Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Call of Duty

Go To
The World War II First-Person Shooter that started it all.

Alright, fellas, take five but listen up. We'll hold this place 'til reinforced, but this is just one tiny village in a war and country full of 'em, so our work has just begun. For those of you who've seen your first action - welcome to the Big Time. For those who've seen it before, trust me - you ain't seen nothin' yet.
Captain Foley

The one where it all began.

Call of Duty is the first entry in the Call of Duty series, developed by Infinity Ward and released on October 29, 2003 for Microsoft Windows.

Unlike games such as Medal of Honor, which focused exclusively on lone American soldiers Trapped Behind Enemy Lines during the War in Europe and Africa, Call of Duty focuses instead on 3 different campaigns set in different parts of Europe, with players each being accompanied by numerous AI-controlled companions. The first, the American campaign, focuses on Pvt. Martin of the 101st Airborne Division, who mis-drops into Normandy on D-Day alongside his superiors Captain Foley and Sgt. Moody, as well as 82nd Airborne Division member Pvt. Elder. Following a successful action at Brecourt Manor, Martin, Moody and Foley are then tasked with rescuing captured British officers in a daring mission behind German lines. The second, the British campaign, focuses on Sgt. Evans, a member of the 6th Airborne Division tasked with securing a vital bridge over the Caen Canal alongside his superior Captain Price. Following this successful action, Evans and Price would be reassigned to the Special Air Service, serving alongside Sgt. Waters for top-secret sabotage missions in Germany and occupied territories. And finally, the Soviet campaign focuses on Pvt. Alexei Ivanovich Voronin, a New Meat soldier trying to survive the brutal Battle of Stalingrad, who after the Germans are pushed out helps take the fight back to them, ultimately taking part in the climactic battle for Berlin.

In September 2004, an Expansion Pack, called Call of Duty: United Offensive, was released, developed by Gray Matter Interactive. This expansion added additional weapons and vehicles for all factions, new playable characters and NPCs as well as expanding the role of returning ones, and added new missions set in new locations. The multiplayer was also heavily expanded, which now featured driveable vehicles for both the Allies and Axis. The new American campaign, set exclusively during the Battle of the Bulge, focuses on Cpl. Scott Riley, who takes orders from Cpt. Foley and Sgt. Moody as they drive the Germans out of Bastogne. The new British campaign tells the story of Sgt. James Doyle, an RAF recruit who gets shot down over the Netherlands, gets rescued by SAS Major Ingram, and later joins the SAS himself as the Allies advance into Sicily. And finally, the new Soviet campaign, with Pvt. Yuri Petrenko, focuses on the Battle of Kursk and Fourth Battle of Kharkov, as the Soviets repel and later crush the last major German offensive on the Eastern Front.

An enhanced port of the original game, Call of Duty Classic was released for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2009, as part of the "Hardened" and "Prestige" Editions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. A sequel was released on both PC and Xbox 360 in 2005.

Of special note is that many of Infinity Ward's members were former employees of 2015 Inc. who had previously worked on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, while Gray Matter Interactive would later be merged with Treyarch, the other major developer of later Call of Duty titles such as Call of Duty: World at War.

Wake it and shake it, the Germans are bringing your examples!

  • All for Nothing: Downplayed in the case of the Tirpitz; the mission has you infiltrating the ship to plant bombs in preparation for one of the many air raids on the ship, which you successfully manage but at the cost of Captain Price. The game doesn't come out and say it, but if you know your history, you'll notice that the game placing the mission on October 27th means this is in preparation for Operation Obviate, wherein the RAF barely managed to do more than minorly damage one of her rudders - it wouldn't be until Operation Catechism two weeks after that where she was finally sunk.
  • America Won World War II: Averted for a change. While the first campaign focuses on the American 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions, there are two other campaigns which heavily feature the British 6th Airborne Division as well as the SAS, and a Soviet campaign focusing on several notable Soviet rifle divisions such as the 13th Guards Rifle Division and 150th Rifle Division. The game even ends with the Soviet assault on Berlin and the capture of the Reichstag, which was where the European front of the war officially ended.
  • Anachronic Order: The missions with each character will generally be in chronological order, but once you switch protagonists you're likely to go back in time, possibly to a point further back than when the previous one's missions started. Even in this game alone the British campaign takes you back to the same night the American campaign started (not counting the training mission), then the Soviet campaign goes back to late 1942.
  • Anti-Air: The German Flakvierling 38 anti-aircraft gun, which is often either an objective to be destroyed, or to be used to shoot down enemy planes attacking your position.
  • Artistic Licence - Geography: CoD: United Offensive: Your bomber is shot down after a raid on Rotterdam. In the Netherlands, a country known for its nearly completely flat terrain. You then go on to help La Résistance blow up a railway bridge which spans a deep chasm between two rocky mountainsides, with tunnels through the mountains on both ends. That sort of geography is more closely associated with Switzerland.
  • Artistic License – Military: Like Enemy at the Gates which inspired it, the Battle of Stalingrad is depicted through Hollywood History lens, with Red Army soldiers going into battle with limited weapons and ammo, and blocking troops mowing down soldiers for simply retreating.
  • Ascended Extra: Captain Foley, Sergeant Moody, and Major Ingram make a return in United Offensive, now with bigger, fleshed-out roles. Ingram in particular is shown to be an experienced and skilled SAS operative during the second British campaign mission, while in the original game he was just a Distressed Dude that needed rescuing.
  • Asshole Victim: Absolutely no one mourned a commissar being shot by a Soviet sniper without second thought, not even the officer serving directly under him.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Literally posted on a sign in the first scene in the game; it's a sneaky way to tell the player "always move forward or the Respawning Enemies will overrun you".
  • Bad Boss: The Commissars during the early Stalingrad levels will shoot any soldier that tries to retreat, even when the odds are stacked heavily against the Soviets. Even simply moving back to more advantageous cover is taken as retreat.
  • Badass Driver: Sgt. Moody and Pvt. Elder both do a little of this in "Normandy Route N13", first with a French sedan and later a Kubelwagen.
  • Bag of Spilling: Compared to the later games, the original games very rarely indulged in this - missions that took place one after another let you keep what you previously had.
  • Battleship Raid: One of the original game's most ignored achievements was recreating the entire 830-foot Tirpitz in the iD Tech 3 engine.
  • Blatant Lies: When the Germans start broadcasting propaganda inciting the Russians to surrender, all the while it's clear that the German forces will just shoot you on sight without question. Also, if you know your history, Soviet P.O.W.s weren't treated anywhere near as nicely as the propaganda promised...
  • Bittersweet Ending: The British campaign. Captain Price is killed during the raid on the Tirpitz, but Evans and Waters go on to survive and achieve success in destroying a German V2 rocket launch site during their final mission.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: During the last two Stalingrad levels, the Germans play recordings encouraging them to surrender which also claim that the Germans are friendly. Of course, this is all while the Germans are trying to shoot and kill any Soviets on sight.
  • Capital Offensive:
    • The final level of the original game is set during the Battle of Berlin, just as the Soviets are capturing the Reichstag and raising the Red banner over the German capital.
    • Before that, there's Warsaw, where the Soviets are shown driving out the Germans from a tank repair facility.
  • Chummy Commies: The Soviet Sergeants and Red Army officers are actually far more competent than the commissars with regards to actually fighting the Germans, and are also much friendlier to Voronin as well, with the latter even promoting him once he proves himself in battle. Sgt. Antonov in United Offensive in particular is actually a Reasonable Authority Figure to Pvt. Yuri Petrenko.
  • Crew of One: Averted and played straight.
    • Averted in-universe with regards to the T-34 tanks, which are playable in 4 missions. Other crew members can clearly be heard, and though in gameplay this is played mostly straight, the coaxial machine gun is being controlled by another crew member.
    • Played completely straight with the crew-served artillery pieces, which can be manned by the lone player without any issues.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: As nasty as the Axis war machine was, it's doubtful five Nazis could just teleport in from all directions, in a room with only one door. It says a lot when multiplayer is easier than Veteran mode.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Averted with Captain Price's death. He dies defending a chokepoint while you're in another room, and the game does absolutely nothing to draw your attention to his death. The only indicator is his body on the floor, which is really easy to miss since his corpse is usually buried under a pile of dead Germans. It's entirely possible to get to the end of the mission without realizing he's been killed, until you get to the exit and Waters brings it up.
  • Dirty Communists: The Soviet campaign has the various commissars, who take Stalin's "not one step back" order to the letter. Rather than competently lead troops into battle, they instead herd them onto the frontlines like cattle, equip them poorly, and force them to rush heavily defended German positions with little ammunition or weaponry. In fact, one of Voronin's immediate superiors, having been fed up with their tactics, decides to simply shoot a commissar under the guise of him being killed by the Germans just so you and he can get to a more advantageous position that happens to require moving fifteen feet back towards the river. This however is a common Hollywood History myth taken from Enemy at the Gates.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Price, Waters, and Evans dress as Kriegsmarine officers and sailors in order to infiltrate the Tirpitz, complete with fake identity papers for Price. It only works as far as getting close to the ship's magazine before the checkpoint guards get suspicious enough that Price decides to open fire.
  • Distressed Dude: Captain Price and Major Gerald Ingram late in the American campaign, who are to be rescued by a special task force of 101st Airborne paratroopers led by Captain Foley, Sgt. Moody, and Pvt. Martin.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The original game and its expansion have more in common with Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and other Quake III-engine games than later Call of Duty games. Call of Duty 2 is the game that established the Call of Duty gameplay style (Regenerating Health, two weapon slots, quick grenades, a proper mission select, console-style single checkpoint saving, etc.) which has remained largely consistent throughout the rest of the series.
    • There's a health bar that can only be replenished by picking up health packs.
    • Your weapon slots include a third slot dedicated to a pistol and a fourth for frag grenades, with no hint of smoke or other "special" grenade types and all other equipment shoved into a Hyperspace Arsenal, placed as needed with the use key.
    • There's no ammo sharing between weapons except with exact copies of what you have, even if they used the exact same ammo in reality - even the scoped and unscoped variations of one rifle can't take ammo from one another.
    • Enemy grenade-spam tends to take the form of small bursts of several grenades rather than the more steady stream of later games, and you can't throw them back (even though the AI can).
    • You can save the game manually at any point, with checkpoints (on top of being much fewer and further between than in later games) also being permanent saves, letting you revisit them at any time.
    • Most missions also limit you to a single squad, and killed squad members would not be replaced mid-mission.
    • You can't sprint except in United Offensive, where it defaults to an entirely different key and the stamina bar depletes much more quickly, with the game instead implementing a Counter-Strike-style weapon-weight system, which interestingly makes a character holding a pistol in CoD1 faster than a sprinting character in later games.
    • Captain Price looks and sounds entirely different from his more famous Modern Warfare depiction: there isn't even a hint of stubble below the famous mustache, his hat is a red beret rather than a camouflaged boonie hat, and he's voiced by an American actor who doesn't even sound consistent between this and Call of Duty 2 (a more gruff voice for this game, smoother and higher-pitched for CoD2).
    • There's no damage fall-off, so for instance a sniper rifle that one-shots from three feet away will one-shot from one end of the map to the other. This is one of the few that even United Offensive fixed.
    • United Offensive adds several more, such as drivable vehicles in multiplayer and eschewing pre-placed MG 42s in favor of portable machine guns that a player can set up where they need it, both of which would only return for the multiplayer of World at War.
    • United Offensive in itself is another example, being an Expansion Pack for the original game with a new campaign. Add-ons for later games in the series would not include singleplayer-only content, nor would they ever be released in any form except digitally.
  • Elite Mooks: Two of them. The first are the Fallschirmjager, who are German paratroopers equipped with the rare FG-42 rifle. The second are the Waffen-SS, elite mechanized infantry armed with STG-44 assault rifles and more MP-40 submachine guns than regular Heer Infantry.
  • Epic Tank-on-Tank Action:
    • The original game has two levels where Sgt. Voronin is assigned as the commander of a T-34 tank during the Vistula-Oder Offensive. Needless to say, he and his crew and up destroying dozens of German tanks, Anti-Air guns, and artillery pieces, taking a town along the way.
    • United Offensive takes this up to eleven with the Battle of Kursk, which has T-34 tanks go up against Panzers, Tigers, and even the mighty Ferdinand tank destroyer.
  • Expansion Pack: United Offensive, which released in September 2004. It featured new weapons for all factions, a new campaign, and a massively expanded multiplayer complete with new vehicles.
  • Guy in Back: Sgt. Doyle from United Offensive starts out as a gunner onboard a B-17 Flying Fortress, before being shot down over the Netherlands and forced to fight as an infantryman when he happens to be saved by resistance fighters lead by an SAS soldier.
  • Heal Thyself: Medkits, variously healing 10, 25, or 50 hit points, and can be found either at pre-placed stops or occasionally dropped by enemies.
  • Hold the Line: Several cases in both the original game and United Offensive.
    • Pvt. Martin is tasked with defending a drop zone on the night of the D-Day paratroop landings, and is later part of a force tasked with capturing and holding St. Mere Eglise from nearby German forces.
    • Sgt. Evans is tasked with capturing and later defending an important bridge on the Caen Canal from German infantry and tanks.
    • Pvt. Voronin must capture and hold an apartment building from a superior German force as part of Sgt. Pavlov's squad until they can be relieved by Soviet tanks and infantry.
    • Cpl. Scott Riley must hold back an attack by the German 9th Panzer Division at Bastogne, and later defend a recently captured chateau from German infantry and armor.
    • Pvt. Yuri Petrenko's first mission involves repelling a massive German infantry and armored attack at Kursk, followed several missions later by defending the Kharkov train station against a massive German attack.
  • Insert Grenade Here: During the German counterattack at St. Mere Eglise, a couple of US paratroopers drop a few grenades into a German tank, blowing it up before any of the German crew members can escape.
  • It's Raining Men: The American and British campaigns of the first game both feature Airborne units, albeit depicting different landing methods. The paratroopers of the American 101st Airborne drop in by parachute, while the British 6th Airborne paras drop in by glider.
  • Justified Tutorial: The first level, which takes place in Fort Benning, Georgia, the US Army camp where the 101st Airborne trained in Real Life, two years before America officially entered the European theater. Here, Martin is tasked with training on an obstacle course alongside several other paratroopers, and is later taught how to handle specialized weapons and explosives.
  • Just Plane Wrong:
    • Zigzagged in the bomber level of United Offensive. B-17s were in fact used by the RAF's 90 Squadron under the designation Fortress I, and were flown by them on daylight raids over Europe... but they were the B-17C model, a plane with a dramatically different appearance than the "classic" look of the B-17E and F models depicted in the game. These models were only used by the RAF in Coastal Command roles, under the designation Fortress IIA and Fortress II, respectively. The bombers also appear to have a mix of British and American markings, wearing RAF roundels but USAAF tail codes.
    • The Spitfires seen escorting the bombers at the beginning of the above level appear to have sand filters fitted, unlikely for aircraft based in England rather than North Africa.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Foley's speech in the page quote, though ostensibly meant as a statement on the war itself, reads just as much as both an affirmation of the developers' goal to make, as they pitched it, "Medal of Honor perfected", and a promise that they've succeeded.
  • Mountain Warfare: "Alps Chateau" in the American campaign has Cpt. Foley, Sgt. Moody, Pvt. Martin, and other paratroopers from Baker Company tasked with rescuing two British officers in a German-held Big Fancy House located within the Bavarian Alps.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: "No cows were harmed in the making of this game" at the end of this game and its expansion, due to all the dead cattle that popped up everywhere, particularly in the original game's American campaign.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Unless you count campaigns for the Stalinist Soviets, who brutally kill their enemies and even their own allies for the slightest hint of cowardice, despite any notions of surrendering or retreat.
  • Ominous German Chanting: Going into the German Parliament building causes this. First you start hearing German propaganda, then you hearing ghostly moans, then you can finally hear the running music that was drowned out by combat, and, finally, you hear the chanting. The whole level is designed to leave a huge impact whether it's fear, awe, or elation.
  • Old-School Dogfight: One happens during the British campaign in United Offensive, between the British Spitfires escorting Doyle's bomber flight and intercepting Bf 109 fighters.
  • Parachute in a Tree: This is what happens to Sgt. Heath, Pvt. Martin's initial immediate superior. Unfortunately for him, he dies via Neck Snap from the force of the landing, forcing Martin to continue his pathfinder mission alone until he can call in reinforcements. Later in Ste. Mere-Eglise, if you look towards the church you can see a paratrooper hanging from it, based on a real event from the battle in question.
  • The Political Officer: Several commissars are featured in the early Stalingrad campaign levels, and they have no regard for the soldiers under their command, opting to shoot anyone caught retreating.
  • Prison Level: "Dulag IIIA" is set in a POW Camp located deep in Austria, where Pvt. Martin, Captain Foley, Sgt. Moody, and a number of other 101st Airborne paratroopers must rescue Major Gerald Ingram, battling against dozens of German guards along the way. Of special note is that this is a Timed Mission, as the 101st must enter, rescue Ingram, and exfiltrate before German reinforcements can arrive and finish them off.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Remember Pavlov's House? Seems silly, that one house holding out against a whole German army complete with tanks... except that it really happened. And a realistic version of the mission would be three months long.
  • Rousing Speech: Plenty in the Soviet campaign, courtesy of various Commissars.
    • "For Mother Russia, comrades!"
    • "Victory or Death!"
  • Satchel Charge: United Offensive adds the satchel charge to the multiplayer mode, where they serve as an alternative explosive to grenades, having a far larger blast radius and damage output, but also having a far more limited throwing distance.
  • Selective Historical Armory: Played straight in the original game, where weapon loadouts were extremely limited, to the point that there were cases like the Soviets using the Luger as their default pistol, and multiplayer heavily favored the Americans because they had two semi-auto rifles to the Germans' none. United Offensive fixes this by adding new weapons for all factions, including the more appropriate TT-33 pistol to address the former issue, among others.
  • Shout-Out: Several, mostly in relation to World War II films.
    • Most of the American campaign in both the original game and United Offensive have battles that are direct references to Band of Brothers, such as the Assault on Brecourt Manor, to the Battle of Foy. The St. Mere Eglise drop plays out similarly to how it did in The Longest Day - you can even see John Steele hanging from the church's pinnacle while sweeping through the town - except this time the Americans manage to overwhelm the German defenses and take the town.
    • Most of the early Soviet campaign in the original game is a huge reference to Enemy at the Gates, with Commissars executing anyone caught retreating or deserting their posts, Stukas attacking boats sending in Soviet reinforcements, and a near-suicidal charge into heavily entrenched German positions, except this time the Soviets are successful in retaking the Red Square and beating back the Germans.
  • Sprint Meter: Present in United Offensive. However, it's so short it might as well not even be an option.
  • Stuka Scream: Played straight by the actual Ju 87 Stukas encountered in the campaign, which will produce this sound either when on a dive-bombing run or after being shot down.
  • The Unfought: Hitler during the Battle of Berlin level, obviously, though he has an excuse for not being around.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines:
    • The American and British campaigns in the original game have you play as paratroopers doing missions deep behind German lines.
    • United Offensive's new British campaign has this happen to Sgt. Doyle both following his plane getting shot down over Holland, and later, during his first mission as a British Commando.
  • Updated Re-release: Call of Duty Classic, which is an HD port for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, released in November 2009 alongside the Hardened and Prestige Editions of Modern Warfare 2.
  • Urban Warfare:
    • The American campaign in the original game features St. Mere Eglise, while the Soviet campaign centers on urban fighting in Stalingrad, and later Warsaw and Berlin.
    • United Offensive featured the Battle of Foy and Noville for the new American campaign, while the new Soviet campaign features the Battle of Kharkov.
  • Winter Warfare:
    • Most of the later levels in the original game's campaign are set during winter, with American, British, and Soviet forces making headway through deep snow against determined German forces.
    • United Offensive's American campaign focuses solely on the 101st Airborne's exploits in and around Bastogne in the winter between 1944 and '45.
  • We Have Reserves: Basically happens in any map or campaign that has Russians involved. They may even be the protagonists of it and win, but they'll be dying left and right the way there. This can also happen in game since your Red Shirt Army allies will respawn infinitely and you are not penalized for killing them like you would be in other missions.

Alternative Title(s): Call Of Duty United Offensive