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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Victis fell under Base-Breaking Character rather than outright Scrappy by the time of their return in Tag Der Töten , but nonetheless, even their most dedicated of haters felt bad seeing them screwed over for the final time once they are banished to the Dark Aether for their troubles.
  • Ass Pull:
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    • Retconning Tank Dempsey into Verruckt, done many years after the fact.
    • The two minute cutscene ending Revelations and presumably the entire saga, which still leaves countless questions, and doesn't completely resolve everything that's been brought up in the saga since 2008. This was later addressed with the release of the Zombies timeline.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The storyline initially started as something that came to us through little Easter eggs and audio logs, leaving us to piece together the majority of the story by ourselves. Starting with "Moon" in Black Ops, the story has been becoming more and more openly told, and in Black Ops III, we get numerous cinematics to help move the story along in a much more coherent manner.
    • The Buildables system, introduced in TranZit, initially proved frustrating since you could only carry around one part at a time. Later maps and Black Ops III onwards allowed the player to carry more than one part for more than one recipe (and III also allows any player to assemble the recipe once all pieces have been collected).
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    • The release of a 6-issue comic detailing the further adventures of the Black Ops II crew when they had been completely abandoned by Black Ops III.
    • The release of the Zombies timeline finally cleared up pretty much every question about the lore left hanging after the end of Revelations.
    • Black Ops 4 was announced to have three on-disc maps as opposed to the usual one or two, notably including the long-awaited remaster of Mob of the Dead. This was seen as a step in the right direction after The Giant was relegated to being a preorder bonus for III, and many fans have expressed beliefs that if it was on-disc content, the III season would've gotten off to a better start reception-wise since players could've had both the innovative yet divisive Shadows of Evil and the more traditional The Giant to try out.
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    • A major part of the poor reception towards Victis and their maps was due to their sudden replacing of the main cast we'd been following since the beginning. When Black Ops 4 introduced the Chaos Story Arc and it's characters, Treyarch made it clear from the get-go that the Chaos story would not replace the Aether story, which would continue parallel to the new story, saving the new cast and story from the They Changed It, Now It Sucks! reception that Victis suffered from.
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • The Victis crew, Marlton, Misty, Samuel, and Russman. They suffered from debuting in the worst received map of the series (Tranzit) and then starring in a nearly just as poorly received follow-up (Die Rise) before finishing the run with a fairly decent but lore-unfriendly end map (Buried), alongside general They Changed It, Now It Sucks! sentiment and how viciously unlikable they could be. However, they ended up attracting a following of their own, and many fans became miffed that they were abandoned after Buried. The comics and aspects of Black Ops IIII have improved their standing, with some even wishing for them to be playable again - which did come true with Tag der Toten. Nevertheless, their reception remains anything but universally loved.
    • Doctor Monty. Many players enjoyed his humor, revelations about the lore, and the performance of Malcolm McDowell. However, many disliked his sudden entry into the series, especially given his importance to the series; that also has caused some divisiveness, since many feels like he's too important and detracts from Richtofen and the Primis crew. There also exists a camp of players who disliked that he was brought in partially to provide an in-game explanation for most of the game's mechanics, deeming it unnecessary.
  • Best Level Ever: Every player has their favorite map, but there are a few that the community agrees are leagues ahead of the rest;
    • Der Riese remains the most popular World at War map, for the character development, Easter egg song, introduction of teleporters and Pack-A-Punch, and for just being a fun map in general. It even got a remaster in the form of The Giant in Black Ops III.
    • Kino der Toten still gets many players (even ignoring it being on-disc content), for being a fun map with cool traps, a teleporter, a kickass Easter egg song, and classic moments of comedy from the original crew. To this day, whether you're playing on Black Ops or Black Ops III, Kino remains a heavily played map even ignoring the fact that it's the on-disc content for the former game.
    • Call of the Dead, for being a love-letter to horror fans with veteran horror actors as playable characters, an original Zombies song from Avenged Sevenfold, the triumphant return of the Wunderwaffe DG-2, and freaking George Romero himself as a boss zombie!
    • Mob of the Dead is a very popular map for its deep and complex story, well-written characters, its all-star cast who deliver excellent performances, the map's huge size, the genuinely scary atmosphere, improvements to the building system, its Easter Egg song, the Easter egg itself (Holy crap, you can actually win!), the diverse armory of unique and cool weapons, the return of purchasable traps, and it’s significance in the storyline.
    • Origins, mainly for its scale, storyline, WW1 setting, unique gameplay and the introduction of the Primis crew, the Elemental Staffs, and a fan-favourite boss enemy in the form of the Panzersoldat. Not to mention having one of the most epic Easter Eggs in the series so far, as Primis sets out to free Samantha from Agartha.
    • Der Eisendrache may get some mild disdain for being a second-rate Origins, but it is still seen as a solid map with a unique Medieval castle setting, a powerful set of Wonder Weapons in the form of the Elemental Bows, and a great deal of character development for both Dempsey and Richtofen. And the Easter Egg ends with you blowing up the Moon.
    • Gorod Krovi as well - the ravaged Stalingrad setting, the ties to Norse mythology, the giant fucking dragons, the Gauntlet of Siegfried, the long awaited return of the PPSh, a boss fight that's actually challenging in comparison to the rather easy boss fights from before, the Ray Gun Mark III, Nikolai's character development, it all comes together to form a definite fan-favourite.
  • Complete Monster: The Shadow Man, the Greater-Scope Villain of the entire Zombies Myth Arc, was originally a Keeper who led a group of other Keepers into the Dark Aether, leading to their transformation into the Apothicons. Embracing his newfound transformation, he led the Apothicons to war against the non-corrupt Keepers, but found themselves imprisoned in the Dark Aether. Desiring to spread havoc throughout the universe, he sends Element 115 to various dimensions knowing the beings there will misuse it, resulting in entire populaces to become zombies and the destruction of their worlds. He would also construct the Aether Pyramid in the Ultimis dimension and use it to drive Edward Richtofen insane, having him use Element 115 to turn the human race own zombies, experiment on his colleague's daughter, and destroy his own dimension. He would eventually find himself in the 63rd dimension, take the identity "Mr. Rapt", and manipulate four people into killing someone, exploiting their desire for atonement to have them unknowingly open the Apothicon Rift, leading to their dimension being invaded by the creatures. After being sealed into the Summoning Key and sent to Dr. Monty's perfect world, he tricks Dr. Maxis there into freeing him before trapping Dr. Maxis inside. He would then summon the Apothicons, and have them destroy Monty's world and reek destruction across the universe.
  • Crazy Awesome - Ultimis are truly a group of amazing zombie killers...and they are also batshit insane.
    • Dempsey, for one, laments he can't rip off a zombies arm and beat it to death with it. He escaped from a Japanese prison camp by gnawing through the bamboo cage and killing his captors with a medal of honor he... hid in a very particular spot.
    • Nikolai constantly talks about how he is drunk, and has apparently killed his wives before marrying a new one.
      • In Gorod Krovi, how does Nikolai 1.0 get reintroduced? Piloting a mech, while drunk! You can't make this shit up if you tried, considering that the map also introduced Dragons!
    • Takeo is probably the least batshit insane, but still is completely devoted to killing and improving from that, is not uneased by fighting zombies at all, and has no reservations of the possibility of dying to the zombies. His original bio stated he tattooed the insides of his eyelids with the Japanese for "honor".
    • Richtofen hears voices, has tortured many people to death, and verbally, orgasmically revels in bloodshed against the zombies. He also sounds somewhat high-pitched.
      • His insanity actually has a back story, according to radios and film reels on the Moon. Note to self: do NOT poke objects with an obvious alien origin.
  • Creator's Pet: An odd example in which this applies to fan favorites as well. During the Black Ops II season, Word of God asked fans to voice what they wanted to be the ultimate fate of the Green Run crew. By that point, the four had been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap and had a following, but the game designer in question retweeted many people expressing a desire to kill off the group and bring back the original cast. While people missed the original characters, nobody was too pleased that the Black Ops II characters and their story arcs were dropped like day-old pizza.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Ever since Black Ops II, the maps have slowly been getting more and more serious and the storyline becomes more and more depressing, with several Downer Endings (like the Victis group presumably being killed after losing hope, each original cast member dying, etc). Black Ops III, though still dreary and often quite sad, did end with a Bittersweet Ending for our characters. Black Ops IIII, however, is unpolagetically dark, with a general feeling of hopelessness and misery present in every single on-disc map, with Blood being far and away the most depressing map in current Zombies history. It all culminates in an astonishingly, horrifically depressing Downer Ending for the Aether Story in which Nikolai destroys the multiverse, poisons Ultimis and Primis, and Victis gets screwed once again.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Misty, for being a tough, kickass female character. Her status as Ms. Fanservice (and far and away the least annoying of the Victis crew) helps a lot too.
    • T.E.D.D., the robotic bus driver in [TranZit, who is genuinely hilarious with his unflappably cheerful demeanor as he drives you around... which can quickly turn into profane, abrasive rants at you if you piss him off.
    • The Call of the Dead celebrities. No points for guessing why.
    • Weasel, for being voiced by Joe Pantoliano, and commanding the zombies to help him kill the other three mobsters at the climax of Mob of the Dead's Easter Egg.
    • The Panzer Soldats quickly became fan-favorite bosses due to their imposing design, challenging tactics, and the difficulty it takes to bring them down. It's no surprise that they show up a lot in custom maps, and returned for both Der Eisendrache and Revelations.
    • Brutus is just as popular as the Panzers, being an imposing boss with a unique gimmick and a thoroughly badass design, but still being easy and fair to dispose of. He also shows up in a lot of custom maps, and Blood of the Dead gave him an actual backstory and some true standout moments.
    • Among Perk drinks, P.H.D. Flopper is a fan-favorite from the days of the Black Ops season, often heavily used on Ascension and Call of the Dead to great effect. It was all but removed from Black Ops II, however, only getting teased in Die Rise and Mob of the Dead, and is only obtainable via the Perma-Perk system in Buried and the Wunderfizz machine in Origins. Thanks to the transition from dolphin-diving to sliding, it never made a proper return until Black Ops IV introduced it's replacement PHD Slider, which still isn't as popular as the original. It's long, convoluted history has also helped endear it to fans.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Ultimis Richtofen is so hilarious and insane, you’re kinda rooting for him when he sets out to take over the zombies.
    • Boss enemies Avogadro, Brutus, and the Panzer Soldats are all well-regarded for at least looking cool and being challenging enemies to fight.
    • The Shadow Man is a deliciously evil villain with a chilling performance from Robert Picardo, who is powerful enough to tear holes in the fabric of space and time at his most powerful.
  • First Installment Wins: World at War and Black Ops are the seasons of Zombies that are still by far the most acclaimed and remembered. In a single-game example, Kino der Toten is by far the most iconic map of the series and is the most-remembered map from Black Ops.
  • Fridge Brilliance: "Five" was the first map which allowed players to play as popular real-life historical figures. It also ended up as the first map to use a Real Song Theme Tune thanks to Eminem.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: One of the funniest Running Gag's of the series has been Nikolai complaining about all of his ex-wives. Gorod Krovi reveals that he only ever had one wife, and became a drunk so that he could forget the pain of losing her in an air raid.
  • Game-Breaker: The PPSh-41, Thundergun and Sliquifier, as mentioned above. Special mention also goes to Black Ops II's AN-94, which has the highest ammo capacity of any assault rifle in the series, has pretty good damage output, and most importantly, can be bought off the wall on both Die Rise and Buried for only 1200 points!
    • Most of the shotguns in Black Ops III qualify for this, but special mention goes to the Haymaker-12. Once Pack-a-Punched, it gets a mag size of 25, and 2000 damage per shot. And even before it gets Pack-a-Punched, it's fully automatic, doesn't take long to reload and has pretty good mobility.
    • Going back to Black Ops, we have the Galil. Good fire rate, 35 shots in the mag with plenty in reserve - and that's before you Pack-a-Punch it. Once it gets Pack-a-Punched, it gets the best damage output of any assault rifle in the game, exceptional hip-fire accuracy, even more ammo in reserve, and a red dot sight to boot. Couple this with Double Tap and Speed Cola, and you have a cocktail of demise. No wonder Treyarch brought it back in Black Ops II, and later Zombies Chronicles - and in those, it becomes even better with the changes made to Double Tap!
    • Moving over to game mechanics, we have the bank and weapon locker from TranZit, Die Rise and Buried. Simply put, these respectively let you store points and weapons for use on later attempts at these three maps. Except they were very easy to cheese - the bank especially, seeing as if you grinded for enough points to deposit, you could basically spend a few games buying whatever you wanted within the first few rounds, or even get a Pack-a-Punched gun or two on round 1 of Buried!
    • The introduction of GobbleGum in Black Ops III created a bit of a Broken Base, but there are some Gums that everyone agrees are too overpowered. Examples include Perkaholic, which instantly gives you all nine perks, Immolation Liquidation, which can spawn in three Fire Sales when triggered, and Shopping Free, which makes all purchases free for a couple minutes after being triggered. Players frequently express their hate for these Gums, stating their use completely defeats the point of Zombies - even more so than BOII's bank and weapon locker. Still, it doesn't stop a lot of major streamers from using them frequently.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Loads of them in "Five", mostly in the form of Historical In-Joke dialogue.
    • Call of the Dead counts as well, with allusion after allusion after allusion to roles the actors have played.
    • One could probably count some of Marlton's quotes in TranZit; he often rattles off quite accurate real-life facts about the guns he picks up. It's such a shame he hates half of them. And even he's wrong sometimes! He identifies that MTAR as an X95L. This is slightly incorrect: the MTAR in game is actually just a normal X95. The L variant has a two step rail the "MTAR" lacks.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • The hellhounds. Most servers and custom maps will disable them because of just how hated they are - under-equipped players at round five or so can easily die when the round comes up. They're worse in ''Black Ops IIII' spawning in higher numbers to the point of Zerg Rush at times.
    • The zombies themselves become this at higher rounds due to them getting more health per round.
    • Nova Crawlers. Not a problem in Kino, where the stage is a great area to hold them off due to being a wide open spot, but Level 3 of the Pentagon is a death trap, thanks to these guys.
    • Space Monkeys that are able to throw your grenades back at you in Ascension. This is made worse if you like to cook your grenades before throwing them. Oh, and the round they spawn on forces you to defend the Perk-A-Cola machines or you lose the first perk you bought or the other perks that your fellows probably bought first (ie. Juggernog).
    • And zombie monkeys return in Shangri-La. This time stealing power ups, and then changes the power up randomly.
    • Denizens - one of the community's biggest problems with TranZit. Did you take too long to get the power on, causing you to miss the bus to the Town? Good luck walking through the fog with these goblins latching onto you every five seconds (plus the five seconds and up to four knife swings it takes to remove them).
    • The Avogadro, Damn You, Muscle Memory! incarnate. As if the Denizens weren't bad enough, you now have a creepy bundle of electrified nerves that can appear anywhere at any time, disable the bus and all Perk-a-Colas in the area, and can't be damanged by gunfire. You have to knife it several times, in a gamemode where knife attacks are suicidal past round 5. That, or use an EMP Grenade, seen as one of the most worthless things in Tranzit and Zombies in general.
    • The ghost women from Buried, on account of how if they attack you, they can steal not only your points, but your ammo as well, making navigating the ghost house and maze to get to the Pack-a-Punch machine an absolute nightmare. But that's probably what you deserve for abusing the bank.
    • Though some do love the Panzersoldat, others can't help but find them annoying. Every once in a while, the game will sic two of them on you, outfitted with a flamethrower that can easily down you, and either a grappling hook or shock charges, depending on the map - but both are equally infuriating to get hit with, and can quickly lead to you being set ablaze.
    • The parasites from Shadows of Evil and Revelations. These little gits were openly described by Jason Blundell as "popcorn enemies", meaning their sole purpose is to distract you from the zombies and/or Margwas that are more likely to kill you. And it works. Often.
    • The spiders in Zetsubou No Shima have such a low hitbox you simply can't knife them while standing - attempting will most likely result with a hilariously innacurate miss - but the colision hitbox is high enough that you can't jump over them from the same height, and they deal the same amount of damage as normal zombies. They also can take a lot of bullet damage somehow. Getting downed by them usually results in screaming and a probably broken controller - and they're supposed to be easier to deal with than zombies!
      • Speaking of Zetsubou, the Thrashers. They take a shitload of ammo to kill, can one-shot you if you forgot to get Jugger-Nog, and give you absolutely nothing upon death - no points, no drop, nothing. And they keep spawning in every single round. Have fun!
  • Genre Turning Point: For the series itself. After a highly enthusiastic reception to the deeper plot, cast, and mechanics of Mob of the Dead, every single map has followed suit and the story itself has gotten more praise since it's gotten more coherent presentation.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • Kino der Toten, the first playable map of Black Ops, is when the series officially became the worldwide phenomenon it is today.
    • The Black Ops II season had a rough time getting off of the ground largely due to its initial reception as a Replacement Scrappy. Mob of the Dead, however, was seen as a major turning point for the season and the series in general as the maps become much more complex, deep, and have much more fleshed out characters and a far better received soundtrack (with Malukah becoming a fan-favorite singer).
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The official timeline more or less confirmed that the Call of the Dead cast and crew all perished. The timeline was released mere months before the real George Romero's death in July 2017.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!:
    • As beloved as it is, one of the chief complaints aimed at Der Eisendrache by detractors is the claim that it’s basically Origins in a castle setting.
    • The main premise of Revelations is that it's a mash-up of much of the Aether maps released to that point, but it's still often criticized for not having much in the way of innovation. The final boss fight of Revelations is criticized in particular; the fight with the Shadow Man is essentially a reskinned version of the same boss fight from Shadows of Evil. It was especially derided at release since at the time it appeared to be the true ending of the series.
    • All Aether Story maps released for Black Ops IV - Blood of the Dead, Classified, and Alpha Omega - have been remasters/successors to old maps - Mob of the Dead, Five, and Nuketown Zombies, respectively. Many fans hate that the last wholly original map was Gorod Krovi in 2016, as Revelations was also mainly a mash-up of old maps as well, and long for something original for the finale of the Aether Story.
  • It Was His Sled: Ultimis Richtofen takes control of the zombies at the end of Moon, and Maxis responds by blowing up the Earth. It's the defining Wham Episode of the series and these events are so crucial to the series afterwards that you can't not know it while playing maps following Moon.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Many people buy the Treyarch-produced Call of Duty games just to play this game mode.
    • Many a player has found themselves playing a map they hate just to use a certain Wonder Weapon or listen to a certain Easter egg song (for example, Zetsubou No Shima was not a beloved map, but "Dead Flowers" by Malukah was fairly well acclaimed).
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Revive me I have Ray Gun" or some variation of it, is easily one of the most iconic Call of Duty memes. note 
    • "I AM that duck!" note 
    • "Ain't that swell?" note 
    • Last-Gen Richtofennote 
  • More Popular Spinoff: What started out as just an extra mode became the real focus of the downloadable content of World at War.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • Samantha's laughter upon getting the Teddy Bear from the random weapon generator (it moves the box to a different location, forcing players to have to wait until there are few zombies to get better weapons). It's actually lampshaded by the characters.
    Nikolai: "Why does no one try nailing this down?!"
    Dempsey: "Aww, just when I thought we were getting along, box!"
    • The Denizens are already annoying nuisances in TranZit], but they make the loudest, most inane screams that it's just plain irritating. This is especially bad if you're playing as Samuel and have to have your volume up to listen to Richtofen's orders.
  • Narm:
    • Some of Ultimis Takeo's dialogue and attempts at jokes were painfully unfunny and just plain awkward, though this evened out when he became The Comically Serious by Ascension.
    • Malcolm McDowell gives a pretty good performance as Doctor Monty, but some of his last lines in Revelations ("what to do, what to do") are pretty weak.
    • The Dead of the Night intro cinematic was poorly received due to stilted animation, long, wandering pans over the party guests, and generally coming off as your typical "peaceful scene eventually gets overrun by zombie outbreak" set-up the series has employed numerous times.
  • Narm Charm: The line "What in Lucifer's ballsack was that?" from Dead of the Night. It's corny as hell, but it's coming from Kiefer Sutherland being deliberately cheesy and funny... and is generally regarded as the highlight of a lackluster intro cutscene.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Richtofen now controls the zombies? Terrifying! Wait, he's now in the body of a little girl? Hilarious!
  • Only the Creator Does It Right:
  • Player Punch: Aside from the whole killing the original characters thing, there's another in Gorod Krovi. Remember Gersh, who you freed from the black hole he was trapped in in Ascension? He remembers you, and pleads for mercy and asks why you're shooting him to lead him to S.O.P.H.I.A who then tortures him as part of the Easter Egg.
  • Replacement Scrappy: The changes to the game in Black Ops II, namely the new cast, new Easter Egg song performers, and mechanics, had a hard time winning people over at first. Notably, this didn't happen with the Chaos crew, though this was likely because it was made clear they weren't replacing the old crews, both Ultimis and Primis being playable in their own on-disc maps, and being better written and designed from the start.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • As noted below, Takeo was The Scrappy of the Ultimis crew. This changed once he became The Comically Serious in Ascension and is revealed to be Obfuscating Brainwashing, looking to punish Richtofen soon. If you're not growing on him after that, he takes a level in badass in the Black Ops III maps with the simple addition of a katana, using it in cutscenes to cut through waves of people both zombie and human.
    • The Victis crew got a good dose of this, much to the delight of their small fanbase. Initially hated for the They Changed It, Now It Sucks! effects, the poorly-received first two levels, and overall just seen as less interesting than the 4 main characters, fans eventually began to grow curious as to what happened to them after Buried. Immediately after, their 6-issue comic series was released, detailing their adventures to assist Primis Richtofen, fleshing our their personalities and relationships, and tying them back into the storyline. This leads to an even bigger return in Black Ops 4, where they get to be playable once more on Tag der Toten. Their return, despite their initial Scrappy status, has been very welcomed.
    • Explosive weapons tended to be looked down upon for being far more dangerous to the owner than the zombies in most games, not giving back as much points as a return investment, and were surprisingly weak. As a result, they only tended to be looked at when it's the upgraded M1911, or PhD Flopper was readily available. Black Ops 4 changed this by upping the damage significantly, meaning that kills were now much more common. While still dangerous, PhD Slider helped mitigate it (and with a later patch, completely nullified it), making explosives far more useful. This also nicely fit well with the gameplay overhauls which A) awarded a set amount of points per zombie, making points earned per shot more useful and B) made it possible to use any perk in any map, with some restrictions, meaning that PhD Slider was always available, albeit with a heavy price.
    • Doctor Monty was divisively received in Black Ops III, for reasons noted in Base-Breaking Character. However, his reception has grown more positive following revelations in Black Ops IV that he’s actually an antagonist who doesn’t really want to fix anything, lest he lose his ultimate power. Monty’s turn as a villain has made him a much more interesting character in the eyes of the fandom.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Out of the Original Characters, Takeo was NOT loved at the time of his introduction, probably because none of his lines were Played for Laughs like the others. Lampshased by Dempsey in Ascension:
    Dempsey: "People say Tak is boring, and maybe he is, but you need that one guy to make the others look cool."
    • George A. Romero, though a beloved figure outside of the games, is usually cited as the worst feature of Call of the Dead, since his endless pursuit of the players ruins most if not all attempts at training and camping. The player also has to avoid shooting him lest he chase after them in a rage, and you have to lead him all the way back to the water to calm him down.
    • Thrashers are hated even moreso than Romero for being lethally aggravating (being capable of killing the player in 1 hit without the Juggernog). They can swallow zombies to restore their health, spawn every round (sometimes several monsters as ones) and give you nothing when you kill them — not even god damn points!
  • Scrappy Weapon:
    • The SMR, with excellent reason. Bad power, low capacity, arduous reload speed, semi-automatic and worst of all, it has a glitch that makes aiming down the sights exactly the same as hip firing, giving it almost nonexistent accuracy. It was never even patched during the lifetime of Black Ops II.
    • The Springfield, a weapon so weak it can't even one-shot a zombie in the chest on round 1. That in itself is inexcusable, but even worse is that the ironsights are off, requiring you to aim slightly to the left of what you want to shoot, otherwise you'll miss.
    • Most explosive weapons qualify, especially on maps without PhD Flopper, but particularly the China Lake and War Machine from Black Ops and Black Ops II respectively. The China Lake is pump-action, meaning it has such a long pause between shots, and it has an pathetic mag size of two shots, but at least its grenades explode on impact. The War Machine is the opposite - it has a decent mag size for an explosive weapon that it can empty pretty quickly, but the grenades bounce around for a few seconds before exploding. It does gain impact explosives when Pack-a-Punched, but considering in BOII, PhD can only be obtained through either the perma-perk system on Buried or Der Wunderfizz on Origins, it still doesn't have much of a use. Even the potential to create crawlers isn’t much of a redeeming factor when you take into account that you get two grenades every round anyway and there’s usually a spot where you can get them (or in certain maps in Black Ops, semtex) for cheap.
    • Speaking of Grenades, EMP Grenades. Taking up the Monkey Bomb's slot, their function is to cause zombies to be stopped for a few seconds - something the Monkey Bombs do better anyway - with the side effect of disabling any Perk Machines (and thus the perks you bought) for a long time. Their only real use is to screw over enemy players in Grief mode, and outside of that are useless bordering on harmful.
    • Moving over to Wonder Weapons, we have the Winter's Howl from Black Ops, which does indeed freeze zombies - after spending a few seconds progressively slowing them down. And from there, it takes a while for them to shatter, though the process can be sped up by firing on them with other guns. Not only is it underwhelming, but it only appears on "Five" and the remastered Verruckt, two maps so difficult, you'd be forgiven for expecting a powerful Wonder Weapon to help even the odds. It's slightly better in Classified, the trade-off being that you need to complete most of the map and a small easter egg just to get it now.
    • The V-R11 is one of the most underwhelming wonder weapons of the series, mostly for the Artificial Stupidity of a zombie turned human can achieve. There's even a chance where the human AI, whose sole purpose is to lure the horde of zombies away from you, will sometimes either run towards you or just stand there. Its only saving grace, however, is the fact that it can give your teammates invincibility, and calm George down...for a round.
    • The Jet Gun from TranZit is also a Wonder Weapon that is hated by players, maybe even moreso than the V-R11. This is because it sucks zombies towards you (and they can hit you once they are close enough), greatly slows you down, and will explode if it overheats. It's supposed to compensate for this in two ways. First, it will instantly kill any zombies it sucks through its turbine and second, it doesn't require any ammunition, instead needing to cooldown. However, these still don't redeem it for four reasons; 1) you are constantly being chased by hordes of zombies, and all of them can take swings at you, 2) it heats it insanely quickly, 3) its cooldown, from the red zone on the gauge, can take 1 minute and 40 seconds to fully cooldown, and 4) it will only cool down while you're holding it out without firing it, meaning you're stuck running around with a heavy weapon that you can't use whilst being chased by zombies. The task of building it is incredibly tedious, too - go to a certain location, pick up a part, go to the town, place the part on a crafting table, rinse and repeat. And did we mention you need it for the Easter Egg? And that it can become lost forever if the bus runs over any of its parts?
    • Rather unfortunately, the Wunderwaffe DG-2 from ''The Giant'' in ''Black Ops III''. The lighting now chains slower than usual, making wiping entire hordes much more slower. This is bad in a game like this. Thankfully, this was fixed in a later update, bringing the DG-2 back to grace.
    • If it can be classed as a weapon, the Impatient GobbleGum from Black Ops III. It allows someone who bleeds out to respawn at the end of a round rather than at the start of the next. While on paper this sounds great, spawning you in when no other zombies are spawning; the spawn logic itself is abysmal. It places you near an ally, who will more than likely be running around with a horde of undead following them. Spawn into the train of zombies, and watch the quickest down ever occur. And even if that weren't a problem, you could just use Arms Grace to get your weapons back, or Coagulant to avoid bleeding out in the first place.
      • On the topic of GobbleGums, Licensed Contractor. It spawns in a Carpenter power-up, which rebuilds all of the barriers. This does indeed do its job of holding the zombies back...for about five seconds. Players learned back in the WaW days that keeping the barriers in check is a waste of time other than for getting points, so what's the need for Carpenter in general, let alone this GobbleGum? And to make it worse, there's a worse version of this already pointless Gum called Board Games, which lets you instantly rebuild barriers...for less points.
      • And then we have Now You See Me, which, when triggered, commands all of the zombies to go after you and you alone. Completely useless in solo for obvious reasons, and in co-op, serves no purpose next to In Plain Sight, which does the opposite effect of making all zombies ignore you.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Black Ops: The destruction of the Earth at your hands at the end of Moon is not just the moment when the series officially shifted to a more serialized tone, but it’s a strong contender for Signature Scene of the entire series.
    • Black Ops II: The Reveal in Mob of the Dead, the canonical Downer Ending of Buried, and the intro cutscene of Origins.
    • Black Ops III: The death of each of the Ultimis characters, but particularly that of Ultimis Dempsey.
    • Black Ops IIII: The Downer Ending of IX and the death of Primis Richtofen in Blood of the Dead for the respective Chaos and Aether storylines.
  • Signature Song:
    • Each map's Easter Egg song serves as this for the map, with the notable exception of Moon. "Coming Home" wasn't well-received, and the extra song, "Nightmare" by Avenged Sevenfold, became far more popular.
    • "Damned" (and its remixes) is the main theme song of the series, though "Beauty of Annihilation" serves as this for the World at War season and perhaps the entire series as a whole. "Samantha's Lullaby" also begins to pop up infrequently after Moon.
    • "115" for the Black Ops season.
    • "Always Running" for the Black Ops II season.
    • "The Gift" for the Black Ops III season.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: After the poorly received TranZit and Die Rise and the forgettable Nuketown Zombies, Mob of the Dead became an overnight sensation and is generally regarded as one of if not the best map of the entire series. This also came into play with Buried, since it was the third part of the Victis trilogy following TranZit and Die Rise, and is generally well-regarded for its improved mechanics and set-up.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: "Damned" has been noted to sound similar to the Halloween theme, especially the original and Black Ops III arrangements.
  • That One Level:
    • Out of all the maps that have been released, most players generally agree that TranZit (or Green Run, depend on what you want to call) is the worst Zombies map to date. First, the power location, apart from being annoyingly far from the starting point, had to be built first. On top of that, if you miss the bus, which is likely to happen often, you have to wade through some very thick fog to get from one part of the map to the next, while making sure you don't step in any of the liberally-placed lava. Which would be a hassle even without the Denizens latching onto your face every five seconds (which also have very loud, annoyingly inhuman screams every time they do so). And even when riding on the bus, it takes such a long time to get around the place and get set up, since guns are placed so sparingly around the map and most of the useful perks are found in the Town (which doesn't have any wall guns, by the way). Speaking of which, the new perk introduced here, Tombstone Soda, is pretty much useless unless you're trying to troll your teammates. Finally, the map's Wonder Weapon, the Jet Gun, is considered one of the weakest one in the entire Zombies history because Jet Gun has to be built and has an overheat mechanic, meaning it can only be fired in really short bursts or it will break. Not even the fact that there's a partial recreation of Nacht der Untoten hidden in this map could give it a plus. In fact, perhaps the only saving grace in this map is that it was the introduction to the Zombie Shield. It's telling when people would rather just survive in the Town than attempt to ride the damn bus.
    • Die Rise, hoo boy, Die Rise. First, you can fall off rather easily, no revive - and even if you do land within the map, you can't get PhD Flopper to prevent going down from fall damage. Second, the Jumping Jacks, which are essentially Kino der Toten's Nova Crawlers on crack. Third, the elevators, and how they serve as a thinly-veiled attempt to reuse the random perk drops from Nuketown Zombies. And finally, the new perk on this map, Who's Who, can actually be a detriment to the player, especially when playing solo. The only real positive is that the new Wonder Weapon, the Sliquifier, is one of the most reliable in Zombies history. Once Mob of the Dead, Buried, and Origins dropped, everyone who got them moved on, and TranZit only has the most players due to being on-disc already.
    • From Black Ops III, we have Zetsubou no Shima. Not only does it have an aesthetic that's too muted and depressing even by Zombies standards, it takes far too long to get set up on this map, even if you're running Perkaholic. It's also one of the buggiest maps of all time, with several bugs that can easily ruin your game. Then we have the Thrashers which, as explained under Goddamned Bats, have the player easily outmatched regardless of their equipment, and give no points upon death. Finally, we have the Spiders. If you didn't already hate spiders in real life, these little bastards should fix that. They have such a low hitbox they can't be knifed while standing, can take quite a lot of damage, have an unpredictable pattern, and in general are just as annoying as the Denizens from TranZit. On the flipside, the map does give us the akimbo Marshal 16s, which can pull you through to Round 31, and the Skull of Non Sapwe, which is one of the more...out-there Wonder Weapons.
  • That One Sidequest: Sidequest may not be the right word, but some of the Easter Egg objectives are pretty rage-inducing.
    • As if TranZit wasn't aggravating enough, the final step of Richtofen's Easter Egg requires four EMP Grenades to be thrown into four different portals on the map within five seconds. To pull this off, all four players need to get a set of EMP Grenades, which amounts to a shitton of goes on the Mystery Box. It can be done with only two players getting EMP Grenades, but the means of doing so are so convoluted that it's not usually recommended. It's very jarring considering the rest of the Easter Egg is so easy.
    • Buried's final step, regardless of who you side with, requires all four players to shoot down some targets. Simple, right? Well, the pattern requires all four players to be on the ball - if one player messes up, you've gotta do it all again. Hope you're all on a good connection!
    • Origins has two - first being the first step, which involves building all four of the Elemental Staffs, and upgrading them. The steps for getting the Wind and Lightning Staffs are seen as too complex for an average player, and you need to lug that there gramophone around to pull this off too. And that's all just to complete step one. A later step involves going inside one of the three Humongous Mecha on the map (preferably Odin) and activating the purge sequence, at which point you are given a ten second time limit to set a G-Strike down on a patch of grass near where you land after flying out of the mecha. Ten seconds is a very strict time limit, considering how long it takes to regain control of your character after activating the purge sequence - solo players are given no room for error.
    • Zetsubou No Shima, already a divisive map, has its challenges. They are very specific in what they ask of you to do, including killing a Thrasher at a specific moment (i.e. before they are angered). Like the Origins example, this essentially gives you no room for error, and you have to get really lucky with where a Thrasher spawns if your challenge involves them.
    • Gorod Krovi's bomb step can be really easy if you know what you're doing, but it has caused many players trouble. There are six locations flashing on the map, the order in which they flash represents the order in which the bombs need to be disarmed. If you mess up, all the bombs go off, and you'll probably get a Game Over. A prime example of Poor Communication Kills, because a mismatched team can easily bung up the order.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • As noted elsewhere, the new cast, mechanics, and musician was hard to swallow for the fandom at first when Black Ops II launched.
    • In The Giant in Black Ops III, the Wunderwaffe has gotten this treatment, as seen in Scrappy Weapon above.
    • The overhauled mechanics of Black Ops IV have proven divisive, particularly the removal of classic perks like Jug and Speed Cola.
  • Unexpected Character: The Arc Welding of Black Ops III brought back numerous minor characters from the lore that many players were not expecting to see or hear from again, many of whom were either only mentioned in letters or audio logs. Chief examples included Sophia, Peter McCain, Gersh, and Groph. Black Ops IV followed in this trend by bringing back Dr. Schuster for Classified, when the character had been absent from the series for the last seven years (and was also absent from Der Eisendrache when his cohort Groph starred in that map).
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Shangri-La was a pretty divisive map when it first released for Black Ops, largely due to the difficulty and tight quarters of the map, and usually had the least amount of players trying to play it. However, it eventually found a following and was warmly received when it was remastered for Zombies Chronicles, especially thanks to the next-gen level graphics given to the map.
    • Shadows of Evil suffered a lot of growing pains as the first map of Black Ops III. The Zombie AI and damage still needed to be worked out, the Gobblegum system had mixed reception, and the Lovecraftian enemies of the map caused several players to complain that the series was drifting too far from its roots. However, the strong character development, several patches, and later story revelations ended up ensuring that the reception of Shadows of Evil became much warmer, and it's now regarded as one of the finer maps of the series.
  • The Woobie: Oh wow, despite the Crazy Awesome, there's plenty to go around.

Alternative Title(s): Nazi Zombies

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