June 30, 2002
No One Lives Forever - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
8/6/2002Vivendi UniversalIn-House1M15+Hard
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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Four enemies in exact poses.
For those of you who keep one eye on PC gaming scene you would remember that Sierra released a First Person Shooter called No One Lives Forever around two years ago now. The game received some very strong reviews (IGN gave it a 9.1/10 on the PC) and while it's taken quite a while to appear on the Playstation 2, any port of a good PC game is always welcome. Unfortunately, the history of ports from the PC to PS2 is littered with poor controller adjustments and poor graphics engines. Does No One Live Forever survive unscathed? Read on to find out.

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Some snow bound hijinks.
The star of No One Lives Forever isn't James Bond as you would imagine, but rather a very sexy lady called Cate Archer. She's a former cat burglar who is now working for Unity, the secret agency who is trying to stop the evil organization, HARM. This game, as previously mentioned, is primarily a First Person Shooter, but the developers have concentrated on the single player experience, and for the most part it works quite well. While the levels are still fairly linear they are no where near as restrictive as Electronic Arts' recent Medal Of Honor Frontline. There are plenty of secrets to find, different routes to take and even different ways of completing missions. It's still not free roaming, or up to the freedom of Deus Ex, but it's certainly better the most. Also impressive is the emphasis on stealth through some of the levels. The levels also have security cameras that not only set off alarms but also send around a heap of guards to try and sort you out.

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Very 1960's styled carpet.
As with any Bond... I mean secret agent... styled game, the agent has plenty of special items to use. While these include things like explosive lipstick and batteries, few of these are actually required in the game. No One Lives Forever also includes numerous items that can be found throughout the levels, but add little to the gameplay other then sone amusement. Some of these items include notes and letters, which may be appointment schedules or information about HARM, which add little to the immediate gameplay, but are often quite humorous nonetheless.

Speaking of humour the game is littered with some great spoken one-liners, often from Cate herself, but also from other people in the levels, not all of which are bad guys. It's also possible to pick the next line for Cate to say, with some amusing results. If only more developers would take note of some of the humour in this game then so many more games would become so much more enjoyable. Even the cut scenes almost make this game worth purchasing on their own. Also impressive is the relatively tough difficulty level of the game. You will be replaying some of the missions several times before you actually manage to progress. No One Lives Forever is no 2 hour pushover as you'll be hard pressed to complete the game in under a couple of days. Fortunately you can save your progress between each of the levels.

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Taking out the enemy chopper.
Unfortunately No One Lives Forever isn't without it's problems. The worst of these is the inaccurate controls, which can be partially attributed to the poor frame rate at times (more on that later). Controlling the crosshair for targeting is more of a hit and miss affair, not something you want in a frantic game like this. Fortunately the game is very forgiving with the accuracy, which may also be a bad thing depending on your thoughts, but it means you only have to shoot very close to the enemies to hit them. But why couldn't the developers include USB mouse and keyboard support? Also annoying are the alarms in some of the levels. If you get detected by a camera an alarm will sound, and can rarely be turned off. Through a large speaker system such as mine it becomes very annoying very quickly and the ability to shoot out the alarm speakers or find a switch and turn it off in the levels would have been very welcome. Finally, there is no multi-player mode in the game, which isn't too bad considering the focus on single player, and the length of the game.

Graphics are certainly the most disappointing part of this game. Without a doubt much of the control issue arises due to a sluggish frame rate. The animation also looks a bit rough and the texturing is also varies from good to poor. Unfortunately the port from the PC seems to have suffered a bit which is a shame as the gameplay is quite impressive. The game has a very strong 60's/Austin Powers type look to it which is terrific and gives it an upbeat feel. The cut scenes are also very impressive as they not only tell the story, but also include some terrific dialogue.

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Preparing to pick... a lock.
In case you haven't picked it up yet, the dialogue in this game is certainly one of the games true strengths. There is plenty of wit in the conversations that will have you chuckling on several occasions. Even when walking around you will hear people talking. In the sniper mission an America couple are talking about disliking being in a foreign country for a holiday and that they should have gone to Canada when one points out that Canada is also a foreign country. The music is suitable spy orientated and very 60's, which suits the game perfectly while the sound effects are merely adequate.

What can I say in summary about No One Lives Forever? That's a fairly tough one as I'm in two minds about the game. On the one hand the controls needed some more fine-tuning, but that's partially due to the graphics engine and frame rate. On the other hand this game has some of the most amusing dialogue seen in a video game, and includes non-linear gameplay and different mission styles (sniper, stealth etc), which is still rarely seen in FPS games. I am sure that some people will have a go at me for the high score I gave No One Lives Forever, but I stand by it. I had a tremendous time with the game and will be back for more in future. If you're an eye candy type person who demands the best frame rate and control then I would suggest you try before you buy, but it's certainly worth a try for FPS and secret agent fans. A must try at the very least.

GRAPHICSLooks outdated compared to other games, but it's adequate overall.
SOUNDSome of the best voice acting ever, with good music and effects.
GAMEPLAYControls can be awkward, but plenty of variety in gameplay styles.
VALUEA lengthy game with plenty of humour that warrants a repeat play.
OVERALLNo One Lives Forever is a fairly enjoyable title. It's not up to the graphical standards set by newer FPS's, but it's not a disaster either. The game includes some interesting stealth elements and is pretty fun through the moderate length. No One Lives Forever should at least be considered by FPS fans, and rented at the very least.

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