Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Top 50 Video Game Moments: Number 32

Today's moment comes to us from Call of Duty 4. It's a pretty significant end-of-game spoiler, so if you haven't played the game yet (but plan to), steer clear.

As Call of Duty 4 comes to a close, shit is going down. A nuke has been detonated, several more have been fired at the United States (though those were remote detonated), and now the man behind it all (a Russian ultra-nationalist named Imran Zakhaev) is desperately trying to ensure that you don't escape. Having pinned down your group on a rickety bridge, it looks like he's going to succeed.

Help is minutes away, and it doesn't look like you've got minutes to spare. Suddenly, a missile detonates a tanker behind you, causing you to black out.

When you come to, things have gotten much worse. Some members of your squad are dead, some (including your character) are injured. As you continue to lose more squadmates, Zakhaev himself begins to saunter toward you, executing a downed soldier as he approaches. Suddenly, help arrives, shooting down the enemy helicopter. The distraction provides your captain just enough of a window to slide you his pistol to give you a chance to take out Zakhaev once and for all...

The scene sort of has a Deus Ex Machina feel to it, with the Russian cavalry arriving just as the big bad is going to murder you, but the action plays out very convincingly. When Price slides you his Colt, the tension is electrifying.

I've played enough games (particularly first person shooters) to know how this one ends - I'm going to shoot the bad guy (and his two buddies), the other good guys (refreshingly not American in this case) are going to come pull me out of the combat area, and all will end on a (mostly) positive note. Sure enough, that's exactly how it ends up. On the other hand, it executes it so well that when you gun down the two accompanying soldiers (saving Zakhaev for last, of course), any cynicism disappears with a "gotcha, you murderous bastard!"

For the curious, or those who want to see it again, here's that final scene.....

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