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No One Lives Forever

by Tristinian

After a long wait filled with a TON of screenshots to tempt the tastebuds of eager gamers, No One Lives Forever lands in 'Gamesville' and the people applaud. Is it the great graphics? No, not really--yet again, people who are 'graphics only' types-get over it. There are still good games that don't look that great. And that's not to say that NOLF's usage of the Lithtech engine is disappointing. I mean, the graphics aren't gorgeous by any stretch, but there ARE some neat things about the game that go hand and hand with the graphics engine that you'll certainly like...but, let our attention turn to the story.

You play, Cate Archer-a female Bond-esque character (who more than reminds me of Emma Peel from the old series, The Avengers). She dresses like a female Austin Powers and has quite the spunky attitude that would be expected with an arrogant spy who knows what she's doing. An ex-thief, Archer works for the good guys now and must go on several missions for the crime fighting faction known as U.N.I.T.Y.-all while dressed to kill in her slinky outfits (again, not totally unlike Emma Peel from the Avengers). It's a cut and dry story to start off. In a game context, it's Goldeneye, meets a little Deus-Exish gameplay with some tactical maneuvering and tongue-in cheek humour.

Cate Archer...nice and Emma Peel-ish. Dressed to kill. But...is she any comparison to say, Lara Croft or Julie from FAKK 2? Is it worth our time even talking about this?
To hell with that discussion...they're just graphics. How about hottie, Famke Janssen? I think she looks the spy role perfectly, don't you? She could pull off the Emma Peel look.

So obviously, you have to ask what it is that makes this game differ from other first person shooters this year. And when i was actually forced to compare it to other FPS/Action games that did come out in 2000 i was shocked to find that i couldn't even think of 5 other 2000 FPS games to begin with. ST: Elite Force, Delta Force, Deus Ex (although many would rebut by saying that Deus Ex isn't a real action FPS), Soldier of Fortune...yadda yadda. Point being, NOLF isn't really like any of those. It really is in a league of it's own. Yes, it can be the typical FPS, but with the humour, the cut scenes and the plot-and a few surprises in between-it's just not like other games.

As an intial negative, i noticed that the weapons in the game are a bit sparse in variety-especially in the early going. Some new gadgets are thrown in between missions, but i still wish there had been an exceedingly impressive addition to my arsenal at some point. The real key to this game however are the cut scenes and conversations between villains that interweave themselves throughout NOLF. They range from being witty and clever to being hilarious at points. This is what actually can keep you entertained during some of the 'connect-the-dots' missions. Not to mention the voice acting itself. The obviously overdone accents of the foreign villains are a real treat.

I mentioned the graphics as being ok, but not great. And when i say that i refer more to the texturing and architecture used in the game. The actual character modeling and physics of the game are pretty impressive. The way an enemy responds to being shot, Archer's movements herself in the in-engine cut scenes and for those of you saw our review on Delta Force--characters in NOFL don't simply lie on (or through) stairs and ramps when killed-they fall right down them in a tumbling fashion. Finally, someone fixed THAT issue. A standing ovation for that one.

The music is 'groovy', even though a little repetitive. The sounds are sufficient and the spy milieu is kept intact in NOLF. The AI however often seems like they don't have their brains intact though. And if the AI isn't dumb, it has superhuman senses and tracks you down from another area entirely--even though you took out a lone gunman with a silencer in an empty room with closed doors and no windows. A little bit iffy methinks.

It's the AI though that makes NOLF as hard as it is. There isn't really a difficulty setting, so you're not going to be running around with your finger pressed on the trigger button as you plow through a series of polygonal bodies with an endless stream of bullets. It's definitely harder than that and it'll give you your money's worth of a challenge.

No One Lives Forever it's a great game despite a few droplets of undesirability in the AI and graphics etc.. Funny enough, it has great playability because of its AI difficulty. And you won't get bored trying to get past the same level over and over again simply because you can use a couple of different approaches-even though they're no where near as numerous as in a game like Deus Ex.

This game, in all its polished glory, pleased me indeed and has soundly wet my appetite for the upcoming Q3 engine based, 'The World is Not Enough' game expected out soon. NOLF gets you into the spy mood in a lighthearted way and it's certainly going to be considered when awards for FPS/Action game of the year are handed out. If you loved Goldeneye for the N64 (as i think most of us did-hell, i even made it my life's quest at one point to also play and beat the emulated version on my PC), then get this title. It's got most of the elements you'd like and expect a spy game to have-enough said.


FINAL MARK

Can get too hard sometimes...but good fun-at least you're getting your money's worth!

Graphics are so-so using Lithtech, but physics are cool and the plot/humor is right on.

The theme is neat and as 'been there, done that' as it might seem from an outside point of view, it's really a different addition to the FPS genre on PC.

89%

 

Some missions CAN be generic. Such as the 'protect the helpless, but informative nerd' missions that require you to keep guys like THIS out of harms way as you proceed through the level.

 

This cargo dock area is crawling with well-positioned enemy dudes just waiting to get you. Your best bet through a lot of the game is to just keep quiet and do things the 'silenced' way.