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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Story Overview

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War offers players an exciting campaign set in the 80's cold war era, when the tensions between the USA and the U.S.S.R were rising. Black Ops Cold War is a direct sequel to the original Black Ops released in 2010.

Black Ops Cold War is set 13 years after the events of Black Ops, with the return of signature characters such as Mason, Woods, and Hudson. The original band teams up with newcomer Russell Adler and his team to stop a Russian spy codenamed 'Perseus' who has gained access to the American nuclear weapons program dubbed Operation Greenlight.


There are nine main missions in the Black Ops Cold War campaign, with nine more, including the briefings and the alternate ending. Also, counted in the eighteen are two side missions that you can complete by finding evidence and clues in other main story missions. These two side missions are Operation Chaos and Operation Red Circus.

This article describes and spoils the entire campaign. Massive spoilers for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War ahead.

Nowhere Left to Run

The first mission starts on January 12, 1981, in the Netherlands, with you assuming control of Mason, as you and Russell Adler wait for the police chief Hans in a bar. Hans arrives and gives both CIA agents an update on the Iranian terrorist Qasim Javadi's location concerning a hostage situation. Hans gives them a specific time to move in on the targets while ensuring that his police force is not in the vicinity and so that they can look the other way.

Mason and Adler make their way out of the bar and into an alley to meet up with Frank Woods, who is waiting by a car full of weapons. The team gears up and makes their way to the apartment where the Iranian terrorist is holed up. Mason and the team open fire on Javadi's men through the window and, while clearing out the men, make their way upstairs.

A thrilling rooftop chase is initiated by Mason, Adler, and Woods chasing Javadi while clearing his men on the rooftops, eventually catching up to the target. Once he is caught, Mason is tasked to interrogate him and ask about the whereabouts of Arash Kadivar, the leader of the terrorist cell Javadi is a member of. He eventually tells the team that Kadivar is at the Trabzon airport in Turkey.

At this point, Mason can either let Javadi go, kill him or capture him. If you let him go, Adler will execute him, whereas the interrogation will continue if you choose to keep him in captivity. Continuing to talk with Javadi will reveal a piece of evidence that can be used to solve a side mission called Operation Chaos.

The team arrives at Trabzon Airport 18 hours later (on January 13, 1981) to find the airport surrounded by Kadivar's men, busy loading the supplies into the cargo plane. Shortly after, Kadivar arrives in a car to surprisingly get out and shoot the other car passengers. The team confirms Kadivar's identity, after which Mason tries to eliminate Kadivar using his Sniper Rifle but misses. The missed shot alerts everyone at the airfield and forces Kadivar to escape in the cargo plane.

The team engages in a fierce firefight as they chase the cargo plane in one of the airport vehicles. Eventually, Mason uses the RC-XD to detonate under the plane, which resulted in the plane crashing. The team finds Kadivar in the crash and drags him out to question. Adler executes Kadivar after he taunts them and tells them about the Russian Spy, 'Perseus,' who everyone thought was dead.

CIA Safehouse E9

Parting with Mason and Woods, Adler assembles his team in the CIA Safehouse in West Berlin on February 23, 1981.

This is where Bell (you) is formally introduced to the rest of Adler's team that includes:

  • Eleazar "Lazar" Azoulay: He was formerly in Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel, and later joined the CIA thanks to his dual American citizenship.
  • Lawrence Sims: Sims served in the US Army for two years before joining the CIA. Coincidentally, his first assignment was on Russell Adler's MACV-SOG team deployed in Vietnam.
  • Helen A. Park: Park is an expert when it comes to international relations. She joined the MI6 that ultimately put her on a task that involved Russell Adler. She later joined Russell Adler to pursue Perseus, but MI6 always comes first for Helen Park.

Russell Adler briefs the whole team about the next assignment and asks Bell to revisit Vietnam's events, where apparently Bell served alongside Sims and Adler. Bell then interacts with the evidence board, where you can choose your next mission.

Fracture Jaw

Along with his team, Adler reminisces about the events that took place in Vietnam a decade ago on January 26, 1968, during the war that was the setting of the original Black Ops. Adler wakes up Bell, and they both walk to the chopper where Sims is waiting for them while reading a book. Adler tells the team that there may be a valuable asset loose in the jungle that the Viet Cong wants to apprehend.

Bell boards the helicopter with Sims, and they start flying towards the objective but soon come under heavy Viet Cong fire. Bell takes control of the chopper mini-gun and eliminates the RPGs, Snipers, and enemy defenses, after which both Sim and Bell infiltrate the site. They fight their way in and eventually run into Soviet soldiers.

Bell and Sim grab the Intel and fight their way back outside to the exfil point where Adler is waiting for them in a chopper.

At this point, Bell assumes control of the chopper and flies it to another site that Viet Cong is trying to infiltrate.

Bell and the team use the chopper to destroy the incoming convoy and land at the site only to collect a nuke.

As the team flies back with the nuke, their helicopter is shot down by the enemy. The Viet Cong troops then surround the team. Bell quickly uses the mini-gun on the chopper to take down as many enemy soldiers as he can, followed by calling in an airstrike.

Adler, Sims, and Bell fend off the incoming enemies until finally, a friendly airstrike comes in, dropping a napalm strike on the enemy troops. The three rejoice as this memory fades to a black screen.

East Berlin Briefing

Once again, on February 24, 1981, Bell is back in the CIA Safehouse where Adler briefs the team about the next mission undertaken in East Berlin. Before moving on, this is the first time you get two side missions on the evidence board: Operation Chaos and Operation Red Circus, as mentioned earlier.

Brick in the Wall

On the same day (on February 24, 1981) during the Brick in the Wall mission, the team travels to East Berlin to find the Russian gangster Anton Volkov associated with Perseus.

Bell and Adler make their way to the rooftops to find Franz Kraus, an ex-Stasi agent who now works for Anton Volkov.

He enters the bar to meet up with Anton Volkov, and Adler then asks Bell to meet their informant in the bar, a woman named Greta Keller. Bell meets up with the informant, who also asks a favor of her own - she asks Bell to find her friend named Lukas Richter, who has been captured by the Stasi.

As Greta and Bell are spying on Kraus, one of Volkov's men come to the bar and informs Kraus that he has been followed and that Volkov will meet him again at another place and time. Shortly after, two Stasi come into the bar looking for the person who followed Kraus, a.k.a, Bell.

Bell makes his way to the bathroom and then out through the window. From here, Bell is on his own where he can either make his way to Greta's friend to either rescue or kill him, or he can directly make his way to Lazar. This part is player-determined.

If the player decides to go to the informant (either to rescue to eliminate), they can find evidence that will be used to solve the puzzles associated with the side mission Operation Chaos on the evidence board.

After dealing with the informant, Bell makes his way to Lazar and Park, where they orchestrate a plan to sneak into Kraus' apartment and steal his briefcase that contains important information. Bell is tasked to do so, and once he gets inside, he finds out that Kraus' wife and daughter are also in the house. You can also find another piece of evidence for the side-mission Operation Red Circus here.

Either way, Bell manages to find a secret room in the apartment where he finds the briefcase and Greta Keller tied up in Kraus' wardrobe.

Bell plants the tracker on the briefcase. As soon as Bell finds Keller, he is knocked out by Kraus.

Bells wake up in an abandoned warehouse where Volkov himself interrogates him. As the interrogation fails and Volkov gets frustrated, he decides to kill Bell. As soon as he is about to shoot Bell, Adler and the rest of the team drops in to save the day.

Volkov is wounded in the process and runs for his life. Park helps Bell up, hands him an MP5, and asks him to get Volkov. An intense firefight erupts as the team chases Volkov. Bell finally catches up to Volkov, where the player can either kill Volkov here or capture him for the MI6, as Park requested.

Redlight, Greenlight

After dealing with Volkov, the team makes their way to Ukraine, where the mission 'Redlight, Greenlight' takes place. On February 27, 1981, Bell and Woods team up to infiltrate a Secret Spetsnaz Training Facility to learn more about Perseus and his plans.

They both walk through a forest to reach a small cliff overlooking the Spetsnaz Facility, where Woods asks Bell to take a picture of the base. He then instructs Bell to infiltrate the base while he covers from a distance. Both Woods and Bell take out the guards at the entrance, and Bell sneaks into the base. As Bell approaches the guardhouse, he can snap a photo as the first piece of map intel out of six.

As Bell is lockpicking a door to enter the base, a guard opens up the door and tries to fight Bell. This is when Woods shows up and saves Bell.

The two then continue to fight their way in and come across a replica of a typical USA neighborhood where the soviets practice their drills.

After heavy fighting, the two finally reach the central computer terminal where Bell uses his skills to crack the password to get intel on Perseus. Once done, Bell prints the Operation Greenlight files.

Wood reads the files and finds out that Hudson knew about the nukes being compromised by the Russians all along and gets upset.

Printing the files causes an alarm to go off, alerting the whole base to Woods and Bell's presence. They both start fighting their way out and eventually reach a heavily armored APC.

They use the APC to make their way out of the base. Bell takes control of the turret while Woods drives out of the base, and the mission ends once they escape.

After the operation, Woods, Adler, and Mason confront Hudson about Operation Greenlight nuclear weapons program.

Echoes of a Cold War

Echoes of a Cold War is a nostalgic one as it takes Woods and Mason back to the Russian bunker at Mount Yamantau, located in the Ural Mountains of the USSR. On March 3, 1981, Woods and Mason are dropped on Mount Yamantau, by Russian insider Dimitri Belikov, to infiltrate the base and prevent the Soviets from getting the intel from the old Russian Facility.

As the duo proceeds, they silently pick off the Soviet soldiers using a silenced Sniper Rifle while making their way to the facility. Players can also find a piece of evidence in the control room with several computers and terminals. As Mason tries to use one final zipline into the facility, it doesn't go as planned, and he falls to the side of the base entrance, with his weapons falling off as well.

Mason is now left with nothing but a combat knife as he sneaks into the facility. Mason makes his way inside while taking out enemy soldiers one by one silently. He also comes across a locked weapon cabinet that can be opened by finding a key. It is based on players' choice whether they want to complete this optional objective or not. Finding the key and unlocking it will reveal a picture of Friedrich Steiner and trigger the ascension numbers flashback for Mason. Steiner was a third antagonist in Black Ops who developed the Nova 6 gas.

Mason continues forward and climbs up a set of ladders to finally reunite with Woods. They both then continue to search for the dig site using a scope. Once the crane and the mainframe are located, they fight their way to the location.

Once they reach the mainframe, Belikov arrives in a helicopter and lowers the winch. Mason and Woods attach the winch to the mainframe, after which Belikov starts pulling them up. As Belikov pulls them up, they clear the building floor by floor around them until they finally reach the top and escape.

Lubyanka Briefing

After learning what had happened at Mount Yamantau, on March 7, 1981, Adler decides to take Bell into the Lubyanka building to acquire the sleeper agents' identities, albeit with Hudson opposing the decision. Hudson wanted Mason and Woods to return before going on such a risky mission infiltrating the KGB headquarters. Denying Hudson, Adler, and Bell proceed with the mission. This takes us to the next mission, 'Desperate Measures.'

Desperate Measures

On March 9, 1981, the mission starts in Moscow's KGB headquarters, with you assuming control of Dimitri Belikov, who helped Mason and Woods escape from Mount Yamantau. Adler calls Belikov to gain access to the KGB headquarters to get to the underground nuclear bunker where the names of the sleeper agents are stored. Belikov informs Adler that the security has been tightened as they suspect a KGB mole. As a result, everyone's bunker access key has been revoked except General Charkov, as instructed by Imran Zakhaev.

Belikov leaves no stones unturned to get access to the bunker key. The players can acquire a bunker keycard in many different ways, such as by poisoning Charkov, stabbing Charkov, reprograming a key, framing Charkov, or persuading a prisoner to kill Charkov. It is up to the players to choose what they prefer.

After acquiring the key, Belikov makes his way to the furnace room in the basement where Adler and Bell are waiting for him. Belikov calls two soldiers to come and investigate an open door. Little did they know, Adler and Bell are waiting for them. They both take out the soldiers and use their uniforms as a disguise.

They both use the disguises to make their way to the elevator to the bunker where they meet Zakhaev. He asks about the two and whom they report to, where they can answer based on their conversation with Belikov earlier. Regardless of how the interaction goes, the players take off the disguise and change into their normal clothing and equip their weapons from the bag that they brought with them.

Adler and Bell fight their way to the bunker, where Bell copies the list of names of all the sleeper agents in the USA.

After acquiring the names, they both fight their way out of the KGB headquarters. As they fight their way out, they come across a Russian soldier holding Belikov at gunpoint, realizing he was the mole. Adler asks Bell to activate the gas, which they planted earlier as a secondary plan.

As the gas starts to seep in, Adler and Bell wear gas masks and quickly rush to Belikov's aid providing him one mask as well.

The three rush to the armory to gear up before finally escaping the KGB headquarters in a getaway vehicle.

Cuba Briefing

On March 12, 1981, Adler briefs the whole team before they finally set sail to Cuba to find Perseus. This is also the last briefing of the campaign, after which the previously mentioned side missions (Operation Chaos & Red Circus) won't be available. One of the names on the sleep agents list was Theodore Hastings, a nuclear engineer based out of Salt Lake City. The CIA closely monitored him and put him under surveillance, where he finally leads them to a vacant government facility in Cuba. This abandoned government compound became a hub of activities for Perseus. And so the team decides to go to Cuba in hopes of finding the stolen nuke at this abandoned facility.

End of the Line

On March 13, 1981, the team arrived at the Cuba facility. The team also believes that Fidel Castro might have been involved in aiding the movement of the Nuke for Perseus. For those of you who are not aware, Fidel Castro was the main antagonist in the original Black Ops.

As the team fights their way into the facility, Bell uses the CCTV footage to find the team of scientists, including Theodore Hastings. When they find the room, they are shocked to see Perseus shoot and kill all the scientists in the room. The team then rushes to the room with Bell, Lazar, and Park reaching them.

When they reach the room, they find everyone but Hastings dead. They question him about Perseus' motive behind using the scientists, upon which Hastings tells them that he wanted them to reverse-engineer the nuclear detonation codes. Perseus wanted control of all the nuclear bombs in Europe to wipe out half of the continent and blame the USA for it.

The team then makes its way to the roof and waits for extraction. As they wait, they are swarmed by Cuban forces. Bell, Lazar, and Park are together on the roof, trying to fend off the Cuban forces until the extraction helicopter arrives.

Once the helicopter is there, Bell manages to attach himself, but one of the Cuban soldiers fires an RPG, severely wounding Bell, Lazar, and Park.

The players once again have a choice to either save Lazar or Park. They can even leave both of them to die. It is up to players to make this decision. Depending on who the players decide to save, the character shows up in the game, moving forward with the other dying.


On March 14, 1981, Adler helped severely wounded Bell walk to the CIA safe house when Bell suddenly collapses. Sims and Adler put Bell on a gurney and tie him up.

Despite Hudson's resistance, Adler still insists that Bell is useful to the CIA and is the key to finding Perseus.

Adler gives Bell an intracerebral injection in hopes of making Bell remember where Perseus is. As Bell loses consciousness, he relives his memories, transitioning into the next mission.

Break on Through

Adler keeps giving Bell psychoactive drugs in hopes of making him remember the location of a Soviet bunker located deep within Vietnam during the war on July 16, 1968. In the memory, Bell can hear Adler narrate what he did, although as a player, you can disobey him and do the opposite of what he says. There are a total of four scenarios that Bell can go through. All the scenarios start with Bell waking up in the middle of a firefight in Vietnam.

However, once the correct final scenario begins, Bell enters a red door in the temple located at the crossroads. Upon entering the red door, Bell will be in a meeting with Perseus and his associates.

During the meeting, Perseus reveals that he will detonate the Greenlight nuclear bombs from the safety of the Solovetsky Islands. The memory sequence ends, and it is revealed at this point in the campaign that Bell was actually an associate of Perseus, and all this time, Bell was brainwashed by the CIA into thinking he is part of the CIA.

Bell was found mortally wounded at the Trabzon Airport in Turkey during 'Nowhere Left to Run.' Bell was one of the car passengers that Kadivar shot. A bit ironic considering they were against the Soviets brainwashing Mason in Black Ops, isn't it?

Identity Crisis

After the memory sequence ends Bell becomes conscious and remembers everything partially. Adler, joined by Sims and either Park or Lazar, depending on who you chose to save during the mission 'End of the Line,' will tell Bell the truth about his identity. They tell him how they believed him to be a valuable asset to be used against Perseus.

After coming to grips with the truth, Adler further asks Bell to tell where Perseus is. At this point, the player is given a choice to either tell Adler the truth or lie about Perseus' whereabouts. If the player chooses to tell the truth, Bell joins Adler and the rest of the team at Solovetsky for a mission called 'The Final Countdown.' This is the canon ending.

If the player lies about the location, then the player joins Adler and the team at Duga. Before the team leaves for Duga, Bell can radio the Soviets and set up an ambush. Lying to the team unlocks a mission called 'Ashes to Ashes.' This is a non-canon ending.

The Final Countdown (Canon Ending)

President Reagan tasks the CIA team with stopping Perseus. On March 15, 1981, Bell joined Adler and the rest of the CIA team at Solovetsky Islands, where they face a lot of resistance as they try to destroy the facility's anti-aircraft (AA) guns.

The team successfully destroys the AA guns, allowing the airstrike team to bomb the whole facility, leaving Perseus' plan to activate the nukes to dust.

It turns out that Perseus manages to escape unharmed. It was also revealed that the Soviet government had no clue about Perseus' plans and that he acted out of his own accord. A cutscene plays where Hudson briefs Black about all the events that took place. This cutscene varies slightly based on the player choices throughout the campaign. At the end of the cutscene, Hudson orders Adler to kill Bell to clean up loose ends.

A final cutscene plays with Bell and Adler overlooking the shores of Solovetsky Islands. Adler tells Bell that whatever happened between him and Bell is nothing personal. He calls Bell a hero and thank him for his sacrifice. Adler then thanks Bell for another "sacrifice," followed by both Bell and Adler drawing their pistols on each other.

The shots are fired with the screen fading to black, followed by the end credits. It is unclear who got shot and who died.

Ashes to Ashes (Non-canon Ending)

If the player lies to Adler, Bell is confronted by the team after they arrived at Duga on March 15, 1981.

If Bell sets up an ambush earlier at the CIA safe house, he can signal the Soviets to attack the team. One of the Soviet soldiers fires an RPG at the team prompting the whole team to take cover.

A masked man comes out of the bushes and helps Bell up. It turns out that the masked man is Perseus himself.

Bell is then tasked to finish off all the CIA members, including the iconic Woods and Mason. Bell also kills either Park or Lazar, depending on who was saved in the 'End of the Line' mission.

Adler is wounded in the process and rushes inside one of the buildings to take cover. Bell, joined by Perseus, enters the same building to finish Adler. Bell finds the wounded Adler in the building where Adler asks Bell for a lighter, which is on the ground beside him.

As Bell reaches for the lighter, Adler attempts to kill Bell, but Bell overpowers him and kills him by stabbing him through the chest.

Perseus enters and gives Bell a radio to order the activation of Greenlight Nukes.

If the players do not set up an ambush in the CIA safe house, all these above events are skipped as no Soviets come to Duga. Instead, Bell is killed by Adler, followed by a cutscene of the Greenlight nukes going off.

Side Missions

As mentioned earlier, two optional side missions can be completed before proceeding with the 'End of the Line' mission as you won't have access to the evidence board beyond the 'Cuba Briefing.' The names of these side missions are Operation Chaos and Operation Red Circus.

These side missions include finding pieces of evidence in different campaign missions to help you solve some puzzles and decipher codes. Feel free to check out our complete guide on how to complete both side missions with 100% completion.

Hassan Sajid

Hassan has always loved Battle Royale games, right from the start of his gaming career. He has played PUBG and Fortnite extensively and as a fan of the Call of Duty series, Warzone is a no brainier for him. His favourite Call of Duty title is Modern Warfare 2. Hassan uses his in-game experience to create guides and videos that are aimed at helping other Warzone players become better. Hassan is also on LinkedIn.


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