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Action-Based Mission

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I'd have thought an appropriate final boss for [L.A. Noire] would be a ten-step interrogation with someone with a really hard-to-spot tell, like their ears wobble or their nipples go hard. But no, the game just ends with an action sequence where you run around sewer tunnels blasting gangsters with a flamethrower. Wait, what? That's fucking absurd! That's like defeating Hitler at the end of Wolfenstein 3-D by challenging him at Pictionary.
Zero Punctuation on the end of L.A. Noire

A level in a game which places a heavy emphasis on action and/or combat, when the rest of the game usually avoids this. Where before the player might have been quietly sneaking around in the shadows or jumping from platform to platform, now they are dashing from cover to cover and gunning down mooks left and right.

This is often done for a deliberate change of pace from the rest of the game, or to ramp up the stakes and intensity towards the end, and it can come in many forms. The most obvious example of this is a Stealth-Based Game which features a level in which the player is forced to run and gun, but it could also come in the form of a Visual Novel which features an action-heavy sequence, or a platform game which features a level with a lot of combat. It can also appear in games which ordinarily afford the player a wide variety of means of overcoming challenges (such as Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth), but sometimes force the player to use combat (see Violence is the Only Option).

Note that direct combat is not strictly necessary for this trope: even a fast-paced intense chase sequence in a game which is ordinarily more slow-paced and stealthy can qualify.

Sister Trope (and Opposite Trope) to Stealth-Based Mission and a sub-trope of Unexpected Gameplay Change. Can overlap with Unexpected Shmup Level. See also Optional Stealth. As with Stealth Based Missions, this runs a high chance of becoming That One Level if the gameplay feels too disconnected from the rest of the game, especially if it happens near the end.


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    Action-Adventure Games 
  • L.A. Noire is primarily based around its investigative gameplay, in which the player must investigate crime scenes and then interrogate suspects. However, it also features several missions in which the player must fight against enemies, including the game's ending.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Strangely for the genre, Metro: Last Light can be stealthed through all the way to the final mission, which is an open battle where you have to shoot mooks to win.
  • Rainbow Six's final mission, Mystic Tiger, forces your teams to run and gun through multiple chokepoints swarming with tangos, in the hopes that at least one operative will survive to capture John Brightling.

    Platform Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Chronicles: China, despite being a 2½D-platformer, otherwise mostly follows the general Assassin's Creed pattern, focused on stealth and undetected infiltration. However, the last portion of the Macau level completely throws out the game's mechanic of scoring the player on stealth, and the player is simply scored based on how fast they escape the burning harbor.
    • The original Assassin's Creed caught a lot of flak for its final level, which ignored the game's focus on stealth and intricate planning and instead just threw waves of heavily armored enemies at the Player Character.
  • Miku Monogatari: Yume to Taisetsu na Mono has you face a lot of enemies in a straightforward path in stage 2 - 3, with even more of them in Hard mode. Good thing that you have cute animal allies that help you plowing through the crowd.
  • Mirror's Edge is usually very good at not forcing you into fights, and you can avoid pretty much every non-boss combat encounter... except the police ambush in the middle of chapter "Heat", where you basically have no chance to run past the enemies before they shoot you to death.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • For most of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, avoiding combat (either via stealthy or social behaviour) is a viable strategy, except towards the end when it becomes very combat-focussed, with numerous extremely strong bosses one after another. Several side missions likewise meet this description.
  • Alpha Protocol allows the player to specialize in stealth, various kinds of combat, or some combination of both. However, several missions and boss fights are combat-focused.
  • A Dance with Rogues is generally a Stealth-Based Game with a heavy use of in-game Skill Scores and Dialogue Trees; however, at several points in the plot, the player is forced into combat with no way to avoid it, such as during the finale of the Golden Chalice and Baron of Ravenstower quests, the finale of Part I, and the final leg of the story branch leading up to the Golden Ending. The last one is particularly bad, since the player has to defeat literally hundreds of enemies without a moment of respite.
  • A common complaint of Deus Ex: Human Revolution is that in a game that boasts the various ways players can tackle levels, the bosses have few or no stealth options and rely on combat. One of the bullet-points on the Director's Cut is that bosses have more options to suit more play styles.

    Stealth Games 
  • In the Hitman series:
    • All three Colombia missions in Hitman: Codename 47 leave the player very little choice but to run and gun their way through the mission. Other levels are very difficult to complete without doing so as well. The "end boss" fight is also a death-match against 10 consecutive enemy clones; they're impossible to stealth-kill since they never stand still, but you can still somewhat outwit them by camping with a minigun instead of fighting them directly.
    • Likewise, a perfectly stealthy approach is near-impossible in two of the Japan missions in Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, and gives the distinct impression the two levels were designed before the concept of the Silent Assassin rating was fully developed. The final level is also designed to be a shootout; it is possible to stealth-kill everyone, but this is extremely difficult without getting spotted and starting a shootout anyway.
    • While Hitman: Blood Money does a good job of fully developing the stealth/disguises gameplay and making combat completely optional, the final epilogue level is a quick shootout against a dozen or so opponents, with no option for a stealthy resolution.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Most boss fights in each game meet this description. There are occasional boss fights in which a stealthy approach is viable, such as the sniper duel against The End in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
    • Most of the games feature set-piece sequences in which the player must take on numerous enemies, such as the tower climb in Metal Gear Solid or the sword-fighting sequence near the end of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
  • Stealth is viable (and, indeed, preferable) for the majority of Second Sight, but many levels force the player to run and gun, including most of the levels set in Russia.
  • Manhunt is primarily a stealth game, but later missions place a greater emphasis on gunplay. The awkward, unreliable shooting controls made these sections of the game rather difficult. The sequel does the exact same, which didn't help endear players or critics to it very much.
  • Splinter Cell:
    • Splinter Cell: Despite the game's heavy focus on stealth and Sam being unsuited to open combat, it has its fair share of these:
      • The Kalinatek level effectively forces the player to kill numerous enemies. Opportunities for stealth are limited: the building is well-lit with several unbreakable lamps, and the level design is heavily based around cramped corridors that don't give Sam much of a chance to sneak up on guards. On the other hand, the level contains the most ammo boxes in the game, and wall mines are ubiquitous. The last stage doesn't even bother to sound the alarm if you don't hide the bodies.
      • The Mouke Tsoe Bo abattoir level's second half revolves around employing the terrorists' Sentry Guns against them by disabling their IFF systems, the second stage in particular. The ending is a massive firefight between Sam and seven or eight mercenaries in a spot too well-lit to hide, culminating in one of two assassination objectives in the entire game. The target? None less than Vyacheslav Grinko, Nikoladze's right-hand man.
    • Splinter Cell: Double Agent: The second half of the Kinshasa mission in the PS3/Xbox 360/PC version is an all-out war zone in broad daylight. Naturally, this section is very hard to sneak through, and you'll probably wind up shooting your way through it.
    • Splinter Cell: Conviction: The Gulf War flashback mission is a third-person military shooter, with the "Mark & Execute" and other stealth mechanics disabled.
    • Splinter Cell: Blacklist: Transit Yards. It is notably the only mission in Blacklist without a Undetected check, having a shootout at the very beginning of the level, two FPS sections as Briggs, and forced detections and shootouts at the very end of the level. While the beginning shootout, FPS sections and the middle part of the level as Sam are possible to sneak through (Though tough due to it being a daylight mission and mines being everywhere in the middle Sam section), the ending section is not, and you have to knock out or kill a certain amount of enemies in combat in it.
      • Also Charlie's side missions, which focus on killing or knocking out huge waves of enemies with few hiding spots, the enemies already being on alert, and more and tougher enemies as the Mission goes on and you progress through the waves. Briggs' side missions too, with a UAV section at the end of Smuggler's Compound that is almost impossible to sneak through (The only way being to make sure whoever is currently controlling the UAV doesn't fire a single shot, and the player on the ground carefully picking off the snipers, dogs and sentries with gas bolts and proximity shockers while moving forward and hiding as best as they can from everything else), the second half of Missile Plant requiring you to knock out or kill a huge number of enemies, the scrapyard at beginning of Voron Station being very hard to get through Undetected (The first section having two dogs and a lot of guards in a small enclosed area, and the second having multiple guards and Heavies that need to be killed or knocked out to progress including a HVT, with both sections having a huge number reinforcements if you get detected. The rest of the level is fairly easy to sneak through, though), and Abandoned City outright forcing you to get detected and gun down waves of enemies at the end of it (Despite the level having Undetected and Non-Lethal checks, they are impossible to achieve due to this).
  • Later levels in Thief: The Dark Project feature an emphasis on combat in a game which otherwise emphasizes stealth and exploration.

    Survival Horror 
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is mostly a first person Survival Horror game with stealth based gameplay. Guns are only found around one third of the game, gunplay isn't very interesting in the game, and most of those fights can be avoided thank to stealth. However, there are a couple of sequences in the warship level and in the last level in which you're forced to fight hordes of Deep Ones that you can't hide from.
  • Resident Evil Village, after serving up mostly traditional survival horror gameplay in which ammo is scarce, switches gears towards the end after the boss fight against Heisenberg, where it puts you in the boots of Chris Redfield and gives you access to a powerful, fully automatic assault rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition for it, and several grenades to mow down Lycans with, as well as more ammo laying around the map.
  • In Siren 1, much of the gameplay revolves around sneaking past the Shibito. However, some characters, such as Akira Shimura and Tamon Takeuchi from the first game, start off with guns (a rifle and a revolver respectively) with varying amounts of ammunition. In Tamon's case, he can obtain about thirty rounds of ammo in one of his levels.