the map's Easter Egg is performed), in which case, they kill Weasel and die once more, repeating the cycle. The cycle can be broken if Weasel successfully defeats the others, at which point he is freed from his repeated deaths.
  • Guns Akimbo: When you upgrade your pistol, you'll gain two of them. They both spit out grenades. Nixon also wields two shotguns in the intro to the first Black Ops Zombies map.
    • Again in Moon, where the Wonder Weapon Wave Gun can be taken apart on a whim to become a dual wield shock gun.
    Ritchofen:"Double the pleasure, double the pain, double the DAMAGE!""
  • Ghostapo: This is what happens when you expose alien metals to undead Axis soldiers.
  • Healing Shiv: A literal example in the form of the Pack-A-Punched Ballistic Knife, the Krauss Refibrillator. You can revive downed players by stabbing or shooting the blade at them.
  • Hellhole Prison: Mob of the Dead's Alcatraz is portrayed as this, showing massive amounts of decay, shoddy repair, and overrun with zombies covered in razor wire, and impaled with chunks of wood. Though considering that this is while the group is in purgatory, it's understandable.
  • Heroic Mime: The soldiers in Nacht der Untoten. Thankfully, the other levels avert this completely.
  • Herr Doktor: Richtofen.
  • Honor Before Reason: Takeo Masaki. To the point he has a proverb related to honor tattooed on the insides of his eyelids.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Nikolai is fond of these.
    Nikolai: "And the limbs go flying! How's that for an ARM-y?! Get it? With the arms?..." (no one answers) "...fuck you."
    • Rictofen also does this... In a more funny, sinister way.
    Rictofen:"He can't fight now... He's being... DISARMED! Ahahahaha!"
  • Infinity+1 Sword: All the way back to the very first map, Nacht der Untoten, the Random Weapon Box would occasionally give you a Ray Gun, which could usually kill zombies in 1 hit, even on higher rounds. Shi No Numa gave us the Wunderwaffe which took out multiple zombies with one shot. The last World At War map, Der Riese, gave us the Pack-A-Punch machine, which upgraded your weapons into super-enhanced death machines. Even the weakest weapon, the M1911, turned into an automatic grenade launcher when put into the machine.
    • Slowly gets subverted the higher the round number due to the zombies getting more health every round. The subversion is why the Bowie Knife was introduced in Der Riese, and THAT gets subverted after a while.
    • And then the Thundergun in Kino der Toten, which is always a one hit kill. And then the Winter's Howl on Five, and they get subverted eventually, too! But that's only due to ammunition reasons.
    • Then there's the Wave Gun in Moon, which follows the Thundergun in being a one hit kill. But not only that, but it can be taken apart to make a dual wield version that is also a one hit kill!
    • The pistol inside the bus in Tranzit, usually one hit kills zombies with its three round bursts, costs less than most other weapons, and is available right from the start.
    • Probably the king of all these weapons is the Sliquifier from Die Rise. Originally thought by the fans as an absolutely terrible new Wonder Weapon, the Sliquifier has proven that it is the greatest Wonder Weapon yet. There's a video in which a player kills 91 zombies in a single shot.
    • In Tranzit, the superweapon was a Jet Gun that worked on a cooldown and shredded zombies to bits. It wasn't that great. With the release of Buried, we receive the Paralyzer. Insanely quick cooldown, slows zombies to a halt and kills them in seconds, massive range, and you can fly in the air with it? Sign me up!
  • Insane Troll Logic: Maxis's plan to save the world from zombies: blow it up.
    • To be fair, the plan was to stop Richtofen from controlling the zombies by killing them all with the nuclear missiles. It fails, and Richtofen is canonically the new narrator for the Zombies mode in Black Ops 2.
    • It also seems like Doctor Maxis has some plans of his own after nuking the Earth, so this might have been necessary.
  • Interactive Narrator: All the 1940's characters can hear the Demonic Announcer. Leading to these lovely exchanges:
    Demonic Announcer: "FETCH ME THEIR SOULS!"
    Nikolai: "Oh, no! They're going to fetch our souls again!"
    Dempsey: "Fetch my grenade, Devil-voice!"
  • Jungle Japes: Shangri-La.
  • Kill It with Fire: Flamethrower + Nazi Zombies = Good times, but Flamethrowers are useless unless someone's got the Insta-Kill power-up.
    • Flamethrowers are useful if you have the Double Tap perk, because the increased fire rate means that the zombies burn up a lot quicker. Pack-A-Punching it adds nitrogen cooling to your flamethrower, making this much more practical.
  • Knife Nut: Everyone in Der Riese once they get their hands on a Bowie Knife, which looks more like a short sword.
    • Misty from Tranzit is a self admitted knife nut, and was a six-time knife fighting champion.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Some of the characters will comment on the finding of the musical Easter Eggs being just that. They'll also get pissed off every time the Mystery Box chucks up a Teddy Bear instead of a weapon.
    • After an explosive caused by Nikolai leaves a zombie alive, but legless, he will make a remark on how players do this to be free to run around the map and do whatever:
    "Look, I just made a new pet. I'll take it for a walk for about five minutes while the rest of you dick around."
    Dempsey, when out of ammo: "Hey, player! Drop the chips and get me some ammo!"
    • It gets more and more explicit as the DLC maps come in, with the last one hanging these after almost every power-up pickup.
    Dempsey, after picking up a nuke: "Gotta love how that doesn't hurt us. Wait, is my hair falling out?!"
    • The Call of Duty games brought in "quick scoping", that is, use a sniper rifle scope for a millisecond for a kill. Get one to Sarah in Call of the Dead and she will bring this up.
  • Large Ham: Pretty much everyone after a kill.
    Dempsey: "I'm gonna do a jig on your insides, maggotsack!"
    Nikolai: "No, it's my Vodka! MINE! MY OWN!"
    Richtofen: "The Doctor prescribes you... PAIN!"
    Takeo: "Your blood will rain on me!"
    Kennedy: "Forgive your enemies, but NEVER, EVER, forget their names!"
    McNamara: "Consider yourself, ITEMIZED!"
    Castro: "Only I can punish crimes of such MAGNITUDE!"
    Nixon: "Get your hands off me, HIPPIE!"
    Richoften: "I DRINK YOUR PAIN!" *slurping sounds*
    Misty: "Oh ho, you're done, BITCH!"
  • Lethal Joke Weapon: The Golden Spork in Mob of the Dead. As ridiculous as this sounds, it's more lethal than the Galvaknuckles, a spork is more deadly than electric brass knuckles! Holy crap!
    • To specify, the Golden Spork is five times more deadly than the Galvaknuckles. Getting it requires using the acid infused Blundergat in the laundry room after mixing the spoon in the bathtub of blood. A laugh later, and go back to bathtub. Have fun using it to Curbstomp zombies.
  • Mad Scientist: Richtofen.
  • Magic Music: In Origins, gramophones and records can apparently open up entire tombs, and open portals to another dimension.
  • Magikarp Power: That Pack-A-Punch machine can turn your somewhat useless weapon, into a slaughtering machine, save for a few exceptions.
  • Meaningful Name: "verrückt" means "crazy" in German.
    • Don't forget Nacht der Untoten, which means Night of the Undead in German, and Shi no Numa, which is Japanese for Zombie Swamp or Marsh of Death... and you fight Japanese Zombies in it. Kino der Toten in Black Ops roughly translates to Theater of the Dead, which is appropriate considering it's a Shout-Out to Inglourious Basterds.
      • Ascension is a Soviet rocket launch facility, complete with cosmonaut training device and zombie astro-monkeys.
      • Call of the Dead, combining Call of Duty and Night of the Living Dead (1968) (the latter of which was directed by George A. Romero, who shows up as the final boss of the level).
      • Mob of the Dead has 'Icarus'. A plane that is supposed to fly the Mobsters out of Alcatraz, crashes on the Golden Gate Bridge.
      • Buried is named for the character's situation - they have to decide to follow either Richtofen or Maxis, but they overall don't have the best of hopes anyway. No matter who they help, they all die in the underground town, unable to return to the surface.
  • Mood Whiplash: A lot of the musical easter eggs by Elena Siegman. Often, they change from normal singing to furious screaming in the blink of an eye. For example, in "Beauty of Annihilation":
    Bring me down... WITH 7.62 AND HIGH VELOCITY!!!
    Bring you down... WITH 7.92 AND NO IMPUNITYYYYY!
    • The songs themselves can do this; having a playlist of all the songs on random and you can go from a quiet solemn song (Always Running) to a screamo (Paredolia + Coming Home) and back to a 'soft' grunge song (Lullaby for a Dead Man) within a ten minute span.
  • More Dakka: Pack-a-Punching your guns in Der Riese onwards often includes a gigantic increase in firing rate. It even turns some semi-auto weapons into full-auto weapons. However, trying to compensate for a lack of accuracy in this manner will just cause your ammunition reserves to run dry.
    • The lack of accuracy becomes a problem because headshots in the later rounds is the only way to quickly kill a zombie.
    • Still, it's a widely accepted tactic to just grab the gun that spews the most powerful lead as quickly as possible, and just shoot at the zombies.
  • Multiple Head Case: The Margwa in Shadows of Evil has three heads. All three have to be destroyed to kill it.
  • The Multiverse: The Black Ops 3 zombies arc seems to be shaping up as the four's attempts to erase the zombies from all realities.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: All the upgraded weapons sound scary. Well, except for the PTRS-41, which is called The Penetrator.
    • It's a huge fuckoff rifle, that has been upgraded. Would you want it penetrating you in either sense?
  • Nazi Nobleman: Averted in Richtofen's biography, which makes reference to this trope, saying he gained influence amongst German's high-class, but disagreed with the Nazi Party (though mostly because he considered them not evil enough). He did join the army to fulfill his sadism, however.
    • He was never a Nazi to begin with, Group 935 decided to assist the Nazi party to further their agenda.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Call of the Dead cast, unbeknownst to them. They gave the Vrill Device to Richtofen, who would use it to take control of the zombies in the Aether, and this would lead to the Earth's destruction.
    • No matter who the Green Run group help, they only make things worse. If Richtofen succeeds, the Earth remains as is, and Richtofen ends up trapped in Samuel's body and seems doomed to die with the other three. If Maxis succeeds, he destroys the Earth and everyone still on it. The worst part? He still fails to find Agartha..
  • Nazi Zombies
    • Japanese Zombies!
      • Flaming exploding zombie dogs!
    • Russian Cosmonaut Zombies!
    • Mutant Jumping Space Monkeys!!
    • Now completely and utterly crushed by not one, not two, but THREE 1000ft tall giant robots in Origins!
  • Nintendo Hard: The game is a lot harder to play solo, especially if you aren't intimately familiar with the maps and zombie behavior. There's a huge emphasis on headshots and all the players are Two-Hitpoint Wonders. Black Ops takes things a step further by making it much harder to hold up in one spot, introducing ankle-biting gas zombies, and nerfing the machine guns. If you know how to properly lead the zombies, though, it's a lot easier to get high scores playing alone than it is with groups.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Done in Mob of the Dead, where the mobsters end up crashing into the Golden Gate Bridge support beam with their makeshift airplane and fall to the ground below, they just merely get dazed as a result. Justified, they are not in the real world, they are in purgatory.
    • A little purge from the giant robot and the player falls a great height in Origins, 1000 ft. They survive of course. Handwaved somewhat with this quote.
    Richtofen: The initial test subjects did not survive the purge sequence, hence the addition of the velocity compensator.
  • Powered Armor: What the Panzer Soldat technically wears.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Nikolai in Der Reise, albeit for one line:
    Nikolai: His head is waist high, Dempsey, (suddenly losing Russian accent) don't get too excited!
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They're made via "Element 115" or repeated teleportation, and don't need headshots. Their eyes glow and move faster over time, and they're somewhat controllable.
    • In fact, later zombies can survive for short times without their heads. At a late enough round, you could have an armless, legless, headless zombie still making its way towards you.
    • With the right application of 115, they can be turned back into regular humans. This includes George Romero, but only for a short time.
  • Pet the Dog: Richtofen is noticeably empathetic towards the Hellhounds when they come knocking at the door. Considering Nazi Germany had a surprisingly humane policy on animals... That, and the fact that he helped create the first Hellhound, which he used to kill Maxis and Samantha by locking them into the room it had appeared in. At least, that's what everyone, including Rictofen thought. Turns out, they were teleported to the Group 935 base on the Moon.
  • The Power of Rock: Well, technically, Rock wasn't even far from invented yet in 1918, but a Gramophone and some records are needed in Origins to open up specific areas, all which are very important to creating the map's wonder weapons.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Both sides have variations. If you follow Maxis, Richtofen's threat is no more, but Maxis is arguably worse, with him destroying Earth outright. If you follow Richtofen, he will be excited, but he will soon realize how dangerous the battlefield is again, how he gets bored, and how there is a stench.
  • Playing Against Type: Nolan North, known for playing generally affable good guys, voices an insane evil Nazi scientist.
    • And in Mob of the Dead, he plays as Brutus, a scary, powerful and not really nice prison guard, that constantly wants to hurt the mobsters.
  • Poison Mushroom: The Tombstone perk cola in Black Ops II, which gives you a quick suicide if downed.
  • Porky Pig Pronunciation
    Dempsey: "Gotta link up this terra... er, tele... bah... machine."
  • Power-Up: Comes in six flavors: Nuke, Carpenter, Insta-Kill, Double Points, Fire Sale, Max Ammo, usually dropped after Hellhound rounds.
  • Power Up Letdown:
    • The Death Machine in some Black Ops maps can be this on later rounds when you realize that it doesn't do that much damage and makes you unable to run. And then you realize you can't buy things or revive people when you have it...
    • The Nuke powerup instantly kills every zombie on the field and awards all players 400 points each. The problem with this is that the number killed are usually worth more than the points the powerup gives you, it makes attempts to activate secrets on the map harder by possibly ending the round (leaving one or two zombies alive is often used to extend a round indefinitely for this purpose) or killing zombies that players need to directly kill for certain reasons, and in the early rounds you can grab it by accident simply because it's cheaper to knife zombies than shoot them.
  • Psycho Electro: Dempsey's more... fond of the Wunderwaffe than the other characters.
  • Rasputinian Death: Nikolai notes the ability for a zombie to keep coming at you with arms, legs, and even a head blown off in one of his quotes.
    Nikolai: "What are you? Fucking RASPUTIN?! Just die already!"
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Played For Laughs in Call of the Dead. George Romero tells a real zombie to get back to hair and make up because they "don't look dead enough". Said zombie is missing his lower jaw and is very decayed.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: The Rezurrection map pack features a new map on the moon.
    • Also in that map is an achievement called 'Perks in Spaaaaace', which is unlocked once you've had all 8 perks at some point in the game (not necessarily all at the same time)
  • Retcon: As of Origins, it turns out all the original survivors were fighters in World War One, and Richtofen was working for the Kaiser, instead of the backstories we'd been given.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Played straight, and subverted. The revolver is a good weapon and a good choice for early rounds... but later on, its low rate of fire and the zombies' increased health is a crippling weakness.
    • Completely played straight in Tranzit onwards, where the revolver Executioner is massively more powerful than most of the weapons in the box, even the Ray Gun!
    • And in Buried, we get a new revolver by the name of the Remington New Model Army. It's damage against the body is above average, and it has a decent reload time. However, it gets massive damage multipliers with headshots. Said multipliers rise even higher when the weapon is upgraded.
  • Rule of Cool: Why are you fighting as a crazed Nazi, a drunken Russian, an honor-obsessed Japanese soldier, and an even crazier American? Why are there miniature grenade launchers and electric guns? Who cares?
    • Alternatively, why are you fighting zombies as John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara and Fidel Castro in the Pentagon? I think you know exactly why.
      • Gets better when celebrities are thrown into the mix.
      • And why is Sarah Michelle wearing a sleeveless cut off shirt in the middle of Siberia?
      • And eventually, mobsters fighting zombies in Alcatraz.
    • The weapons themselves. Started from the Ray Gun and now we got cluster grenades disguised as a Russian nesting toy and a miniature black hole generating bomb along with elemental based weapons.
  • Running Gag: When attempting to purchase something he doesn't have enough points for, Nikolai will make references to a stripper who took his money:
    Kino der Toten: Nikolai: "What?! That stripper must have stolen my money!"
    Ascension: Nikolai: "That stripper DID take all my money!...bitch...."
    Shangri-La: Nikolai: "Where does all my money go? Vodka, she is cruel mistress." (which, in itself, is a Running Gag)
  • Scenery Gorn: Nuketown Zombies is pretty much Nuketown from the first Black Ops...given a very destructive makeover.
  • Screams Like Alittle Girl: Nikolai does this in Shangri-La
    Aah! It almost made me woman!
    • Nikolai actually does this a lot, particularly when something comes close to hurting, um... his "Little Nikolai".
  • Semper Fi: Tank Dempsey. Oo-fuckin'-rah.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Black Ops 2 's zombie mode is a few orders of magnitude harder than the one in the original Black Ops, especially on Solo. Zombies get stronger and faster much earlier on, and the smaller levels and narrower corridors make it much more difficult to form zombie trains. Black Ops 's zombie mode was already more difficult than World at War 's, as each weapon had been nerfed, and machine guns were less viable.
  • Sequel Escalation: Each of the DLCs' settings and atmospheres become progressively more over-the-top.
    • Black Ops' first Zombie Mode map features John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara and Fidel Castro fighting zombies in the Pentagon during JFK's presidency days/weeks after the Cuban Crisis.
      • Ascension brings the group from a Nazi theater to a Russian rocket base.
      • And as for Call of the Dead, well........
      • And now the final Zombies map being produced for Black Ops has Tank, Nikolai, Takeo, and Richtofen fight zombies on a base on the surface of Earth's moon. If that isn't absurdly over the top then I don't know what is. About as over the top as the Earth blowing up.
    • Black Ops II has TranZit, one of the biggest Zombie Mode maps to date, featuring interconnected areas that also serve as smaller maps. The premise behind said map counts as it shows the very destructive aftermath of Richtofen's antics in Moon.
      • Now we have Die Rise, which is also an incredibly large map, and expands greatly on the after affects of Moon and the conflict between Doctor Maxis and Richtofen's plans.
      • And after that, "Mob of the Dead." This is the largest zombies map to date, with a boss who can Shut down perks and the box
      • The final map, "Origins:, takes place during World War 1, in a Dieselpunk France, is the largest map to date, features a tank you can ride on, and a skyscraper-sized robot.
  • Serial Escalation: This secret on Ascension. It requires a LOT of time and is extremely difficult to do on a regular room unless you know exactly what you're doing.
  • Silliness Switch: The main campaign of World at War is serious. As you might have guessed, this isn't. Well, eventually.
    • And then it becomes progressively darker.
    • The trailers and teasers for Nazi Zombie maps and Dead Ops Arcade are pretty serious.
    • At the end of Black Ops after hearing a solemn quote from JFK, the game cuts away to JFK joking about said quote with Castro, Nixon, and McNamara just before the zombies attack.
    • Dead Ops Arcade takes the cake though. If the bleeptune music and the helicopter and tank power-ups weren't a big enough clue, maybe the spacesuit gorilla will tip you off.
    • With the Earth blowing up in ''Moon'', it's safe to say that the tables have turned.
    • Extremely averted in Die Rise, where the beginning of a new 115-related plague and the absolute rule of Richtofen are shown.
    • Averted again in Buried, if you listen to Maxis, he becomes the Demonic Announcer, and tells you that he plans on destroying the Earth to be with Samantha. Listen to Richtofen, and he jumps into Stuhlinger's body.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better:
    • The Executioner. A shotgun revolver that has a lot of spare ammo. Even better upgraded.
    • The KSG in Origins. It still fires slugs, which gives it massive range for the weapon, and when upgraded, you have more ammo than the rest of the shotguns. Add a reflex sight, fast mag, and massive stopping power (Even better with Double Tap II) and you've got the one weapon you can use for the rest of the game.
  • Shout-Out:
    "Let's slay some stiffs."
    • In Origins, when you upgrade the Mauser, you get a muzzle brake and a scope. Oh, and it fires lasers too from a 50 shot magazine. Sound familiar?
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: "Call of the Dead", taking place in an icebreaker stuck in, uhm, ice.
    "I really didn't dress for the cold."
  • Smurfette Principle: Lampshaded/invoked in Black Ops by Dempsey.
    "Maann, I wish we could trade Richoften for a hot chick. I'm getting lonely here..."
    • However, it's played straight in Call of The Dead, with Sarah Michelle Gellar being the only female.
      • And after completing Richtofen's Grand Scheme on Moon, Samantha Maxis becomes the the second female character playable in Zombies via a soul transfer with Richtofen.
      • Played straight again with Black Ops II's Zombies mode, wherein Misty is the sole female character.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: All of the speaking soldiers enjoy the slaughter far too much.
  • Soviet Super Science: In the first Black Ops DLC map, Ascension.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Fidel Castro. He lampshades it.
  • Standard FPS Guns: In addition to the standard Call of Duty weapons, the Wunderwaffe fills the role of the electricity gun.
  • The Starscream: Richtofen to Maxis during their time in Group 935. Maxis refuses to allow Richtofen's experiments with the teleporters to continue, convincing Richtofen to work behind his back. Eventually Richtofen decides Maxis is unfit to lead 935, especially after declining to mass-produce his prized invention, the Wunderwaffe.note 
  • Time Travel: First seen when Element 115 overloaded the teleporter in Der Riese to send our heroes to the future.
    • The basis of the entire storyline. Includes Temporal Paradoxes, Alternate Timelines, and more.
    • And again in Call of the Dead, when they managed to reach modern times.
    • The time bomb does the exact opposite in Buried, it send players back in time, to the point when it was set down. If you lost your entire team, *click* they're back with all of their weapons back.
  • Third-Person Person: Nikolai seems fond of this.
    "Nikolai will put their brains on the outside!"
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: The upgraded M1911 pistol is called the C-3000 b1atch35.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Richtofen is a mad doctor. His former buddy, Doctor Maxis, was much more level headed, though still a Nazi.
    • Actually, Group 935 is a worldwide group and preceded the Nazi party. They simply decided to help the Nazis by giving them some of their Wonderweapon technology in exchange for funding.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: If you can avoid getting knocked down, get headshots consistently, and Pack-A-Punch your weapons to stay in the game, you'll rack up a nice buffer of points and the zombies can be very easy to kill even in rounds 20-30. Conversely, getting downed forced you to rebuy perks while being chased by zombies, and dying in a round forces that plus the Pack-A-Punch, which will cost a lot of points that are harder to earn without those features. Combine that with the cost of reloads and the ever-increasing strengths of the zombies, and it can become borderline impossible to keep playing.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Nikolai uses a couple of these in Shangri-La.
    "Aah! That was too close to my hammer and sickles."
  • Unwitting Pawn: Dempsey, Nikolai, and Takeo as of the events during Moon.
    • As are the Green Run group.
  • Villain Song: "Not Ready To Die" appears to be Dr. Richtofen's. A number of the series' songs seem to apply to Samantha, but "115" appears to be the main one and the one the fits the trope most.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Everyone insults everyone, but they'll help them, anyway. In fact, the characters themselves are programmed with different reactions to their teammates. They each have one teammate who they are friendly and hostile to, as well as one who they do not react to at all. For example, Dempsey likes Takeo, does not react to Nikolai and hates Richtofen.
    "Fidel's down. EVERYONE POINT AND LAUGH!"
  • Verbal Tic: Tank Dempsey says "Oorah" more times than the combined "Hooahs" of Modern Warfare 2!
    • He also calls ammo "gun juice", which happens a lot when you run out of ammo or get max ammo, resulting in-
  • Vodka Drunkenski: Nikolai, obviously. Lampshaded.
    Nikolai: "Nothing is more dangerous than a drunk Russian with an MG!"
  • Wham Episode: The Easter Egg on Moon, Richtofen's Grand Scheme.
    • Buried. Dr. Maxis' Easter Egg makes everything worse, with the further destruction of Earth.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Romero comments that a zombie doesn't look dead enough.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Moon's description makes it seem like it's the last map... Then Richtofen's Grand Scheme kicks in....
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Implied via radio messages.
    • It's reached the Pentagon during JFK's term as President.
      • George Romero found out about the project while doing research for a WW2 movie. It infects him, turning him into a super-mutant electric zombie.
      • They even managed to go back in time and wind up on the Moon... somehow.
    • Outright shown in Black Ops II: The main storyline is about surviving one.