Thankfully, to go along with the solid graphics and lovely sound, No One Lives Forever
presents us with an unforgettable game experience. You're Cate Archer, The Operative, out to save the world from the bad guys of HARM, and you're out to do it with style. The whole thing plays like an old Bond film, and it's done fantastically well -- from the pointless intro to the witty banter to the action scenes.
Every "episode" is divided into scenes, and each scene generally has you doing something different. For example, in the first major scene of the game, you must pick off snipers before they kill an ambassador. Then you have to get to the lobby of a hotel, disarm some explosives, and finally escape with your life. The game continues to throw curveballs at you throughout its length, and although I'd love to tell you some of the adventures you'll experience (think: Bond homage), half of the fun is getting there yourself.
Most of the game plays as something of a cross between the plot-based Half-Life, and the stealth-based Thief: The Dark Project. You can choose to go in with guns in hand and death on your mind, but you're rewarded with more "atmosphere," higher ranks, and more intelligence items if you play it smart instead. The game certainly allows both ways, however, and sometimes it's fun to try an area each way and decide which one you like the most. Being a die-hard Thief fan, I found skulking about to be the most entertaining way to play, but your results may vary.
To complement however way you play the game, NOLF provides you with scads of nifty gadgets to play with, and they all fit within the motif. You've got glasses that double as binocs and a camera, you've got a barrette that can be used as a lockpick or a poisoned needle, and you've got lipstick that's an explosive. What more can you ask for? This sort of tight design only helps a game -- developers take note.
There are quite a few different weapons in the game, and they can be configured quite nicely. You can put scopes on them, change the sorts of ammo you use, and in general have a good time playing with all the combinations. Each weapon has its strengths and weaknesses, and by the end of the game, you'll know them all.
If the (superb) single player campaign isn't enough, NOLF sports multiplayer capabilities as well. It's nothing particularly amazing, however -- you've got standard deathmatch and a game rather like Capture the Flag, only more spy-based, and neither of them really offer anything new to multiplayer. The main part of the game is for one player only, though, and the NOLF doesn't skimp on that most important item.