We've had some awesomely epic moments when playing campaign mode throughout Call Of Duty history. As the series has grown and evolved, as has the gameplay and thus, as a byproduct of this, as have the stories. There's just something about the feel of the story which really makes you almost experience it first hand, sort of like you're actually there. The story becomes a part of you and for a brief moment in time, you're actually there, side-by-side with the legendary Cpt. Price, right in the heart of enemy territory. For a brief moment, you are an actual member of an elite military division. That is how capable the CoD campaign is of making you feel, of making you believe.
There's been moments of joy and moments of sadness, moments of triumph and moments of peril, we've laughed, we've cried and we've shouted in frustration. We've conquered the enemy with the best of the best. We've been motivated by Reznov's inspirational, mid-battle speeches, made to laugh by Price's dry humour and wit and we all cried when Ghost and Roach were shot and burned by that back-stabbing SOB General Shepherd. Don't lie to me, yes you did! And there's no shame to be had, that scene truly broke my heart...
Out of all of these memorable moments, creating a 'top 10 missions' piece was quite a chore, but I've tried my very best and this is the result. Here it is, my top 10 Call of Duty campaign missions:
10: Hunter Killer - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
The mission begins underwater, Frost (you), Sandman and their team of Deltas are swimming through the submerged Brooklyn Battery Tunnel using Diver Propulsion Vehicles. They are heading for New York harbour where they rendezvous with a team of SEALs. They carefully navigate their way through the mine-infested harbour and manage to reach their objective: an enemy submarine - on which they plant detonating charges. Once detonation commences, the submarine is forced to surface due to the breach in its airtight structure and Frost and Sandman enter through its access hatch.
They successfully manage to fight their way through the submarine in order to reach the bridge. After breaching the bridge they kill all of the sailors within, including the commanding officer. After gaining control of the sub, they are able to launch the Russian's missiles against their own. From here they get the hell out of there! They board a Zodiac watercraft which the SEALs have put in place and make their escape as the battle continues around them. Afterwards, they are extracted by a CH-46 Sea Knight and are flown out of Manhattan.
'Hunter Killer' is the third mission in the campaign of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and oh what a mission it is! With an interesting start and an excellent tactical execution, it is one of those missions which really makes you feel like such a badass after you've played through it (when I think about it, what CoD mission doesn't leave you feeling like that?). You feel like, at any moment, you could actually become a member of the U.S Marine Corps or a member of the S.A.S. When in actuality, your chances of achieving either of these things are, well, let's be honest here, rather... against you.
9: No Russian - Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
The mission is set in Zakhaev International Airport, Moscow, Russia.
As the mission begins, the gunmen are standing in a lift - weapons at the ready. The lift door opens and Joseph Allen (the player), under the alias 'Alexei Borodin', Vladimir Makarov and three other gunmen walk through it, preparing to wreak havoc. They calmly and slowly make their way towards an airport security checkpoint where they somewhat nonchalantly open fire on a mass of civilians, massacring them. They move through the airport, brutally slaughtering anyone in sight, creating a gruesome bloodbath.
Their civilian killing ends when they eventually exit the building via a gate service area. Once outside, the FSB teams start to arrive and the gunmen fight their way through them too, they kill anyone in their path.
After everyone who tried to prevent the onslaught has been forced to join the dead, the three remaining murderer's: Allen, Makarov and Vicktor, find their way to an ambulance - their planned getaway vehicle - and when the door is opened and the three begin to climb into the back, Makarov turns back to Allen and executes him in cold blood, signalling to the player that he knew about his undercover status the entire time.
'No Russian' is the fourth mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Okay, so you may be a little surprised to see this one here... Call me sick all you want, I happen to love this mission. Not just because of the guts it must have taken on the behalf of Infinity Ward to come up with such controversial content, but also because I can appreciate it as it is intended to be. There's no doubt about the controversial nature of this particular mission, but there is also no denying its importance in terms of the plot of MW2. It depicts one of the brutal terrorist attacks of Vladimir Makarov - without which exists no WW3 - and what better way to truly emphasise the brutality of these attacks than to have the player experience one first hand, as the killer?
It was something which was never before seen in the history of gaming and that fact helps this mission to gain a spot in my top 10.
8: Blowtorch & Corkscrew - Call of Duty: World at War
Miller (you), Roebuck, Polonsky and Gordon push their way through Japanese territory. After covering some ground, Japanese soldiers emerge from pits in the ground in an attempt to ambush the group. Miller is given an order from Roebuck to burn the grass using a flamethrower in order to prevent the ambush.
Once Miller and the others have cleared the area and fought of the ambushing Japanese, they make their way towards a small bunker. Said bunker is the first of three that must be destroyed. Miller throws a satchel charge into the bunker and detonates it, blowing it into smithereens. They push on, engaging in further firefights with incoming Japanese defences. They reach the second bunker and again destroy it, they push through the Japs for the third and final small bunker - which is at the top of a steep hill - and when they reach it, they blow that one up too.
The team find themselves on the final stretch on the road to victory. They fight their way through Japanese tunnels and caves in order to reach the final bunker, which is considerably larger than the previous three. They don't blow this one up, but instead, they push their way into it and clear it out, before climbing above and reaching glorious victory!
'Blowtorch & Corkscrew' is the twelfth mission in Call of Duty: World at War, a game which depicts the second world war and in particular: the American and Soviet sides of it. This particular mission is part of the American campaign and it features the Yanks in their attempts to take over Wana Ridge, in Okinawa, Japan and push the Japanese back.
It is a mission which really encompasses the style of warfare which took place in the second world war. From the ways in which the Japanese would ambush the American troops to the realistic scenery and trenches/bunker layout. And the best part about it? Treyarch have brought it into life in the form of a major modern-day focus - video games - for gamer's everywhere to experience first hand.
7: Vorkuta - Call of Duty: Black Ops
Mason - the games main protagonist (you) - and Viktor Reznov engage in a pseudo fight in order to attract the attention of a guard. They are successful in doing so and a guard approaches, baton in hand. Reznoz hurls an insult at the guard and he proceeds to beat him with the baton. Mason comes up behind the preoccupied guard and clubs him over the head with a large rock, killing him instantly. They steal a knife and his keys which enable them - and all the other prisoners - to begin their escape.
The horde of prisoners fight their way through the underground tunnels and are heading for the lift which takes them out of the mine and up to the surface. Inside the lift Mason - being an American - finds himself having his loyalties questioned by one of the other Russian prisoners who does not trust him due to his nationality. Reznov defends him by saying that he would trust Mason with his life.
At the surface they force their way towards the guard tower from which heavy machine gun fire comes raining down on them from. They cover themselves whilst moving towards the tower by pushing large coal trucks along the rails and hiding right behind them. They destroy the tower using an improvised incendiary device, which they launch from a slingshot. The prisoners pour into the arms room and arm themselves with guns and anything else they can get their hands on.
At the final stretch they take out an attacking Mi-8 Hip Helicopter, manage to fight their way into the heavily protected armory - which grants them access to the death machine - and fight their way to a warehouse to steal some motorbikes. They flee the prison, switching from motorbike to truck. Reznov drives the vehicle and Mason makes use of the mounted DShK machine gun by killing any pursuing guards he can. Reznov pulls along side the train and Mason jumps for a ladder on the side of it. He beckons to Reznov to do the same, but the Russian hero respons by saying only freedom for Mason was intended and he proceeds to swerve the truck away, taking the guards with him.
'Vorkuta' is the second campaign mission in Call of Duty: Black Ops. The depicted events transpire on October 6th, 1963; they show the escape of the prisoners from the labour camp in Vorkuta, Russia.
This mission was insanely good. It feels empowering for the player, you actually feel like you're there, you feel like you are one of the prisoners who fight for their freedom and also for their lives, during their escape from Vorkuta. You live through the experience with them and are inspired in the process.
This inspiration is primarily due to, the incredibly motivating speeches from the one and only Viktor Reznov. How excellent it was to fight alongside him once more. He is definitely one of my favourite characters to appear in the game. He was first introduced on WaW and one of my favourite missions involving him on WaW is included in this top ten list! What will it be? Read on to find out.
6: Into the Deep - Call of Duty: Ghosts
After being plunged deep into the Atlantic Ocean, Keegan and Logan only have one task to complete: they must neutralise the enemy AEGID class combat ship and make it back to the surface safely.
They begin their quest by calmly passing by a few sharks and then eliminating two enemy divers. When an enemy submarine is seen close by the pair quickly swim towards a shipwreck and swim through its ruins in order to avoid being detected. After they avoid the sub, their paths cross with another team of enemy divers who they swiftly execute, just like the previous pair. After advancing through a graveyard of ships, they locate their objective.
They quickly learn that the vessel possesses a sonic solar pulse which is capable of crushing human organs and shattering bones - this means that getting close to the objective and planting charges, so instead they take it out from a distance using a Proteus Missile. Their vantage point collapses due to the explosion and in turn, damages Logan's oxygen tank. Keegan manages to fix it and then they get out of there!
They escape through a shipwreck, narrowly avoiding a circle of ravenous sharks and successfully navigating their way to the extraction point.
'Into the Deep' is the twelfth mission in the campaign of Call of Duty: Ghosts, it is a mission which involves being deployed into the Atlantic Ocean in order to eliminate a federation ship.
When this mission first started I was as excited as a young child on Christmas morning or as I am nowadays, at Christmas lunchtime... The fact that you are plunged into the ocean and get to play the level underneath the water was just brilliant. The sharks were a good touch also. This mission is a very unique one in the Call of Duty series and that - coupled with the fact that the objective is very enticing - is the reason why 'Into the Deep' comes in at number 6 on my list.
5: Endgame - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Soap MacTavish (you) and Captain Price are engaged in an intense pursuit of the fleeing General Shepherd and they only have one goal: kill him. Shepherd - who already has some ground on the two - boards a Zodiac speedboat in the underground rivers of the Site Hotel Bravo's cave system. Soap and Price also board a speedboat, Soap is the driver and Price the shooter. They give chase, fleeing through the tunnels at immeasurable speeds.
During the chase they make their way through a cave, a lake with various large rock formations and then, in the final stages, some rapids. Within each of these locations, they are bombarded with incoming gunfire which is provided by Shadow Company soldiers on Zodiac's, helicopters and OpFor on the land and bridges.
Near the end of the chase, Shepherd boards a Pave Low which was waiting for him at the end of the river. Soap holds the boat steady while Price attempts to shoot down the chopper, he is successful on the third attempt and the helicopter spins out of control, spiralling towards the ground. Due to the speed and sheer velocity of the water, Soap is unable to reverse their Zodiac and they are thrown over the colossal waterfall which stands at the end of the river.
Soap wakes up on a shore next to the waterfalls plunge pool, Price is nowhere to be found. Soap walks towards the Pave Lows crash site, knife in hand, searching for Price. After eliminating both members of the choppers crew Soap spots Shepherd fleeing the wreckage. He chases him into the sandstorm and when he catches up attempts to stab Shepherd, but his attack is futile. Shepherd counters Soap and smashes his head off of the car which he was leaning against when Soap caught up and then he draws his own knife and plunges it into Soap's chest.
Just as Shepherd is about to fire a bullet straight into Soaps forehead, Price intervenes by tackling Shepherd. They trade blows, Price kicks the fallen pistol away and Soap crawls towards it, taking the opportunity to end it there and then. Soap can almost touch the gun, just as he is about to grab it Shepherd manages to break free from Price, kick the gun away from Soap and then stomp on his face. Soap is drifting in and out of consciousness. He witnesses blurred visuals of Shepherd relentlessly beating Price to a bloodied pulp, delivering blow after blow, strike after strike.
Soap knows that Price's skull won't be able to withstand the impact for much longer, so he takes action. He slowly removes the knife from within his chest and once dislodged, he spins it and throws it at Shepherd. It lodges itself into Shepherd's left eye, killing him. It's over. Price gets up coughing and spluttering. He helps Soap to his feet also. Then Nikolai arrives in his MH-6 Little Bird and airlifts the two to safety.
'Endgame' is the eighteenth and final mission in the campaign of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
And as far as final missions go in Call of Duty, this one is certainly up there with the best of them. I love everything about it: driving the boat and avoiding the obstacles, the cut-scenes (especially the fighting at the end) and most of all, plunging that knife into Shepherd's eye socket! That is arguably one of my favourite parts, if not my favourite part of any Call of Duty campaign mission and I'm sure that many gamers will share my opinion on this.
There's no denying that saving the legendary Captain Price, by throwing a knife into Shepherd's - who is a character who betrays you earlier in the game, gaining your burning hatred - eye and killing him, gives you a feeling similar to no other. And it is that very final scene which causes this mission to be placed into the category of excellence in which it now finds itself.
4: Cliffhanger - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Roach (you) and MacTavish are quietly perched on the edge of a snowy mountain, waiting to head for their objective. After a passing MiG-29 flies overhead, they make their move. They scale a dangerously slippery ice wall, using ice axes to prevent themselves from tumbling to their inevitable death. They get to the top of the cliff and must jump a small gap. Roach fails to grip onto the icy cliff after his jump and he slips, almost falling into the whiteness below, but Soap grabs his hand, saving his life. They continue their climb.
They move towards their objective making use of heartbeat sensors. This enables them to pre-locate their enemies through the blizzard. They take out multiple enemy patrols whilst moving towards the airbase. When they arrive, Roach uses the heavy snow as cover from the enemies, again using his heartbeat sensor to avoid patrols and moving vehicles. He reaches the fuel depot undetected and plants C4 explosives onto it to serve as a distraction when the time comes.
Roach regroups with Soap at the hangar which their objective lurks within. They must recover a crashed satellite containing an American ACS module. Roach moves upstairs to retreive the ACS and Soap stands guard downstairs. Roach is told by Soap that they've been compromised and upon looking, Roach sees that Soap is not joking. There is a swarm of Russian soldiers surrounding them. Roach detonates the C4, momentarily distracting the Russian's. But it is enough. they use the distraction to fight their way out of the hangar and onto the runway, using detroyed MiGs as cover. They break a fence and slide down a hill, at the bottom of which they cross paths with enemies on snowmobiles. They take down the drivers and steal the vehicles.
They find themselves racing down a hill, dodging rocks and trees at high speed. They realise that they are fast approaching a humongous gorge which the extraction helicopter is on the other side of. They brace themselves and make the jump before being airlifted to freedom.
'Cliffhanger' is the third campaign mission of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and it takes place in the ice cold mountains of Kazakhstan.
Now, I must say, it was tight between 'Cliffhanger' and 'Endgame', and when I say tight I mean really tight! It took me a considerable amount of time to make my decision and I opted for 'Cliffhanger' to be ahead of 'Endgame' for two reasons. Number 1: I enjoy the overall gameplay of 'Cliffhanger'. The whole mission is perfect, from the stealthy ice climbing and concealing yourself in the snowy blizzards to the chaotic explosion and chase at the end. It all works really well together, whereas in 'Endgame' like I mentioned before, I prefer the ending to the rest of the gameplay.
And number 2: MacTavish's scottishness is really uplifting!
3: One Shot, One Kill - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Lt. Price and Cpt. MacMillan are patiently waiting on the top floor of a hotel building with a Barrett .50cal sniper rifle, awaiting of the arrival of their target: Imran Zakhaev. When he arrives to his meeting - in which he plans to sell uranium fuel rods to Russian Ultranationalists - Zakhaev has his arm blown off due to a slightly misplaced shot from Price. From here, all hell breaks loose!
Their cover is blown when an enemy helicopter returns fire, Price shoots the attacking chopper down swiftly but it is too late. They've been compromised. A second chopper appears and opens fire on the building, forcing the pair to rappel down the side due to the roof collapsing as a result of the helicopters gunfire.
When they reach the ground they move, quickly and effectively, racing for the extraction point. They fight their way through the enemies, using a block of apartment buildings in an attempt to lose them. They are spotted by another heli and the chase continues. After shooting down the helicopter, it spirals back down towards the ground towards Price and MacMillan, the crashing chopper causes significant injury to the leg of MacMillan, rendering him unable to walk.
Price is subsequently forced to carry MacMillan to the extraction point, which is at the Ferris wheel in Pripyat Amusement Park. They reach the extraction point and defend their ground against the swarming Ultranationalists. The chopper arrives and they are safely removed from the area.
'One Shot, One Kill' is the fourteenth mission in the campaign of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Although it is the fourteenth mission which the player experiences, chronologically speaking, it is technically the second as it is played through a flashback from the memory of Captain Price.
This mission just reminds me of the good old days. CoD 4 is the first Call of Duty campaign which I can vividly recall playing - this is because I was too young to remember playing the previous games. But even still, I think if I had played the CoD 4 campaign fresh out of the womb, I would still be able to retell every minor detail. It is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant campaign modes in Call of Duty history, in fact, in gaming history. Everything about it is just amazing. From the gameplay, to the story; from the characters to the dialogue - this game simply triumphed most, if not all!
And this mission in particular really helped to add to the greatness of this campaign. Both parts of Price's flashback were unbelievable and they will live on eternally in the video gaming hall of fame!
2: Vendetta - Call of Duty: World at War
Dimitri Petrenko (you) regains consciousness in a fountain which is situated in Red Square in the city of Stalingrad. The fountain is a bloodbath. Both dead and almost dead Russian bodies lie in heaps on the ground. A German patrol comes through, executing any surviving Russian troops. Petrenko remains totally still and goes unnoticed, narrowly avoiding having his head blown off.
Much to Petrenko's surprise, one of the seemingly lifeless bodies just in front of him stirs into life. It is Viktor Reznov. He tells Petrenko that he needs his help in his endeavour to assasinate General Heinrich Amsel an infamous German commander. Petrenko agrees to help and Reznov - who has an injured hand and is unable to make use of the weapon - hands him his sniper rifle, a scoped Mosin-Nagant.
They move into position. They can see Amsel's men and shortly after spotting them, Amsel himself arrives and enters a nearby building. Petrenko waits until German bombers pass overhead and uses the noise elicited from them to mask the sound of his shots. He takes out the men standing guard and once the area is clear they move in closer for the kill. As they get near a German armored patrol arrives and the two men sneak off into a bar in search of another pathway which leads them to Amsel.
On their journey to find him they encounter many challenges. A sniper fires at them, almost killing Reznov. They have to work together to take him out. Reznov draws his fire by running around their building and while the sniper is focused on him, Petrenko pops up and takes the shot. They move on, going back downstairs. They hide from a nearby German patrol but one of the soldiers move close to the window of the building that they are concealed in. He spots them and flames start pouring through the windows from the German flamethrowers. Reznov and Petrenko duck down to avoid being burned alive.
The building is transformed into a raging blaze of orangeness. The pair of Russian's move through it as fast as possible and only just manage to escape as it completely explodes. They re now back in the streets and a German patrol is just about to burn heir battered bodies, but before they can do so a group of Russian soldiers show up and slay the Germans. After asking the pair to help them with an assault on a German communications outpost, they agree to help as it will prevent Amsel from calling for any backup.
The two gain high ground in order to provide sniper support. The communications outpost has been secured by the Russian's but soon after German reinforcements arrive and slaughter them. Petrenko does not open fire as it would give away their position and Amsel would not come out of hiding. He appears and Petrenko picks him off. An enemy tank spots the two and opens fire. They flee, running further into the building as the tank bombards them with shells. German troops flood their building and after trying to fend them off, they find themselves swarmed at a dead end. The only way out is to jump into the river beneath them.
They are forced to do so. They plunge into the water below as more and more German soldiers pour into the building.
'Vendetta' (Italian for 'Revenge') is the fourth mission in the Call of Duty: World at War campaign.
Now, if you haven't already guessed, writing this article has been extremely nostalgic. It's been years since I've played some of these missions and I am enjoying reliving them through writing about them, but writing about them is a totally different story to actually playing them. And of course, now all I want to do is play through all the CoD campaigns one final time. So I started. I'm almost completed CoD 4 now and when I do, I can't wait to move onto WaW because this mission right here, it is just... EPIC.
It is everything you want in a sniping mission. A perfect blend of sneaking and quietness, mixed with the sudden need to get the hell out of there and a little-added sprinkle of all-out firefighting. It is one of those missions which you just can't help falling in love with. Have you noticed that a lot of those missions, which you can't help loving, involve Reznov? Well that's because we all love Reznov. Don't even try to deny it!
1: All Ghillied Up - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
As the level begins, Lt. Price (you) and Cpt. MacMillan are hidden in some grass on the outskirts of Pripyat, ready to close in on their objective building which is a sniping vantage point in the shape of an abandoned hotel.
The pair move up towards a wooden, shed-like structure. Together they take out two guards who are approaching from the other side. Both of their weapons are silenced which means that none of the surrounding enemies can hear their shots. They move on, coming to a building with four enemies inside. MacMillan tells Price to not even think about it as there are too many.
As they round the building, one guard comes out for a smoke. Price takes him out and they move on. As they run undetected, MacMillan comes to an instant halt and utters the words "Don't move." He vigilantly spots the approaching guard and the watchman in the church tower. MacMillan moves up to take a closer look and Price takes out the lookout and then he quickly follows up by finishing the approaching lone guard. Their journey continues.
They pass through the church and duck in the shadows as an enemy chopper passes close-by overhead. After moving into a large open field, MacMillan abruptly demands that they hit the deck. There is a convoy of BMP-2s with countless accompanying enemy troops, and they are heading straight for the duo. They move slowly and carefully, narrowly avoiding being spotted by the uncomfortably-close bypassing troops.
They come to a junkyard next. Price takes out two of four soldiers as per MacMillan's orders and the pair take out the final two - who are busy throwing dead bodies into a heap - together. They pass through some shipping crates where some more enemies are gathered. They only take down one of these, MacMillan approaches him and in his incredibly beautiful Scottish accent whispers "Oi Suzy." The undoubtedly confused soldier turns around, only to be greeted with a face-full of the butt of MacMillan's M21.
They pass by another enemy convoy. This time crawling underneath a conveniently placed line of parked trucks. They wait underneath the end of the final truck for the enemies to move on somewhat and then they make a mad dash for the block of buildings just ahead. MacMillan vigilantly spots a sniper up on a fourth floor balcony. Price precisely picks him off. And they make their final push towards the hotel. Passing through the nearby crumbling buildings to reach it.
'All Ghillied up' is the thirteenth mission in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and it is undoubtedly the best sniping mission in the entirety of COD history!
Need I say anything? If you were to devise your own top ten Call of Duty campaign missions list and this mission didn't come in your top three, then that makes you either: A) a liar or B) to young to have experienced this beautiful piece of game development.
The ways in which the game invites you to take your own approach is wonderful enough, but the level can be slightly altered based on your actions too. It doesn't just end if you are compromised. If you can successfully fight off the horde of angry enemies who will ruthlessly try to kill you when you are compromised, then you will be allowed to continue the mission as normal when you get to the next section. There are so many alternatives.
So effectively, it's a sniper mission unlike no other because, in most other sniper missions, once your cover is blown the mission restarts from your latest checkpoint. But in 'All Ghillied Up' you could, in essence, just go in all guns blazing and live to tell the tale (if you are good enough).
Everything about this mission makes it my number one. I especially love MacMillan's orders and the ways in which they are delivered. It feels real, especially during the crawling through the convoy part. That part gave gamers everywhere sudden and profound heart failure! It is easily one of the tensest moments that I've ever experienced in any videogame, not just COD. And all of those things combined helped this mission claim the top spot in my list!
So, there you have it. My top ten, delivered, outlined and explained. Let me know your personal lists in the comment section. It would be awesome to hear what differences people have.
But play nice and happy gaming!