Marines Magazine

The Official Magazine of the United States Marine Corps

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Shoot ‘Em Up

Black Ops, the latest addition to the Call of Duty franchise, has breathed new life into that oh-so-familiar game that many of us have spent hour upon hour slaying virtual enemies.

If you thought Black Ops was just another CoD, well, you’re wrong. One of the most immediate changes is the fully realized main character, Alex Mason, a CIA operative who ends up traveling from Cuba to Vietnam in an effort to save the United States from communism in the Cold War era.

Marine Corps references in the game are predominant as Mason was a Marine before joining the agency with Frank Woods, who bears a large “USMC” tattoo on his left arm. Players also have the chance to fight in the Battles of Khe Sanh and Hue City, two of the bloodiest battles during the Vietnam War, and places where Marines once again proved to be a formidable force in the worst of odds.

Beyond the campaign is the familiar, yet upgraded, multiplayer mode. Modern Warfare 2 was indeed an epic play online, but Black Ops brings some new toys to the table.

One of these additions is CoD points, which function as a type of game credit earned for completing challenges and even time played. CoD points are used to unlock various weapons, perks and kill streak rewards. If you think getting that fancy assault rifle you’ve always wanted is going to be twice as hard, think again. Of course there are level prerequisites, but the CoD points make it possible to save up and get what you need.  Instead of completing various challenges to get things like a suppressor, you can just buy it for your preferred weapon. This also makes customization easier. If you want a weapon or fancy reticle for your red dot scope, you can simply save CoD points for it. You get to the required level, spend your hard earned points, and get out there and fight like the pimped out warrior you are.

But what is some form of credit if you can’t gamble it away? Enter Wager Mode, where players can focus on taking each other’s CoD points.

Wager Mode games are an exciting prospect offering up the last game’s points to an uncertain fate. There are four types of wager matches: One in the Chamber, where you start with one bullet, earning more with each kill; Gun Game, where the player earns a better gun with every kill – reaching 20 upgrades first decides the winner; Sticks and Stones, a primeval mode where you get a crossbow, ballistic knife and tomahawk-like medieval death machine; and Sharp Shooter, where you get random weapons that change, over time. The whole gambling aspect leads to some great fun and the modes will give you a breath of fresh air in the multiplayer experience, as well as granting you the ability to punk your buddies into going for broke.

You may ask, “well what about zombie mode from World at War?” Well, my friends, Black Ops doesn’t disappoint. With new larger maps and a bad-ass new enemy, the vicious hell-hounds, give fighting off the undead a new feel. Hell-hounds appear after a number of rounds have passed, bringing forth an unrelenting, lightning-fast attack. Just remember to save your ammo and make hits count, as any Marine should.

All in all, Black Ops, in my humble opinion, is an excellent addition to the CoD family. It isn’t the same as the Modern Warfare games, but makes for an excellent change-up. With an immersive campaign, addictive multiplayer and zombie modes we all know and love, Black Ops is a bundle of joy, filled with explosions, stunning action and plenty of spattered zombie brains for you and your fellow Belleau Woodsmen. •