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"Those who have enjoyed long such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them."

The one that brought Nazi-killing goodness to a new generation.

Call of Duty 2 is the second entry in the Call of Duty series, developed by Infinity Ward and released on October 25, 2005 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360, the latter notable for being a launch title. It is a loose sequel to Call of Duty, sharing little beyond the basic premise of fighting the Nazis across several fronts.

Like its predecessor, the game features 3 single-player campaigns set during the War in Europe and Africa. For the Red Army portion, you play as Pvt. Vasili Ivanovich Koslov of the 13th Guards Rifle Division during the Battles of Moscow and Stalingrad. The British campaign is divided into two stories. The first focuses on the exploits of Sgt. John Davis, an infantryman attached to the 7th Armored Division from El Alamein all the way to Normandy. The second, meanwhile, tells the story of Tank Commander David Welsh, the commander of a Crusader Mk. III tank during the advance into Libya in 1943. And finally, the American campaign focuses on Cpl. Bill Taylor of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, during the Normandy campaign as well as the Battle of Germany.

Of special note is that this is the first Call of Duty game to introduce the Regenerating Health mechanic that would be a staple of later entries in the series. It is also the first Call of Duty game to use the in-house IW engine, rather than a modified Quake III: Arena engine like its predecessor.

Call of Duty 2 provides examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: The US Army Rangers. While they're featured heavily on the boxart as well as in promotional material and even on the main menu and loading screen, they only have about 7 missions total, the same as the Russian campaign, and two of the three campaigns involving them - one of which is a single-mission epilogue - can't be played until every other campaign is completed. The Allied faction with the most focus is in fact the British, with a total of 13 campaign missions across four campaigns.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: "The Pipeline" has Pvt. Koslov and a few other Soviet soldiers using an old, damaged pipeline to advance through German lines in order to rendezvous with a larger Soviet force intent on capturing a nearby train station.
  • Anachronic Order: Like in the first game, each character's missions generally take place in chronological order, but then switching to a new character will set you back. It's not as blatant about this as the first game, mostly by way of reversing the order of the Soviet and American campaigns, so you don't go much further than a few days to months at most. This in particular is also what allowed Price to return from the first game and become a major character, since all of the game's British missions take place before his transfer to the SAS and the fateful mission to the Tirpitz.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The Soviet campaign ends with Vasili, Volsky, and the other Russian soldiers firing on the retreating remnants of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, with the heavy implication that they're going to chase them further into the city.
  • And This Is for...: Lt. Volsky during the final portion of the Soviet campaign gives a long rant full of this to the Germans during a brief Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Anti-Air: The Flavierling 38 returns from the first game. And like before, it's often placed when German planes are about to attack your position.
  • Anti-Armor: The 88mm flak gun also returns from the first game, and is also frequently positioned in places where the player can make good use of it. Some levels also give the player access to the German Panzershreck rocket launcher to destroy tanks and half-tracks.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Tanks which you are meant to destroy using Sticky Bombs have bright yellow glowing icons on the points where you can attach the explosives.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: The Germans have the Sdkfz 251, which can be a pain to deal with thanks to its mounted MG42. The British, meanwhile, have the Universal Carrier which, while not as glamorous as its German counterpart, is certainly useful for bringing in reinforcements quickly.
  • Badass Driver: Zig-Zagging Trope for MacGregor in the two times you ride captured German vehicles with him. On one hand, he's terrible at handling German vehicles because he can't read the (German) controls, but he does manage to drive competently enough to actually get you and Price through German lines alive in one piece both times.
  • Battle in the Rain: "The Crossroads", "The Tiger", and "Approaching Hill 400" all take place in the midst of a rainstorm.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The American campaign ends with Pvt. Braeburn KIA, but McCloskey, Taylor, and Randall survive the Battle of Germany, with the latter even receiving a Field Promotion.
    • The British campaign ends with Price, Davis, MacGregor, and the other British soldiers of the 7th Armored successful in holding back a German armored attack on their positions, but their attempts to push into Caen are for naught, as the division has suffered heavy casualties and must regroup and reorganize. Moreover, thanks to Anachronic Order, players coming from the first game know that Price will eventually be killed attempting to cripple the Tirpitz.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: A rare action is when you or your allies manage to shoot the primary weapon off of a German soldier. When this happens, they'll immediately pull out a Luger and continue firing back at you.
  • Bottomless Magazines: MG 42 turrets never run out of ammunition, or even overheat.
  • Butt-Monkey: MacGregor in the British campaign, who is often on the short end of Captain Price's orders, and especially when driving German vehicles.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: During the Stalingrad missions, German propaganda broadcasts can be heard, encouraging the Soviet soldiers to abandon Stalin and surrender.
  • The Cavalry: During Hold the Line-type missions, your squad will often be relieved by reinforcements, usually allied tanks or air support.
  • Chummy Commies: Compared to the first game, which depicted the Red Army as a mix of this and Dirty Communists, 2 depicts them in a much more positive light; even the commissars never get much worse than implied execution of prisoners and a single semi-disparaging comment about Vasili's "peasant's luck".
  • Communications Officer: MacGregor from the British campaign and Braeburn from the American campaign are your squads' respective radiomen, and as such they're often providing vital intel during a mission.
  • Crew of One:
    • Davis and Taylor can man crew-served artillery pieces all by their lonesome.
    • Averted with Welsh, where you can clearly hear other tank crew members doing their jobs over the radio, though in gameplay you still control every function save the fore-mounted machine gun, which automatically fires when enemy infantry are in range.
  • Desert Warfare: 3/4th of the British campaign focuses on the North African campaign from Egypt all the way to Tunisia. As such, there's nothing but barren sand dunes and hills for miles on end, and tanks reign supreme.
  • Distressed Dude: The credits scene shows an American attack on a German-held town, where Captain Price is held captive.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Call of Duty 2 brought the Call of Duty gameplay style more in line with what's now familiar to longtime players (Regenerating Health, the Limited Loadout slimmed down to two weapons and grenades bound to quick-use buttons, a proper mission select with a console-style checkpoint save), but there's still a few oddities.
    • Chief among them is that you still can't sprint, which wouldn't be standardized until Call of Duty 4.
    • The game keeps damage drop-off introduced in United Offensive, but for some strange reason only applies it in the campaign - it's possible for a machine gunner to require three sniper rifle shots to the face before he'll die if you shoot him from 30 meters, but then play multiplayer and instantly kill someone by tagging them in the foot with that same sniper rifle from one side of the map to the other.
    • This is the last game in the series to heavily avert Bag of Spilling: if you drop one of your starting weapons for a new one at any point during a mission, you can usually keep it with you throughout an entire campaign. This would be dropped from later games after that freedom conflicted with the game's heavier attempts at scripting, particularly allowing you to bring the game to a screeching halt in the last Russian mission by grabbing a sniper rifle off a German two missions beforehand and using it to accomplish an objective before it's given to you, by just shooting a German sniper with the rifle you already have instead of picking up the one the game expects you to make the shot with.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The American campaign is the only one to end on a truly happy note, with Randall and Taylor both receiving field promotions to Lieutenant and Sergeant, respectively, and the War in Europe ending in a month or two and being pretty much won for them.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The American and Soviet campaigns focus on elite units of the Red Army and US Army. Only the British campaign averts this, focusing on a regular Armored Division of the British Army rather than a paratroop or SAS unit.
    • The Soviet campaign focuses on the 13th Guards Rifle Division, an elite infantry division that served with distinction during the Battle of Stalingrad.
    • The entire American campaign focuses solely on the 2nd Ranger Battalion, one of the US Army's most elite units.
  • Epic Tank-on-Tank Action: The missions where you play as Commander David Welsh have you fight Rommel's Panzers as the commander of a Crusader Tank in the 7th Armored Division.
  • Exploding Barrels: They are peppered throughout levels, and destroying them is the objective of the first segment of The Battle of El Alamein level, in a nighttime raid on a German fuel depot.
  • Fat Bastard: Variants of the Wehrmacht soldier model are visibly overweight.
  • Final Battle: All three campaigns have this.
    • "Comrade Sniper" for the Soviet campaign. Here Koslov, Volsky, Pavel Semenov, and several other Soviet soldiers hold back a last, desperate German counterattack in the ruins of Stalingrad.
    • "The Brigade Box" for the British campaign. Following massive losses in tanks and men trying to take St. Louet, Captain Price, Davis, MacGregor and the rest of their unit capture a German field HQ and hold back a German armored counterattack.
    • "Crossing the Rhine" for the American campaign. Taylor, Randall, and McCloskey capture an important German stronghold in the town of Wallendar, Germany, and take out two German Tiger I heavy tanks.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Anyone who's read up on the Battle of Caen will know that the city will only fall a month into the Normandy campaign, meaning that the actions of Price, Davis, and MacGregor will be ultimately for naught. This also befalls Captain Price; on the one hand, he's not going to die in this game because almost all of the British missions take place before those of the first game, but on the other, he's not going to survive the whole war because we already saw him die late in the first game.
  • Fragile Speedster: The British Mk. VI Crusader tank is this. While capable of driving at extremely fast speeds in the North African desert, it achieves this thanks to having far less armor and a smaller gun compared to its German counterparts, forcing a nigh-suicidal strategy where a column of them rushes as close as possible to enemy tanks so they can actually make hits that will count.
  • Grenade Hot Potato: AI soldiers can grab grenades that land near them and throw them back. The player cannot, meaning you have to scramble out of there or hope your comrades will do you a favor. Mechanics for the player throwing back grenades were incorporated into sequels in the franchise.
  • Happily Ever Before: The game portrays the battle for Hill 400 as ending in American victory. Historically the Rangers did manage to capture the peak and hold it while under intense assault, but, on the last day of the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, Germany recaptured the hill and held it until February 1945.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: The first thing Commissar Letlev teaches you in "Red Army Training" is how to follow the star on your compass to find your current objective.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In the final American mission, you can go Tiger hunting with a German 88mm gun, instead of running up to the tank with a satchel charge.
    • Sgt. Davis gets a chance to shoot down Stukas with a captured Flakvierling.
  • Hold the Line: Several missions have you and your squad hold back massive German attacks and counterattacks, usually to buy time for friendly reinforcements to arrive. A level in the first British campaign is even literally named "Hold the Line".
  • Historical Domain Character: Several important historical figures are mentioned or shown giving speeches during the various mission briefings, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Erwin Rommel, and Bernard Law Montgomery.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: A minor example, the Panzerschreck rocket launcher is present in the mission "Comrade Sniper" set January 15, 1943 during the Battle of Stalingrad. The weapons wouldn't be delivered for service until later that year. As typical for WWII-set games, the M3 Grease Gun is also present in multiplayer as its improved M3A1 version, despite that it never actually saw service during the war.
  • Insert Grenade Here: Twice. During the middle of the Soviet campaign and the final American campaign mission, knocking out German tanks with explosives to their tracks will have your fellow soldiers go on top of the tanks, shoot any German crew members in the turret, then drop a grenade and run away, with the damaged tank exploding seconds later.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Near the end of the first level, your squad encounters a Panzerwerfer on the other side of a small iron fence and gate. Instead of climbing the fence or trying to Shoot Out the Lock, your comrades suggest fighting through a destroyed building to get to the other side.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • "Hill 400" starts with the American soldiers breaking cover and charging the German position without even being ordered to, and it actually works!
    • For the British campaign, "Crusader Charge" and "88 Ridge" have the player and several allies charge straight into German lines in Crusader light tanks. Interesting to note here is that the British did this because they really had no other choice. The Crusader had shorter range and weaker armor than the German Panzers, and the constant sandstorms of Libya made it basically impossible to fight at long range. Their only hope was to charge straight in and use the Crusader's speed and manuverability to their advantage. It does work, but gets many of your allies killed in the process.
  • Limited Loadout: In the singleplayer campaign, you can carry two guns, four frag grenades, and four smoke grenades.
  • Locked Door: The player is completely incapable of interacting with doors in any way, relying on an AI ally, such as Captain Price to do it for you and move the level along.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted with the Stalingrad missions. Generic female NPC's will fight and die alongside the player just as easily as their male counterparts. Truth in Television.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Most of the British campaigns have the Thompson as their submachine gun of choice. When they've moved from Africa to France, it's been traded in for the Sten gun. Historically, the trade was anything but this, but in gameplay terms the Sten is better due to its larger magazine, clearer sights and greater accuracy, only making minor tradeoffs in damage and reload speed.
  • Misidentified Weapons: This game would set a standard of sorts for the WWII Call of Duty games, by remodeling the M1A1 Carbine into an original, full-stocked M1, and then refusing to delete the "A1" from its name, which wouldn't be fixed until Call of Duty: Black Ops. Due to poor coding, the scoped Gewehr 43 in the campaign is also called a Springfield.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: "Friendly Fire will not be tolerated!", or in the case of the Soviet missions, "You are a traitor to the motherland!"
    • During a British mission, a few German soldiers surrender, and Captain Price orders his men to hold their fire. Failure to do so results in this.
  • Old-School Dogfight: During certain missions in North Africa, British Spitfires can be seen engaging and shooting down German Stuka dive bombers in the sky.
  • Outfit Decoy: During "Comrade Sniper", Pavel Semenov, one of your squadmates, waves his helmet on his rifle to spot a German sniper on the other side of the Stalingrad city square.
  • Pistol-Whipping: As in the first game, your Quick Melee attack takes the form of bashing the enemy with your weapon.
  • The Political Officer: Commissar Letlev from the first Soviet campaign mission, who tries his best to motivate the troops under his command with enthusiastic speeches, and will also threaten execution for anyone guilty of insubordination.
  • Product Placement: The documentary snippets for the start of each nation's campaign has the Military Channel (now known as the American Heroes Channel) logo plastered on it. Makes sense, since they provided the footage and additional research for the game.
  • Ranger: The 2nd Ranger Battalion is the prime focus of the American campaign. As such, all of the characters there are this by default.
  • Regenerating Health: The first Call of Duty game to introduce this mechanic, in fact.
  • Replay Mode: You can select previously completed missions to replay from the main menu.
  • Scenery Gorn: There's the ruins of Stalingrad, and the wrecked towns in Normandy and Germany. Both times the destruction to the buildings in these places is shown in great detail, and many of the ruined buildings can even be entered.
  • Scenery Porn: Both the North African deserts and the French countryside are shown in great detail during levels like "88 Ridge" and "The Silo". In both cases, they still look stunning even to this day.
  • Selective Historical Armoury: When coming up against German armored vehicles, you must either run up to them and attach a sticky bomb, or in some levels find a Panzershreck reusable rocket launcher [fewer than 300,000 made] lying about. You and your British or American AI teammates will never have PIATs or M9 "Bazookas" available, nor will the opposition ever have any disposable Panzerfaust rockets [more than 6 million made] lying about. In the first Call of Duty the Panzerfaust was a common sight, but many complained that it was a single use weapon that forced them to go back and grab a new one entirely after every shot, especially since even from the beginning of the series explosives were wildly inaccurate and you'd almost invariably need more than one. On the other side, the M1 Carbine is far more rare than it was in the first game, and while the M3 Grease Gun is actually included this time it can only be used in multiplayer. The only German machine gun seen is the MG 42, never the older and slightly more prolific MG 34. Amusingly, a lot of the first game's issues with this trope were fixed with its expansion United Offensive, which added semi-auto rifles for the Russians and Germans, more pistols than just the 1911 and Luger, the Bazooka as an alternate launcher, and several portable machine guns to take over for the pre-placed MG 42s used in the first game - but only some of them (namely, the new pistols and rifles and one machine gun) were carried over to Call of Duty 2.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The British campaign, despite Price and his men achieving all their objectives and holding their beleaguered position, ends with the 7th Armored being unable to break through the German defenses near Caen, despite them being sent to Normandy for that exact purpose.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few.
    • Many of the actors who worked on Band of Brothers had major voice acting roles in the game.
    • The Soviet campaign is, at least visually, heavily inspired by Stalingrad (1993). The real difference is that the focus is on the Soviets instead of the Germans.
  • Sniper Duel: A brief one takes place during the Soviet campaign level "Comrade Sniper", between Vasili and a German sniper on the other side of the city square.
  • Sniper Rifle: The Soviets have the scoped Mosin-Nagant, the Germans have the scoped Kar 98k and the scoped Gewehr 43, the British the scoped Lee-Enfield, and finally the Americans get the Springfield.
  • Sniper Scope Sway: One of the new features of this game is the addition of holding your character's breath to briefly straighten out sniper rifle shots.
  • Sniping Mission: Several missions require you to snipe certain targets.
    • The Soviet campaign has "Comrade Sniper", where Vasili is tasked with taking out a German sniper and machine-gun nests with a scoped Mosin-Nagant.
    • The American campaign has "The Silo", where Taylor is tasked with providing sniper cover for his squadmates at the beginning, and is later tasked with taking out German mortar teams when the latter counterattack the town the Rangers just took.
      • Another mission in the same campaign is first half of "The Battle for Hill 400". This one requires Taylor to take out several German mortar teams firing on the Rangers' aid station.
  • The Squadette: Some of your allied soldiers during the Soviet campaign are women. This is accurate, since the Red Army was the only army during WWII to employ female soldiers on the frontline.
  • Sticky Bomb: The main method of destroying tanks during the campaign is by running over to them and pressing the interact button to slap explosives onto them which detonate after a short delay.
  • Storming the Beaches: The first American mission has the 2nd Ranger battalion storming the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, complete with heavy German opposition.
  • Taking You with Me: Heavily wounded Germans will sometimes draw a Luger pistol and fire off a few shots before dying.
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: The British tank missions have you squaring off against "panzers" that have powerful guns that can knock out your Crusader at range and require you to flank them in order to get past their impenetrable front armor. What are these superpowered "panzers?" Panzer IIs, which are obsolescent light tanks armed with low-caliber autocannons that would otherwise be outmatched by even the Crusader.
  • Tank Goodness: When Allied tanks are accompanying you and your squad, almost always expect them to help you out of a difficult situation.
  • Tanks for Nothing: The British Sherman tanks in "The Tiger" are practically useless against the much larger and more heavily armored German tank of the same name, and are Sitting Ducks to the latter's 88mm gun.
  • Target Spotter:
    • During the second El-Alamein mission, Davis is tasked with spotting German tanks for British artillery guns.
    • Pvt. Braeburn serves as Taylor's spotter during "The Silo", where he spots German machine-gun and mortar teams for him to snipe.
  • Trope Codifier: While the original Call of Duty has many Early-Installment Weirdness gameplay elements holding over from the team's previous work on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and other Quake 3 engine games, Call of Duty 2 is the game that firmly establishes the core Call of Duty gameplay formula (Regenerating Health, two weapon slots, quick grenades, a proper mission select, console-style single checkpoint saving, etc.) that has remained consistent for almost two decades; about all that's missing to later be codified by Call of Duty 4 is the standardization of sprinting.
  • Urban Warfare: The vast majority of levels in all 3 campaigns take place in an urban environment of some sort. The Soviet campaign, however, takes the cake as it focuses on the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the Trope Codifiers for it.
  • Vehicular Turnabout: Several examples.
    • The British and Soviets are often shown using captured Opel Blitz trucks, which they use to bring in reinforcements or help evacuate personnel.
    • Davis, Price, and MacGregor manage to escape Toujane in "Outnumbered and Outgunned" by capturing a Sdkfz 222 armored car and driving it through German lines.
  • Winter Warfare: All of the Soviet campaign levels take place in the freezing cold of the Russian Winter. As such, both they and the Wehrmacht are shown wearing thick winter clothing while struggling to continue amidst supply, ammunition, and fuel shortages.


Video Example(s):


Libya, 1943

Following the Axis defeat at El Alamein, the British 8th Army, with their tanks, continue to pursue the retreating Axis Forces, often resulting in tank-on-tank engagements in the open desert.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / EpicTankOnTankAction

Media sources: