• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

The single-mission counterpart to the Stealth Based Game, where the player must sneak through an area infested with enemies. Getting detected may result in automatic failure and/or death or just mean being besieged by lots of guards. Being thrown in an easily escapable jail cell is also common. Frequently means dealing with guards that have no sense of peripheral vision and may be deaf, so the player may only have to avoid direct line of sight with them to slip past.

Sometimes combined with Sniping Mission. Otherwise often occurs after the player has been stripped of their weapons.

Due to the inconsistent or outright poor way in which stealth tends to be handled in games not specifically designed for it, this Unexpected Gameplay Change has a high chance of being received badly.

Examples of Stealth Based Mission include:
  • There is a mission in Call of Duty Black Ops where the first half has you sneak through a facility.
    • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has "All Ghillied Up". Stealth isn't mandatory (except for one or two small sections) but it's strongly encouraged.
  • Most Zelda games since Ocarina of Time have had at least one:
    • The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time has Hyrule Castle, where you have to avoid the guards standing outside then sneak around the patrolling guards inside, and the Gerudo Fortress, where you have to avoid being thrown in jail. There's also the Gerudo Fortress mission, which downplays the mandatory nature of these missions: Since your captors didn't notice that you're carrying a trunkload of weaponry, getting back out of your cell and simply neutralizing the guards is a snap.
    • The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask has the Deku Palace and Pirate's Fortress, made laughably easy if one uses the Stone Mask. Although, in places where you were forced to fight, the pirates would always point out that the mask doesn't fool them.
    • The Legend of Zelda Oracle Games:
      • Oracle of Ages does it in Ambi's Castle — you have to dodge guards outside and inside. Unusually, once you get inside, if you get caught you don't get immediately thrown out, but instead the guards just attack you.If not defeated fast, however, they will call out to other guards that will eventually throw you out.
      • Oracle of Seasons has one where you need to follow a Subrosian to a hidden portal without being seen. If she sees you, you have to restart from the beginning.
    • The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker has the Forsaken Fortress, in which you lose your sword and are forced to avoid being spotted by the enemies. Unlike earlier examples, there aren't any ways to simply bypass dealing with sentries altogether, but you can hide in a barrel the same way Snake hides in a box to get around them.
    • The Legend of Zelda Four Swords Adventures had a few stages where you had to avoid the spotlights that searched the area.
    • Played straight and downplayed in The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess:
      • In both Old Kakariko and the Arbiter's Grounds bulblin camp, since there's virtually no penalties for being spotted, they tend to play out more as a western shoot-out and The War Sequence, respectively.
      • Two moments that involve Wolf Link: In both, you're stuck as the lupine form and you have to get past a bar filled with people via tightropes and catwalks without falling or breaking/knocking down the many, many pots up there. Failure means being knocked out of the bar and you have to start all over again. There's also Ordon, again as Wolf Link, where if Rusl sees you he attacks you with a torch (though he doesn't move fast due to his injury).
    • The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass has the Temple of the Ocean King, which is basically half the game. Ciela even sums the trope up nicely: "So we have to sneak around here like thieves!?"
    • The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks has quite a few too, but added the ability to distract a guard while the other character sneaks around.
    • The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword has the third trip to Eldin Volcano. It's a combination of the The Wind Waker example and the concept of the stolen gear scenario seen at one point in Oracle of Ages.
      • The Silent Realm segments also probably count, they play somewhat similarly to the ones in Phantom Hourglass - gather Mac Guffins and avoid invincible enemies. Getting a MacGuffin puts the Guardians into a sleep mode for 90 seconds, and if you're quick enough you can grab all of them without letting the timer end, but you have to avoid spotlight enemies that will wake them up if they spot you while doing it.
  • On the subject of Zelda games, Star Fox Adventures is more in the style of Zelda games... and guess what? You have to sneak around the prison in Cloudrunner Fortress until you can disguise yourself as a SharpClaw and get Krystal's staff back.
  • In Metroid Zero Mission, after finishing what used to be the "original game", Samus flees to her ship and takes off her armor. Uh, bad idea. She gets shot down by Space Pirates, resulting in her being without a ship... or her armor. You then have to slink around a Space Pirate base as ordinary, no Powered Armor Samus, armed with only a stun gun. Avoiding conflict is highly recommended. (Of course, once Super Smash Bros Brawl rolled around, it made Zero Suit Samus into a combat Badass like her "regular" self, and made her stun gun into a laser whip.)
  • Fahrenheit (released as Indigo Prophecy in the US) has several stealth missions taking place in flashbacks to the protagonist's childhood (he lived on a military base and apparently enjoyed sneaking into places the guards wouldn't want him to be).
  • Tales of the Abyss has a mission where you have to sneak your way through a forest without alerting any guards. If you're caught, you have to start the section over. However, if you're caught too many times, the game allows you to fight your way through instead.
  • Tales of Phantasia has Cress and his buddies sneaking through Alvanista castle to check on the prince. Getting caught sends them back to the balcony, but avoiding guards is as easy as running through while they are outside the screen.
  • The Spider-Man movie game has two stealth missions, both regarded as Scrappy Levels due to lack of open movement.
  • Spyro 2 features one that involves hiding behind trees while following a NPC.
  • Some out-of-place stealth segments appear in the otherwise button-mashy video game adaptation of the 2003 Hulk movie.
  • The stealth portions in Halo 2 where you play as the Arbiter frustated many people as they were much less enjoyable to play, even though they had an interesting plot. One of the only complaints of Halo 3 is that they got rid of the gameplay shifts, but drop a lot of the Arbiter's plot with it.
    • To be fair, the stealth sequences in Halo 2 were very similar to the stealth sequences in the first game. Namely, short and optional. You can go in guns blazing if you want to, and the game doesn't penalize you for it.
    • During the nighttime sections of Halo 3: ODST the player has the option of running around the city guns blazing (as per the usual Halo strategy)... or, using the city map that keeps track of Covenant patrols, avoid nearly every enemy on the way to the next objective. The game doesn't care either way but does increase the number of Covenant near objectives and as the game progresses. The daytime sections are classic Halo gunslinging, though.
    • Likewise for Nightfall in Halo: Reach.
  • Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII features a stealth sequence where Zack, a SOLDIER 1st Class who's been mowing through entire armies for the bulk of the game, has to sneak into a base controlled by the same Mooks he's been slaughtering the whole time. Getting caught sends you into a battle with a group of them, which Zack will win in under 30 seconds. One wonders why the stealth sequence was necessary.
    • Oddly enough, Zack, who is pretty much unstoppable by ordinary Mooks, gets launched out of the base if he's discovered. Fortunately, the only thing you get from successfully being stealthy is a heap of largely useless treasures. No one even seems to care if you fail spectacularly.
    • Also at one point you use a sniper rifle to take out a number of robots, when you've taken down larger robots with two hits.
    • The original Final Fantasy VII also contains a short stealth sequence in Shinra HQ, but if you fail often enough you'll just go in guns blazing.
  • The PSP Turn-Based Strategy release Wild Arms XF has obligatory stealth sequences. Fortunately, the game establishes the guards' logic instead of forcing you to trial-and-error it (I'm looking at you, Wind Waker), graphically highlights whichever hex tiles the guards are currently observing (I'm looking at you, Fahrenheit (2005 video game)), and knows you might have to fall back on trial-and-error, and makes that easy.
  • One early mission of Final Fantasy XII Revenant Wings tasks you with getting from Point A to Point B with Vaan and Vaan alone. Short of obscene Level Grinding, the only only way to survive is not to get noticed.
    • Surprisingly and somewhat unintuitively, it's possible to give Vaan boots that prevent him from being immobilized by the enemies' lightning-elemental attacks, use an ability that temporarily increases his movement speed that you should already have at that point and have him just run through the level with any enemies in tow either not being able to get close enough to hit him or not being able to do enough damage to kill him before he gets to the goal.
  • A mission in Jedi Outcast requires Kyle to sneak through enemy base. Of course, you can try provoke all enemies and kill them before they push alert button by being at the button and kill all enemies trying to push it.
  • The Hobbit, an otherwise surprisingly decent last-gen platformer, featured lots of these - and they were the "do it right or it's back to the beginning of the level" sort.
  • One could say that only the first Boktai game is a Stealth Based Game. The other three games are more action-oriented, with stealth missions on the side.
  • One very annoying mission in Return to Castle Wolfenstein requires you to remain undetected in broad daylight, in an open field; if you're seen even once and fail to snipe the guard in the split second before he hits the alarm, Game Over. And there's one guard you can't shoot or alert, if the latter happens and the alarm is already destroyed, the mission becomes Unwinnable.
  • Saul D'Alessio's mission in the Guild Wars Bonus Mission Pack requires you to sneak into the Charr camp, defeat their leaders, and then survive the onslaught of every Charr in the camp.
    • Even more obviously, Gwen's mission in the same pack. She's largely defenceless, with only a few skills based around speed and even feigning death with a few safe spots to hide in. Between her and freedom: An entire Charr legion. Gulp.
  • XIII, which was based on a comic that was in turn inspired by The Bourne Identity, has several missions that fail automatically if the alarms go off. A guard spotting you is not instant-fail as long as you stop him from getting to an alarm button in time, but then you'll have to remember to drag the body somewhere out of the way in case a patrol comes by later.
  • Variation: In Bioshock, it is possible to get a Gene Tonic that makes you move stealthier when using the wrench, and deal more damage when you hit an enemy who is unaware of you. It is also possible to get a Tonic that, as long as you stand still, makes you invisible. This combination allows you to, if you wish, play as a Wrench Ninja.
    • The sequel manages, implausibly, to top that: While the same pair of tonics is available, you're playing a Big Daddy. Turning Delta into Mr. Driller, Stealth Asassin dances between scary and friggin' sweet.
  • In Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, the first part of the seventh Soviet mission has you sneak into the Japanese Emperor's palace with a single conscript.
    • And a Warbear! Controlled by the allied AI unless you're playing with a friend.
  • The escape from prison in Chrono Trigger was intended as one of these, but the guards are easy enough to kill that it's easier to do just that.
    • The unarmed escape from the Blackbird later in the game is a forced stealth mission, unless you happened to put bare-handed fighter Ayla in your active party before your capture.
  • Every time one plays the Spy class in Team Fortress 2.
    • Or not at all, depending on whether the Spy in question is invisible or just disguised. If the later, he could waltz right in front of the entire opposing team unless they're all paranoid and Spy Check him (which any half-way decent set of players would do out of habit).
    • It also pays to be stealthy as other classes, since some stage objectives have an Instant Win Condition and it's always good to have the first strike.
  • Chapter 10 of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance gives you a very large amount of bonus EXP (Experience points you can freely assign, great for Magikarp Power characters) if you escape without alerting the prison guards, but it's possible to ignore stealth and get a slightly greater amount of combat experience. Due to the game's turnbased nature, one of the Game FAQs walkthoughs has a turn by turn method of finishing it.
  • Featured as two goals in THUG.
  • Ratchet and Clank has many frustrating (more for the sheer idiocy of it than difficulty) forced stealth sections in later levels where you are forced to disguise as a security robot. In this disguise, you cannot attack or jump. Un-disguising in the view of the robots will make them run to press a red button which will trigger the security system, which will almost always kill you.
  • The Harry Potter games have a number of missions in which you wander around under an invisibility cloak, and one mission where you have to avoid being seen without an invisibility cloak (because the potion that turned you into a Slytherin wears off before you get out of the Slytherin-only part of Hogwarts).
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has a couple of these. Scrappiness is averted somewhat by how fun the throat-slitting "Back Stab" attack is.
  • Comes up more than once in Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Corners Of The Earth.
  • Dreamfall has the Grubber cave, where you must match four symbols to statues while avoding the Grubbers and fighting the camera.
  • Perfect Dark has two missions, which, while not stealth entirely, rewards you with dual weapons for not being spotted by the guards.
  • Chapter 8-2 of Valkyria Chronicles finds Welkin and Alicia trapped in a forest at night with none of the rest of The Squad around to help them, and Imperials converging on them in every direction. On top of all that, Alicia sprained her ankle and can only limp. The goal is to get from one corner of the forest to the other while avoiding, or at least stealthily taking out, any soldiers, spotlights, or mortars they come across. Not as bad as most, as on-foot-Welkin (he's usually in a tank) and Alicia are both Scouts and have high mobility (even considering her sprained ankle), but that also means their defense isn't that great. Which isn't usually a problem until you run into Shocktroopers, who wield machine guns.
  • Retrieving the Green Hive in Overlord II requires the Overlord to possess a Green Minion and lead a group of them into an Empire base. He and his minions then have to sneak around and Back Stab the forces guarding the base, including the magic detecting Sentinels and the Eradicators, which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. This section is pretty forgiving; the Overlord himself can't actually die here (the Minion does, but you can get more) and if you lose a few Minions there are jars with reinforcements scattered about the base. Plus, you get to sic Giant Pandas on the guards here. One of the more well thought out and entertaining examples of this trope. The mission where you have to rely on the Blue Minions in the sewers isn't so bad either thanks to their invisibility power. Being invisible makes a Stealth Based Mission much easier.
  • Ace Combat shows that you can have "stealth" in flight action titles; 3, 5, 6 and X have missions where you have to either fly a plane below a certain altitude, avoid circles on the Enemy Detecting Radar representing radar coverage, or both. Getting your style cramped like that naturally makes for annoying levels. The radar circles in 5 however, decrease in radius the lower your altitude is, so it does encourage something resembling real-life stealth tactics.
    • 2 manages a mission like this that is completely pointless - you're told to stay below a certain altitude to make a sneak-attack on an enemy base, but you can go above that altitude at the very start of the mission, and the only difference made is when the music switches from downbeat to action mode. The reward for doing it the stealthy way however, are two grounded bomber planes that failed to take off due to your stealthy approach, which, if destroyed, unlocks an optional mission right afterwards.
    • Ace Combat Assault Horizon has a stealth mission on the first half of a Bomber mission when you play Janice Riehl. Not only the radars are placed in very awkward positioning, it is mandatory for you to do so even when you select the already stealthy B-2 bomber.
  • Even Armored Core is not immune to occasionally indulge in this. The first half of a particular mission in Armored Core 3: Silent Line requires you to stealth your way through a deep ravine filled with AI helicopters. Getting discovered does not equal instant failure, but you only have two seconds maximum to destroy it before it broadcasts an alarm, which does fail your mission. Adding to the challenge is the existence of a hidden part within the level, and a bonus part awarded for clearing the sneaking part under a certain time limit (they do not, however, need to be obtained in one go). Thankfully, the helicopters are real pushovers; two small missiles will bring down one, and killing them outright before they spot you is a common tactic.
  • Golden Sun has a portion where the party has to sneak through a thieves' base in order to rescue the mayor of a large city. The second game has a similar mission where the party must sneak past tribal guards.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum alternates between stealth and action, but a few missions are explicitly stealth-based, since Joker's got hostages and instructs his goons to kill them the second they see Batman, or even think Batman's around; the Joker helpfully informs them, if the goons start vanishing mysteriously, that means Batman is there.
  • In The Godfather: The Game, there are some of these. Getting spotted usually doesn't instant-fail you, though, but instead forces you to kill the offending guard within a time limit. They are actually rather forgiving and fun.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds: Stardust Accelerator: World Championship 2009, you get your Deck and Ruel Runner confiscated, requiring some stealth to get back. Thanks to your security guard disguise, getting caught just gets you sent back to the central room, but it can still be quite annoying to figure out when they can or can not see you, especially since one of the things you have to do is get past a hall of guards to unlock a door in another part of the building for a few minutes, requiring you to traverse two sets of guards within a time limit without being caught.
  • Lunar Knights has an enemy known as a Spotter. It has no direct attack and simply hovers around your position while a spinning crosshair and a number float over your head. The number is a timer, and you have to get out of the Spotter's sights and hide somewhere safe until the countdown expires and the Spotters return to sentry duty. They also take inordinate amounts of punishment, and fighting one as an underleveled Lucian is suicidal. Also, every time the reacquire their target, the crosshair countdown ticks down faster. What happens when it runs out? Take a wild guess.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2. Following Pete, you have to tail keep in in your cone of view, while avoiding his. Between the sometimes uncooperative camera angle and your teammate's general disinclination to move, it results in several restarts, and an urge to strangle the otherwise very popular character. Made more frustrating as your partner is able to easily teleport out of his line of sight while you are not so lucky.
    • Kingdom Heartscoded also has some in Wonderland (depending on how many times you choose to enter certain rooms) where you must sneak past the Card Soldiers, though the only really thing you need to worry about are the Card Soldiers actually catching up to you which isn't all that hard to avoid (especially if you if have the ability Haste equipped).
  • World of Warcraft features some stealth-based quests, specifically for the Rogue class, as they are required to combat special monsters that can only be defeated via attacks from stealth. Being in stealth is also required for Rogues to disarm traps, something that comes in very handy in certain dungeons. Similarly, while not precisely a mission, stealth allows Rogues and Druids to sneak past many encounters, allowing solo or duo completion of many quests that would otherwise require a larger group. For these reasons, learning to use stealth properly is greatly advised for any Rogue who wants to be taken seriously in the game.
  • Several missions in True Crime: Streets of L.A. involves sneaking and knocking down guards you pass by. Being spotted for too long results a mission failure.
    • Lampshaded by Nick Kang: "Gotta do style!" Stealth missions are fortunately brief enough to stay fun, and always end in alerting every Mook in the place, making a wild shootout necessary anyway...
  • The level before the battle with Cloe Walsh in No More Heroes 2 Desperate Struggle is a prison complex which you are instructed to sneak through. Of course, since you're playing as Travis Touchdown, if you're spotted, you're free to simply butcher the guards and carry on your way.
  • Lost Odyssey features your party getting captured. After memory-wiping the guard and convincing him to let you out of your cell, you must sneak around the enemy Cool Ship until you find your weapons and can fight back. Getting caught gets you thrown back into the cell, from which the amnesiac guard will dutifully let you out every time.
  • Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II has the "Imperial Academy Heist" stage, or, rather, the first 1/3 of it. You have to sneak into an Imperial base by flying low through a canyon. The catch is, you also have to disable a bunch of sensors with your ion cannons[1]; flying too high or flying too close to an active sensor results in a Game Over. Destroying the sensors also results in mission failure.
  • A few missions in Water Warfare task you to slink, weaponless, past opponents to a point. In one, you just have to make it to the goal. In the second, however, you must take a treasure chest back to your base as well.
  • Vampire Bloodlines - the Prince orders you to investigate the submarine and the museum unseen and without casualties. Stealth is an option on other missions, but no more or less than brute force.
    • Inversion when playing as a Nosferatu; stealth is required between missions, and the game justifiably penalizes you for letting your character be detected.
  • Dubloon has a short sequence where Riley and Ricky have to sneak past the lowliest mooks in Navy base. Getting caught sends player back to the start, but after a plot event, they can be fought for cheap experience.
  • The Ultor HQ levels in Red Faction.
  • Soldier of Fortune II has at least three or four stealth levels. In the first one, being spotted results in an instant Nonstandard Game Over.
  • There are lots of stealth-based missions in Secret Agent Barbie.
  • About half the missions in the Syphon Filter series. In Rhoemer's Base, unlike most, getting spotted doesn't cause an immediate Game Over, but puts the base guards on full alert, making your task much harder. Another "stealth not explicitly required" mission is the Aljir Prison Escape level, if you alert the guards in the last part, Gregorov will most likely be killed, causing mission failure.
  • Several missions in the Driver series require you to follow a car without getting to close and alerting them.
  • The beginning of Mass Effect 2's "Arrival" DLC is one of these. Or, at least, supposed to be. There's no benefit to sneaking through the prison (there's an achievement for getting through it undetected, but that's it); all of the groups of enemies are so easy to kill that it doesn't particularly matter.
    • Before the DLC was released, players speculated that the Infiltrator player class (whose special power is an Invisibility Cloak) would have an unfair advantage, but it doesn't for two reasons: first, the enemies are so easy to sneak past that there's no advantage to using Tactical Cloak anyway; second, even if you do try to sneak past enemies using it, if you enter the area in which enemies would detect you uncloaked, they will automatically attack Shepard once the cloak wears off, even if there's no possible way for them to know you're there.
  • In a similar vein, Dragon Age II's "Mark of the Assassin" DLC contains an extended stealth-based mission that involves sneaking through a mansion, but it's very merciful if you fail (only sending you back a short distance...with whatever goodies you swiped on your way!)
  • In the Medal of Honor: Frontline level "Operation Repunzel", if the guard at the front desk is "asleep"(which may be a glitch), you can sneak your way through most of the mansion, if he's awake, your cover will immediately be blown. You pretty much have to blow your cover anyway if you're going for the medal.
  • Pretty much the entirety of the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money, which will often actively penalize you if you run around willy nilly and fight any enemy you want. Late in the DLC, after Dog/God betrays you, you literally have to use stealth to disable his traps or else he will immediately subject you to a gruesome Nonstandard Game Over.
  • At least three instances in RuneScape, all during quests. During Mad Eadgar's Ruse the player must sneak through a heavily guarded storeroom that has the last (until the next quest in the series) supply of the trolls' favourite seasoning herb, getting sent back to the storeroom entrance if caught. In Branches of Darkmeyer the player has to sneak through the lowest part of the vampyre town in order to find the pieces of clothing they need to disguise themselves as a vampyre, without being caught by the residents or guards who will teleport them back to the entrance. And, finally, during Ritual of the Mahjarrat, the player has to sneak around the plateau where the titular ritual will take place, planting the beacons and heart needed to give their side the edge in the oncoming fight, while avoiding the sniffer beasts that will summon an unavoidable mage who will teleport players to an easily escaped cell.
  • Several Rainbow Six missions have you infiltrate a house or building without being spotted, which means you can't kill anyone either. The two stealth missions in Rogue Spear are especially infuriating, and they later become action levels that are no less difficult.
  • This is essentially what it's like to play Twitch the Plague Rat in League of Legends. He is amongst the frailest characters in the game but can do a lot of damage very quickly and does almost always have the element of surprise due to his ability to become invisible for up to 50 seconds at a time. Twitch's role on a team is to roam the map and pick off wounded and occupied targets without endangering himself in the process.
  • One of the early campaign missions in Achron requires you to sneak into an alien base while avoiding random patrols. Fortunately, due to time travel, you can see where the enemies will be and avoid them in the past.
  1. or avoid them altogether, your only option if you're playing between real-time 6 PM and 6 AM and thus are playing the night version, in which you use the Snowspeeder