Thunderbolt logo

Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies

Call of Duty

The training mission in Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies is to sit tight at the first barricade and spray oncoming zombies with lead as your comrade, Dr. Richtofen, lay bleeding out, only several feet and a barred off barrier separating his defiled blood-soaked body from your feet. You soon realize, he’s screwed, as his figure is stricken with death, and he rises from the ground as a zombie. What you have in store for you is your impending demise.


That’s the strange thing about Call of Duty: Zombies. No matter how well you play, the end result is always the same. Death by way of zombies is inevitable; there’s no other possible outcome. Much like the compelling wave driven shooters of yesteryear, your progress is defined only by the toughening of your enemies and number of waves you’ve completed. Adept players only delay the inevitable by outlasting their teammates. The only incentive left for them is to reach a further wave than where they died last time.

Carrying over exactly from its console brethren, Zombies initially consists of the first level from Call of Duty: World at War’s Nazi Zombie gameplay mode, Nacht der Untoten, which is German for “Night of the Undead”. It happens to be the least challenging of the four available console levels and doesn’t include any of the perks or traps found in the other locations. All of the action in Nacht der Untoten unfolds in a three room sniping outpost lifted from CoD: WaW’s multi-player map, Airfield.


For newcomers, the Zombie maps have traditionally been drab, depressing themes of god-forsaken, long-abandoned wartime facilities which are immediately overrun by zombies the second you set foot in the level. Armed with light weaponry – a knife, pistol, and steilhandgrenates (common German stick grenades) – you’re expected to cut the zombies off at the pass and to defend each section of the “Zombie House”, as players call it. There’s also a point system which can go toward buying the guns and grenades featured in the chalk outlines against the walls and points can also be spent granting access to the other rooms. can clear debris or open the “help” door. Strategy is predicated on access to weaponry, conservation of points for when you’re needing it, and ensuring you haven’t spread yourself out so that you can’t keep all the barricades in check.

Nacht der Untoten’s layout is simplistic but extremely well designed. There are no readily apparent changes in the level’s layout, or in the behavior of its zombies, although their numbers do seem to be reduced significantly to fit the platform. Zombies still hobble, goose step, and crawl their way toward their victims through familiar animations. It speaks well for the iPhone’s progression as a serious handheld contender when we see console games re-focused with iPhone iterations, especially when they’re as capable of capturing that console feeling, as Zombies does. Limb shots and decapitations are made easy by including the sight-firing mechanic. While I still believe the touch screen’s impractical for almost any FPS title, Zombies is the best argument in favor of touch screen FPSs since Metroid Prime: Hunters, for the DS.


Four player Co-Op is less than amiable on the iPhone, as there’s no way to communicate with your team. People tend to drop out of Zombies Co-Op almost immediately, so it’s frustrating trying to get a dedicated team together. As communication is paramount for success, the Bluetooth and Local Internet options are both preferable, and are refreshingly absent of lag, in comparison.

$9.99 may seem a tad bit excessive for an iPhone game and the premise of paying more to have access to anything other than the starting map is a bit discouraging, but the development team at Ideaworks3D have created a pretty decent FPS on a platform that just doesn’t allow for it to get any better. That doesn’t mean its perfect, it just means the developers have created a game without recognizing it shouldn’t be done on Apple’s portable.

Review based on version 1.1.0

6 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

Gentle persuasion

You should check out our podcast.