The Pacifist’s Guide to Black Ops‘ Cuba Mission


Want to beat Call of Duty: Black Ops‘ first mission without firing a bullet? Here’s how.

The premise of Black Ops‘ single-player campaign is simple: You are a member of an elite special operations unit reliving your memories of secret missions throughout the Cold War. As one might expect given the premise, your teammates are all hyper-competent soldiers trained to tackle any task ahead of them.

In fact, they’re so competent that they can complete their mission without you ever so much as firing a shot. The video you see here to the right is the first mission of Black Ops – an attempt to assassinate Cuban dictator Fidel Castro – played on the Hardened difficulty, where all the shooting is left to your AI teammates.

As you can see, other than a scripted scenario where the AI takes over for the player, he doesn’t ever fire a single shot. Sure, most of combat is spent hiding behind cover waiting for other people to stop shooting, which might not be very heroic – but you can’t say it’s not effective.

The interesting part is just how subtle this sort of thing is. 99.9% of players might gun their way through this mission in a series of intense, pulse-pounding firefights, marveling at the spectacle and never knowing that their computer-controlled comrades could simply be doing their job for them.

There’s a fine line between sculpting cinematic set-pieces that players will remember for years and using smoke and mirrors to create the illusion of interactivity – a line walked not just by Treyarch, but by developers like Kojima Productions and Valve Software, too. Which side of that line does this fall on, I wonder?

About the author