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"Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Zombies": How to Upgrade Hell's Retriever in Alcatraz: Mob of the Dead

Outside of my day job as a project manager for a construction company, I am an avid gamer with a great passion for "Call of Duty."


Hell's Retriever is arguably the best weapon added with the newest DLC, Alcatraz. Not only does it not run out of ammo, but it can also be used to pick up Power-Ups and other items. As a bonus you can upgrade it to make it even better. This is not an easy task, but it can be accomplished if you have some skill with a tomahawk.

Before You Can Begin

The Steps

  1. Go to the Golden Gate Bridge.
  2. Survive at least one full round on the Bridge, using only Hell's Retriever.
  3. Get at least 30 kills with the Hell's Retriever on the Bridge.
  4. Return to the prison.
  5. Throw Hell's Retriever into the lava pit.
  6. Complete the round.
  7. Enter Afterlife and pick up the upgraded Hell's Retriever.

The Bridge

The first step for upgrading Hell's Retriever will take place on the Bridge. After you take the plane to the Bridge you can first finish the current round. You need to start the first step on a fresh round. When a new round begins, make sure you use only Hell's Retriever. This means do not stab, shoot, throw grenades, place Claymores, or anything else other than using your tomahawk.

Make sure you get at least 30 kills. The easiest way to do this is to run a train in the center of the Bridge, charge Hell's Retriever, and then throw it down the middle of the train at head level. Having multiple players on the Bridge can make this difficult, especially if they are using powerful weapons. This works best when on the Bridge by yourself, or when then other players on the Bridge are also using Hell's Retriever only.

Wait until the next round begins and then return to the prison by taking the electric chair. You return to the original spawn location and will be in Afterlife. Revive yourself.


Throw Hell's Retriever Into the Lava Pit

You will now need to find the Lava Pit. It can be more accurately described as a pothole filled with lava.

Lava Pit Location

You can find it in the center of the Cell Blocks in the same area as the red wolf head. Below the wolf head is a break in the floor that is blocked by a railing. On the other side of the room, directly across from that railing is another break in the floor that is blocked by a railing. You will want to stand with your back against that wall as if you were going to look right at the wolf. Then look down into the break in the floor. There will be a small circular pit that is filled with lava.

The Steps

  1. Throw your Hell's Retriever into that pit.
  2. You will know if you have done this correctly if your Hell's Retriever does not return to you.
  3. After you have accomplished this you will need to finish the round before moving on to the next step.

Picking up Hell's Retriever

Now you just need to pick up your upgraded Hell's Retriever. It is in the same location as the original, in the Citadel Tunnels and through the hole under the three wolf's heads. However, you can only pick up the upgraded Hell's Retriever while you are in Afterlife. This can not be on the same round that you threw Hell's Retriever into the lava.

The Steps

  1. Go to the Showers
  2. Enter Afterlife by using the electrical box
  3. Pick up Hell's Retriever
  4. Revive yourself

What You Need to Know

  • The upgraded version is blue instead of red.
  • It is more powerful and will travel further.
  • It takes less time to charge and charges three levels instead of two.
  • Most players believe that you must do this after round 15. I upgraded in solo on round 12.
  • The majority of players also claim that only one player can have this weapon. I have been in games where multiple players have gotten this.
  • You will need Hell's Retriever to get The Crystal Skulls and The Golden Spork.


Jessep222 on August 29, 2017:

Miley no you cannot. Nor can you get the five skulls for the free blundergat

XxMikeyxX on November 13, 2016:

Can you upgrade the Hell's Retriever on easy mode?

mariosxlk on March 14, 2016:

does it work on easy mode ??

Skeets on September 27, 2015:

Does not work on easy mode

TPrice on March 29, 2014:

Can you stay multiple rounds on the bridge and still upgrade the tomahawk? We've tried this multiple ways and still haven't gotten this to work.

Edward D. Saterstad (author) from PA on April 29, 2013:

The tomahawk icon does not leave completely, but it is not glowing red like it normally does when it returns to your inventory. Instead, it flashes slightly every couple of seconds.

Jake on April 29, 2013:

(360, unconfirmed on other consoles) You can use more than just your tomahawk on the bridge. My group used all our weapons and still was able to upgrade it. We did not notice the laugh but where still able to do the upgrade. Also it shows that you have a tomahawk when it is thrown into the lava pit, but will not let you throw it saying "tacticals empty".

Edward D. Saterstad (author) from PA on April 28, 2013:

Did you use only Hell's Retriever for an entire round and get at least 30 kills? The round has to start when you are on the Bridge. I like to look at my kills as the round starts, and then look at it when the round ends. This will let me know I reached 30 kills.

Aim carefully to hit the middle of the lava pit. If it still comes back, wait to the start of the next round and go into Afterlife and try to pick it up. I had it return once before and was still able to pick it up. I am not sure if it was a glitch.

black sn0w on April 28, 2013:

very helpful, but most of the time, when throwing hell's retriever into the lavapit, it always comes back. can't get past this step