With its relatively bright and cheery atmosphere, lowered difficulty and excellent '80s soundtrack, Infinite Warfare's Zombies in Spaceland mode was almost perfect. Then the clowns showed up. Their squeaky shoes haunt my dreams.
I'm a big fans of Call of Duty's annual zombie modes, especially when they stray from the old ongoing narrative to explore wackier settings, like last year's magic-infused 1920's romp, or the one with the former US presidents. This time around we have an ageing horror movie director harnessing demonic powers to trap four actors in a zombie-infested '80s theme park. The four archetypes, rapper, jock, nerd and valley girl, go on as close to a cartoon adventure as four people can have when failure equals death. It even has an animated intro.
The cool cartoon vibe is perfect for introducing a kinder, gentler sort of zombies mode, where the difficulty doesn't seem to ramp us nearly as quickly as it has in the past, giving players time to explore the theme park more fully. Which is good, because it's littered with places to purchase power ups, traps to activate and secrets to uncover.
There's a robot that doles out challenges, earning players prize tickets upon completion. There are massive death traps that players might not notice until the first time their lives are claimed (watch out for teeth). Players with too much cash on hand can deposit it in an ATM, where other players can withdraw it, a handy way for recently-resurrected players to score enough money to buy back their old loadout at the lost and found.
Even death is a bit more kind. Instead of just dropping, players who bleed out are sent to an arcade, where they can play mini-games to earn a token to return to life. There's standard carnival arcade fare:
And then a selection of retro classics.
All of this takes place to an outstanding '80s soundtrack, spun by DJ Hasselhoff himself. We're talking Run DMC, REM, whichever band did "Freakzoid". It's all so perfect.
At least, until this happens. Be brave.
The first time the clown wave spawned in my guided tour of the mode I believe my response was, "Oh fuck you." I stand by that.
Clowns aside, I'm looking forward to seeing what else the zombies mode has in store for us in Infinite Warfare. Though nothing has been announced, the "Choose Film" option in the menu has me really curious.