Saturday, November 2, 2013

I Love Zombies (Characters)

Call of Duty Zombies N4

Part 2 of my Zombies love letter. My last post details why I love Treyarch's Zombies from a gameplay and mechanical perspective, now I will be discussing the personality of the characters people play as.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 introduces a new set of characters to be the "main" heroes. The new four are Misty, Marlton, Stuhlinger, and Russman. In the previous games, Dempsey, Nikolai, Takeo, and Richtofen were the original four. As I have not bought or played Origins, the original four will not be discussed in this post.

Misty is the tough talking farmgirl, who has a not-so-secret crush on Marlton. She's forward and aggressive, which leads to some fantastic lines towards the group and zombies alike. She favors shotguns, explosives, anything that kills zombies real good. In the group she talks positively to Marlton, and despises Stuhlinger, and by association, Russman. Misty is by far my favorite character of the group, it is difficult not to like her. I know this is going to sound strange, but I love her gloves. Something about the textures makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. The rest of the group, Marlton, Stuhlinger, and Russman have hand models, so maybe that small difference makes it.

Marlton is the nerdy engineer, complete with calculator watch. He has a of high opinion of himself, which can be heard whenever he builds something. Most of the time at the Mystery Box, Marlton will start dropping gun trivia on whatever he picks up. He is similar to Misty in how he talks with the group, the difference being he hates Russman the most. His use of language with perks, weapons, colas, and general zombie survival-ness make it easy to mentally picture him.

The relationship of Misty and Marlton is adorable; wonderfully adorable. The dynamic with her overt advances and his shying naturally brings grins. It goes more subtle than that, however. Misty, during certain actions, will try and use some of Marlton's language, unsuccessfully. Other times, when completing a buildable, she will comment about finding it, as not to hurt his engineering ego and make him feel useful. It is endearing. Marlton tries to act like he doesn't care, like some robot, but he'll break from his programming and let out a feeling, or two. This can be triggered when surviving a wave of zombies, he will ecstatically comment, "I can kiss you! (Misty)" followed by a cough. I love these two, I love them together. I'm a big sap.

Stuhlinger is a renowned purveyor of conspiracy theories and short shorts. He is the "storyline" character of the group. In any of the maps, he can hear Rictofen and Maxis in his head, who tell him the objectives he must complete. Only the player in control of Stuhlinger will hear these voices, and know how to proceed. Somewhere in his backstory, Stuhlinger got roped into eating zombie flesh, which allows him to hear the voices, and so he can make food puns while fighting off the undead. His most hated team member is Misty.

Russman is the oldest member of the group, and looks the most homeless. He has Alzheimer's disease and a host of other problems he deals with. If the player starts picking up the Perk Colas, Russman will start feeling better, such Stamina Cola fixing his bum hip. There is more backstory to Russman and his past, but it is the least explored, in terms of the rest of the group. I love the he wears two different shoes. His most hated team member is Marlton.

Stuhlinger and Russman also have a relationship, although it's different than Misty and Marlton's. I'm speaking romantically here, folks. As it happens, both groups found each other, before coming together. When playing, Stuhlinger and Russman will speak positively to one another, either in jokes, understanding, or backstory, while also speaking negatively of Marlton and Misty.  Keep in mind, it works the other way as well. It adds personality to the characters, and to the world, especially when they start responding to each other's quips.

The CDC and CIA are the generic teams the player is grouped in, unless they are playing a storyline mode, like Tranzit. Each of the four players have the same character model, either orange jumpsuits or Men In Black suits. The big difference will be in the arms, so there's that. I enjoy how stereotypical the factions look, and sometimes I do pretend I'm the Men In Black, tasked with eliminating the zombie menace, one bullet at a time. Your mileage may vary. They don't talk, the only sounds they make are grunts when they fall or get it, and burps, when they drink a cola.

The Demonic Announcer for Black Ops 2 is Rictofen, post-insanity. Rictofen is absolutely mad, and wonderfully flamboyant. I get a big smile whenever a Mystery Box disappears and he says, "Bye-bye." or any of the plot related dialogue with Stuhlinger takes place. It's hard not to like the guy. That guy who happens to be voiced by Nolan North; what a terrific job.

If the player goes on the map Nuketown, they will hear a very different Demonic Announcer, Samantha. Samantha is the previous Demonic Announcer, before Rictofen went power hungry and switched places with her during the map of Moon. Nuketown takes place at the same time as Moon, meaning if the player survives long enough, they can experience the change-out and Rictofen will be the Demonic Announcer for the rest of the map's duration. A cool Easter Egg for just the act of survival. One more thing I like to point out for Nuketown Zombies, the map takes place right after the explosion in Black Ops Multiplayer Nuketown. I love it when little things get tied together.

Zombies has had a lot of love put into it by the developers. The in-jokes, the references, the zany nature of it all; it goes far deeper than the superficial level. Next year, when the new iteration of Zombies comes out, I have faith that Treyarch will not let me down.

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