No One Lives Forever, by MacPlay
Posted: 4-Apr-2003

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: MacPlay Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: GAMES

Description
No One 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.

Game Play
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 is introduced.

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.

Summary
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 it.


Pros:

  • Great 60's Spy atmosphere
  • Good variety of levels with many interesting twists
  • Entertaining and well integrated storyline
  • Nice 3D graphics

Cons:

  • 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


Overall Rating:

4 out of 5 Mice