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 
Shaggadelic!

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.