reviews\ Oct 16, 2002 at 8:00 pm

No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.

Cate Archer is back to deliver an encore performance in No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way. NOLF2 is the sequel to one of the most innovative first person shooters ever created.  As 60's era Superspy Cate Archer it is your job once again to rise to the challenge and foil the plan's of H.A.R.M., a evil organization bent on world domination.

Utilizing the Lithitech Jupiter  engine, Sierra has created an unparalleled playing experience.  This game is to first person shooters what Metal Gear Solid is to third person action games.  And if the reference escapes you, that means its damn good.  That said lets get down to the nitty-gritty.  Their is a seemingly endless variety of weaponry, gadgets, and mission objectives.  This is a game that dares to ask you to confront angry police men armed only with a banana. 

No One Lives Forever 2 is not your basic shoot 'em up.  Far from the Carnage factor of the Doom series, it relies much more heavily on stealth, problem solving, and precision.  You are a female version of James Bond in a world more like that of Austin Powers than our own.  So if blood and gore is what you're after this may not be your style.  However if the ability to make accurate head shots, drag bodies, sneak and duck around corners, and unleash the fury of the angry kitty sounds fun to you, you may have found your match. 

In addition to the in game fun, there is a system of character advancement which, while not unique, is certainly well implemented.  Points are gathered by collecting intelligence and fulfilling missions.  You can then turn around and invest these points into stats that improve your health, speed, stealth, proficiency with weapons and gadgets, or a host of other abilities.  The only problem the game has comes from load times.  When either zoning (many of the levels are large enough that they are split into zones which are loaded separately) or dying (to one particular death trap especially) load times become pretty annoying.  It's not that they're terribly long but they are definitely long enough.  And with the difficulty inherent in this game you'll probably be seeing a lot of it.

Graphically the game has a style all its own and with 3 preset display options the creators have kept in mind that not all of us have 2+gigahertz processors and 128M video cards at our disposal.  However, even at low or medium displays the graphics are great.  Bright colors, interesting character models, and fully developed environments make you feel like you're a part of Cate Archers world.  Along with stellar sound effects, voiceovers, and groovy spy movie theme songs, No One Lives Forever 2 provides a feast for your senses.

It is rated mature for Violence and Blood.

Gameplay: 9
Complex and well executed. Load times are the price we pay for excellence.

Graphics: 9 

Sound: 9
The wind blowing outside, footsteps on the pavement, or the conversation with crazy Hajij, everything is well developed.

Difficulty: Hard
While there are difficulty settings they primarily govern only damage.  They do next to nothing when dealing with the stealth required to sneak past people or the thought needed to solve puzzles.

Concept: 9 
The first one was widely proclaimed action game of the year.  I'll be very surprised if this one doesn't rank as well.

Multiplayer: 9
The multiplayer function plays much like the game but with other players to interact with it can only get better.

Overall: 9.5
This is a game at the top of its field.


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