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Finishing school is a bittersweet milestone in life. On one hand, you're finally ready to enter the real world, make your own money, and start paying off the accumulated debt from said education. On the other, all those friends you were hanging around with every day probably won't be around anymore and you'll more than likely lose touch. But that didn't happen to me. I avoided losing my friends and becoming a sad shell of a person by blowing up zombie brains in Call of Duty--of all things.
After leaving my college campus, I eventually moved to San Francisco; one friend was in San Diego, and two other buddies were relatively close in San Jose. The distance made it a little difficult to hang out--at least, until one of my friends finished Call of Duty: World at War and discovered the Nazi Zombies mode.
In World at War, the Nazi Zombies mode was an easter egg that let up to four players defend a small room from waves of the Hitler-loyal undead. Each wave became increasingly difficult: not only do the zombies require more bullet holes to stay down--the number of undead rises the longer you survive. Then there was the added strategy of guarding your partners while they board up windows, or purchase weapons from the Mystery Box (which could get you anything from a peashooter pistol to a powerful alien ray gun at random).
Our initial five-round stints were a blast, but with higher numbered waves to reach, our XBL chat's thrilled laughter and horrified screams quickly started to shift towards detailed tactical planning. Who's going to get the Mystery Box first? What round do we unlock the next section of the map? Where do we hunker down for our last stand so we can squeeze in a few extra waves before being overrun? Then came the DLC maps, which introduced even more complex level layouts, upgradable weapons, and zombie dogs--making matches all the more insane. But the added challenge spawned even more strategic discussion. It even lead to one of my friends diagramming levels at his day job and sharing his "brilliant" plans with the rest of the team during our nightly online hangouts.
Eventually, we got it down. No bullets were fired in the early rounds (knifing saves ammo). We opened the doors to the Mystery Box on round 5. At our "Alamo," we stood our ground with one person covering the windows on the left, another person covering the right, and two shooting down the main horde. We started tossing grenades at the last few zombies in a wave to create "crawlers," then lead them around the map so our teammates had extra time to gather weapons between rounds. We were a well-oiled machine, and we were having an amazing time.
Nazi Zombies was the perfect way for my friends and I to keep in touch, even though we weren't in the same city. We never set any record numbers on the leaderboards or anything, but having the chance to slaughter thousands of undead monsters with some of my closest, physically distant buddies was unforgettable. If you're looking for a co-op game, gather up your pals and give one of the Call of Duty's Zombies mode a shot...in the head...before it bites your face off.
Looking for stuff to play outside of the stuff we already tell you to play on a daily basis? You're in luck! Every Saturday we'll recommend an older game for you to check out, complete with a story on how we found the game and why we recommend you play it.