I remember storming the beaches of Normandy five years ago in one of CoD 2's most tense and memorable levels. Yesterday in Black Ops I shot a zombie on the moon with a gun that made it vomit blood then explode. What the hell has happened to Call of Duty?
Whatever our memories of the shooter series, the zombie survival mode introduced by Treyarch in World at War has frequently been the best part of the regular Call of Duty: Black Ops packs. It follows, then, that a DLC pack made up of five zombie levels should be the best. It is, but not by much.
Moon is the centrepiece. You and three friends start out in a facility in Area 51, with zombies rising from the mud around you. Every few minutes a horn will sound and the zombies become faster and more powerful. Anyone frustrated by the boredom of the first few waves of a zombie map will greatly prefer this frantic opening. Within two minutes, the swarms will force you to take the cackling teleporter to the lunar surface.
You'll find yourself in low gravity, gasping for air. Snatching an HEV mask will give you oxygen and eerily mute the sound of gunfire and incoming zombies. Like all of Black Ops' zombie maps, you must use the points you've gained popping zombies to open doors to new parts of the level. Your first task is to turn on the power generator to restore gravity and oxygen to the warren of creepy moon-base corridors. If you fight deep enough into the facility you'll get the wave gun that cooks zombies inside out. Restoring power also enables you to tear off your HEV mask so you can hear where the zombies are coming from, but it can be more fun to stay outside where a shotgun blast can send a nearby zombie flying into space. Low gravity is brilliant.
The other four maps aren't so inventive. They're almost identical versions of the four World at War zombie maps that Black Ops limited edition owners have been playing for months, with some upgraded lighting and slightly reshuffled weapons. The basic ruined house of Nacht der Untoten and the gloomy swamps of Shi No Numa represent the Zombies mode in its most skeletal and boring form. The huge Tesla coils of the experimental Nazi facility in Der Reise are more fun, but the real star of the resurrected maps is Verrückt [German for crazy – Foreign Ed]. This splits your squad of four into two teams who must fight through a building to reunite, shooting zombies off each other's backs across a large central square.
It's telling that of all the Black Ops DLC packs the most worthwhile is 80% recycled material. Rezurrection is the best of a miserable bunch. Moon is good, but not £11.50 good, and it all seems moot when you can shell out an extra £2.50 and get Left 4 Dead 2 or Killing Floor for some more substantial, meatier zombie slaying.
Moon is mad, low-g fun, but four-fifths of the pack is nearly three years old. There are better ways to spend £11.50.