Call Of Duty 4’ s mis­sions bear names with a broad pop­cul­tural spread – War Pig ref­er­ences Black Sab­bath, and Char­lie Don’t Surf bor­rows from Apoca­lypse Now. The most de­scrip­tive of the lot, how­ever, is Shock And Awe. Things start out in­no­cently enough. You shoot ex­plo­sives at rooftops from a he­li­copter, then res­cue the pi­lot of a downed chop­per. Af­ter that’s ac­com­plished, you take off, wait­ing for the achieve­ment popup. Then a nu­clear bomb goes off. The sky turns or­ange, and the chop­per starts to spin. Ev­ery­thing goes black. When you come to, the sky’s dark with dust and smoke. Your vi­sion blurs, the con­troller puls­ing in time with your heart­beat. You crawl out and fall to the ground with a bump, your screen ever blur­rier, your heart­beat slow­ing, the sky drain­ing of colour. Even­tu­ally, you stop, look up, and the rum­ble stops. Rarely has an achieve­ment been so de­press­ing.

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