Infinity Ward doesn’t do things by halves, and they’ve made the most varied, challenging and replayable co-op mode since forever with Spec Ops. It consists of 23 missions over five different stages, with one to three stars awarded for each depending on difficulty level (one for regular, two for hardened, three for veteran). What you have here is our guide to nailing all 23 missions on Veteran mode, which should be used with two things in mind: first, the later levels are damn hard and need bags of practice, and second, Spec Ops is designed for two people and only a madman would try any of this on solo.
The mission: The Army Ranger assault course from MW2’s opening level.
Veteran conditions: Complete the course in 35 seconds or less.
How to do it: This is the training level from the opening of the single-player campaign, and to nail the three stars you need to complete it in under 35 seconds. Easily done: make sure you and your co-op friend split the level into left and right, using ADS (Aim Down Sights - it’s not only quicker, but you have to use the steady aim to hit top marks). When entering the building, the guy on the right should take the targets on the roof, and as you head up the stairs you can save time by doubling up on the two sets of targets (they can be lined up so one shot downs both). If you use the default SCAR-H you’ll be just running out of ammo as you hit the ground again, but don’t reload, just switch to pistol, take down the last set of targets and sprint to the finish.
The mission: An enemy attack set in a snowy industrial area.
Veteran conditions: Survive five waves of enemy attackers.
How to do it: Fairly straightforward. One of you should take the front edge of the platform you start on and use the sniper to catch enemies heading down the main strip, while the other should grab the predator missile briefcase (and use it to take down incoming trucks and troop transports) and keep an eye on the helipad to the front left of the platform. It’s worth putting some claymores at the base of the ladder to the left of the platform too.
The mission: Hunt hostiles through the mazey Brazilian favela.
Veteran conditions: Kill 50 enemies and no more than three civilians.
How to do it: The key is sticking together, as the shanty town is so intricately plotted and there are very few secure points of cover. Enemies have a habit of popping up in unseen windows and rooftops. Make sure you grab the AA-12 equipped with hearbeat sensor which his located near your initial spawn point, as it’s super handy for spotting incoming attackers. There’s no penalty for being defensive – work slowly through the alleyways and buildings.
The mission: Evade enemy patrols through snowy woods to the extraction point.
Veteran conditions: Sharper enemies, increased damage.
How to do it: Don’t go loud. That’s the big rule. Every time you’re spotted by enemy patrols extra soldiers with dogs arrive to murder you. Memorise the position and movement of the patrols (four at the start, then a man and dog walking up the path, then three guards smoking cigarettes and so on), and make sure you’ve got a kill shot before you pull the trigger. Work through larger groups by taking down the man at the back so the others won’t notice.
The mission: Move from one end of an iron bridge to the extraction point at the other.
Veteran conditions: Sharper enemies, increased damage.
How to do it: With no time limit, reaching the other side is a matter of using cover patiently, sticking close to your partner for easy revivals, and not getting blown up by standing too close to exploding cars. The only real excitement is when the enemy gunship arrives at the halfway mark. The bridge cracks across the middle – have one of you stay covered in the lower part ready to revive the other, who grabs an RPG to take out the chopper.
The mission: A remake of COD4’s Hunted, with one player using an AC-130 to help the other reach the extraction point.
Veteran conditions: Reach the extraction point in seven minutes.
How to do it: Here the two of you are split up – one manning the guns of an overhead AC-130 while the other dashes through the level on the ground to reach an extraction point. The runner should take the SCAR-H with thermal site from the start, to help pick out enemies in friendly-fire smoke. That said, the AC-130 should be doing most of the fighting (try 40 mm shots for enemies in ones and and twos, and 105 mm for big, meaty groups) while the guy on the ground will be mostly hiding in dark corners doing his best not to be exploded. What he can do is paint targets using his laser sighter, which comes in handy when enemy choppers arrive carrying reinforcements. They’re hard to see from the air, but once spotted, easy to take down.
The mission: Clear enemy targets while defending a diner in suburban America.
Veteran conditions: Score 30,000 points.
How to do it: The sensible way to do this is to grab the thermal sight SCAR-H from the spread of guns outside the diner and take ranged shots at the enemies exiting the gas station while the other fires on the attackers coming from the side entrance. You’ll need around 30 grunt kills to hit the target, which is easy if you stay near enough to revive each other and don’t let the diner be over-run. You can also try grabbing the RPG and popping the troop transport early on.
The mission: Disarm three bombs in the Brazilian Favela.
Veteran conditions: Complete the mission in under five minutes.
How to do it: You don’t have time to engage in stationary battles. To avoid time-costing backtracking take the bomb in the marketplace first, to the right of the start point. Pick up the M240 at the start. When the first bomb’s done, switch to the M1014 holographic for the second bomb, which is all about moving quickly through buildings and picking off targets. And for the third, throw grenades like you’re tossing bread to ducks, and then dash in and clean up.
The mission: A rerun of the snowmobile race from Cliffhanger in the single-player campaign.
Veteran conditions: Finish the course in 70 seconds.
How to do it: No tricks here – this one’s a matter of learning the course, staying in open space, and not making any sudden or sharp turns. At the beginning of the race hit the accelerator just as ‘Go!’ appears after the countdown and you’ll get a quick start. You don’t need to attack the other snowmobiles, but it helps to get them out of the way. And on the final downhill stretch, keep your eyes ahead of your own vehicle and make gentle adjustments.
The mission: Based on the Wolverines level from the single-player, one player uses a helicopter gun to guide the other to the extraction point.
Veteran conditions: Reach the extraction point in ten minutes.
How to do it: Call out targets quick, and don’t be shy with the ammo – absolutely hose targets, using ADS to slow the chopper down, and take out as many explosive objects – cars, gas tanks – as you can. Crucially, when the runner hits the diner roof at the very end, make sure he runs straight towards the green smoke to give the chopper a clear line of fire.