Top 10 Moments From the ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ Trilogy

Let’s get it out of the way early – this is not my Top 10 “times I totally pwned that noob” list. This is the 10 most memorable and spectacular moments from the campaign mode from the three games. Because these games delivered a whole bunch. If you’ve played the games you know what #1 is going to be!

#10 – Team Americared

MW# Eiffel Tower

As Roland Emmerich’s bank account can attest the public like seeing their monuments getting knocked down and blown to pieces. The destruction of the Eiffel Tower in this game looks more impressive than most blockbusters could manage with an exceptional level of detail used to bring it to life. Plus there’s the fact is was taken down by an American squad trying to defeat terrorists. Fuck yeah.

#9 – Sinking Liner

Modern Warfare tanker sinking

There was quite a bit of hype surrounding the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare but nobody quite predicted that it would be a new standard in gaming until they played the first few levels in the demo. It was a long running series making a sudden change in setting and tone. Everything looked like a standard issue shooter with nice graphics. What tipped us off to how special this shooter would be was when the tanker we’d infiltrated in the second level started to sink…

#8 – The London Underground

MW3 Mind the Gap

It looks like a slight change in pace to the usual level when the player is sent in as a member of MI5 to investigate suspicious cargo in rainy London. Just when you’ve settled into stealth-mode the action kicks up a few dozen notches and you find yourself in a truck trying to match pace with a tube train while in a gun fight with the terrorists on board. Big action and tense excitement.

#7 – Sheperd Revealed

Modern Warfare 2 Sherperd

When the very, very eager-for-war US General Sheperd turns out to be a bad-guy who has been manipulating world events from behind the scenes to encourage war because ‘yay war!’ nobody was very surprised. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t well delivered. The preceding level involves one of the best shoot-outs in the trilogy, first taking control of a rural house and then defending it while enemies swarm through doors and windows in every direction. Then you make a break for it through minefields and terrorists to reach the helicopter, at which your commander rather calmly guns you down and burns your body.

#6 – Sandstorm

MW3 Sandstorm

By this point of the series we knew that the game would throw anything at the player to create a sense of urgency. In this level players are faced with an oncoming sandstorm that grows in the distance while you fight your way to the landing zone. Plenty of great effects are in this level with the high winds tearing at the trees and buildings, tearing the structure around you down. Then you reach the landing zone – and the basterds shoot down the helicopter just before the sandstorm washes over you. Then a whole new mess of trouble begins.

#5 – Invading the Submarine

Modern Warfare hunter killer

As the series carried on the set pieces got less espionage and real-world conflict and more into the realm of Michael Bayhem. Being a war based video game this is in no way a bad thing, and the games certainly marry the explosion diorama with the story better than Bay does. When the big man tells you to infiltrate the enemy command centre which happens to be on a submarine in the bottom of the bay it seems like lunacy. After powering through the waters of New York with a scuba team you attack the sub with C4, force it to surface, climb aboard, fight your way to the front and send its arsenal onto the nearby fleet. Epic.

#4 – Reclaiming the White House

Modern Warfare White House

Undoubtedly one of the darkest moments stylistically in the series comes when the Rangers are defending the Washington area from invading Russian forces. Completely outnumbered and caught unawares it’s a brutal fight to reclaim some ground coming to a head (somewhat predictably) with retaking the White House before the US military leaders resort to carpet bombing the area. A high-paced and challenging gun fight ensues as you infiltrate the most famous building in America and get to the roof in time.

#3 – Turbulence

MW3 Turbulence

A real balls-to-the-wall action sequence that is packed tight with great moments. Players are put in the shoes of a member of the Russian President’s security detail moments before his private jet is infiltrated by terrorists. As the shoot-out rages through the plane sudden drops in altitude cause the gravity to vanish leaving everyone suspended in mid-air taking pot-shots at each other. Before the Russian agents can retake control of the plane it crashes into the ground, splitting it in half before sending the player into another gunfight through the wreckage to find the President.

#2 – Pripyat

Pripyat Call of Duty

If you’re looking for something that symbolises the strength and danger of nuclear warfare the city of Pripyat is an easy choice. Abandoned after the meltdown at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station it is a bleak, empty place full of crumbling buildings and packs of wild dogs. The location is used in Modern Warfare in a flashback with Price as part of an assassination mission that sees him crawling through deserted apartments and offices. Not only is it a fairly harrowing visual but a well designed pair of levels. Crawling through tall grass on your stomach while the treads of a Russian tank crunch gravel a foot away is intense to say the least.

#1 – Something Went Wrong…

You may remember this little moment…

Granted it’s not the first nuclear bomb to tear a hole in a video game, nor will it be the last, but it is the most devastating. To put it in context, you’ve been playing as two different characters – a member of the SAS and a member of the Marines. Without warning about halfway through the game, during a Marine mission in which you’ve just performed a daring rescue, you get word that something has gone wrong defusing a warhead and the entire city gets obliterated. Just to hammer home the point the player is left in control of the character as they crawl through the devastated city before dying. Brutal.