"Break's over, Roach. Let's go."
— Captain MacTavish to Roach at the start of the level.

"Cliffhanger" is the third campaign mission of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Captain John "Soap" MacTavish and Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson of Task Force 141 must infiltrate a Russian airbase in the cold mountains of Kazakhstan. There, they must recover a downed satellite module before the Russians can make use of it. The player takes control of Gary "Roach" Sanderson

Main CharactersEdit

  • Gary "Roach" Sanderson (Playable)
  • John "Soap" MacTavish
  • Major Petrov

Level BriefingEdit


Day 2 - 07:35:51-58

Sgt. Gary 'Roach' Sanderson

Task Force 141

Tian Shan Range, Kazakhstan


The level begins with the player as Gary "Roach" Sanderson. He and Captain MacTavish are resting on a ledge on the side of a mountain. After a MiG-29 flies overhead, Roach and Soap start climbing a wall of ice with Ice Picks. There is a harrowing moment when a pair of MiG-29's take flight overhead, nearly dislodging Soap from his position on the cliff.

Once at the top, Roach and Soap jump a small gap. Roach does not make it and nearly falls to his death when Soap grabs his hand at the last moment, saving his life. Soap brings Roach up, and they climb up the rest of the mountain.

Here, at the top of the mountain, Roach learns to use the Heartbeat Sensor attached to his ACR, which can be turned off and on, unlike multiplayer. They simultaneously take down enemy patrols as they move to the airbase. Captain MacTavish then climbs a nearby ridge to provide over watch with his thermal sight while Roach infiltrates the airbase.

Roach proceeds to the fuel depot under the cover of the blizzard using the Heartbeat Sensor to thread his way through sentries and patrols. He then plants C4 on the fuel depot to serve as a diversion in the event that a quiet extraction is not possible, and moves to a hangar, rejoining Soap, to recover a crashed satellite containing an American ACS module. MacTavish takes out the lone guard inside the hangar and, directs Roach upstairs to retrieve the ACS.

Their cover is then blown as Russian sentries have possibly discovered any dead bodies and the hangar doors are opened. Russian soldiers hold MacTavish at gunpoint and the base commander, Major Petrov, threatens to kill him giving the remaining soldiers five seconds to surrender. As Petrov counts down, Roach detonates the C4 at the fueling station and there is a huge explosion briefly stunning the Russians.

Roach and Soap use this distraction to fight their way out of the hanger and towards the runway using destroyed MiGs for cover. They reach a break in the fence and slide down a hill where they encounter enemy snowmobiles. After downing the crews the two men escape on the Snowmobiles and have to dodge enemy Snowmobiles patrols, trees and rocks at high speed while attempting to make it to the extraction point. The last obstacle is a giant gorge which is taken at full speed to reach the LZ where Kilo Six-One is waiting.

Weapon LoadoutEdit

Starting LoadoutEdit

The following weapons are the initial starting weapons.

Found in LevelEdit

The following weapons can be found with or without attachments.

Intel LocationsEdit

1/3 Intel: Is near the entrance of the base; to the right is a tower with a ladder and scaffold; watch out for the enemy patrol and climb the ladder to find the laptop.

2/3 Intel: Is easy to miss; just before regrouping with Soap, there is a building where welders can be seen through a window working on a MiG. Smash one of the windows and a laptop is on the other side.

3/3 Intel: Is very easy to miss, as it is found during the snowmobile chase. At about 1800-10m from the extraction point, the path will split off to the left or right. Head for the trees in the middle and veer right. Drive over the laptop to pick it up.


Ghost (10G / Bronze Trophy) - Obtained by planting the C4 without getting detected, or injuring people.

Cold Shoulder (15G / Bronze Trophy) - Obtained by completing this mission on any difficulty.

Black Diamond (25G / Silver Trophy) - Obtained by beating "Cliffhanger" on Veteran difficulty.



  • When the player has climbed to the top and is getting up from the cliff, Roach's shadow is visible. From this it is shown that he is wearing a beanie hat just like Soap is, however the shadow will disappear as soon as the player stands up.
  • At the start of the level it is possible to pass Soap on ice by just sliding past him.
  • No matter where the player positions themselves before the first climb or where they land on the second, they will cling onto a pre-set game path as they climb.
  • If the player misses the first jump, the quote "Nobody makes the first jump" appears, a direct reference to both the movie The Matrix and "Crew Expendable", a mission in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The player would have to miss the cliff face entirely (by jumping to the right), or not reach the opposite cliff by falling in the gap.
  • On the first jump, if the player hesitates to jump when Soap does, he will start climbing, stop and wave to Roach to jump. He will keep doing that until Roach attempts the jump.
  • If the player does not start climbing after Captain MacTavish rescues them, they will fall to their death and the quote "Hold on for dear life" appears on the screen instead of a usual death quote.
  • If the player presses the melee button while holding the ice picks both ice picks will swing, as if they were a melee weapon. However, this is plausible, as they do not cause friendly fire.
  • The player can hear Roach yelling if he falls of the mountain. This is the only time Roach's "voice" can be heard.
  • This is the only mission that involves climbing on the mountains troughout the Call of Duty Series.
  • This is the first mission where Soap speaks, as well as the first one in which he appears as an NPC.


  • Should the player decide to not shoot either of the two-man guard patrols after climbing up, Soap will do it while chastising the player for not helping out, saying "I guess I have to do everything?" (a possible reference to Call of Duty 4, where the player, as Soap, had to do almost every major action). The second time, he is a bit more agitated and replies with "This would be a lot easier if you do some of the work."
  • Should the player instead kill both guards, Soap will give his standard lines as though the player had taken them down together as normal. On other occasions he will not say anything at all, and continue as if nothing happened.
  • If the player were to go ahead of Soap and shoot one of the enemies in the second pair, and damage but not kill the other, Soap will kill him and say "This is the reason we brought silencers."
  • Soap says he will help Roach with a Thermal Scope, sniping enemies. However, his M14 EBR has the default scope attached.
  • If the player attempts to kill this guy with the USP .45, Soap will say, "That was sloppy."
  • If the player reaches the fueling station fast enough, sometimes Soap's script will mix around out of order.
  • If the player does not kill or alert any enemies while sneaking through the base to the fueling station after separating with Soap, they will receive the Ghost achievement/trophy, and MacTavish will comment, "No kills, no alerts. Impressive, Roach."
  • If the player blows up a truck without alerting the guards (the player can do this easily by using the GP-25 from an AK-47 Grenadier), MacTavish will comment "Wow, I wonder if they'll notice a flaming wreck in the middle of the road", although the subtitles say "Gee, I wonder if they'll notice a flaming wreck in the middle of the road."
  • If the player goes to the hanger with the intel before they meet up with McTavish, there isn't anyone in the hanger. But when the player does meet up with him, there are two guys in orange uniforms repairing a MiG-29. Killing them will have no effect on the mission.
  • As soon as the player meets up with Soap, turn around and go back the way the player came, and the player can notice all the enemies have disappeared.
  • This is a very good level to get the "No Rest for the Wary" achievement. As soon as the player enters the blizzard, go to the right and sneak up behind the guard. Do it quick before he turns around and crouch while doing this.
  • Soap was not spawned behind the barrel before the player stepped into the alley behind the hanger where the ACS module is located.
  • Strangely, Soap won't cover you if your cover is blown.


  • After retrieving the ACS from the table, sometimes Petrov's transcript becomes different, and the player will not get the detonator to go to "Plan B". (Confirmed for Xbox 360).
  • Roach's gloves appear to say "Snowfinity" in the hangar if the player takes out the USP .45 and looks at the hand holding the Tactical Knife.
  • If the player moves up to the window where the ACS module is, look at the tank as soon as the intel is collected and the tank will vanish.
  • If the player gets seen on the way to the hangar and leads guards to the area where Soap is hiding, he will comment, "Brought some friends with you?"
  • Once the player enters the hangar, the ice covering Roach's goggles and ACR seems to melt away.
  • In the opening to "Wolverines!", it is seen that the ACS module is part of the US Attack Characterization System, which would normally give accurate early warning of impending assaults based on satellite intelligence.
  • If the player picks up the ACS module while changing weapons, then hit last checkpoint from the pause menu, the ACR will have every attachment mixed together, even sights and under-barrel attachments. They will disappear when the player activates the Heartbeat Sensor. (Confirmed for PS3 and Xbox 360).
  • If Roach shoots the guard before MacTavish assaults him, MacTavish will stop and take up a shooting stance, even if the guard is dead. The sounds of Soap taking down the guard and stabbing him are still heard.
  • The guard in the hanger starts to bleed before Soap stabs him.
  • If Roach shoots Soap when he enters the hangar, the guard will not appear and Soap will just walk normally.

Cover Being BlownEdit

  • The hangar part of this mission is possibly a reference to "Goldeneye", when one of the two men gets captured by Soviets in an Arctic air base, and are to be executed after a countdown, resulting in a very large explosion as the good guys escape over a large ravine.
  • If the player will use a GP-25 and shoot the enemies in front of Soap, a few seconds later Soap will just fall to the ground without anyone shooting him. This is because Soap is scripted to die if the player shoots, even though the enemies that would normally kill him are not alive.
  • After the player retrieves the ACS module if you go look out the window you can see the guards spawn behind the hangar door.

Snowmobile SequenceEdit

  • If the player gets on the snowmobile and just so happens to hit Soap with it when driving off, the message "MacTavish was run over." is displayed.
  • When the player is close to jumping over the giant gap at the end of the level, they will hear the music from the level "Crew Expenable" of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
  • If the player were to hit the brakes on the snowmobile hard just before the large jump, it is possible to end up in a spot inches from the end of the cliff in which the player cannot move.
  • While driving the snowmobile down the large hill at the end, hitting Soap's snowmobile from behind will kill the player and send them flying.
  • If the player is killed when driving up a large hill, the camera will still go over the jump.
  • When at extraction, Kilo Six-One will say "We're at bingo fuel," but the subtitles say "We're getting close to bingo fuel.".
  • If the player turns to the left after jumping across the gap and does not go straight the path to the LZ, the player can go around the barrier making the player slow down the snowmobile, meaning the player can then drive as fast as he wants at the LZ, though it will only last for a few seconds.
    • By using the glich stated above, the player can see that the Sea Knight is not a solid object.
  • Just before boarding the helicopter the player can see that the extraction teams character models are that of the Marines in Russia in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
  • This part was referenced in the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 mission "No One Gets Left Behind", in a conversation between Haggard and Sweetwater in a quad-bike race, with Sweetwater saying, "If this was a snowmobile race I'd be winning." to which Haggard responds, "Snowmobiles are for sissies."
  • If the player stopped the snowmobile and drove back up the hill the helicopter chasing the player would stop at the top and shoot.
  • This is the first time the player uses their left hand to shoot.


  • Oddly enough, the player's ACR has three attachments, instead of the two limit as in Multiplayer. The player has a Red Dot Sight, Heartbeat Sensor and Suppressor. An ACR with the same attachments, but a black camouflage can be found in "Just Like Old Times".
  • The ACR has more zoom on the Red Dot Sight. This is easily noticed when the player compares it against a AK-47 Red Dot Sight.
  • In the E3 2009 demo, the player's objective is to download data from a computer, but in the final version of the game it is to retrieve the ACS module which are both on the same table. Also in the demo, Soap has a timid English accent rather than a loud Scottish one. This could mean that in conceptual stages Soap was English or Infinity Ward hired an uncredited English actor for the demo before hiring the true cast Also, the background music while being stealthy is from Call of Duty 4.
  • Tian Shan, the location of this level, means Sky Mountain in Mandarin.
  • Back during the E3 2009 demo, the tactical knife on the silenced USP .45 that Roach has as a sidearm looked like the Call of Duty 4 melee knife instead of the normal Modern Warfare 2 knife, and slashed the knife instead of stabbing with it.
  • This was the first level of the game revealed, played by Infinity Ward's Jason West back at E3 2009. Early reports gave the mistaken impression that the game had multiple routes through levels, due to Soap's mention of "Plan B".
  • In the early development of the level, Captain Price was scheduled to be with the player and the player would control Soap, rather than Roach.
  • The name of this level is a reference to the Sylvester Stallone movie Cliffhanger, which involves him as a rock climber trapped at a Ski lodge controlled by terrorists. Interestingly, the film also featured Michael Rooker, who would later be a playable character in the Zombies level Call of the Dead, and Craig Fairbrass, who would later voiced Gaz, Ghost and Wallcroft.
  • In the launch trailer for the game, Soap appears to be executed instead of Roach going to plan B.
  • Throughout Battlefield: Bad Company 2, many references are made to Cliffhanger, such as "Snowmobiles are for sissies!" and "No, no, no! We can't do that! They'll just send some special ops douche bags, with pussy-ass heartbeat monitors on their guns instead of us!" This would be apparent because when DICE would be making the game, Infinity Ward had released the level Cliffhanger as part of the E3 (Autumn/Winter) Demo, and it would be the only level known about at that time.
  • This is the only level player will encounter BMP in sight but BMP will just simply goes away after Roach detonates the C4.
  • In the 2009 E3 demo, intel 2 does not appear.
  • The character model for Soap appears to be different in this mission only.
  • The snow in Soap's facial hair makes him look much older than he really is.
  • In the world reveal trailer, Soap is executed by the patrol.
  • If give ammo cheat is used, the player could notice that the ACR is special not only for 3 attachments and unique camouflage, but also for 840 capacity instead of usual 630.
  • This is the first level based in Kazakhstan in the Call of Duty Series.