10 Years of NOLF
I was going through my calendar recently, and saw that today was a rather special day for more than one reason. Yes, today, this year, marks the day that Call of Duty: Black Ops is released.
But rewind time, and go back ten years. Today, back in 2000, was when No One Lives Forever, AKA The Operative: No One lives Forever, AKA NOLF (not MILF) came out.
From the makers of Blood, Monolith, came this game which felt much like a spy movie. In fact it was more like a spoof of several spy movies – like James Bond, but especially Austin Powers. This was a rather unusual departure from the typical horror and science fiction games that tend to come from this developer – famous for the likes of F.E.A.R., Condemned, and AvP 2, among others.
It took place in the psychedelic 60’s, and placed you in the possession of the rather ample cleavage of Cate Archer, a Scottish lass who works for UNITY as a spy, an organisation at odds with H.A.R.M. After your briefings with the generically named Smith and Jones, you usually go on to your weapon and gadget training section, much like James Bond would do while bantering with Q.
There are many different weapons that would have existed back in the 60’s, some of them German weapons like the Luger and Walter P38, and there are several clever gadgets that Cate can use to, which are often disguised as common items like slippers, lipstick, and perfumes.
There were several ways you could go about getting through missions, such as using guns, or sneaking your way through. Often dialogue options could be used when conversing with characters. Speaking of which, there’s a lot of humour in this game, and characters like Magnus Armstrong (who is obviously based on Austin Powers’ Fat B@stard) make for some hilarious encounters, particularly in the cutscenes. Other crazy characters include Baron Dumas and Inge Wagner.
It’s a spy game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and one can imagine why it won so many GOTY awards. There was even a GOTY edition which included an extra mission. The game was eventually ported to the PS2, and this version had even more missions that didn’t feature in the PC one.
NOLF received a sequel in No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In H.A.R.M.'s Way, and what is referred as an interquel, in Contract J.A.C.K. – which sucked. There’s even a petition for a No One Lives Forever 3 going on, pleading for Monolith to resurrect the long dormant franchise.
Fun Fact: NOLF was the first game to use the LithTech 2.0 engine. Later on, the following games in the series used the Jupiter engine. The F.E.A.R. series up until this point has used the Jupiter Extended engine – a further modified version of the LithTech engine.