Hiccup: Yeah, they always start that way.
Not all Stealth-Based Missions (or The Infiltration or Great Escape) end up being stealthy for the entire mission. For some reason, the heroes have decided that stealth is no longer an option and it's Time for Plan B: Shooting your way through with guns blazing!
The reasons for this can vary:
- The heroes were compromised (sometimes by some idiot going Leeroy Jenkins) and the guards have been placed on Red Alert, forcing a more direct approach to their target or the exit.
- Rule of Drama dictates a Conveniently Timed Guard to appear in order for an action sequence to take place, usually preceded by an Oh, Crap! moment.
- The actions conducted after getting in (e.g. explosive sabotage) prevent continuing covertly.
- There is a time factor involved which makes proceeding quickly and loudly more viable than a drawn out covert operation.
- Going loud will draw attention away from something else.
- The objective has been completed and the need to be covert no longer exists.
Overlaps with Time for Plan B (if plan A was to remain stealthy throughout). Also note Optional Stealth, which has significant overlap with this trope, and Indy Ploy, which may be the situation which leads to this trope being applied. So Much for Stealth takes place at the same time this trope is applied.
See also Action-Based Mission, which features examples of stealth games which go action-heavy towards the end.
- With Section 9 being a counter-terrorism unit, this happens all the time in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
- A team searches for a hostage held on a derelict radiation scrubbing station that has been turned into a black market town. When they are discovered, they call one of the Tachikoma for backup, which had been fitted with a Vulcan Cannon. Which is actually a downgrade from the standard rocket launcher to reduce collateral damage to the rig and bystanders.
- When Section 9 is to be shut down, the JMSDF is ordered to deploy Umibozu commandos to eliminate everyone still remaining inside. However, in this case it's the heroes who decide to ramp it up a bit by being the first ones to pull out heavy machine guns and explosives, in the end making the burning facility highly visible throughout half the city.
- In One Piece:
- Luffy enters the Corrida Colosseum battles undercover and in disguise so as not to alert the attention of the Big Bad of the arc, who runs the country. In addition, some of the other fighters have a grudge against him, and he'll become a target. Eventually, some of said adversaries who bear a grudge see right through his disguise, forcing Luffy to stop holding back. By the time the tournament ends, there is a gaping hole where the arena used to be, though that was Luffy's brother Sabo doing that, who substituted in for Luffy, putting on the disguise and picking up where he left off.
- It happened prior in maximum-security prison Impel Down too. Luffy manages to sneak into the prison quietly and without anyone noticing. Before long, the entire prison staff is chasing after him trying to kill him, much of the building's internal structures have been destroyed and flooded with poisonous ooze (albeit created by the warden himself as a last resort), and several inmates strong enough to not need to be stealthy have broken out.
- It probably would be easier to count the amount of times that a stealth mission goes stealthy all the way for The Punisher. Justified partially because Frank Castle is not a man with the best kind of luck and also because Frank really likes to make sure his enemies are dead.
- In Alarm Clock, Ditzy sneaks into Fluttershy's chicken coop at night to steal an egg. She gets the egg... then trips and causes enough noise make the chickens all go berserk and wake Fluttershy.
- In Issei: The Gaming Gear, Issei stealthily makes his way through the base of the Purifiers in Kuou to the room where the prisoners are and gets them all out with a teleportation circle. Once they are out of the way, he pulls out all the stops and fights every one of the Purifiers he can find in order to bring them down for the many horrible things they have been doing (and plan to do).
- In True Lies, the stealth infiltration at the beginning of the film becomes a guns blazing exit after the guards ask for Harry's invitation. Which of course he doesn't have because he came in via scuba gear.
- The four protagonists from Terminator 2: Judgment Day march into the Cyberdyne building as employee Miles Dyson and three guests. After subduing the reception guard, they start planting explosive charges in the main lab. It doesn't take long for alarms to go off, and oodles of police and SWAT teams to converge on the site. Since this is a Terminator movie, almost nothing gets left intact.
- The Matrix Revolutions. The Zion ship Hammer tries to sneak past the army of Sentinels by reducing its power output. Unfortunately this causes the ship to drop dangerously low in the tunnel and it scrapes against some wreckage, alerting the Sentinels and sending them in pursuit, ending in a running battle.
- Star Wars:
Han: (shoots the microphone) Boring conversation anyways. LUKE, WE'RE GONNA HAVE COMPANY!
- In A New Hope, our heroes manage to infiltrate the Death Star (this was itself Plan B, they didn't expect to end up aboard the space station to begin with), and end up having to fight their way out once they've found Princess Leia. After an initial shootout in her cellblock, they try to go stealthy again, but Han fails his bluff check when someone calls to find out what the gunfire was about.
- Animorphs has this as a standard tactic: morph something small and innocuous (usually flies), get to the target, go to battle morph (tiger, wolf, gorilla, grizzly...) and escape once their objective is completed.
- Discussed in one book, where the Animorphs are captured by Visser Three, in morph onboard the Pool ship in space. They consider jumping the first guard to enter their cell and take out as many Yeerks as they can, until Visser One's troops take out the guards and give them instructions on how to escape as part of a ploy to rob Visser Three of his victory.
- Inverted in one book, where Rachel in is charge, leading to Cassie nearly trapped in morph. They make an entrance by ramming a plane through the Yeerk pool's spaceship access tunnel (a hollow building) and escaping in the confusion once the Monster of the Week is dead.
- Heralds of Valdemar: At the beginning of The Black Gryphon, Skandranon is sneaking into an enemy encampment. When he's discovered by accident, he blows up the magical weapons he was investigating and starts a one-against-many fight scene (plus slipping in a Mercy Kill spell for a captured gryphon, which would have revealed his presence if cast earlier).
- Tortall Universe: In the third book of The Immortals, Emperor Mage, Daine is secretly rescued by allies, who intend for everyone to then secretly escape back and go warn the King and Queen of Tortall of the coming war. Daine insists that they first rescue another friend, and is informed that he was caught and killed, at which point Daine decides the best course of action is to destroy everything. With zombie dinosaurs. And she does.
- In Grimm's "Cry Havoc", Nick, Hank, Wu, Monroe and Trubel team up to sneak into a rented estate and take out the Verrat sentries before they can sneak into the premises. Once they split up, they were doing okay until Wu comes across a Verrat Hundjaeger. He throws the three-bladed knife away since he's not proficient in close quarters and blasts him with his shotgun, making Rispoli alert to the sound of intruders. This forces the team to double their efforts and rescue the POI.
- In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Shadows of P'Jem," Archer and T'Pol have been captured by a rebel faction on Coridan. Trip and Malcolm initiate a stealth rescue with help from Andorian Commander Shran and a mole he has in the rebel compound. Before they get very far, however, an explosion goes off, followed by a Vulcan commando team with guns blazing.
- De rigueur for any kind of stealth mission in Dungeons & Dragons. As soon as somebody blows their stealth roll, it's swords out, fireballs flying, and kill anybody and everybody you come across.
- This happens on a regular basis in the game. No matter how carefully a team of shadowrunners has researched and prepared for a run and how careful they are during it, game masters seem to be compelled to have something go wrong just to make it interesting. This almost always results in this trope occurring.
- Shadowrun: Crossfire, a card game based in the Shadowrun universe, uses this as its premise. The main portion of the run has gone perfect but during the getaway all hell has broken loose. The Runners are trying to get to safety while multiple factions are trying to intercept them. Stealth is no longer an option and whenever the Runners run into an Obstacle, bullets and fireballs start flying around with deadly consequences.
- Ork Kommandos from Warhammer 40,000 are a myth among imperials, since no-one thinks that Orks can be stealthy, which isn't entirely true. It's not that they are so stealthy that no-one notices them, but more that they don't leave survivors when they bombard their enemy with bombs and stabs them to death with a howl of rage from the bushes.
- In the mission "Demons of Razgriz" of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, the Wardog Squadron must approach the giant enemy submarine under the radar to avoid detection. However, even if you do everything right, you get spotted while still a few kilometers awaynote and must go loud from there on.
- Most of the story assasinations in Assassin's Creed end this way. You're highly encouraged to approach your targets stealthily, but once they die, bells start ringing, the guards swarm you, and all hell breaks loose. Lampshaded after the first mission in Jerusalem when Altair reports that his target has been killed:
Malik: Oh, I know, I know. In fact, the entire city knows! Have you forgotten the meaning of subtlety?!
- In Battlefield 3's co-op level "Drop 'Em Like Liquid", Snake 6-6 infiltrates a section of Paris to get the drop on PLR patrols. However, the other PLR forces after another patrol spots them taking out a couple of sentries, even if it's done via knife takedown/suppressed weapons if and when they see your team. This forces you to go in loud.
- In the Call of Duty series most of the stealth missions tend to end with the protagonists escaping while under heavy gunfire. The duo of "All Ghillied Up" and "One Shot, One Kill" from Call of Duty 4 is the most elaborate instance, with one whole mission dedicated to the slow, stealthy entrance, and the other to the loud, flashy exit.
- In Commandos a good tactic for most levels is to quietly get all soldiers into position and then strike at all targets simultaneously and get everyone out through planned escape routes as masses of guards come running from all directions.
- In Dishonored, the opening titular mission requires you to use an explosive on a large door, and then book it. Averted if the player decides not to use stealth.
- Dubloon has a Stealth-Based Mission where Riley and Ricky must avoid getting caught by Navy guards and reach Bradley's office. On the way back from there, it plays like a normal dungeon and fighting enemies is possible.
- Used in Final Fantasy VIII, when Selphie leads a mission in the Galbadian missile base. There are a few points during the mission where you can mess up, drop your disguise and fight your way through the rest of the mission, though if you keep your cover as long as possible, you are rewarded with a SeeD rank bonus.
- In the casino heist in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, you end up having to shoot your way out because Zero's ego wouldn't let him not tip off his rival, and thus security is alerted in the middle of the mission.
- Grand Theft Auto V uses this a few times.
- During the bank mission in the introduction, you're able to sneak in and get the money, but trip an alarm on the way out. The result is a massive shoot-out with police to escape.
- The subtle option for the final heist also starts stealthy, yet ends in a gun battle and car chase.
- This is a highly plausible result of missions in Invisible, Inc., thanks to the rising security level. Everyone will be totally unaware of your presence at the beginning, but by the end, if you stay around too long or screw up too much (but not enough to lose), you can wind up escaping with sirens blaring and half or more of the guards chasing after you.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The first trek through the Forsaken Fortress in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker requires Link to sneak past monsters and spotlights because he dropped his sword when he was catapulted into the place. The stealth ends when he finds his sword in front of a strong Bokoblin he must then fight.
- The Yiga Clan Hideout in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is like this unless you choose to forgo stealth entirely and fight the Yiga Clan enemies in regular combat. If you take the intended route of avoiding the guards and sneaking to the hiding place of the Thunder Helm, you'll then have to fight Master Kohga in a traditional boss encounter.
- Mass Effect: Andromeda: The infiltration of the Archon's ship begins with Ryder and their team trying to sneak in... which lasts right up until they leave the airlock, and walk right into a squad of kett, setting off all the alarms.
- Mega Man Zero 4: Around 1/3 into the story, you'll have to go save the kidnapped Neige. Zero enters the prison site from the air ducts, without many mooks in his way, before you finally reach Neige and teleport her to your home base. But just as Zero is about to go out as well, the security system goes on alert and jams all outside frequencies, as well as summoning lots of mooks to hound you. You have to cut your way through the enemies and obstacles before you find yourself outside the building so you can teleport away.
- Metal Gear games, while primarily based around stealth, will invariably have moments where the player is forced into a straight-up Boss Battle. Additionally, the endgame frequently sends stealth out the window entirely.
- Metal Gear: The battle against Metal Gear and the subsequent boss battle after it are all loud (like all boss battles).
- Metal Gear 2: From the fight with Metal Gear to the end of the game, including the escape sequence, you're in constant battle, even weaponless.
- Metal Gear Solid: From the moment REX is brought online, the game completely abandons all stealth elements, culminating with an escape sequence that has the player manning a gun turret pursued by half a dozen jeeps while the base explodes behind you.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Once you meet up with Snake in Arsenal Gear and he gives you your equipment back, stealth is no longer an option right through the final boss battle.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Once the explosives are set in the hangar, there's only a single stealth area in the entire rest of the game.
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Once you get into the fight with Screaming Mantis, the rest of the game is combat and cutscenes, and stealth is likewise not an option (not that there's any further need for it).
- Metal Gear Solid V: Enforced, as the last mission of the game is the first mission of the game, with a big dose of Once More, with Clarity!. Just like the first mission, you'll be as stealthy as you can be until the Man on Fire appears in the lobby, at which point the cutscene takes over.
- Even Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, the Hack and Slash spinoff, gets in on this while Raiden is investigating a secret lab beneath a Mexican sewer. He initially attempts a stealthy infiltration like the ones he was trained for, but apparently he's gotten a bit rusty since becoming a cyborg, since this plan lasts all of two minutes.
- In Mount & Blade, the standard mission "Free Prisoners" is supposed to proceed this way. First, you sneak into a city or castle where a prisoner is kept. Then, you dispose of a single guard, break into the prison and free the prisoner (s). Then, you exit the prison and find the entire city/castle guard against you. The final escape can be made less loud if, before the mission, you commit arson in a nearby village, forcing most of the guard to go there and leave the prison with a skeleton crew.
- Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden: In most areas you will quietly pick off an outer ring of lone static and patrolling enemies, ending up with a hard core who have to be assaulted head-on.
- The Overwatch: Retribution event depicts a Blackwatch mission that fits this trope. After stealthily reaching their objective, Reyes proceeds to execute the target instead of apprehending them as ordered. This causes the targets' guards to become alerted, resulting in the playable section where the team has to escape the area while under heavy fire.
- Heist missions in Path of Exile always start with you infiltrating the area containing a handful of guards to reach the target item located deep within the zone. Whether you break open the case and retrieve the item or let the lockdown timer run out, the place goes on high alert and waves and waves of guards will come out to kill you. It always ends with you making your way back alive by carving a trail of blood and guts through them.
- Pretty much any stealth-able heist in PAYDAY 2 can play out this way, but some heists invoke this trope purposefully:
- Car Shop: Sneak in, quietly steal the keys for the sports cars in the shops' front window... then blow a hole in the road to an abandoned section of highway tunnel, use the keys to steal the cars and escape to the docks through the tunnels before the cops arrive.
- Counterfeit: Under the guises of Pool Repair men, talk to self-made millionaire golf-coach Mitchell (read: sloppy counterfeiter), then let him show you to the basement for you to "Fix" the broken pipe. Find a crowbar lying around, wait out some timelock hacks, answer some phones made by curious policemen watching the place, then kill them. It goes loud when the police officers don't respond. After than blow open the safe with pressurised water and C4, grab the counterfeiting plates, and leg it. Or print money
- Panic Room: Walk in under the premise of a drug deal... then double-cross the dealers, blow up a significant portion of the building and winch out the titular Panic Room in its' entirety via. helicopter.
- Hotline Miami Day 2 and Birth of Sky technically count as the players start in stealthy positions, but immediately end up shooting their way out of them.
- Quite common in Phantom Doctrine, a turn-based strategy game in the vein of XCOM with Cold war spies. Most missions begin in infiltration mode where enemies have limited range of vision and will not react unless the player's team is seen doing something suspicious. If an alarm is triggered the mission becomes a more standard combat based affair with realistic line of sight.note Because combat is always a bad proposition for the playernote , these moments are very unwelcome.
- During the prologue section of Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, the player and their team sneak into position to protect a negotiator during a hostage situation. Unfortunately, due to events that occurred during the situation, the exit is a heated gun battle.
- The Escape portion of Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion starts out as a nerve-wracking Stealth-Based Mission where an unarmed Agent 8 must sneak around heavily-armed Elite Mooks to proceed. After this, gameplay turns to combat after the player finds some weaponry, then to navigating a Laser Hallway, all the way up to flying around in an Inkjet while raining down Death from Above. All with Off the Hook's music blaring in the background.
- Star Trek Online: The much-maligned Iconian War mission "House Pegh" starts out with the Player Character infiltrating an Iconian base with the eponymous Klingon black ops unit. Then, mid-mission, Emperor Kahless (who is for some reason the head of Pegh) catches sight of an Iconian and goes running off to challenge it to personal combat. For reference, he's trying to fight something capable of Hand Blasts and Teleport Spam with a sword, so all he succeeds in doing is getting himself killed and blowing the op, forcing the player to blast their way out.
- Near the end of Stray, the cat must engage in a long stealth mission to free Clementine and B-12 from the prison the Sentinels have thrown them all in. Toward the end, however, when our protagonist opens up the exit an alarm sounds and red lights flash, forcing them to run and catch up with Clem's getaway vehicle while being targeted by the alerted Sentinels pursuing them.
- Enforced in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Barring the use of exploits, it is impossible to complete the vast majority of the stealth sequences without being spotted.
- Occurs occasionally in Watch_Dogs, as some missions start off stealthy, but events during make the escape more action orientated.
- The Eisenwald Prison level of Wolfenstein: The New Order starts with BJ infiltrating the prison on the top of a transport bus and sneaking inside. The only enemies he can face are baton-wielding guards who can't call for backup, and the only officer present is asleep. After he breaks out the Kreisau Resistance prisoners, the alarm is raised, forcing him to shoot his way back out with the surviving prisoner.
- XCOM 2 missions tend to go this way, as for most of them the players' squad starts off in a "Concealment" state (indicating that they are undetected by the enemy), and most of the time when one soldier is detected the entire squad will lose Concealment, with no way to re-enter it save for a few exceptions: certain events in the game can allow a soldier (or the entire squad) to re-enter Concealment, there is a Ranger ability that prevents them from losing Concealment if another team member gets detected; one of the second-to-last mission exclusive perks is Individual Concealment, which means that when a soldier on that mission is detected, only they lose Concealment. The main damper on stealth is that once you complete an objective (such as pick up a captive ally or hack a mission-critical device), Concealment is broken (save for the exceptions above) anyway.
- This is a regular occurrence in Madness Combat:
- Redeemer opens with Hank stealthily taking out the guards outside the Sherriff's building with a silenced pistol before he blows a hole in the ceiling.
- Avenger opens with him stealthily taking out guards with knives before reaching for the guns.
- Apotheosis deviates from this somewhat given how Hank starts by crashing a car into the two guards outside before he goes in with a silenced Uzi, then swaps it for an AK-47 when the Grunts notice him.
- Depredation begins with Hank garrotting Agents with fibre wire, then bursting through a skylight with dual Micro Uzis.
- Sanford & Deimos get in on the action too in Madness Combat 7.5. They infiltrate an AAHW facility with silenced guns, then completely drop the stealth aspect when Deimos grabs an MG-42. From this episode onwards, every attack gets loud from the word "go" since the AAHW is the one initiating the attacks.
- In Red vs. Blue episode "The Twins", South Dakota sneaks into an enemy base to steal information. While downloading the information a guard comically holding two coffee cups finds her. There is a moment of silence before the guard looks at the alarm button. South warns him not to go for it. He looks back and forth between her and the alarm and gets repeated warnings. When he makes a move for the alarm South shoots him, but his momentum carries him forward and he ends up pressing the alarm anyways and all hell breaks loose.
- RWBY During volume 2 Blake and Sun manage to infiltrate a White Fang rally to gather information easily enough but are spotted by Torchwick during their attempted exit leading to the pair being chased from the building by Torchwick piloting a stolen Atlesian Paladin.
- Darths & Droids: On page 1615, Jim lampshades that he's trying to be quiet because it's a stealth mission... but he knows he'll eventually fail a stealth roll and have to kill everyone, and he's actually planning on that. It doesn't help that his ideas of "stealthy" are a bit odd to begin with. The Rant below describes the phenomenon in more detail:
This is pretty much standard operating procedure for stealth missions. You just know that somewhere along the way someone will fail a roll, guards will notice, fighting will break out, and everything will go all to pieces. This is why you always go in fully armed and armoured, even if it's intended to be a "sneak in, get the loot, and sneak out" style of operation.
The fact that being fully armed and armoured attracts penalties to Stealth rolls is neither here nor there.
- This VG Cats strip shows how one of Leo's usual missions in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain goes.
- In El Goonish Shive, Susan's rescue of "Jack" starts as a stealth mission and ends with the two of them on the run from all the guards.
- In the roleplay Tamrielic Adventures, the orc thief Grelok was able to sneak his way onto a pirate ship, get into the captain's cabin, and steal some things. Then the captain found him and started a fight, which resulted in the captain dead, the ship going up in flames, and Grelok fleeing from the attacking pirates.
- The Futurama "Roswell That Ends Well" starts with the team trying to fit in in 1947 to avoid changing the past. Then Fry causes his apparent grandfather's death without changing anything, so they decide for a smash and grab.
Farnsworth: Oh! A lesson in not messing up history from Mister I'm My Own Grandpa! Let's just take the damn dish and get out of here! Screw history!
Farnsworth: Choke on that, causality!
- In Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers, Feathers McGraw's diamond heist goes this way. He successfully sneaks a sleeping Wallace and the techno-trousers into the museum, dodges the laser security sensors, and grabs the diamond. Then a loose ceiling panel triggers the museum's security alarm anyway, so Feathers and a now awake and very confused Wallace have to book it out of there.
- Officially the purpose of the Team from Young Justice is to serve as a covert ops group, for when adult members of the Justice League would bring too much attention to the scene. While many of their missions start off as stealth, sooner or later, things start exploding.
- Occasionally Lampshaded in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), usually when someone (often Mikey) sets off an alarm midway through a stealthy ninja infiltration, resulting in violence and conflict.