Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II’s campaign heats up in the second half with narrative intrigue, great characters, and more engaging levels than the game initially starts with. Mission 11, “El Sin Nombre,” is one of the highlights, and it has a few challenges and secrets if you’re up for it.
At this point in the story, our protagonists need to get some information from a Mexican cartel. You’ll take on the role of Soap as he sits through an interrogation sequence before getting the opportunity to either sneak around or blast his way through the cartel’s premises in an effort to capture their boss, El Sin Nombre. It’s up to you how you want to play this out, but the game will reward you with the achievement “Ghost in Training” if you sneak through the level without killing anyone or getting spotted.
The level also contains one of the campaign’s three locked safes. Getting the codes and unlocking all three is required for the “Gentleman Thief” achievement. Inside are some silenced weapons that will help you continue on your path of quiet carnage, but there are a few other fun things to keep an eye out for on mission 11.
This guide will help you sneak through the compound without getting spotted and net that stealth-based achievement. I’ll also lead you to the locked safe, as well as a couple of stylish weapons.
One thing to keep in mind is that it’s far easier to grab the “Ghost in Training” achievement and find the locked safe on separate playthroughs. Stealth is a challenge in this game, particularly on this level. The more time you spend on the map, the more likely you are to get spotted and wreck your chance to grab the achievement. Modern Warfare II is also a bit too trigger happy with checkpoints, so you might find the game will save progress before you’re actually ready or past a point of no return. You can’t manually save either, so fumbling stealth will result in needing to restart the mission (thus sitting through the whole interrogation scene again).
The “Ghost in Training” achievement asks you to reach the penthouse in “El Sin Nombre” without raising any alarms or killing anyone. Standard stealth challenge stuff.
Fortunately, you have more or less a straight shot to the penthouse once the interrogation scene ends and Alejandro gives you a mask and knife. You don’t even need to bother finding Diego’s keycard. What’s more, trying to get that keycard will pretty much guarantee that you’ll need to kill someone. Accomplishing everything on one playthrough without killing anyone is something only the foxiest of the hounds can pull off here—especially considering those checkpoints. And you don’t need to set that expectation for yourself.
Once you’re out of the elevator, head down to your left and cut through the house. Go past the spiral staircase where a guard is keeping watch. Head out into the parking area where there are a few cars parked, a statue of a tiger in a fountain, and Diego’s garage. The garage contains some cool stuff, but for the “Ghost in Training” achievement, going in there will only make things harder for yourself. Do grab the bottles, which you can throw as a diversion. They’re on the right-hand side of the garage facing the building.
Facing the mansion with your back to the tiger statue, hop atop the SUV to then jump onto the garage roof. Watch out for the sniper guard overlooking the area. On higher difficulties, he’ll spot you faster. If bouncing back to a checkpoint is something you’re fine with, get ready to pause and reload the second you’re spotted so you won’t accidentally trigger a checkpoint. As soon as you make it to the garage roof, go prone and crawl toward the house. You’ll want to hang a left and then head to a ladder on your right, which will take you to the roof. I recommend staying prone until you hit the ladder.
Atop the roof, three guards make things tricky. Two are snipers who’ll walk out to the edge of the roof on opposite sides, but they don’t stay there long and have decent peripheral vision. You can throw bottles to keep them in these areas a bit longer, but be careful not to accidentally throw it over the roof, which distracts no one. The third guard, in the center of the roof; is tricky. You don’t want to throw a bottle behind him, because that’s where you want to move to to end the mission. If you run out of bottles the roof has a few more, but grabbing them might expose you so time your movements carefully.
That all said, there are a few ways to get past the roof trio. One strategy is to push forward (crouching to maintain speed and dropping prone when you’re at risk of being spotted) to the railing looking over the city, and then make a right toward the ladder. There’s a good chance of getting caught this way, though. You might have luck throwing a bottle to your far left when walking out onto the roof to keep one sniper guard busy, then cutting right at the sun roof; tossing a bottle directly at the railing looking over the city to distract the center guard; then slip behind the bar, move toward the city, and take a right under the roof to reach the ladder.
Once you’re up top, Alejandro will somehow be there waiting for you. (I’ve no idea how he gets up there so easily; let’s not poke at the plot holes.)
Now it’s time to drop down on the elevator, lower the car down to the third floor, stop the car, and hit the emergency door opening. Head a little bit down that corridor and if you weren’t spotted and didn’t kill anyone, you’ll see the achievement pop.
Congrats! You have stealthily made your way to the penthouse and are now ready for a quick shootout with some of El Sin Nombre’s men, before capturing the crime boss herself.
Running around anywhere but the first floor of the mansion is a recipe for disaster. But if you want to enter the penthouse via the keycard, as Alejandro recommends, you’ll need to head up to the second floor.
Remember, you don’t have any of your usual military equipment here, so even on the Regular difficulty, things can get dicey fast. Let’s go over a couple of stealth basics for “El Sin Nombre.”
Alejandro will give you a knife once you’re out of the elevator, but remember: If you kill anyone here, you can’t get the “Ghost In Training” achievement. If you’re just looking to stay quiet and don’t care about (or already have) the achievement, know that the knife will quietly take down any guard, even from the front with a melee attack. But keep three things in mind: You can’t hide bodies, there’s no way to take down a guard non-lethally and other guards will call to check in on absent patrolmen. So if you kill anyone, you’re on borrowed time before someone finds a body. If you don’t want a shootout and you have killed someone, it’s time to rush toward either getting the keycard on the second floor, or making your way to the roof where you can access the penthouse.
If you’re at risk of getting spotted you’ll hear a “swelling” sound and see a yellow indicator atop your HUD. You can only conceal small weapons like pistols, so if you’re running around with any other gun, the guards will immediately open fire. Dropping prone will minimize your chances of being seen, and you might find a few tables you can hide under. A number of doors have windows you can peek through, but guards can see you just as easily as you can see them. Also, mounting on a corner with a weapon is a decent enough substitute for peering around a corner.
The first floor is mostly open to you, but if anyone sees you go into the garage, you’re in trouble. Yet you should definitely take a peek inside as there are some fun weapons in there. I recommend using the garage’s side entrance, and not the door from inside the house. A guard will come through the house door, but he’s easy to hide from.
Inside the garage you’ll see an armory. You’ll have to kill the guard inside to access a number of silenced weapons, including a concealable pistol and a crossbow that looks very cool. I know, you’ll want that crossbow, but trust me, it’s challenging to use well on this map as you have to reload every time you fire. And if you want to take down more than one guard without being spotted, that’s no easy task.
Diego’s keycard is in a room on the second floor of the left-hand side of the mansion, assuming you’re facing the city the building looks over. Be prepared for a fight if you can enter through the double doors adorned with skeletons. For a bit of a sneakier path, hop over the railing to the right of the double-doors and sneak around until you find an open window.
Once you deal with Diego and his accompanying guard, grab the keycard on the altar. And don’t miss the silenced, stylishly adorned pistol in the open cabinet on the wall parallel to the altar. This, however, is not the locked safe that will count toward the “Gentleman Thief” achievement. For that, you’ll need to head to the other side of the building.
You’re looking for a bedroom that’s on the right side of the house if you’re facing the city below the mountain. The safe is located to the right of the bed, in a closet. Find the code by looking at the painting on your left-hand side as you enter. It’s in the form of a date: 02-02-19.
Inside you’ll find a silenced shotgun and some plate armor.
At the very beginning of the mission, you’ll go through a mostly scripted interrogation scene where you’ll meet one of the game’s best non-player characters, Valeria.
Alejandro warns you before the interrogation to “tell them everything.” This might actually be a bit of a challenge if you weren’t paying close enough attention to the story to know which military group is fighting with which other group of men with armor and guns.
You can’t get away with lying to Valeria too much. She’ll call your bluff quickly and will put a bullet in you if you push your luck, resulting in a game over.
Answer her questions with the following choices:
- When she asks who attacked her people, answer: Mexican Special Forces.
- When she asks who’s working with special forces, answer: An American PMC. Shadow Company.
- When she asks for a name for Shadow Company, answer: Phillip Graves
- Any answer as to what Graves wants will suffice. They’re all more or less true.
“El Sin Nombre” is one of the better moments of Modern Warfare II. There’s a lot more freedom as to how you wish to play it out, which is a breath of fresh air compared to the game’s opening missions. The need to procure your own weapons and plan out your movements is a fun stealth challenge, and you’ll be rewarded with the achievement if you can do it without any alarms or casualties.
First-person stealth sequences can be a challenge (imagine if the campaign was in third person!), but stick to the advice here and you’ll pull off some wetwork that’ll make even Solid Snake a little jealous.