No One Lives Forever 1 and 2

 

confession time, I have never played a Call of Duty, it’s not that I don’t like First Person Shooters, but Call of Duty’s brand of brown military shooters doesn’t interest me and playing online I’ve found in my case sounds more fun in theory than in practice, whenever I play a FPS online the result is almost always I get my ass completely and utterly handed to me for a few hours, then I get bored of always losing and quit, I just don’t have the super human reflex time to compete with the people who must play online 24/7, that’s the reason why Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 are my favorite online games of all time because they’re co op, working with other gamers is a lot more fun to me than getting my ass kicked by other gamers

but I digress, I do love FPSs, but I like them to be more creative, like Half Life 1 and 2, Bioshock and the subject of this review, the No One Lives Forever series

NOLF 1 and 2 have what so many modern games lack, a huge sense of creativity and fun, I absolutly love the 1960’s spy movie setting, inspired less by James Bond and more by Derek Flint, Modesty Blaise and The Avengers, it’s like a total breath of fresh air and is one of my personal favorite settings for a game ever

the series follows female superspy (not counting the MetroidPrime series, how many FPSs do you know star female only characters?) Cate Archer as she works for international (but England based) spy organization UNITY as they try to foil the schemes of the evil (and hilarious) H.A.R.M (what that stands for is never explained)

humor is a big part of the games, there’s some seriously funny stuff in both of them, one thing I love is when you overhear the conversations of the enemy NPCs, nothing beats listening to some henchmen talk about possibly retiring and then turning a corner and mowing them down

anyway No One Lives Forever is just plain great, the levels are a ton of fun, you know you’re playing an awesome when it has (mild spoiler) a whole level that’s a homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey and Silent Running, one level may have you infiltrating an island fortress, the other may have you wandering a posh 60’s nightclub

for a game over ten years old the graphics hold up pretty well too, if there’s one complaint it’s that sometimes the game forces you to try to be stealthy, which I’ve learned that FPS stealth almost never works (at least without any way to tell where the hell the guards are looking)

so now this brings me to the sequel, I played the PS2 port of NOLF 1 way back in 2002, which suffered from horribly long load times (I made sure to play the PC version this time) and never finished it, but I never got to play the sequel when it came and oh boy did I want to, it looked so awesome

so NOLF 2 came out in 2002 and I finally this year got to play it, that’s an almost 9 year wait, a new record for me (the previous record for longest wait before being able to play a game was Vampire The Masquerade, which was about 6 years) and was it worth it?

yes, yes it was, NOLF 2 rocks and it rocks hard, in many ways it’s better than the original, for one thing the graphics are stunning, even in this day and age, it’s the texture work that holds up so well, the textures are so sharp, it almost looks as good as Half Life 2, I love the graphics of PC games from this general era (Max Payne 2 being one example) because they were all about sharp, realistic textures, too many games these days rely on fancy lighting effects and other pizazz at the cost of low quality textures (Alan Wake is a perfect example of this), that’s why to me Portal 2 doesn’t look dated at all (but that’s another story)

other than the fantastic graphics NOLF 2 is just a little more refined than the original, it would unquestionably be the better games save for two issues, one big, one minor, the minor issue is that in some levels enemies will endlessly respawn if you sound an alarm, this can be annoying if you want to forgo stealth for running and gunning

but the biggest problem is that NOLF 2 is just too damn short, a lot shorter than the first game, so short that it seems like you don’t even get the opportunities to make full use of some of the gadgets , I have a theory that the developers Monolith crammed every spy movie cliche they could think of in the first and thus were short of ideas (some levels in 2 are similar to levels in 1) or maybe it was a question of time and money I don’t know, but after waiting almost 9 years it sucks to beat a game in just a few days, I had a blast while it lasted, but it was just too brief, it doesn’t help that the ending of the game is a total anti-climax

so unfortunately what should have been a big series ended at 2 and the developer Monolith moved on to the F.E.A.R series, which has never really interested me (the combination of commandos and the ghost girl from The Ring has always seemed a mightily strange one), although I did enjoy the original Condemned

No One Lives Forever seems like an absolute perfect series to resurrect and who knows, it could happen one day, I wouldn’t be too surprised

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One Response to “No One Lives Forever 1 and 2”

  1. The part about getting your ass handed you reminds me of mercenar iv.v and the combo games site unfortunately said not to exist.
    maybe you can help me.

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