When "Call of Duty: Black Ops" launched last year I put together a little survival guide for the game's coop zombie survival mode. There's some helpful stuff in there for sure, but yesterday's release of the "First Strike" DLC map pack -- specifically, the zombie map "Ascension" contained therein -- is obviously going to demand some new strategies. I'm still exploring the map and learning what it has to offer, but after a 30-round session last night I've got a few helpful tips to get you started.
Mind the Monkeys
Okay, here's how the Space Monkeys work. Once the power has been turned on and someone purchases a perk, these little buggers will start appearing every four rounds. They fan out and go after the perk machines for anything you've purchased. Successfully fend them off and you get to keep your perk(s). Fend them off without letting them lay a single, filthy paw on the machines and the last monkey you kill in the round will drop a bonus perk in addition to the usual Max Ammo.
How you play it is largely dependent on how many players you've got in the game. One person can capably keep the monkeys at bay, though two are better. Avoid using claymores; they're not damaging enough in the higher rounds and the smoke they throw up when they explode can obscure your vision long enough for a monkey to get past you and jump on the machine. The Ray Gun is your friend; one-hit-kills on those damn, dirty chimps.
The Gersch Device
I don't know who this Gersch guy is -- a little help from hardcore "CoD" fanfolk? -- but he's a freaking genius. The Gersch Device, also known as the Black Hole Bomb, is a new weapon in the vein of the previous maps' monkey bombs. Only this thing is far more powerful. It keeps the zombies at bay for a shorter amount of time -- still long enough to grab a pick-up or revive a comrade though -- but it's guaranteed re-death for any of horde that gets caught in its grip.
Plant the Landers
Once the power is on you'll be able to access the map's landers. There are four locations in all, including the starting centrifuge room. Hop on the lander at each location and ride it back to the starting point, preferably at the end of a round when you've got a couple of crawlers roaming around, and then hoof it up to the top floor of the map's main building (where you find the power switch/first mystery box). From there you can hit a button to launch the nearby rocket. Doing so opens up the Pack-A-Punch room, which never closes once opened until a new game is started.
Bring Some Friends
A few important things you should know about "Ascension." The map is HUGE and there are a LOT of doors to open. That, coupled with the fact that large, open spaces for you to circle and build up a horde in are few, means that this is perhaps the most solo play-unfriendly of the three currently available zombie maps. The best location to run circles in that I've found so far is close to the Stamin-Up machine and the claymores. There's also a lander pad in the area, one of the three situated outside the starting room.
Beyond all that, standard rules apply. Go for a Ray Gun and a point-earning beast, hold off on upgrading for as long as you can -- remember, that 5000 points also gets you a free Max Ammo for the gun -- and tread carefully. Jugger-Nog should be considered an essential perk, the one you'll definitely want to defend when the monkeys come.