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The top five Call of Duty Zombies maps in history

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World at War to Black Ops 4, these are the five best Call of Duty Zombies Maps.

From Nacht der Untoten to Zombies in Spaceland, over the past ten years players have been introduced to new features, new locales, and new characters. With the newest Zombies map, Dead of the Night, dropping this month for Black Ops 4 players, I thought it’d be appropriate to take a look at the past.

With more than 40 Zombies maps over eight games and three studios, there are a handful that stand the test of time and are regarded as the best. A couple of things go into consideration when coming up with these top maps, however the most important factors are replayability and fun.

A great map isn’t just great the first time you play it. A great map continues to be great the 100th, 300th, and 500th time you play it. In the same vein, a great map has to be fun to play. There are many maps that have amazing environments, exotic Wonder Weapons, and unique ideas, but if the map isn’t fun, those things are meaningless.

While fun is of course extremely subjective, I base the fun of a map on its ability to balance complexity and simplicity. Getting set up on a great map shouldn’t feel tedious, rather you should feel like you’re accomplishing something with each door-buy and buildable you craft.

That said, here are my top five Call of Duty Zombies maps (in no order):

Der Riese (The Giant)

(via callofduty.wikia.com)

The final DLC map in 2008’s Call of Duty World at War, Der Riese is the first map to fully embrace the Nazi Zombies vibe. Nacht der Untoten could’ve been a bunker anywhere and while Verruckt definitely had a spooky Nazi atmosphere, Der Riese leaned heavily into the sci-fi nature of the mode.

This map introduced players to both teleporters and the Pack-a-Punch machine, which would go on to become core features of every future map. Without teleporters (or some equivalent form of travel) large Zombies maps wouldn’t exist. And with no machine to upgrade your guns, high rounds would go by at half speed.

Der Riese has seen many iterations, its original form in World at War, an updated version in Black Ops 1 with different Mystery Box guns and Mule Kick, and most recently appearing as The Giant in Black Ops 3. However, since all three retain the same core layout, I bundled them into this spot on the list.

Kino der Toten

(via callofduty.wikia.com)

Kino der Toten is easily the best Call of Duty Zombies map to launch on-disc. The maps beauty lies in its simplicity. With only eight doors and a power switch, Kino manages to remain fun and engaging every time you jump in. Easy enough for new players to survive for a while with no prior knowledge, yet deep enough for hardcore fans to maximize their strategies for high rounds.

Whether you were rocking the new Thundergun or the classic Ray Gun, Kino der Toten served as the test bed for Black Ops 1’s new armory. Classics like the Galil and RPK sat alongside unique special weapons like the upgraded Ballistic Knife and Crossbow.

This is also the first map that doesn’t require any unlocking or DLC to play, which makes it sort of an introduction to the mode for most modern Zombies players.

Der Eisendrache

(via callofduty.wikia.com)

Der Eisendrache takes some of the best concepts and ideas from the maps before it and refines them to perfection. Right off the bat, you’re greeted with familiar animal heads, in this case dragons, that you need to feed. While in Mob of the Dead, feeding three wolf heads grants you the Hell’s Retriever, feeding the dragon heads in Der Eisendrache is just step one to crafting some of the greatest weapons in Zombies history – the Bows.

Although the base level bow, Wrath of the Ancients, is easy to get and not half bad, only when upgraded does this map truly start to shine. Following in Origins footsteps, Der Eisendrache has four unique, powerful, elemental Wonder Weapons that require some work to craft, but well worth the effort.

Colloquially known as the Storm, Ice, Void, and Fire bows, every player has their favorite, and even close friends often get into fights over who called which bow first. But it’s not only the weapons that make this map great.

The layout is gives enough breathing room for four players to comfortably form their own hordes of zombies, which still keeping everything relatively close in case someone goes down. This means that teams don’t get over run too early on, and that mistakes mid-game can be easily corrected and the match can continue. 

Ascension

(via callofduty.wikia.com)

With Black Ops 3 and Black Ops 4 sticking with the same perks they’ve had since launch, a DLC map bringing two new perks with it seems unimaginable. Yet that’s exactly what Ascension did. While Stamina-Up is still with us today and is a go-to for many players, fans had to say goodbye to PHD Flopper after Black Ops 1.

What makes PHD Flopper so special in relation to Ascension, is that it’s a perk perfectly fit for the map. With all the high staircases and tall ledges, players were encouraged to dolphin dive off everything they could creating huge explosions. But that’s not all! PHD Flopper grants immunity to explosive damage therefore turning the Ray Gun into a fun get out of jail free card.

Getting to the map itself, a Soviet Cosmodrome provided a very fresh take on Zombies, with Space Monkeys, rocket ships, and lunar landers creating a coherent atmosphere. Camping spots are plentiful and weapon selection is superb.

Ascension is also the first map to include an easter egg main quest, setting the community on a rigorous hunt every time a new map is released.

Origins

(via callofduty.wikia.com)

Origins took us back. Way back. Not only did this map bring together the original crew for the first time in Black Ops 2, we were also introduced to a new, younger version of the gang. Seeing a spry Tank, Nikolai, Takeo, and Richtofen for the first time in the opening cutscene would’ve been enough, but then the Giant Robots showed up.

I still can’t think of a map that has a grander scale than Origins. Yes, there are maps that are bigger, but no other maps include three towering Giant Robots strolling across the map. Between that and the dig site that just keeps going down, this map is LARGE yet still accessible. Thanks to the portals underground and the Mark IV Tank, smart players can zip around this map pretty fast.

Giant Robots, Tanks, and a young crew doesn’t even scratch the amount of things Origins has to offer. Between the Maxis Drone, G-Strike grenades, Elemental Fists, and shield, this map set a precedent for future maps when it comes to buildables and secret weapons.

Lastly, there are the four Elemental Staffs and their upgrades. Tranzit and Die Rise both had their own buildable Wonder Weapons that couldn’t simply be found in the box, but these Staffs are so much more than buildables. They’re part of the map and its environment. Digging up parts, shooting things out of the sky, placing them in medieval statues of yourself, even collecting them from inside Giant Robots, all helped give the feeling that you were playing a part in the map rather than simply playing on the map itself.

Some notable maps that didn’t make the list include Mob of the Dead, Gorod Krovi, IX, and Die Rise, yet those are still fantastic maps and worthy of praise.

Do you agree with this list? What are your personal top five maps from any Call of Duty Zombies game? Let us know in the comments down below!