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The subject of this article appeared in Call of Duty: Black Ops III. The subject of this article appeared in Zombies mode

Apocalypse Averted (originally known as Playing For Keeps) is the primary easter egg on the Zombies map Shadows of Evil. It is a unique style of Easter Egg as it is split into two parts, being The Beginning of the End and Apocalypse Averted along with having no achievement tied to the primary one, instead awarding a unique Calling Card from the Dark Ops set of challenges, and an icon of a Summoning Key placed in the bottom right hand corner of the map selection for Shadows of Evil.

To fully complete the Easter Egg however, four players must be within the same lobby for it. As the final step does not trigger upon the capture of the Shadowman.

Achieving An Ancient Arsenal

Up until the Capture the Flag, steps can be done out of order.

The Beginning of the End

Within the map, there are a total of four ritual sites, each requiring an item that is tied to the sin that the characters have committed. Activating the ritual by placing the item along with the Summoning Key on the altar at the site will cause Keepers to spawn in along side zombies with the second and fourth ritual summoning in a Margwa upon completion. Completing this ritual will award the player the XP reward titled "Apocalypse Ascendant" and the The Beginning of the End achievement.

The Magician

The sacrifice attributed to Nero, his Lawyer.

The Ritual site for The Magician is his apartment above Easy Street with his sacrifice being the "Laywer's Pen" which is located within a crate held by a crane just outside the entrance to Easy Street. The Beast is required to electrify the meter to cause the crane to swing into the map before dropping the crate, breaking it and revealing the Pen.

The Boxer

The sacrifice attributed to Floyd, his Promoter.

The Ritual site for The Boxer is The Anvil gym and boxing ring located in the Waterfront District with his sacrifice being the Championship Belt he yearned for which is hidden within a crate, dangling from a chain above the Waterfront District. The Beast can access the crate by grappling to the platform where it is held and swinging at it, which will knock it down to the ground below, revealing the Belt.

The Detective

The sacrifice attributed to Jack, his Detective Partner.

The Ritual site for The Detective is the Ruby Rabbit nightclub in the Canals District while his sacrifice is the Badge of his partner on the beat, hidden within a crate behind a locked grate in the canals. The Beast can break the box with melee and open the grate by shocking the volt meter hidden behind some brickwork with the Mark of the Beast painted on it. Doing so will open the grate up and allow the Badge to be picked up.

The Femme Fatale

The sacrifice attributed to Jessica, her Producer.

The Ritual site for The Femme Fatale is The Black Lace Burlesque nightclub in the Footlight District with her sacrifice being the toupee of her Producer, located on the edge of a building in the walkways leading out into the Footlights District proper. The Beast can cross the gap to the building and knock the crate containing the toupee onto the ground below, breaking the crate and revealing the Toupee.

Ascending the Apocalypse

With all the gateway rituals completed and the Gateworms gathered from them in hand, a new section within the Subway system can be accessed. This being the Sacred Place which houses another ritual site and four pedestals for the Gateworms, two located on the side where the ritual altar is and the other two on a seemingly impossible to cross gap. Placing a gateworm in one of the pedestals located on the altar side will cause walls to rise from the crevasse, creating walls around the Sacred Place which can be wallran across. Placing the two gateworms in the pedestals on the other side will create a one way path back to the atlar.

With all four gateworms placed, the final ritual can be started with completion having the Shadowman reveal his true intentions, thanking the group for their efforts before leaving with the Summoning Key and allowing a Margwa to spawn in. Doing this unlocks the Pack-a-Punch portal within the Sacred Place along with the skybox changing to a blood red sky and a giant Apothicon summoned over Morg City.

Obtaining the Apothicon Sword

Whilst riding the Tram there are three symbols that can be seen within windows. These symbols correlate to a wall opposite of where the Sacred Place is in the Subway Station. With all three symbols noted down, The Beast can see nine symbols around a doorway. Elecrtoshocking the three symbols that are active in the match will cause the wall to dissolve and reveal a odd statue housing four swords and four eggs. If the incorrect set is electrified, the wall will reject is, making a sound and hide the symbols until the next round.

Interacting with the statue will remove one of the eggs from it, these eggs can be placed on the Apothicon statues located within large smash-able crates that can be found at:

  • Footlight District alleyway, underneath the Perk-a-Cola machine spawn.
  • Behind the Ruby Rabbit stairs in the Canals District.
  • In the destroyed building in the Waterfront District, in the room after the Perk-a-Cola machine.
  • Opposite of the statue holding the eggs in the Subway.

Placing the egg on the statue will cause it to start absorbing souls, which it can do up to 12 times before it stops accepting souls and glow white, it can be picked up and the process repeated on the remaining statues where on the final one it starts glowing blue. This must be done with all players in the match. The glowing eggs can be returned to the statue to award the Apothicon Sword for use, with each character having a uniquely named one.

Upgrading the Swords

After obtaining the swords, they can be upgraded into "Reborn" forms by returning to the Ritual Site specific to the character that is currently playing as and interact with the Keeper spirit that now floats above the ritual altar. They will give the player the "Arch-Ovum", which can now be used on four red ritual circles on the ground around the map, near to the ritual sites of all the characters:

  • In front of the The Black Lace Burlesque nightclub entrance in the Footlight District.
  • In between the Workbench and entrance to the Ruby Rabbit nightclub in the Canals District.
  • Directly in front of The Anvil gym in the Waterfront District.
  • Outside the entrance to Easy Street in the Junction.

After placing the Arch-Ovum egg on the circle, up to two Margwas will spawn on solo, and up to four in co-op. These Margwas will only attack the player who summoned them, though others can still be damaged if they are in range of their swipe and slam attacks. After killing them, the Arch-Ovum will be automatically returned to the player with part of the chitin surrounding it removed. Each of these ritual circles must be completed for every player. Also, each player can only complete one circle per round but can be preformed simultaneously by multiple people.

Once all the rituals are done, the player can now head back to their character's ritual table, and give their Apothicon Sword to the Keeper spirit which they will upgrade it to its "Reborn" form.

The Margwas spawned by these rituals do not grant points when their head is destroyed, though the parasites they spawn still grant points for killing them.

Capture the flag

The player should now head to Nero Blackstone's ritual area. An open book will spawn on the ground next to the shelves. Interact with the book, which will make a flag with purple mist coming out of it fall from the ceiling next to Widow's Wine on the next round.

Once the flag is there, the player must pick it up, which will remove all zombies currently on the map. Insanity Elementals will start rapidly spawning, and the player will now have to carry the flag to a spot radiating with purple energy on the ground. Once placed down, the players must protect the flag from incoming attacks. The Shadow Man will also appear periodically near the flag and spawn parasites. Eventually, there will be a chime, and the flag can be picked up again. It must be taken to the next purple electric spot which is now at the entrance to the Easy Street. Once again, it must be defended, and once it finishes, it must now be taken to Nero's ritual site. Once placed down there, it does not have to be defended, and the Keeper spirit there will become solid, and teleport down under the Rift area. After a while, a Margwa will spawn, the Insanity Elementals will stop spawning and the round continues normally with regular zombies (or parasites, if it was their exclusive round).

If the flag is destroyed, it can be picked up again underground an unlimited number of times. The flag carrier going down will also cause this. Also note that a Max Ammo will drop every time the flag is done on each spot (up to two times for each district), so players do not have to worry about ammo consumption while defending it. Proper weapons and equipment (such as Pack-a-Punched weapons, perks such as Juggernog, and the Rocket Shield) are highly recommended, as defending the flag can be tough. Summoning the Civil Protector whenever the players are defending the flags can also be of a great help, and utilizing Li'l Arnies may give players breathing room. There will also be purple circles on the ground, which can damage the player if they step on them.

This must now be repeated three times for the other characters: again, there will be two purple electric spots on the ground on the way to the ritual site that the flag must be placed on, after which the flag must be brought to the summoning table. Only one successful attempt can be made per round, though retrying a failed attempt can be done immediately.

Capturing the Shadow Man

Once all spirits at the ritual sites have been turned into Keepers, they will guard the pedestals with the Gateworms at the sacred place underground. Every player has to interact with a pedestal to ready their respective Keeper, and once all are in position (i.e. all players have interacted with a pedestal), they will use their power to remove the Shadow Man's shield. NOTE: Once each player interacts with their Keeper, they will hand over their upgraded sword, which will be unavailable for use until the end of the easter egg.

Once the shield is down, the players should focus fire on him. He will rapidly teleport around the room as he takes damage, making it more difficult to capture him. As he takes damage, he will gradually move over the summoning table, and if it is interacted with, he will be trapped inside the Summoning Key, completing this step. Capturing him must be done quickly, or he will return to his original position and regain his shield, resetting the step.

Every time his shields are broken, a Margwa will spawn. Additionally, zombies will still keep spawning during this step, and the room cannot be exited until it is completed. This is arguably the most difficult part of the easter egg, so powerful weapons and equipment are again highly recommended.

Note: If you fail to capture the Shadow Man, he will bring back his shield, and the keepers will turn purple. The Shadow Man's shield can be deactivated again once the player interacts with all four keepers, turning them all orange.

Averting the Apocalypse

Once the Shadow Man is trapped inside the Summoning Key, there will be a giant Gateworm at the summoning table, and it will teleport to the center of the map above ground. The room can now be exited.

In addition: zombies will despawn, and the glow inside Margwas' heads will become purple instead of yellow. They will also spawn in high amounts indefinitely until this final step is completed, meaning the current round is at a standstill. The player now has an infinite amount of Beast Mode, the bar at the bottom will only go down when taking damage from the circles or from Margwas. The purple circles reappear as well. Additionally, the players will be frequently "infected", causing an aura to appear around the screen. The player must then "cleanse" themselves by going through a glowing wisp, which spawns in several locations around the map. If the player fails to cleanse themselves, they will go down.

To complete this step and the easter egg, three players must shock the electrical panels in the ceiling seen in each of the train stations (they look different from the regular panels used to power up doors and Perk-a-Cola machines). This will power up the rails and turn them electric blue. The fourth player has to call the train at any station. Immediately after the tram is called, the three players in Beast mode should head to the center and shock the three Keepers in the middle as the giant worm is not there due to being hit by the tram. If the three players in Beast Mode take too long to reach the center and shock the keepers, the giant worm will reappear and the tram must be called again while all three tracks are blue. If done correctly, the Keepers will charge their beam, which will join together and shoot up at the giant monster in the sky.

Another method to complete this step is by having two players in Beast Mode situated near the electrical box at two train stations. A third player should be in the center of the map in Beast Mode, ready to shock the keepers. The fourth player should be in human form at a train station without the tram present. To start, the fourth player must call in the tram and then immediately run to the nearest Beast Mode altar, get into Beast Mode, then shock the electrical box at the train station. The other two players should be shocking the electrical boxes after the tram is called. After the tram hits the giant Gateworm, the player in the center of the map needs to shock the three keepers. 

A cutscene will play, showing the monster disappearing. One of the Keepers will descend from above, with the Summoning Key in its hand. However, Richtofen will suddenly grab it, explain that he is busy and has a universe to set right, and run into a portal and disappear.

After this, all players will automatically exit the Beast mode, the Margwas will despawn, the atmosphere returns to normal and the game continues. Players get 1000 XP for completing Apocalypse Averted, as well as 6000 XP from the Dark Ops challenge when completing the easter egg for the first time. The swords will also be returned to the players. Furthermore, the Civil Protector will become upgraded for the rest of the match.

Note: If any of the players bleed out and die during this step, calling the train at any station will automatically respawn them.