Terror Mission

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For the XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012) version, see Terror Mission (EU2012)

General Information

Terror Mission Briefing

Mission will be successful when all enemy units have been eliminated or neutralised. You must attempt to save the lives of any civilians in the area by neutralising the alien menace.To abort the mission return XCom operatives to transport vehicle and click on the 'Abort Mission' icon.

Source: X-COM UFO Defense/Enemy Unknown Mission Briefing Screen


In a political move to blacken X-Com's image, Terror Ships with large squads of aliens are sent to terrorize small towns and cause panic amongst the populace, and then execute them after several hours. All done in an effort to show the stakeholders how ineffective X-COM is and to convince them to withdraw their financial support.

Terror missions are fought in small towns consisting mainly of urban dwellings, parks, and small commercial buildings such as food markets, store houses and gas stations.

What sets a terror mission apart from most ordinary missions is that there will be no UFO on the ground and the aliens will be scattered all over the town on the streets and hidden in buildings. An added layer of difficulty is the inclusion of panicking civilians, who get attacked by the aliens moments after the X-Com transport lands. X-Com operatives need to attempt and save as many of the civilians as they can in addition to keeping themselves alive.

Furthermore, while not unique to Terror Missions, the aliens will be accompanied by powerful "Terror Units". Each race will have a unique terror unit assigned to them that supports them by providing heavy armour, fire power or even unusual forms of attack such as zombification or arced acid attacks.

Terror Site Generation

Terror sites occur when:

  1. A Terror Site is deliberately scheduled to occur. There is a chance this may happen every month.
  2. An Alien Terror mission is generated and a series of UFOs are sent to scout a region to attack. If successful, a terror mission is scheduled.

When a terror mission is scheduled to occur, a terror ship will eventually appear in the atmosphere and head in a straight line to a randomly selected city in the region that it is attacking.

Alien Deployment

Rank Beg./Exp. Vet./Gen. Super.
Soldiers4-55-66-7
Navigators112
Medics1-21-21-2
Engineers112
Leaders111
Commanders000
Terrorists2-64-86-10
Totals10-1613-1918-24

Civilian Deployment

The number of civilians spawning during a Terror Mission is between 0-16. Generally, expect between 8 and 16 civilians to still be alive when you arrive. However, if the aliens have wiped them all out, they'll still happily combat your squad.

Tips & Tricks

  • The Terror UFO isn't anywhere to be found during a terror mission.
  • Urban Terrain (city/suburb).
  • In a terror site - worry about your soldiers first. Civilians later. Very important. This is a game, so you can choose to be a bit heartless. (It's called collateral damage)
  • The gas pumps are explosive!
    • There is some weird damage modelling that allows some aliens to be killed instantly by misfires that strike gas pumps.
  • All buildings in the cityscape are very weak. Light gunfire can destroy fences and walls.
  • To save a few more civilians than usual, limit indiscriminately firing or throwing HE rounds into unexplored areas or in areas where visibility around obstacles is difficult.
  • TIME is NOT on your side. If you want a half-decent score, expand quickly and secure. The quicker you kill aliens or get them to panic, the more civilians you'll save overall.
  • The aliens will have grenades and heavy plasma, but they never bring blaster bombs along on terror missions.
  • Bring lots of heavy rockets and high-explosive. First people off the transport should create a "free fire" zone around the craft with them. You aren't penalized for property damage, so level the place.
  • You can get a rough idea for how many civilians are left by gauging the length of the alien turn (civilians move after aliens). You can also count the number of civilian screams you hear during alien turns -- each scream is a death. To get a sure-fire count of total civilians, you can save your game, abort the mission, check the debriefing tally of killed civilians, and then reload. (Some players may view this as cheating.)

UFOs with Terror Missions

The city-raiding terror mission mentioned above occurs only when a Terror Ship is sent on an Alien Terror mission and lands on a city.

But before this happens the aliens will send a Small/Medium/Large Scout which will show on a Hyper-wave Decoder as on a Terror Mission.

If you are consistent and successfully destroy the scouts, the aliens will start sending out heavier UFO classes as scouts. This will gradually increase until you finally have Battleships and Terror Ships as scouts during the last few UFOs in the Alien Terror waves.

The ship will land randomly, in some non-urban area, and behave much like you would expect to see on a an Alien Research or Alien Abduction mission. Unlike a city raid, these scout terror missions will not include Terror Units.

While the city-raiding missions cannot be ignored because of the drop in X-Com's funding and esteem that it would cause, they can be largely avoided by shooting down the scouts. Another alternative, perhaps more risky, is to try to shoot the Terror Ship before it lands.

As with any violent means of taking down UFOs, both methods may subject the interceptor's home base to Alien Retaliation.

Destroying the Alien Terror UFO scouts has a chance of deterring the success of the actual Terror Mission from occurring. It will initially push back timeline when the next Alien Terror UFO will appear. (This note is as-yet uncomfirmed at this stage) If the Alien Terror scout UFOs go beyond a certain period of time since the Alien Terror mission began, their attempt to generate a terror mission will fail and they will stop scheduling scouts.

To know if a Terror Ship will attack a city, watch its flight pattern: if it immediately heads towards a city after arriving at a region, then it will perform a Terror Mission. If slows down and changes its flight course, then consider it to be a scout.

See Also


UFO Badge X-COM: Enemy Unknown/UFO Defense
Mission Types:Crashed UFOLanded UFOTerror SiteAlien BaseBase DefenseCydonia