No One Lives Forever
What we said
"Despite the inclusion of a few subgames scattered about, the game is more linear than a one-way street and the AI is bordering on abysmal."
What you thought
- "I have been a subscriber to your mag for three years, simply because we seem to have similar opinions on games. "But for once I really have to disagree with you after reading your review of No One Lives Forever. You must have been drunk when you played it. "You say that the graphics are not as good as Quake Ilfs. Rubbish, the scenery is absolutely awesome, it never tries to imitate the dark world of Quake. "The AI is some of the best I've ever played. If you'd bothered to play it on higher levels then you'd have noticed that the guards don't follow the same paths when they attack you - that only happens at the beginning of the game. (Have you really played to the end?) "Finally, I'd just like to say that I bought NOLFand Gunman Chronicles at the same time. NOLF is a much better game. Gunman is just a copy of Half-Life and the graphics look dated. "Please get back to sanity, where you have been for the last three years."
Every now and then we give a hyped game a poor score, and the complaints start flooding In. Fortunately, just as many of you write in supporting our views. At PC , we play every game thoroughly, and judge It according to its merits. If you'd like us to review a game on reputation and hype, and tell you It's the best thing ever, even If you'd be better off using the CD It comes on as a frisbee, then you're always going to be disappointed by our reviews.
We all played No One Lives Forever, and we all felt the same way about it. OK, the graphics are good (Dave never said they weren't as good as Quake III, he said the engine isn't as good as Quake Ilfs and if you'd seen the new WoHenstein running you'd agree with us), but there's a general tedium about the gameplay and the AI Is awful. Anyway, 69 per cent is not a dreadful score - it's 19 per cent above average - and Dave made several positive points about it In his review. In the end It does come down to personal opinion, but In our view there are many far-superior FPSs around, and that's reflected in NOLPs score.
Download No One Lives Forever
Most of the time, reviewing games is fairly straightforward. You spend a few days playing through endless levels, hitting goblins on the head, shooting grown men in the face or scoring top-corner goals from the edge of the area. Then you try to gauge how much you've enjoyed the experience, and how the game stands in relation to others in the genre. But (and you just knew there had to be a but), every now and again a game comes along and takes a dump on this carefully crafted equation.
NOLF is one such game. I had high(ish) hopes for it because: a) it comes from developer Monolith and I liked Blood 2 and Shogo even though the AI was awfully iffy; b) it's the first game to use the brand-new LithTech 2.5 engine; and c) it's built around a cool female superspy with access to the latest gadgets and missions that span the globe.
So I spent ages willing the game to be better than slightly good and kept thinking that if I gave it a fair crack it would suddenly transform itself into a classic. But no. Like all the other Monolith games I could mention, it's not dire and there's a certain amount of retro-pleasure in the 'keep finger pressed alternately between forwards and backwards while shooting at anything that moves' action. But ultimately, that's all you're going to get.
Despite the inclusion of a few sub-games scattered about, the game is more linear than a one-way street and the AI is bordering on abysmal. To try to hide this, Monolith has coded in a number of routines, so when you shoot or attract a guard's attention he might somersault or run to the nearest pillar. However, a few seconds later he's back out and standing still while you shoot him. That isn't going to fool anyone, especially when two or more guards run towards you on exactly the same path. To eliminate them you just keep shooting at the same point.
The LithTech engine looks pretty good, and the character models (they've included a bit of variety since the demo) are detailed and move around fairly realistically. A word of warning though, you're going to need a hefty system if you want all the effects and details. Monolith recommends a PIII-500, and it's not joking. We tried it out on a 450 and it chugged like a bastard.
It's also nowhere near the level of id's Quake III beauty. Remember, we've seen Return to Castle Wolfenstein running and have seen how far the stakes have been raised. In comparison, NOLF looks old.
And it is a shame because some of the ideas are really good. Struggle through the dull opening levels and you move to Germany, where the action is faintly reminiscent of Counter-Strike. Further on, the action gets a lot more varied, but why struggle for a day just to reach something worthy of your attention?
In its favour, it's a long game to play through, although you will probably feel a bit jaded before the finale. However, the notion that you can play the game as a shooter or a thinker is so far off the mark it's laughable. Sneaking around is next to impossible -after about 30 seconds on each level I was spotted and the game reverted to move and shoot, move and shoot.
To finish on a bright note, the array of weapons is excellent, and some of the gadgets you've got access to add another slight dimension to the linearity. Overall, though, I can't recommend it as a worthy buy with Gunman Chronicles on release at the same time.
Her name's Archer. Cate Archer. Or possibly Jane Bond. Anyway, you get the idea. Agent Archer is the feisty, sexy heroine of Fox Interactive's upcoming, first-person '60s-inspired, Bond-style action adventure, No One Lives Forever, and the men in suits are hoping that her name is going to become as familiar as that of a certain gun-toting, pigtailswinging lady frequently glimpsed on boxer shorts. (I hasten to add that my experience of this is derived solely from window shopping). Game companies are tuning into the fact that female cyber-icons mean big business, providing sex-symbols for male gamers and action role-models for girls: even as I write, my boyfriend (a fellow game addict) slavers over my shoulder, "will she have big tits like Lara?" Go away, you sex-obsessed moron. This is serious stuff. And, yes. I'm quite sure she will.
Developed by Seattle-based Monolith (of Blood and Shogo fame), NOLF is a story-driven adventure, set in the Cold War of the 1960s. You play Agent Cate Archer, a beautiful, but deadly ex-criminal turned spy, now an undercover operative working for the anti-crime organisation UNITY. Your goal, as per usual, is to uncover a sinister, world-threatening conspiracy and in true Bond tradition you get your manicured hands on the latest weapons (more than 30 will feature in the game), and typically daft experimental gadgets, including a Robotic Poodle, exploding lipstick and lethal acid perfume. You also get the chance to ride motorbikes and snowmobiles and visit exotic locations such as Morocco, the Caribbean and a secret Russian space-station. All up it features 15 single-player missions and ten multiplayer levels, including Deathmatch and an innovative Co-operative Assault.
Fox searched the world for a suitable subject with attitude and stunning looks on which to model Agent Archer. After interviewing hundreds of delectable beauties (tough job, eh?) they came up with Mitzi Martin, former L'Oreal girl and Elite model, and used her body and features for the Agent Archer cybermodel. Completely the reverse of Lara Croft, who started life as a pixelated character and has since been personified by a gaggle of wannabe starlets.
Developer, Monolith, also points out that, unlike Lara. Cate wasn't bom with a silver spoon in her mouth. Delivered screaming into the world after a 20 hour labour, her mother died shortly after giving birth and Cate fell into a life of crime before turning full circle and working for the good guys again. Sounds like a feisty one, and because Monolith is involved we're expecting big things for Mitzi and NOLF. Its LithTech engine looks and plays like a dream, and we reckon it's about time it was behind a huge hit. Watch this space.
Ported over from the PC, No One Lives Forever is one of those games that leaves you feeling like it could have been much better than it ended up being. I know the PC version received some strong accolades so either the gaming mentality has changed over the last couple of years or this game has lost something in the translation.
It is not that I found this game particularly bad; it just felt too routine for my tastes. Fans of FPS will be turned off by the linear and scripted nature of gameplay. In an attempt to break things up a bit, they threw in minor espionage bits that were decent but not involved enough to cover up the monotony of the rest of the game.
On a more positive note, the game was set in the 60's and they did a great job of creating the whole 60's vibe. Think Austin Powers the videogame, without all the 'shagging'? references. Sadly, the graphics looked like a last generation PSX game, not a second or third generation PS2 game. Car models were blocky and the people in the cut scenes where downright frightening looking.
In the end, you'll find a game that offers up some entertainment but not enough to warrant a purchase. Fans of FPS or Spy/Espionage games will find things too limited and casual gamers will probably be turned off by the graphics.
I’ve learned one thing from reviewing Half-Life and NOLF on the PS2: PC mega-hits tend to lose a lot of their luster on their trek over to console land. Fortunately, qualities such as art direction, level design and perverse satire, which made NOLF so unique on the PC, survive the PS2 conversion unscathed. The game takes place during a lighthearted Cold War-era in the 1960s. You play as Cate Archer, an agent in the British secret service who must foil the insidious organization H.A.R.M. As you might suspect, nothing is subtle nor sacred when it comes to NOLF’s spoofing of those spy flicks. It’s like an Austin Powers game without Austin Powers, but with plenty of less risque punchlines. All this humor works well in NOLFs multifaceted mission objectives. One minute you’re scrambling from window to window, protecting an ambassador while sniping assassins. The next minute you’re plummeting out of a plane, trying to yank the parachute out from the guy below you. What hurts the PS2 version, however, is not being able to quick save/quick-load. Without a way to save or load during the action, especially on stealth missions where one false move triggers an alarm, the game becomes a tiresome exercise in trial-and-error. One screw-up and you’re staring at the “now loading” screen for another 30 seconds. If you can overlook NOLFsdated graphics and hideous load times, it’s a worthwhile trip.
Damn, that British accent is sexy. Especially when it’s coming from a red-headed super agent in a bright-orange catsuit. Meow! NOLFs hunky mix of stealthy gameplay, frenzied firefights and spy drama dashed with witty humor guarantees a mouthful of pleasure that’ll satisfy action-hungry bellies. Now if it wasn’t for the blasted controls! No matter what sensitivity you pick, slipshod analog sticks make aiming a huge problem. Plus, the auto-aim magnetizes your reticle to targets you’re not even trying to hit, making shooting clunky and unlike the rest of NOLF. The game’s worth a go, but you may want to invest in a pair of super-precise robotic hands first.
It was odd playing this game right after Agent Under Fire (Xbox), because in many ways NOLF out-Bonds Bond: the catchy theme song, the snappy dialogue, the clever gadgets and twisty plot. It's all right out of a good Sean Connery-era 007 flick, with a little refreshing Austin Powers humor and gonzo ’60s design tossed into the mix. Technical problems like blocky graphics, awkward weapon switching, rare save opportunities and bad load times (a nasty combo) keep it from greatness. But if a solid first-person shooter with style and some clever missions-including sniping, stealth and skydiving-sounds good, NOLF is your game.