I died a lot on this level.

There are moments in gaming that live on in your mind long after you have stopped playing. Below are some of the most memorable missions from the current generation that, for good or bad, will stick with many gamers for years to come.

Train Ride – Uncharted 2

Somebody needs to stop a crazy warlord from getting his hands on an ancient magic that will make him invincible. Who better than all around bad-boy-with-a-good-heart, Nathan Drake?

Unfortunately for Drake, one of his two hotties ends up on a train moving through the Himalayas with the crazy warlord. Drake shows up and, just like Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade, gets crazy on the moving freighter. Complete with two helicopter fights, dozens of armed baddies, an overly challenging boss fight, more death-defying leaps than I can describe, and a crash that leaves Drake dangling in a train car off the edge of a cliff, this is one unforgettable mission in gaming.

Killing the Riftworm – Gear of War 2

Something unknown is sinking human cities on the planet Sera. It’s up to Marcus Fenix and the other COG warriors to find out what it is and save humanity. Too bad the culprit is a massive, carnivorous worm that eats them!

Inside the beast are myriad nasty monsters, pools of acid, and the universe’s most deadly digestive track. Will that stop Marcus? Hell no. He and the other COGs plan to fight their way to the worm’s heart and end it once and for all. Sad news for them, the worm as three hearts.

The crew eventually fights their way to all three blood pumps and finally kills the worm. How to get out? That’s why Epic Games put chainsaws on your guns.

Inside the Guts of a Massive Worm

Frozen Tropics – Crysis

After hours of kicking North Korean ass, Nomad and his Nano Suit have just entered a massive, ancient alien structure buried under a mountain on a tropical island. It get’s worse. The aliens inside are coming out and are turning the world to ice.

The best part of this famous Crysis mission was the change in gameplay and environment. Whereas the North Korean enemies were often slow, loud, and easy to dispatch, the Aliens coming from the hidden mountain base were the polar opposite. Quick, ruthless, and granted the ability to fly, the run and gun tactics that had brought success against human enemies wasn’t enough against the Ceph. Best of all, exploring a flash-frozen tropical island, replete with humans crystalized in place, was an unforgettable environment.

You aren't in Kansas Anymore

Airport Terrorism – Modern Warfare 2

Some missions in gaming aren’t memorable because of their outlandish setting, change in gameplay, or incredible action. Some missions are memorable simply because of shock value or achieving new levels in bad taste.

One mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 puts you in control of an undercover CIA agent tasked with “fitting in” with Russian soldiers trying to start a war with the United States. Sadly, the plan is to murder hundreds of innocent Russian civilians at an airport and frame the US by ultimately being killed yourself. In summary, the mission has you help murder a bunch of helpless people only to take a bullet to the brain. Really?

The mission proved controversial enough that a warning appeared at the beginning granting the player the option to skip it entirely. The most interesting part is that you could technically complete the level without firing a shot at a single civilian.  Did anybody actually play through the mission that way?

Slaughtering Innocents.

“Easy Going” – inFamous 2

Lesser known than the other missions I’ve included, one mission in inFamous 2 tasked you with hanging out with your friend Zeke and sharing some brewskis while you watch TV.  This mission, unlike the others mentioned, was incredible for reasons of story.

Toward the end of the original inFamous, plucky underachiever Zeke betrays his best friend Cole in an attempt to get super powers of his own. The effort doesn’t pay off and Zeke realizes he betrayed his closest friend for nothing. Zeke’s remorse and disappointment with himself are palpable and all kudos should be given to Sucker Punch for the top notch story telling.

This is how men "make up" after a fight.

inFamous 2 comes along and we find Zeke repeatedly risking his life to help Cole in a show of repentance. Cole is wary at first and wonders, with good reason, if he can trust Zeke again. As the game progresses, Zeke keeps reaching out to Cole and you can see the relationship start to heal. That culminating moment where you accept the mission to hang out with Zeke was totally unexpected, took the characters and story to new heights, and was a welcome break from the game’s constant action. I felt like I had just made up with a good friend in real life.

Yup, we surely missed a few. Let us know what should have been included in the comments.

  1. Sorry for the second post, but..also, for me…

    GTA IV bank heist mission, Modern Warfare, Last Quest of Final Fantasy VIII, and you missed all Shadow of Colossus entries, specially the ending. Again, Heavy Rain and end mission of Metal Gear solid 4.

  2. You can’t complete the level without firing a shot. You’ll have to fight against the security forces in MW2.
    However, I couldn’t NOT fire a shot. I doubt anybody did, to be honest.

    • Kory Baldwin says:

      You are correct. I meant to say you can finish the mission without shooting any CIVILIANS. You do, however, need to fight off the security response teams.

  3. cell989 says:

    The Oven scene in Metal Gear Solid 4, oh and the fight between Kratos and Hercules in GOW3

  4. teamliftrequired says:

    I think the final level of Mass Effect 2 deserves to be on this list, I’ve never been so scared to lose my teamates in all my life!

  5. billybob says:

    Glad you included “Easy Going.” Totally made inFamous 2 a better game all around. ONe of the most awesome changes of pace in video gaming. Cheers.

  6. jimminey says:

    Th e final level of Bioshock stands out for story telling.

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