'Crew Expendable' maybe the easiest mission bar the AC-130, but it's amazing - the setting on the horrible Bering Sea is brilliantly done, picking off the unaware and drunken crew, and that desperate escape from the sinking ship is pretty intense. Also sets up Price as the Bad Ass of the series, saving Soap twice in the space of two minutes.
Gaz gets his as early as the second mission, where, fed up with Sergeant Kamarov's refusal to tell them where the informant they need to find is located, proceeds to grab Kamarov and dangle him over a ledge.
Gaz: "Enough sniping! Where is the informant?"
Kamarov: (shouts in Russian)
Gaz: "WHERE IS HE?!"
Kamarov: "The house! The house at the northeast end of the village!"
Gaz: "Well, that wasn't so hard, now was it? Now go sit in the corner." (knocks Kamarov out)
Captain MacMillan? "Oi, Suzy!" *Smack*
MacMillan's a legend. The two Chernobyl missions are some of the most enjoyable in the game, and the escape after sniping Zakhaev and carrying MacMillan is one of the most tense and climactic levels ever.
And he's a character who runs at a Russian convoy of more than two dozen men to dive under a truck and not get noticed. Yes, that's right: MacMillan runs at a convoy of trucks surrounded by two dozen armed soldiers so that he can sneak under the vehicles, and does not get discovered. Solid Snake would be proud.
It helps that the good Captain is not useless as in a stereotypical Escort Mission; you can only walk if you're carrying him, but if you put him down he becomes a stationary turret, and once reaching the Pripyat Ferris Wheel will no longer have to be carried, until your backup finally arrives, by which time the opposing gunmen should have been almost entirely neutralized.
Also, while he may fire slowly the good Captain never misses: any shot he takes, kills. Getting rescued from a sticky situation with an empty magazine by a flawless headshot to a sprinting target across the full length of the LZ square tends to leave a favorable impression, or at least it did for me.
As icing on the cake, that mission strongly implies that MacMillan's legs have been fucked up permanently... until Modern Warfare 3 reveals that not only did he recover, he is now the Colonel Badass commanding the SAS, and he sends Price gear and intel to hunt Makarov.
Price: "You still owe me for Pripyat. I'm calling it in."
MacMillan: "Easy, son."
Technically, if you look up the position Mac Millan held in MW3, the guy is a major general by this point in charge of ALL UK special operations forces. Not bad for previously appearing in a couple of flashback levels two games prior.
IW's tradition of having a bonus scene playing in the background as the credits roll. In COD1 you get a mostly-2D version of levels 2-3, in COD2 you get a rather amusing video where they attempt to make a map using every single animation they have (and they still make it good!) and in COD4 they have an AC130 scene in which the devs demonstrate their awesome cheating skillz (semi-auto 40mm, follwed by a rap song from S Sgt. Griggs.
MW2 has something similar, showing the game as a museum, with museum patrons wandering around, backdrops of the places you fought through, etc.
Call of Duty 4. "Game Over." Cornered, surrounded, outnumbered, pinned on the bridge with an exploding gas tanker at your back. Enemy helicopters flying overhead, taunting you. Watching your squadmates killed one by one, executed by the Big Bad himself, and then rolling over, seeing Captain Price sliding his sidearm out to you, giving you one last chance to kill the man he couldn't. And when the dust settles, the Loyalists arrive, and Kamarov is standing over you, frantically calling for aid and telling you "You are going to be alright, my friend!" So freaking badass.
Game Over was a crowning moment for the game as a whole. It's what set it apart from the other modern warfare games where everything has to end happily or narrowly. When's the last time you saw a disaster of this proportion happen?
Modern Warfare 2
Ice axe. Snowmobile. Clothesline. 'Nuff said.
Not until we mention you slipping off the side of the mountain, your partner diving to catch you and without a word indicating where he's going to throw you to climb back up.
Speaking of Soap, he gets another Moment of Awesome much earlier while chasing down Rojas, and NPC team mate Ghost calls out "He's getting away!" To which Soap calmly replies, "No he's not." And then, from above the player, Soap tackles Rojas through a window and onto the roof of a car, promptly getting to one knee with his pistol drawn. This man has taken about twenty levels in badass since his last appearance.
Okay, Private James Ramirez may not be as badass as Price or Soap, but he deserves some props for all the crap that went down in D.C. Saving "Raptor," protecting evacuees, taking out enemy anti-armor troops and even enemy armor, gunning down Russian troops while trapped inside a crashed helicopter, awesome. Then in Whiskey Hotel, you manage to retake the White House without electronic supports (not even powered small arms optics), but have to ignite and frantically wave green flares atop the roof to (narrowly) prevent friendly air power from bombing your position. Anyways, as your squad gathers up on the roof and talks about payback (granted, they're all pawns in Shepherd's plan, but really awesome pawns at that) you look over the devastated city, and start to see green smoke rising over other famous D.C. landmarks; looks like Ivan may be in trouble, eh?
Made even more awesome when a random NPC delivers the following simple line at the resolution of the above-mentioned Moment of Awesome: "So when we goin' to Moscow?" Corporal Dunn, who, up until this point, had been your obligatory Deadpan Snarker and apparent Expy of Hudson from Aliens, responds to that line with this one: "Not soon enough, man. But I know we're gonna burn it down when we get there." It's also a meta-Crowning Moment of Funny for anyone who recognizes that Dunn's voice actor is Barry Pepper, whose last notable videogame role was someone who could single-handedly accomplish this in bloody fashion.
When the EMP hits, and choppers start falling like deadly hailstones, one explosion sends the burning chassis of a motorcycle straight at Dunn. He dive-rolls over it and gets on his feet running. Even when hell is literally raining down, he never misses a beat.
In terms of melee badassery, Sgt. Foley in the same game takes the cake. He doesn't bother with fancy hip tosses or gun butts, he just kicks the other guy over and executes him. Do not mess with Foley.
In "Cliffhanger", after meeting up with Captain Mactavish behind the hanger you sneak in. Suddenly Mactavish starts sprinting down the hall and body-checks a guard into the lockers at the far end, knocking him to the ground where the good Captain proceeds to knife him.
"PRICE, DO YOU COPY? THE SILO DOORS ARE OPEN, I REPEAT, THE SILO DOORS ARE OPEN!"
Price: Contact. Enemy patrol 30 meters to our front. Five men, automatic rifles, frag grenades. One German Shepherd.
Soap: Dogs... I hate dogs.
Price: These Russian dogs are like pussycats compared to the ones in Pripyat.
Soap: It's good to have you back, old man.
Price: Roger that.
Makarov. Just...fucking Makarov. Say what you will about him, his speech in the Infamy trailer was epic.
Soap's riot shield takedown: He runs up to the opposing baddie, smacks him down on the ground with the riot shield, and while the man on the ground is trying to recover, Soap takes out Price's Colt. 45 from the last game and shoots him with it, looking very calm.
Price gets an indirect one in "Just Like Old Times"
Shadow Company HQ: "Disciple Nine, you rear guard just flatlined!"
Disciple 9: "Not possible. We just cleared that area. Nobody's that goo-"
Shepherd: "It's Price." The implication? Captain Price is that good.
There's also the moment earlier in the prison mission where you find Captain Price alive. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
Price: [after knocking Roach down] Soap?
Soap [handing Price a pistol]: This belongs to you sir.
Worm: Who's Soap?
What makes this moment even better is that, as you will notice, that pistol is the 1911 that Price passed to Soap so he could kill Zakhaev at the end of MW1.
Where did Captain Price get his chain from? He was shackled with it.After his prison is invaded, he takes the opportunity to choke his solitary guard, then when the breach occurs, moves him in front of the bullets without missing a beat if the player chooses to fire, then knocks the PC down and takes his gun. The subtitles going "Captain Price" is icing on the cake.
His very appearance was a Moment of Awesome. First you get knocked on your ass and when you come to you're staring up at what looks like a crusty old sea captain. A moment later you find out that he isn't just a crusty old captain, he's a crusty old captain who was last seen being revived by a Russian guy (which was assumed to have failed).
Along the same lines as the venerable Reznov, Sgt. Foley puts the Bad Ass into Authority Equals Asskicking and then some. To start he's voiced by KeithFucking David. Then he's got a slew of awesome lines from "Get a grip, Corporal! Our weapons still work, which means we can still kick some ass!" when the EMP starts dropping helicopters down around them like hail and they're still outnumbered by the opposing Russians to "Take us up! If we're going down, we're taking those SAM sites with us!" when the chopper your squad is riding in is critically damaged, instead of trying to limp away. But the most awesome aspect of this truly awesome individual is how he takes his soldiers through one nightmare scenario after another and somehow manages to keep his men together and motivated throughout, and continually puts himself and his squad Ramirez on the line to defend others. When a squad of Russians are bearing down on the weapons cache he's taken, and Command is telling him to get the hell out of Dodge, what does he say? "Forget saving ourselves, we're going to stay here and provide support for the fleeing civilians for as long as possible!" If Shepherd wanted to inspire the American people to stand up and fight, he should have just cloned a bunch of Sgt. Foleys and put them in command of every front-line unit; almost every moment in his presence is a Moment of Awesome.
Worth noting is the intro to "Exodus." Shepherd asks Foley to perform a critical mission to stop the Russians, and Foley's response? "Point it out on a map, sir. They won't take it." The way he says it is the kicker, here; it isn't a promise. It's simply a statement. It's a fact, as simple as the sky is blue. They will hold the line.
Doubles as a bit of a heartwarming moment when you realize how much faith the man has in his men.
"Squad, we still got 2000 civvies in Arcadia. If you've got a family there, it's your lucky day - we're gonna go save their lives!"
The ISS interactive cutscene. Remember how in the previous game, you watched a nuclear explosion going off?Now, repeat the experience. In space.
The speech given by Captain Price in the opening cutscene of "Just Like Old Times", in response to General Shepherd's betrayal, is positively dripping with poetic awesome:
"The healthy human mind doesn't wake up in the morning thinking this is its last day on Earth. But I think that's a luxury. Not a curse. To know you're close to the end is a kind of freedom. Good time to take...inventory. Outgunned. Outnumbered. Out of our minds. On a suicide mission. But the sand and the rocks here, stained with thousands of years of warfare...They will remember us. For this. Because out of all our vast array of nightmares, this is the one we choose for ourselves. We go forward like a breath exhaled from the Earth. With vigor in our hearts and one goal in sight: We. Will. Kill him."
Driving a vehicle one-handed onto the ramp of a moving plane, with the original driver having just been shot. Holy crap.
Possible CMOA goes to the original driver as well, Rook. Even though he's only driving a jeep against Shadow Company technicals, the fact that he can force vehicles so much heavier then the jeep without causing much damage to the jeep itself deserves praise.
Rook gets one earlier as well. If you haven't already destroyed the BTR, he'll take it out for you.
Endgame, the climax. Your Player Character and his partner, Captain "Soap" MacTavish and Captain Price, who have been betrayed and tossed around by Big Bad, General Shepherd, now branded as international criminals, finally gets one last chance of hunting him down and get their revenge. What follows is one of the most intense missions in the game.
First there is the intro, which drips of sheer valor and determination.
If he lives, and we die, his truth becomes written - and ours is lost.
Shepherd will be a hero. 'cause all you need to change the world is one good lie and a river of blood.
He's about to complete the greatest trick a liar ever played on history.
His truth will be the truth.
But only if he lives, and we die.
Immediately after that, the duo jumps into a mad, high-speed boat chase across Afghan river. They chase Shepherd, while taking fire from almost all directions. Nothing stops them as they dodge and evade rocket launchers and attack helicopters.
Near the end of the river, Shepherd manages to get himself on board a Pave Low helicopter. Does he get away? Captain Price quietly expresses his disagreement...by shooting off the helicopter's fuse line, pretty much exploding the aircraft to the ground. This is even more impressive than how he shot down a helicopter back in Prypiat, considering that fuse line is much smaller than cockpit and that he was using only an assault rifle, rather than a sniper rifle. And he did this in just three shots. Unfortunately, they are unable to stop the boat because of the current and falls off a waterfall. Soap wakes up, his vision all hazy and his guns gone. Even this does not stop him, who just coughs up a bit and gets his knife out and staggers his way to Shepherd.
Now, Shepherd deserves a massive props, not only surviving a helicopter crash, but also for when your character lunges at him, he proceeds to curb-stomp you, who are by now one of the deadliest soldiers in the world. Then he stabs you with his own knife, and gives a little speech while loading his revolver:
"Five years ago, I lost thirty-thousand men in the blink of an eye, and the world just fuckin' watched. But, tomorrow, there will be no shortage of patriots, no shortage of volunteers. I know you understand."
While he is unmistakably the Big Bad, the fact that he actually manages to execute his entire plan flawlessly except for not surviving to see the results despite Price throwing an honest-to-god Spanner in the Works is still damned impressive, even though we're not rooting for him.
Just as he fires at Soap, Price bodyslams him and kicks the gun off. Soap crawls, with a knife still stuck in his chest, to get the gun. Just as when he was about to get the gun, Shepherd throws Price off, kick the gun out of his reach and stomps him in the face.
Then he proceeds to get into a fistfight with Price...and overwhelms him. This is worth mentioning again: There is a character in this franchise who can actually beat up Price, who is shown, in all three games, capable of knocking soldiers out in one punch. This is the only time it ever happens in the entire franchise.
With Soap lying helpless with a knife stuck in his chest and Shepherd performing a facial surgery on Price with his fists, all hopes seem to be lost. Then Soap takes a look at the knife stuck in his chest.With one of the most intense soundtrack in the game blaring, he pulls the knife out of chest in a painfully agonizing way, with blood getting out of his body like a small red fountain. When he finally pulls it out, he gives it a playful twirl...and throws it at Shepherd's eyes, finishing him off for real. Let's repeat: Soap just pulled out a knife out of his chest and killed the Big Bad by throwing it at his face. Glorious.
Safehouse. When you breech the room the top floor, one final Ultranationalist will pop out after the "slow-mo" effects end. Occasionally, he'll even have you dead to rights. He is however then gunned down Scarecrow. Not bad for a Mauve Shirt. Even better in that Ghost didn't tell him to go up there with you, so his being there is a surprise.
The start of Team Player. PFC. Allen is lying on the ground in a daze, and the first thing he sees is General Shepherd calmly fighting on the front lines with nothing but a .44 Magnum revolver when Shepherd notices the shell-shocked Allen. With this playing in the background, Shepherd promptly drags Allen back to consciousness and sends him in to start kicking ass with this quote. Welcome to Modern Warfare 2, ladies and gentlemen.
Yuri and Soap are stealthing through the Russian-infested streets of the city, dodging and weaving their way through patrols. Then, they encounter one 'impassible' patrol, which Soap decides to go through rather than around. As he prepares to take on the odds, the shadows in the rooftop above shift. One lone figure stands; Price. And he brought company as a dozen resistance fighters wail down on the Russians below.
In the E3 video of the MW3 level "Hunter Killer", Sandman basically kicks a charging Russian sailor to death.
During the mission where you play as a Russian FSO agent, you get into a zero gravity shoot-out with hijackers.Holy shit that is awesome.
Is it Andrei Harkov in the Special Ops mission "Hostage Taker"? If so, then doubly impressive, seeing as he was just shot twice by Vladimir Makarov... with a Desert Eagle.
Price, after figuring out Yuri worked for Makarov from the now deceased Soap, tells Yuri to open the door, spins Yuri around, and PUNCHES HIM DOWN THE ENTIRE STAIRCASE.
Oh, Price doesn't just punch him down the stairs. He walks down the stairs after him cocking a pistol, then holds it to Yuri's head, saying the following:
" Soap trusted you! I thought I could too! So why, in the bloody hell, does Makarov know you?!"
In Down The Rabbit Hole: Team Metal's last stand. As a wounded Yuri fires at the hostiles, Grinch rolls over to dodge an RPG. Grinch drops his empty M14 and pulls out dual pistols and fires them at different directions. An RPG round nearly hits Sandman as he continues to fire. One hostile runs towards Truck, but Truck throws him over his shoulder and kills him. Another hostile runs towards Sandman, who takes out his knife and stabs him, and then throws it at another incoming hostile. He is wounded on his right arm, so he just e draws out his pistol with his free left hand and resumes firing. The fact that they all die really sucks, but they went out like total badasses.
How the battle of New York ends. America pushes the Russians back into the harbor, and sends Team Metal to board the Russian command sub. Sandman and Frost board the sub and kill everyone on board, and then launch the subs missiles at the rest of the Soviet fleet. Even better, you get to race through the harbor as their fleet explodes around you. This pretty much ends the Russian invasion of the US.
The previous level also feels incredible. Fighting Ivan as they swarm the streets with BTRs and Hinds, just so you can get to the New York Stock Exchange and destroy a communications jammer the Russians have. And when that's done, you have to hold out against more Russians trying to kill you on the buildings across the street. With a Predator drone at your command, and a good trigger finger, you succeed, and a Black Hawk arrives for you to get aboard. Now getting on the minigun, you have to defend yourself against more Hinds who want your head on a stick. This level alone certainly reminds one why this series, despite the controversy it's suffered in recent years, is still so fucking awesome.
The battle for Paris is pretty awesome, as you get to call in a AC-130 at will. In Iron Lady you even get to switch back and forth between Frost and the AC-130. The ending is great also in seeing the Russian line by bombed, and knowing that Paris and most of France in under allied control.
Yuri gets a lot of disrespect, but he gets a Crowning Moment of Awesome right before and during the "NoRussian" flashback. He is being held by two Russian insurgents before Makarov pulls a gun on him. Yuri had tried to tell as many authorities as possible what was going to happen at the airport, but Makarov found out and shoots him right before the airport massacre began. The CMOA comes in when Yuri, with a .50 caliber bullet in his upper torso, gets thehellup and limps after Makarov as fast as he can, with the mission objective being simply "Stop The Massacre." He is unsuccessful, but damn if he didn't try.
The final mission of Modern Warfare 3. Yuri and Price storm the hotel where Makarov is hiding while wearing Juggernaut armor. They reach the top, but a helicopter assault renders Yuri immobile, forcing Price to go after Makarov by himself. He reaches the helicopter and jumps on board, throws one pilot out, knifes the other, and then crashes the helicopter. Makarov and Price stumble out, and go for a pistol. Makarov reaches it, but then Yuri manages to reach the helipad and shoots Makarov up. Makarov guns Yuri down, but Price jumps on him, forces him down, beats the shit out of him, wraps a cable around Makarov's throat, and smashes the glass they're laying on. End result: Makarov hanging like the criminal he is, and a dazed and battered Price staring at his corpse, before pulling out his lighter, lighting up a cigar, and having a good, long smoke. Pure awesome.
Even the load screen for that final mission is awesome. In every other MW3 mission using the Task Force 141 survivors (even the one where Price is fighting alongside Sandman, instead of Sandman executing the "kill/capture" order still out on Price), the word "Disavowed" is superimposed over the old TF141 emblem in the load screen, acknowledging their status as wanted men. In the last level, the TF141 logo is shown unblemished; Price has finally won. He's cleared their names. If only Soap could have lived to see it.
And the best part? When the name fades in and you're playing as Price. For the first time in two and a half games, you get to kick so much ass.
The awesomeness starts right from the start of the mission.
At the beginning of the mission: Objective: Kill Makarov. At the end, you've fought your way through hordes of Russians, lost Yuri to an armed Little Bird, duked it out with Makarov amid the wreckage of a helicopter, and now you're lying in the shattered hotel. The camera pans up, reveals Makarov's hanging corpse, the player gets a moment or two to hold their breath, and then...
"Goalpost" has one for you if you can pull it off. As you come out of the parking garage a V-22 Osprey is seen getting chased by a Russian Havoc. If you still have the SAMW and are fast enough, you can shoot down the Havoc and save the Osprey.
"Goalpost" is pretty awesome with you fighting through the city being supported by tanks, and then getting to use the tank's minigun. Later when pinned down by Russian soldiers an a T-90 advancing on you your allies scream for Rhino 1 (the tank), which then crashes through the wall on top of the soldiers and promptly blows up the T-90.
In "Scorched Earth", Sandman doesn't even let a building falling on him stop him.