Last on the list is Zoo, with initial and striking similarities to the Modern Warfare 2 Resurgence pack's Carnival. The setting might be similar, but in time you realise that it's an unfair comparison. There's a better and more circular flow through this level – tighter channels, intelligent short-cuts and far fewer backwater annexes.
Not only is the monorail it features a neat pathway to capture points, but you can't help but be amused by the bodies that tumble down around you as you scoot along below it. Whatever gameplay mode that's been spat out by the Mosh Pit, Zoo seems to fit – easily making it the best all-rounder of the new maps.
And so, just before we wrap up proceedings and plunge into comment anarchy, we come to Call of the Dead. This is a rather unique zombie map that stars the likenesses and glib comments of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Englund, Danny Trejo and Michael Rooker (who's in The Walking Dead, apparently – no, I didn't know him either).
The idea is that a George Romero movie, being filmed in the snowy wastes of Siberia near an ominous shipwreck, has gone wrong. The man himself has become a roaming uber-boss, bashing those who dare to shoot at him with a lighting rig while wave upon wave of zombies flood into a vast level that your team gradually unlocks.
It's nothing but a pleasure to be chased round and round a gloomy lighthouse by a giant septuagenarian Hollywood icon shouting 'Let's do lunch!' while you're trying to board up deadhead entry points. Escaping zombie rushes by sliding down wires gives more pace and movement to gameplay and results in some great moments when you accidentally leave a member of your crew behind.
The enraged George can seemingly only be calmed down by leading him into icy water, so there's always a heightened degree of back-and-forth as rounds roll on – and forever the distant and tantalising prospect of being powerful enough to take the almighty bearded bastard down.
It must be said, however, that the premise of the trailer – that of the B-Movie gone wrong – is one that suits Escalation's marketing far more than the map itself. For a zombie map built to venerate Romero, it seems a little strange that it takes place in a frozen wasteland rather than the shopping malls and small-town Americana that made the man famous.
The celebrity faces and voices that make up the cast, meanwhile, never become the Left 4 Dead foursome you dearly wish they were, their repetitive chitter-chatter rarely raising a half-smile. It's a great map and a great premise, chock-full of the secrets that the COD zombie community adore, but it very much feels like the map concept came first, and the Romero overlay second.
In conclusion: another good map pack. The Daves (and, as you might have guessed, muggins here) will get their money's worth. There is, however, a twist to this tale.
Over the weekend we were discussing the ructions after his first Eurogamer appearance, during which everything kicked off. Not everyone was keen on Dave as a human being, while others questioned the inference that Dave's taste in games automatically meant that he was the type to frequent the local branch of Liquid and Envy ogling women, his left hand clutching a bottle of blue WKD and his right suspiciously deep in his pocket. (In fact, Dave generally drinks lager.)
Having scrolled through the pro- and anti-Dave comments and scratched his balls a little, Dave's reaction was: "People are weird, aren't they? You've got to worry about people on the internet." Then, though, he dropped a bombshell. "Thing is, I'm going to give up on this Black Ops lark once L.A. Noire is out."
Ladies and gentlemen, behold Darwin's evolution at work. The sea slug is about to crawl out of the ocean, the monkey is poised to climb down from his tree and the Neanderthal is about to sort out the crick in his neck. Through the gateway drug of Blops (and an article he read in Nuts), Dave is about to enter a deeper and more meaningful world. Sorry Activision, this one's getting ready to fly the nest.