Follow TV Tropes


Stealth Run

Go To

In Stealth Based Games, the player is usually not required to be stealthy all the time. One will often be able to escape or kill opponents that discover the player character at an opportune moment. A Stealth Run is an attempt to play through one of these games without being discovered at all, and some games actually reward such behavior.

An even harder version of the Stealth Run is the Ghost Run, in which you cannot interact with the guards in any way. Mixing the Pacifist Run with the Stealth Run, the player tries to play through the game without being noticed by or taking down a single enemy, unless the plot calls for it — and even then, it may be possible to kill them indirectly, via environmental damage.

Not to be confused with Stealth Pun.


    open/close all folders 

    Action Games 
  • Final Ninja 1 and 0 give an end-of-level point bonus for not being seen. The latter makes it a bit harder to get this bonus, though—the bonus for a Pacifist Run is replaced by one you get if you Leave No Survivors, and killing people is one of your primary ways of scoring points, so unless you're a truly sneaky or truly pacifistic fellow you'll probably forfeit the stealth bonus while getting the kill bonus.

    First-Person Shooters 
  • Alpha Protocol allows players to nearly play the entire game without ever being seennote .
  • Games in the Call of Duty series will sometimes award achievements/trophies for completing stealth segments without being spotted.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution may not be a fully Stealth-Based game like the entries further down, but it does award big XP bonuses for completing objectives without being spotted and without setting off any alarms, sometimes more than you might earn for using a non-lethal takedown on every mook between you and the objective. With skill and patience, it is entirely possible to do a full Stealth Run through almost all mission environments. They're even called Ghost (avoiding detection) and Smooth Operator (avoiding alarms).
  • Dishonored not only allows this, but rewards it as well, by decreasing the amount of Weepers and rats in Dunwall. At the end of each mission, you are told if you were never seen and if you killed anyone. Heck, it even replaces wanted posters (which usually have an image of Corvo wearing his spooky mask) with a silhouette of a person with a question mark, identified as an "Unknown Assailant", as well as an achievement for completing the game without being seen a single time. It's appropriately titled "Ghost".
  • Pacifist runs are possible in many levels throughout the Jedi Knight series of games, popular amongst some enthusiasts who enjoy following the Jedi Way, especially once one attains the ability to disarm or to mind trick their way through the countless hostiles. Averted in some levels thanks to a stated mission objective. Clearing a level is also an unstated event trigger late in Jedi Outcast. Ergo, a disarm-only approach can require very un-Jedi-like measures to proceed.
  • In Medal of Honor: Frontline's Operation Repunzel level, the guard at the entrance usually notices you and blows your cover, but if you're lucky, you might sneak past him. Similarly, you can stealth run On Track via a Good Bad Bug. These don't work in the PS3-exclusive remaster, however.
  • While the game as a whole doesn't encourage it, especially with the need to kill some teams of bandits or mutants, Metro 2033 rewards you with achievements and Morality Points for doing some of the more challenging 'war' missions without being seen or killing anyonenote . There are many achievements for completing levels in the sequel, Metro: Last Light, without killing or raising an alarm; one of them, "Rain Man", requires the player to ghost past a level populated entirely by mutants under the cover of a spring rainstorm.
  • Some heists in PAYDAY 2 have a huge emphasis on stealth. For an example, Shadow Raid, a stealth only mission where you break into a warehouse and steal from right under the guard's noses.
  • Some secret items in Perfect Dark require Joanna to complete a specific task (e.g. activate a switch, kill a certain group of enemies) without being detected.
  • Pre-Lockdown Rainbow Six games always had emphasis on stealth as a way to make the game easier, but there were also several missions where you had no choice but to do a combination of this and Pacifist Run. Thankfully, Rogue Spear's stealth missions made you do the level again a bit later, except with weapons free.

  • Stalkers are best at it, but all characters in City of Heroes can pick up stealth skills. While most of the really rewarding arcs involve fighting things, you will often come across missions that only require you to pick up a single object at the end of a gauntlet of enemies.
  • Similarly in Dungeons & Dragons Online, anyone can learn the skills required but wizards tend to be surprisingly good for stealth runs as they, unlike rogues whose backstabbing abilities don't work when fighting alone, pack the necessary punch to defeat the end boss. There is also a low-level quest where this is all but required if one wants to avoid being chased by hordes of mooks, a certain type of which (very conveniently the ones among the easiest to kill) mustn't be killed or the quest will fail.
  • If playing solo in Final Fantasy XI, if you need to go in a dungeon with enemies that aggro, you get shoved into a Stealth Run, as if you do get aggro, you either fight a single enemy for too long and get his buddies on you, or you get the attention of something that can kill you in 2 hits. Gets increasingly hilarious/frustrating when you sometimes have entire parties have to go through a Stealth Run. Not pretty.
  • Rogues and Druids in World of Warcraft have literal Stealth abilities, and players of these classes often try to Stealthrun certain parts of instances, avoiding rather pointless fights to finish the run faster. Since Druids are jacks-of-all-trades, this tends to work well... except for the expansion, who made this considerably harder with stealth-detecting enemies.

    Platform Games 
  • Metroid: Zero Mission has a section where Samus is without her famous suit. Depending on the player's skills, this is either a long chase section, or a stealth section. There's no real reward for getting through undetected though, aside from not being shot at. That, and being able to listen to the cool music, rather than the sort of lame music.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • The Thieves' Guild quests in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion can be ghosted except for three creatures: two vampires who must be killed, and a monster fish that is impossible to sneak past.
  • Mass Effect 2 - Infiltrating the prison and finding Kenson during the Arrival mission without alerting any guards earns you the Covert Action achievement.
  • Quest for Glory has quests or parts of the game which can be completed in several ways, with either direct approaches or subtle and stealthy ones that avoid fights or needless risks. Which is a good thing since Thief characters start with lower physical and fighting stats, so this gameplay is actively encouraged.
    • In Quest for Glory I, it is possible to avoid fighting completely by moving stealthily, enter the brigand lair by the back door and avoid several very difficult battles, and to recover a key from a very strong Kobold wizard without waking him up.
    • In Quest for Glory II, you can Storm the Castle by going through the harem, and avoiding fighting guards and eunuchs to access the tower next to the Big Bad as he starts his ritual to free the Sealed Evil in a Can.
    • In Quest for Glory III, you can use your stealth in the savanna or in the jungle to avoid monsters, and you can also steal two potent MacGuffins from the leaders of rival factions to settle a quarrel.
    • In Quest for Glory IV, no matter the class, you have the opportunity of making a full stealth run in the Castle, starting with solving the puzzles to get access to the Secret Underground Passage, and rescuing a vampire child from there.
  • Several missions in Xenoblade Chronicles X send you to areas with enemies way above your level in large clusters, such that you might be able to take on one if you're lucky, but any others joining the battle will kill you. The common strategy is to use an ability that lets you avoid aggro to sneak into the objective. Interestingly, if the objective is an enemy you have to kill, it's almost always at a more reasonable level than the goons you had to sneak past to reach it.

    Simulation Games 
  • Stealth Run was an option in Sid Meier's F-19: Stealth Fighter. You were supposed to destroy the planes and radars you were detected by, and your mission objective.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood encourages this with its Perfect Assassin objectives, optional goals for missions that typically manifest as "Complete the mission without being detected". However, the game only cares about the player: you can call in the Brotherhood to slaughter everyone in a riot of smoke bombs and high-profile kills, and still have it counted as a stealth run so long as Ezio stays out of sight.
  • The Hitman series has several titles that can be given to the player after a level. The greatest of these, "Silent Assassin", has different requirements depending on the game, but generally speaking requires you to not get spotted, not kill anyone except your target(s), and not leave behind any bodies, evidence, or witnesses. Variations of stealth run include the "All Zeros" run (no alerts, no guards harmed, etc., and no shots fired whatsoever), "Suit-Only" Silent Assassin run (where you're not allowed to change your outfit during the course of the mission), and, in Blood Money, "All Accidents" (where all of your kills have to be listed as being "accidents", natch).
  • In the Metal Gear series, a stealth run is defined as low/no Alerts, while alerting an enemy to your presence without being seen doesn't count against you, and is often the only way to get through certain areas undetected. Naturally the series rewards you for being stealthy:
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater allowed you to unlock the Stealth Camo by going through the game without getting seen at any time. Since the Stealth Camo rendered you invisible, a cheat of a bonus in a Stealth-Based Game, it was a very notorious case of the fact that the player good enough to win the Game-Breaker doesn't need it.
    • You get the Stealth Camo in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots either by coughing up an outrageous amount of in-game currency or by clearing the game without causing any alerts. Of course, Unmanned craft like the Gekko can still see you with it equipped and there's at least one optional "emblem" that requires you to use no special items (Of which the Stealth Camo is one) and still get no alerts.
    • These games also have an extra play mode on harder difficulties where the game ends immediately if the player is discovered, which pretty much forces players to do a Stealth Run through the whole game.
    • Starting with Metal Gear Solid 4, the series has avoided making mandatory alerts through story-required Inescapable Ambush by initially placing the ambushing enemies in Caution Mode, i.e. on high alert without knowing exactly where you are.
    • In Peace Walker, the game outright cheats in your favour by disabling Alerts entirely during the action-packed mission "Get to the Control Tower".
  • The Splinter Cell series has caught on slowly to the fact that many fans of the series like to attempt stealth runs; by the third game, Chaos Theory, they give statistical breakdowns of how stealthy you had been in each mission (how many times you were spotted, how many guards you had to knock out, etc.). In the fourth, Double Agent, you unlock additional items if you perform above a certain level of stealth — oddly, these items are mostly new types of grenades, weapon upgrades, all manner of things which are only useful if you don't want to use stealth and are just Bragging Rights Rewards otherwise.
  • Tenchu series:
    • Scoring in Tenchu 2 is based on the number of enemies killed, with penalties for being spotted or killing a bystander. There's no Pacifist Run here, kids; a stealth run in this game thus consists of killing every enemy in a level without being spotted once.
    • Tenchu 1 and 3 give you an initial 300 points and a bonus 150 for not getting seen. It's possible to get the highest rank, Grandmaster, without killing anybody, except level bosses.
  • Popular among the Thief community, where it is usually referred to as "ghosting". There are a few types of this; the basic Ghost involves not being discovered at all and not killing or knocking out any NPCs. "Supreme Ghost Mode" involves leaving no traces whatsoever of your presence, including not leaving any doors or chests open and not disturbing any objects that are not lootable valuables.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • One late chapter in the Revelation path of Fire Emblem Fates has basic units patrolling three rooms. If any patrolling units spot any of your units, reinforcements arrive. Completing the chapter without them spotting you earns money, some Boots, and a Master Seal.