Lives Forever is a story-driven, first-person adventure delivering over-the-top
action, tense subterfuge, outrageous villains, and wry humor in the tradition of
the great 1960s spy films and TV shows. Players assume the role of Agent Archer,
an operative working for a covert anticrime organization. Armed with an assortment
of conventional and experimental weaponry and gadgets, players explore exotic locales
and contend with deadly agents as they evade traps, unravel mysteries, and become
entangled in a cleverly constructed conspiracy that threatens the entire free world.
One of the first things I noticed when I started playing No One Lives Forever
is that there are a lot of cut scenes (aka, mini-movies providing information about
the storyline throughout the game). There is probably more video footage in this
adventure than in your average first person shooter. It's kind of like watching a
movie, and then taking on the role of one of the actors in the movie, with your actions
having a major effect on how the movie unfolds. For those looking for some quick
shoot'em action, this may slow you down a bit, but for others more interested in
the story, the added footage adds to the experience. I wasn't always impressed with
the scripting of the scenes, and feel some scenes could have done with a re-write.
Overall, however, I enjoyed the footage and how it was integrated into the game.
Once the action does began, it is very similar to other first person shooters, except
in this version you are playing a sexy female, and using things like a hair pin to
pick locks, and specially designed perfume to stun enemies. If you get really desparate,
you could even try to stab your enemy with the hair pin. For you macho players out
there, don't despair. The majority of Archer's arsenol rivals that of James Bond
(pistols, assault rifles, sniper rifles, etc.). In fact, in the flavor of Bond, many
chapters start off with a visit to your training area where a new tool or weapon
The game unfolds with some training levels early on, and then picks up into more
intense action challenges. There are a lot of levels where shooting is discouraged,
where the objectives often include completing the level without setting off an alarm.
That means sneaking around a lot, much like a real spy, and when forced to make an
attack, you need to do so quietly, and out of view of cameras and other enemies.
That really added a nice "spy-ish" flavor to the game play.
Also adding to the environment is the background music and the outfits that you (Agent
Archer) and others are wearing. The game submerges you into a very campy 60's-like
era, and includes some very interesting characters to deal with. There's one annoying
fat lady whose singing may really wear on your nerves, but much later in the game
you get to take your revenge on her (and the more her singing bothers you, the more
you'll enjoy the revenge!). Taking her out was much harder than taking out the standard
enemies, making it all the more satisfying.
The game included many interesting and clever twists, such as dropping out of a plane,
and engaging in a mid-air shoot-out with other parachuters who are coming after you.
It's an authentic air battle, just like something out of a James Bond movie. I enjoyed
the graphics and sound effects of the game, and thought the physics were satifactory.
The physics and graphical details in No One Lives Forever are not nearly as intense
or realistic as they were in MacPlay's other title, Soldier of Fortune, but I think
it was appropriate for the particular story-line this game held true to. The AI of
No One Lives Forever does hold its own, as your enemies are clever, coming after
you when you are too noisy or clumsy, and often calling in reinforcements or setting
off an alarm. Some will do a tuck and roll to avoid your shots, as well as duck behind
objects. It was challenging to just the right degree.
The only challenges I did not particularly care for were in levels where the realism
fell short, and the game did not compensate. For example, in one level, I needed
to get to the roof of a building, and once I got out of the building and saw the
roof I needed to get to, there were many ways I could have easily gotten there had
this been real life, such as climbing the fire escape ladder, or using my anchor
line on any number of places. For no apparent reason, when I climbed the fire escape
ladder, I simply could not move once at the top of the ladder. Likewise, my anchor
line would not activate on any number of objects I directed it at. There were trees
that looked very easy to climb, yet each time I jumped onto the nearby branches of
these harmless looking trees, I fell to my death. Apparently Agent Archer is not
much of a tree climber (although she can do other feats which are 10 times more difficult).
I also could not shoot through the many windows in the buildings. The key to this
level was finding the one "hot spot" where the anchor line tool activated,
and that was both tedious and unrealistic. There were so many places you could be
to target the tool from, and so many areas to target the tool on, you either had
to get lucky quick, or go through a very discouraging period where you begin to wonder
if there is any way to complete the level.
Besides the occasionally lack of balance in the game's realism, the only other beef
I had with the game were some quarks with the interface. The gameplay interface
was fine - the standard keyboard / mouse combination that worked quite well (and
options allow you to redefine most everything to your tastes). What I didn't like
was that each time I started up the game, I had to go through about a dozen startup
movies (it may have been less, but it "felt" like more). I believe this
game broke the record for the number of screens to wade through, and although you
could cancel each movie with a click, you still had to go through each one, click,
click, click, etc., every time you started up the game. That was a bit much. The
other quark was the saved game interface. You are allowed to save the game at any
point during the action, either by a "quick save" or into a slot. I usually
used the quick save when I was sure I liked where I was, because then I could use
the quick load in case I died. When I was experimenting, however, I often would
use the saved game slots, and the interface required picking a slot, clicking overwrite
if the slot was already taken, then clicking on the slot again to confirm the save.
This last step was neither intuitive nor necessary in my opinion. It's a small
thing, but hopefully if it's mentioned, they'll fix it for subsequent titles.
No One Lives Forever also comes with multi-player support, but I was unable to find
anyone to play against on the internet during my review.
If you ever thought it would be fun to try out the life of a secret agent, or if
you just enjoy a good first person shooter with a well intergrated story, you will
most certainly enjoy MacPlay's No One Lives Forever. It's not the most realistic
first-person shooter out there, and it does have a few annoyances, but with 60 levels
of diverse and challenging solo levels, a terrific theme of a campy 60's spy movie,
and a wide range of tools and weapons with which to complete your missions, this
game will provide you hours, if not weeks, of wonderful entertainment. I highly recommend
- Great 60's Spy atmosphere
- Good variety of levels with many interesting twists
- Entertaining and well integrated storyline
- Nice 3D graphics
- Some of the cut-scene scripts could do with a re-write
- Annoying multiple screens to get through each time
you start up the game
- Some challenges are unrealistically tedious
4 out of 5 Mice