Modern Warfare 3 is a game with high paced combat and lots of clever opponents. Survival mode of Modern Warfare 3 pits you against endless waves of enemies. As a twisted “reward” for surviving one wave the game throws another wave at you, consisting of tougher enemies who are even more keen on turning you into a human sieve with their bullets. It’s probably a good thing real life rewards don’t work in this way.
You face a variety of enemies in Survival mode of MW3 (my own and completely original abbreviation for “Modern Warfare 3″). They range from shotgun-wielding dudes to suicide bombers with explosives strapped to their chests. You are attacked by helicopters raining down bullets from the sky. You face heavily armoured juggernauts that soak up massive amounts of damage more effectively than Mike Tyson’s skull. You constantly have to dodge grenades and take cover from air strikes. It’s quite the opposite of a relaxing picnic in a park, is what I’m saying.
However, no other enemy throws as big of a wrench in my homicidal rampage and no other opponent makes me want to hide in a corner and pray for my life as much as…an attack dog. I hear the guy on the radio yell a panicked warning about attack choppers coming for me and all I think is: “OK, time to switch to something that fires bullets a tad faster”. When the same guy tells me that attack dogs have been spotted in the area I immediately turn into a nervous wreck and start looking for improvised suicide devices (not exactly a challenge on a battlefield filled with dozens of discarded weapons).
“What? Attack dogs? You mean those animals who mindlessly run at you in a straight line and die from like one stray bullet?!”. Yes, my observant friend who uses dogs for target practice (wait until PETA hears about you). Those are the animals I’m talking about. Before you laugh and tell me exactly how much of a “noob” you think I am, allow me to explain. Here are six reasons why these four-legged merchants of teeth-delivered death are to be feared and admired.
6. Attack dogs have no fear
Most AI enemies in MW3 will exhibit some degree of concern for their lives. They will hide behind cover and scatter when you throw grenades at them. Even suicide bombers, whose only real battle plan is to explode when near you, will zigzag between different objects to close the distance.
5. Attack dogs can be a difficult target
I’m not talking about those moments where you’re standing far off and these lunatic dogs charge directly into your cross-hair asking for a bullet shower. I’m talking about the time you’re in the middle of a firefight, or turning a corner, or simply distracted while admiring the beautiful scenery comprised of helicopter debris and human bodies. Whether you’re looking at them or not the dogs will jump right for your throat as soon as they’re close enough.
When that happens, the end result is usually one of three things. One: you catch them with a quick knife slice before they get to feast on your face. If this is the only outcome you’ve ever seen – congratulations Rambo, enjoy your Prestige level infinity. Two: the dog succeeds and pushes you onto the ground. Now you either a) mash that melee button and manage to successfully teach the dog neck rotation skills of an owl or b) die.
However, more often than not, it’s the third thing that happens. Just when the dog is about to jump you make a quick side step. The dog misses and jumps past you. But it doesn’t just give up and go home after that. No, it’s still very much interested in tasting your face. So you move and turn around to shoot the canine, only to see a blur fly right past your face again. So you turn around to…repeat until you’re either passed out from dizziness in front of your computer screen or get killed. Which brings me to…
4. Attack dogs are effective decoys
The bizarre human-turn-doggy-jump dance I’ve described above doesn’t happen in some remote and serene area where both participants have ample time to perfect the intricate choreography. It happens smack in the middle of ten guys spraying you with bullets, throwing grenades at you and shouting repetitive orders at each other with the same exact tone of voice.
By the time you’ve finally gotten rid of the dog you realise that your body is now 75% lead and 25% pain. You make a quick dash for the closest cover to literally stop seeing red. That’s when you hear…the barking of another dog. No, you can’t let him pin you down here in this enclosed space. You must go out into the open to get a clear shot at the fiend. You bravely step out…oh, right, the bullets. Guess what? You’re dead!
3. Radar voodoo
A helpful tool for any Modern Warfare 3 player is the radar map at the top left. It shows you where the goodies are and alerts you to the location of your enemies. As an added bonus in Survival mode the enemies are always visible on the radar. This way you know exactly from which direction you will be killed.
At the start of each wave you’ll see a bunch of red dots indicating the enemies. These dots will slowly converge on your location, allowing you to find the perfect ambush spot and give the approaching enemies a shotgun welcome party. This works a bit differently with the dogs. You see, they’re fast. Or at least faster than the radar’s refresh rate.
So instead of seeing the dots slowly make their way to your location you hear distant barking and see the static dog-dot on the radar. Then, just when you’ve calculated their trajectory and figured you’re ready to strike first – whooosh, the dot has suddenly teleported…and it’s not where you thought it was going to be. You move up to get a good shot at the approaching menace, when puff, it’s suddenly on the other side of you. I don’t know what kind of black magic these attack dogs are trained in, but all I can say is…fuck that!
2. Fear factor
Attack dogs are psychological warfare ninjas. The human crowd advances slowly, exchanging predictions as to your whereabouts and coordinating tactics. They may fall silent on occasion to try to figure out where you are and to disguise their own position. Finally, they will run for cover when fired upon, boosting your confidence and making you feel like an invincible death-dispensing machine.
The dogs? Well they’ll just start barking right at the start of the level. They don’t play that hide and seek shit. They’re going right for you. All you hear is that damn bark getting closer and closer, never ceasing for one second, giving you a sneak preview of the doom that awaits. Did you just dare to fire at them? Well now you’ve really pissed them off! Get ready to become dog food.
Aside from a rogue grenade or a supremely unlucky suicide bomber encounter there are virtually no enemies that can kill you in one shot. To top that off you start every Survival mission with armour that can withstand a great deal of damage and be replenished at will, provided you’ve got the money for it. Even when you run out of armour the self-revive perk will help you get back up after successfully killing an enemy. Helicopter’s machine guns will hurt you badly and make you scramble for cover, but they’ll still take some time to kill you.
The dogs only need one bite once they have you on the ground. Got yourself some new armour? Should’ve invested in a good neck brace while you were at it. Wearing a Juggernaut suit? More chewy stuff to eat through. Granted, you can melee the dogs at any time before they sink their teeth into you. But what if you make a tiny error? At any other moment a mistimed knife attack or a simple misclick will just get you annoyed at yourself. You turn around and stab again. With dogs it’s kill or be chewed, so any misclicks and mistimed attacks are an expressway to hell. What, you didn’t think you were going to heaven, did you? Look around at all of the dead bodies you’re leaving behind!
Finally, Modern Warfare 3 developers must have figured that all of the above reasons don’t quite make the attack dogs nightmarish enough. Because at some point one of them said: “Hey, do you know what would make an attack dog, like, really effective? A fucking C4 strapped to its body!”. Thanks to that wise guy the later waves feature explosive attack dogs. So if their jaws won’t do the job, you best be sure that the blast radius of that C4 will. And whoever said these beasts were a man’s best friend?