Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies saw the launch of the new map “Firebase Z” last week, and apart from a few unfortunate bugs, the map has been well-received by fans. Prioritizing quality gameplay over everything else, the map introduces fun new concepts like Assault Rounds and the Mimic mini boss. Like other Zombies maps, there is a main easter egg quest too, and it boasts some interesting connections to past maps if players look closely enough.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War fans that have completed Firebase Z’s easter egg should notice callbacks to previous Zombies quests, though there are just as many things that make the map’s core objective standout. As such, comparing the Firebase Z quest to older Zombies easter eggs can help reveal returning story themes and design decisions, while also spotlighting the fully original aspects of the quest. Through this mixture of old and new tricks, Treyarch has created a strong-but-short easter egg for Firebase Z, with the quest holding up well when compared to past maps’ easter eggs.
Though Call of Duty: World at War introduced the world to Call of Duty Zombies, its easter eggs were limited to hidden songs and the fly trap easter egg on Der Riese. As such, Call of Duty: Black Ops was the first game to introduce proper easter egg quests, with the first one appearing in the game’s first DLC map Ascension. With the fan favorite map Kino Der Toten and the bonus map “Five”” not boasting quests of their own, there are only four easter eggs to compare Firebase Z to.
- Most Similar – Call of the Dead: While Firebase Z’s main quest lacks a trophy unlock like Ascension’s easter egg, and Moon gives Samantha a major role, the latest easter egg’s actual content is most similar to Call of the Dead. In Firebase Z, players are commanded by Samantha’s ally Ravenov and the evil Dr. Peck, with both characters hiding behind closed doors. In Call of the Dead, the same thing happens, with the cast of a George Romero movie being commanded by Richtofen and the Ultimis crew. With the actors being commanded to carry out a set of tasks by the story’s main characters just like Requiem is ordered around by Peck and Ravenov, both quests have a similar feel.
- Least Similar – Shangri-La: Aside from a Vietnamese firebase being wildly different from a mythical temple, Shangri-La’s time travel-filled easter egg features some vastly different steps to complete. From activating eclipses and matching symbols on the floor to killing Napalm Zombies with Spikemores, players are doing hugely different things as they guide the explorers Brock and Gary to safety. With the main goal being to acquire a powerful item called the Focusing Stone differing greatly from Firebase Z’s objective of rescuing Samantha Maxis, these two easter eggs are nothing like one another.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Zombies was an interesting beast, as the mode featured some of the best and worst moments in Zombies history. While Origins and Mob of the Dead are still regarded as the peak of the mode’s map design, the launch map TranZit was limited by the technology of the time and arguably stands out as the worst Treyarch Zombies map released thus far. With a popular side mode called Grief being matched with a confusing, poorly explained ranking system, every good thing about Black Ops 2’s Zombies offering was offset by something bad. Still, its bright spots manage to offer some similarities and differences to the Firebase Z quest.
- Most Similar – Origins: Though TranZit, Die Rise, and Buried see players completing tasks for Maxis or Richtofen in a similar way to Peck and Ravenov, it is hard not to view Origins as the easter egg that most resembles Firebase Z. Despite relying on elemental staffs that differ greatly from the RAI K-84 Wonder Weapon, both easter eggs boast the exact same goals of freeing Samantha. While Sam is an adult in Firebase Z and a young girl in Origins’ “Little Lost Girl” quest, the two having the same exact premise for an easter egg makes for a clear connection.
- Least Similar – Mob of the Dead: If someone’s favorite map from Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Zombies is not Origins, it is almost guaranteed to be Mob of the Dead. The dark story set in Alcatraz prison saw a group of Mobsters trapped in an endless cycle where they were forced to relive their crimes and deaths, making for a perfect use of the setting and a strong, self-contained narrative. While the map was reimagined as Blood of the Dead in a later installment, the original is preferred fondly by fans for its use of the Golden Gate Bridge and a unique easter egg. Concluding with a PvP boss fight that has yet to be replicated inside Call of Duty Zombies, Mob of the Dead’s main quest remains a one of a kind.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is viewed by many as the peak of Zombies, with it being hard to top the sheer value offered by the mode. Not only did modern classics like Shadows of Evil, Der Eisendrache, and Gorod Krovi make their debut in the third Black Ops game, but the Zombies Chronicles expansion rebuilt eight fan favorites from the ground up. With Origins joining Call of Duty: World at War’s maps as well as Call of Duty: Black Ops 1’s lineup, Zombies players had no shortage of content to play in Black Ops 3. Much like with previous games, the main easter egg quests were included with most boasting emotional scenes featuring the Primis cast.
- Most Similar – Zetsubou No Shima: With Shadows of Evil focusing on a clash with Cthulhu-like Apothicons, Der Eisendrache’s quest intentionally mirroring Moon’s, and Revelations being a culmination of the Black Ops 3‘s Aether story, most of the game’s main easter egg quests are hard to compare to anything else — making Zetsubou’s quest the closest by default. In the easter egg, players had to reach the original Takeo so that they could kill him during this quest, and Firebase Z’s format of carrying out miscellaneous tasks to save a character is close in concept. Zetsubou No Shima remains one of the shortest and simplest easter eggs in the franchise, and Firebase Z’s quest is similar. While the connections are loose, this quest is really the only one in the game that can be compared to Firebase Z’s.
- Least Similar – Gorod Krovi: Though Gorod Krovi introduced the Mangler enemy type that returns in Firebase Z, nothing about its easter egg structure is similar. The main quest sees players completing several tough challenges, ranging from escort missions to diffusing bombs. Once all these challenges are finished and every in-game trophy is required, players enter a separate arena for a double boss fight. Taking down a massive red dragon before facing off with a mech-using Nikolai Belinski, this back-to-back fight makes the easter egg a favorite of fans. With none of these challenges present in Firebase Z, the quests do not mirror each other in a noticeable way.
The final game before Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War saw Zombies players enduring a rough launch, as crashes during Call of Duty: Black Ops 4‘s main easter eggs were extremely prevalent. With some controversial changes to the perk system and an overuse of map remakes to close out the Aether storyline, the game certainly went through some growing pains. Still, even with its many problems, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4‘s Chaos story produced some excellent maps like IX and Ancient Evil. Further, most of the Aether maps’ easter eggs excelled despite reused assets, telling strong stories that wrapped up loose ends.
- Most Similar – Tag Der Toten: With Voyage of Despair, IX, Dead of the Night, and Ancient Evil all taking place in a different storyline with more fantastical rules and gameplay mechanics, the pool of maps to compare to Firebase Z is limited. Of the non-Chaos story maps, though, Tag Der Toten is undoubtedly the best fit. Much like players get items from Ravenov and Peck through the Firebase Z quest, the Hermit Pablo Marinus gives players several items they need for their journey. On top of this, a special piece of equipment is given to players just like the Essence Trapper device used to capture Mimics, with players using Samantha’s Music Box to progress through the main quest. With Sam herself having another huge role in Tag Der Toten, the final easter egg of the Aether story is remarkably similar to the second Dark Aether quest.
- Least Similar – Classified: As for the least similar easter egg, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s bonus Zombies map Classified is a no-brainer. Functioning as a remake of Five from the first Black Ops, only with a few new areas and the return of Ultimus, the gameplay of Classified is solid. Its easter egg, on the other hand, is hit-or-miss depending on which type of Zombies player is playing the map. The only round-based easter egg in the mode’s history, players unlock the final cutscene by reaching round 115 as opposed to carrying out any specific actions. While it is unlikely to be seen again, it was interesting to say the least — and was obviously nothing like what players must do in Firebase Z.
While Firebase Z does not reinvent the concept of Call of Duty Zombies’ main quests, it is a solid addition to the mode’s lengthy history of easter eggs. Pulling themes and mechanics from certain quests while shying away from others, Firebase Z shows that Treyarch has not forgotten its history. With it also boasting a short completion time like Die Maschine’s quest, it will be interesting to see if Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s future easter eggs remain on the shorter side, too. Regardless of whether Treyarch keeps making the main quests manageable for players of all skill levels, though, so far it seems like they will remain just as fun as they always have.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.