Apocalypse Averted (originally known as Playing For Keeps) is the primary easter egg on the Zombies map Shadows of Evil. By completing the first part of the easter egg the player obtains the achievement/trophy The Beginning of the End, and by completing it entirely the player earns the Calling Card from the Dark Ops challenges. It will also give the player a unique Summoning Key icon on the bottom right hand corner of the map selection icon for Shadows of Evil.
- Four players.
- Note: The easter egg can be completed in solo up to the point of capturing the Shadow Man. However, to complete the easter egg and earn the achievement all four players must be present. If done in solo, capturing the Shadow Man is essentially the end of the easter egg, with none of the subsequent steps appearing.
- All four rituals must be completed.
Step 1: Ascending the ApocalypseEdit
After completing all four of the summoning rituals, the players must head to the sacred place underground. There will be a wall with highlighted symbols on it in the back, and walking up to it will remove the wall and reveal a big room with a huge gap in the middle. Inside this room, there are four pedestals, one for each gateworm. After placing the first two down, the walls will reconstruct, allowing the player to wall-run across to the other side with the remaining two pedestals.
Once all gateworms are in place, the summoning table near the entrance can be interacted on to begin the final ritual. Gatekeepers will again spawn and target the players, similarly to the previous rituals. Once completed, the Shadow Man will thank the players for their cooperation and reveal his true identity before disappearing with the Summoning Key. After a few moments, a Margwa will spawn in the center of the room.
Upon completion of this step, Pack-a-Punch is available as the blue portal on the far end of the room. The atmosphere will also change to a red tint, and there will be a huge starfish-like monster in the sky known as an Apothicon, overshadowing the map.
Step 2: Obtaining the Apothicon EggsEdit
Now, the player must use the train to spot three symbols. They are located inside the buildings and can be seen through small windows. The location of each symbol is marked with a question mark on the train map, visible on each station. The symbols are in red and look like arrows. They are also randomized in each game, and there is a preset of nine symbols it can choose from (leading to 24 possible combinations). The arrows symbols will appear on the opposite side of the boarding station that resides in their respective district.
Once the player has all the symbols, they need to go to the underground section, and become the Beast. On the wall opposite of the entrance to the ritual room (next to the GobbleGum and possible Mystery Box spawn), there is a wall that will have the symbols visible as the Beast. When the correct symbols are shocked, the door will vanish, revealing a podium with four swords and Apothicon Eggs. If the player shocks the wrong symbols, it will reset and cannot be opened again until the next round, making trial and error an unrecommended tactic. After entering the symbols, each player should grab their own Egg from the podium.
Step 3: Obtaining the Apothicon SwordsEdit
After obtaining the egg, the player can put it down on any of the four statues around the map. They are initially locked in crates and must be opened by meleeing them as the Beast. They are in the following locations:
- Footlights: on the alleyway, directly below the perk that spawns there
- Canals: next to Ruby Rabbit, behind the stairs
- Waterfront: in the room adjacent to the perk that spawns there
- Underground: next to the eggs' initial resting place
Once it is down, the player must kill 12 zombies near it, and if done successfully there will be a blue orb flying from the zombie to the egg. Once enough zombies are killed, the egg glows blue and can be picked up. This must be done with every statue, and all players have to do it. Once that is done, the egg should now be blue, and it can be returned to the podium where it was picked up from to receive the Apothicon Sword.
Note: Only the player's own kills count for their egg. Also, it is possible for multiple players to charge their egg on the same statue at the same time, though to prevent getting overwhelmed it is a viable tactic to split up. To prevent "wasting" zombies, it is also recommended to stop killing zombies once the egg is done unless the situation requires it, and move to another statue.
It is also important to bear in mind that each Cthulhu statue has a different limit to it's reach. The one in the Underground collects all the way to the far side of the train behind it and equivalent to each side except towards the sword podium, which only reaches the edge of the ledge above. The Canals statue can charge from the edge of the bridge and the back of the staircase, not from within the entrance behind it (zombies must be in the actual map in order to charge the egg.) The Footlight carving reaches slightly past the overhang on both sides, and the Waterfront figure can absorb from anywhere in the room it sits in excluding the entrance and barrier.
Step 4: Upgrading the SwordsEdit
After obtaining the swords, the player must head to their own character's ritual area, and interact with the Keeper spirit that is now there. They will give the player the Arch-Ovum, which can now be used on four red ritual circles on the ground around the map. The circles are in the following locations:
- Footlights: at the Black Lace Burlesque entrance
- Canals: near the entrance to Ruby Rabbit, next to the workbench
- Waterfront: at the entrance to the boxing gym
- Junction: next to the entrance to Easy Street (the spawning area)
After placing the Arch-Ovum egg on the circle, one or two Margwas will spawn. After killing them, the Arch-Ovum will be automatically returned to the player. Each of these ritual circles must be completed for every player. Also, each player can only complete one circle per round. These can be done simultaneously between players which can be used to cut down unnecessary time if they can safely kill the Margwas.
Once all the rituals are done, the player can now head back to their character's ritual table, and receive an upgraded variant of their sword.
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.
Step 5: Capture the flagEdit
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, attempting to destroy it, and he must be shot down (though he will teleport away once he has taken enough damage, rather than die). 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 Shadow Man is left unattended, he will destroy the flag and reset the process, continuing the round. The flag can be picked up again underground. 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.
Step 6: Capturing the Shadow ManEdit
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.
Step 7: Averting the ApocalypseEdit
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.
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. The Dark Ops challenge should unlock, and players get 1000 XP from completing the easter egg, as well as 6000 XP from the challenge itself. The swords will also be returned to the players.
Note: If any of the players bleed out and die during this step, calling the train at any station will automatically respawn them.