Call of Duty Zombies from World at War (WAW) to Black Ops 4 (BO4) is peak gaming. Nothing is quite as nostalgic as the song that plays on the menu screen for this game mode in the first five titles it appears in. After having spent so much time playing couch coop with friends doing Easter eggs and going for high rounds, I have compiled a list of the top 10 Zombies maps I enjoy playing most. Make sure to comment if you think a map is on this list that shouldn’t be here, or if you feel like I missed something. Let’s get right into number 10.
Shi No Numa (Black Ops 1)
Easily a top 10 Zombies map. It’s fun in the first game it appears in, it’s just that World At War’s engine is bad. Zombies do this weird thing in World At War where they stun-lock you after you get hit and they pull you towards them and the horde. They randomly electric slide in front of your training paths due to poor tracking too. Quick Revive also has the locked function of reviving teammates faster in WAW. Meaning that all games are over in one down.
The Black Ops 3 Zombies Chronicles version of Shi No Numa is nice as the engine is better functioning and graphically updated. I’m ranking the Black Ops 1 version though. The BO3 remaster robs the original of many elements that made it the unique play experience that puts it on this list. The combination of a three-hit-down system without jugg, the ability to slide chain for fast movement, and Gobblegum make this map very easy on Black Ops 3.
Black Ops 1 is the version that got it the most right in my opinion. BO1 is less buggy than World At War, yet this game successfully preserves the essence of the rotting, bug-infested swamp. Black Ops 1 has two-hit down without Juggernog and a Quick Revive machine that works solo. Also, zombies seem to have a ton of health in Black Ops 1. This adds to the fear factor of this map.
Having access to traps like the flogger and the Wunderwaffe are other things that make Shi No Numa great. WAW features a zombie spawn cap of 24 per round. Making Shi No Numa on World at War the map that has the highest round number. 11482 rounds achieved by Cruppz.
(Via Cruppz on YouTube)
Dead of the Night (Black Ops 4)
This may be a hot take since “We don’t like Black Ops 4“. And I agree, this game has Voyage of Despair, Alpha Omega, and Blood of the Dead. Still, the Zombies map in the first DLC for this game is super fun. The craziest part is how this map received no promo before launching.
The only negative part of Dead of the Night I can name is the mundane cast of characters you play as. Otherwise, the map is set in a Gatsby-style mansion where the player must do challenges to open Pack-a-Punch and fight a wolf boss that attacks every so often. The main Easter egg finishes with a longer wolf boss fight in a separate arena.
(Via MrRoflWaffles on YouTube)
The Alisatirs Folly Wunder Weapon is also a formidable toolie. It is both easy to obtain and upgrade into the Chaos Theory and Allistair’s Annihilator. Black Ops 4 has its own issues, (No Juggernog, OP specialists, flaws in the point system, and much more) but Dead of the Night is a top 10 Zombies map that finds a way to exist independently of this game’s major failures.
Call of the Dead (Black Ops 1)
Man, I love this map. There is an amazing cast of playable characters (Robert Englund, Michael Rooker, Danny Trejo, and Sarah Michelle Gellar). And there is a crazy atmosphere with all the snow and frozen water covering the map. The frozen water would be a problem if there were no viable places to train, but there are a few. The only thing that makes playing Call of the Dead less enjoyable than it otherwise could be is the Wunder Weapons which don’t deal infinite damage. This makes it so round 100 solo is impossible on this map. Even so, this is inconsequential to someone like myself who won’t play for longer than 30 rounds. This video by Umesco shows how wicked this map can get on high rounds.
There is just something different about training outside of the lighthouse with the Wunderwaffe, Scavenger, Mustang and Sally, as well as Ph.D. Flopper. On Call of the Dead, Pack-a-Punch is easy to get. Ziplines are also a prominent means of transport. George Romero, peace be with his soul, trolls around this map to make the game harder for the player. Does he accomplish this? Maybe? Killing him gives a free perk and Wunderwaffe, it is like George is almost there to help. The player cannot stand still though or else he’ll get you. Yet he doesn’t ruin the experience of playing Call of the Dead in my eyes. For me, George is just there.
Shangri-La (Black Ops 3)
These are the days before buildables and long elaborate setups just to turn on the power. The simplistic gameplay loops of this map pair with a beautiful design for a nice experience. These visual aspects and basic gameplay formula make this the perfect map to pick up and play for 30 minutes to an hour before leaving the house to do something else. This map is great. The boss zombies (Napalms and Screechers) offer a significant challenge, and so do the tight corridors that often cause downs. This video by MrDalekJD showcases gameplay using the Wunder Weapon specific to this map.
Little space to work is somewhat offset by multiple different escape options present at different points of the map. The perks are all in good locations, the “baby gun” Wunder Weapon is one of the best in the series, and opening Pack-a-Punch solo is as simple as standing on a pressure pad that has 4 spawns. Monkeys that steal powerups can also be forced to drop Max Ammos. People who know about this map will likely understand why I view it as one of the best solo experiences Black Ops 3 Zombies Chronicles has to offer.
This is a top Zombies Map is legendary on the counts of containing several different features that are all fun to reminisce over. You could buy the LSAT in the starting room. And who could forget about Leroy? He’s the main man who the player must free from a prison cell. After springing him, he opens up different points of the map in exchange for booze. He can build stuff and lock down the box too if you give him candy.
The weapon chalk on this map is a way to make lots of free points and get the AN-94 for basically free. There are also three different buildable contraptions for killing zombies. The new perk Vulturaid also gives the player ammo, points, and invulnerability when standing in green smoke. There is also the Witch House. The women inside of it are notorious for stealing all of your money. But they simply exist to counteract an easy play experience. And even then they give you a free perk once they have all been defeated. Listen to how happy Kell0mies gets when he finally hits the coveted round 100 on this map.
The Paralyzer, the Mark 2 Ray Gun, time bombs, exploits involving camping, and the use of the perma perk feature in Black Ops 2 make Buried one of the easier maps in the Zombies series. Oddly enough though, this map has one of the most difficult round 100s. The ease of this map does limit it from being higher in this list. But Buried is just so signature, that it has to be here.
Mob of the Dead (Black Ops 2)
Mob not in the top 3 may upset a few people, but I do not care. It’s great regardless. The Easter egg is really good and well done. And the box has some of the best weapons inside of it from any <em>COD Zombies map. The layout is good too, and there are several places to train zombies. NGTZombies has a classic guide on YouTube showcasing the best places to train zombies on this map.
The Acid Gat rocks. And this map’s boss “Brutus” has an amazing design. He is one of the best mini-bosses in COD Zombies hands down. The Pack-a-Punch camo on this map is brilliant too. The characters, who are all mobsters in purgatory, as well as the lore surrounding the prison where Mob of the Dead takes place are also super neat. In game and in real life.
It is just the setup for this map with the dog heads and then upgrading the Hell’s Retriever that is a chore. And then building the plane five times per game is annoying. So is Afterlife which is clunky on BO2. If I had played this map first on Black Ops 2 I may hold a different sentiment towards it. I do like the map, but when speaking about my favorites in the series, I don’t fancy it over the next four mentions.
Der Eisen Drache (Black Ops 3)
This is another easy map that is still engaging enough to play for a long time. The bows are amazing and come in four elements. Upgrading the regular bow into the Wolf or Lightning Bow isn’t very hard to do. And at the point of having one, the Panzer, which returns from Origins, is a nonconcern.
There is a Zombie Shield, the Ragnarok DG-4, and Gobblegums to aid in making this a smooth play experience. The jump pads around the map enable easy access to all points and there are excellent places to hoard zombies all around this map. I have never have a bad time on Der Eisen Drache when I am in the mood to play it. Scott Andrew has a video of himself posted to his YouTube channel playing Der Eisen Drache with the Wolf Bow on round 30.
Der Riese (World at War)
I don’t even have to explain. We all were once on that catwalk camping with our friends rocking three Pack-a-Punched MG42’s a Wunderwaffe and a couple more PPSH 41’s. This is real gaming what I’m speaking about right now. Regarding solo play, this map is still magnificent. You got Pack-a-Punch, wide corridors to train in, and dog rounds for Max Ammos. There are a couple of small easter eggs in this map and even a remaster of the OG version on Black Ops 3 with the Giant. If The Giant is all you have access to, play it. It isn’t that much of a compromise.
But the World At War version is the one I mostly recommend. In 2023, I own WAW and BO1-BO4 on disk for my Xbox Series X | S. I still play the first version of this map that served as my entry point into the series so long ago. When comparing it to other games, Black Ops 3 tends to lend itself to easier playability over creating gruesome gameplay experiences and environments like in prior games. This gameplay from NoAnnoyingCommentary Z on YouTube how dicey this map can get. As well as footage of him using “The Reaper”.
World at War Der Riese is so brutal and unforgiving. That’s why I love this map. playing WAW Der Riese is scary because of the two-hit down without Juggernog and the four-hit down with it. The setting in this game also feels like the edge of the world. Small snow particles fall from a sky where an eternal eclipse looms over the level. The furnace room has an ever-burning fire within it and these elements make this test site feel evil and scary. Once the layers of lore surrounding this facility are peeled back in a MrRoflWaffles video then that’s when it really gets spooky. This is a top 5 Zombies Map to many people.
Shadows of Evil (Black Ops 3)
When I first played this map, I thought it was so trash. The setup for this map is pretty lengthy, but it’s streamlined and every ritual is fun. You do have to watch a YouTube video to understand things like where the shield parts are and how to use Beast Form though. Here is a video of our friend NoAnnoyingCommentary Z completing the final ritual and unlocking Pack-a-Punch on this map.
Beast Form is better than Afterlife in Mob because the Black Ops 3 engine works better than Black Ops 2’s. I still get stuck on the ledges of the spirit doors when using Afterlife on Mob. The Margwa is a creative boss in concept though it can easily be demolished by the Pop Shocks Gobblegum. It really does add an element of danger to this map, especially when playing with friends where it has lots of health.
The new bee and meatball mobs are also creative additions. The old-time prohibition setting is charming and the cast of characters on this map which only appeared once are fan favorites in the series. The Wunder Weapon is an alien tentacle…thing? It’s called the Apothicon Servant and does infinite damage. It is one of if not the best Wunder Weapons ever. The easter egg for this map is amazing too, it sets the stage for the rest of the lore in Black Ops 3 surrounding The Shadowman, “The Great War”, and the Apothicons. Maturity is admitting that Shadows Of Evil is actually really good. It sits comfortably at #3 on this list. besides, who doesn’t love the memes?
(Via KingZ SparkZ on YouTube)
Town (Black Ops 2)
Tranzit is a garbage fire. It suffers from the developer’s eyes being bigger than their stomachs in regard to the current capabilities of the consoles they were making games for. If the Series X existed in 2015 and Transit was developed and released for that console, It would be an amazing map. But what we have is something that feels incomplete instead. And that is exactly why this map is better when sectioned off like it is in survival modes like Town. Memories of playing with friends on this map are a large reason why it is remembered so fondly. It is a map that is easily playable but can get boring during long play sessions. Town is mid. Not horrible, but no Wunder Weapon and the presence of lava will prevent this map from ever being worthy of being top 10.
IX (Black Ops 4)
Black Ops 4 is just so gross. That is the only thing holding IX back from making this list. Town from BO2 and this map are the same. Both maps have no viable Wunder Weapon with otherwise simple and fun gameplay outside of this. Black Ops 4 will always be the worst game out of the numbered Black Ops titles, but it did have its moments. IX is one of the high points of this game. The gladiator theme is fun. The lore and characters though are the definition of forgettable. Another thing holding it back from being truly great.
Verruckt (Black Ops 1)
10/10 atmosphere, 3/10 gameplay. This map is hard, there is nowhere to train, no Pack-a-Punch, and zombies sprint eventually. Forget about playing this map on World At War. It’s a running joke in the community that Verruckt is teeth grindingly difficult. The joys of this map come from the fact it is so scary. Mini easter eggs such as evil carnival music, a blood fountain, and a dentist chair that players can interact with to hear screams and drill noises make this Mental Asylum a bone-chilling place that feels sinister. If this list was about atmosphere, Verruckt would get the top spot.
Kino Der Toten (Black Ops 3)
This is the map that made the Zombies game mode mainstream after World at War. I’ll always show respect to KIno for this. That doesn’t change the fact that this map is still rather boring. Some would consider this to be the best map ever, but I just don’t think so. I don’t even think It’s top 10 worthy. The gameplay loop is the same every time and the stage removes any diversity in the approach you can take to surviving on this map. Nothing makes as much sense as training on the stage with the Thundergun.
Ascension (Black Ops 1)
This map is the same as Kino on many levels. The lunar chimp attacks that replace dog rounds keep the player on their toes or else they will lose their perks. Otherwise, the Thundergun and Gersh Devices are here and this map may have the most open spaces out of any map to train zombies on. The reason why this map is not top 10 is because there is no threat of danger. On Black Ops 1 there is PHD Flopper that mitigates all explosive damage enabling the use of the Matryoshka Doll, Ray Gun, (without penalty) and Mustang and Sally. Only the monkeys do anything that the player has to be concerned about and they are more annoying than anything else.
Gorod Krovi (Black Ops 3)
This map suffers from the opposite of the issue Kino suffers from. Whereas Kino is dry and boring, Gorod Krovi has too much stuff to do in it. But if the player is willing to study under Professor MrRoflWaffles, they can enjoy one of the craziest Zombies experiences capped off with an insane boss. I only choose to not put it on the list officially as not many know about this map or how good it really is. It sits at the top of these honorable mentions.
Origins (Black Ops 2)
This map does it for me. Even without the staffs which are among the best Wunder Weapons in the game. This map still is fun.
The MP40 and STG44 get a remaster for this map. They come with the MG 08, a new WW1-styled LMG to add immersion. In Black Ops 2 the box has guns in it from that game like the Scar H, Skorpion Evo, and KSG. This star cast of weapons combined with a Mauser starting pistol that turns into one of the best weapons in zombies Pack-a-Punched ties this map with Mob of the Dead for being the map with the best guns. MrJake9998 has a showcase of himself using the beastly KSG on YouTube.
These weapons are used to fight a massive zombie covered in an iron suit called the “Panzer Soldat”. He attacks on round 8 and the sirens that blare as he enters combat are very nerve-racking. The staffs come in four different elements like the bows and have upgrades as well. Here is a video from ItsUniter of the ice staff and its insane visual effects.
The ambiance of Origins is unmatched by any other Zombies map, there is cycling weather, mud that swamps your movement, planes dogfighting in the sky, and three 1000 ft tall robots that lumber across the murky trenches under the wartorn sky. The Easter Egg for this map also perfectly set the stage for the next game. “The Crazy Place” dimension is unlike anything Zombies players had seen before it got introduced. The means of unlocking Pack-a-Punch on this map via activating conversion generators is also very creative.