Anthony's Film Review
No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way
(Video Game, 2002)
Though a small step down from its predecessor, this spy action game is still a lot of fun...
The Operative: No One Lives Forever in 2000 was a very impressive first-person shooter video game involving a 1960s female British superspy. Undoubtedly, a sequel would follow two years later, especially as one villainous character from NOLF remains in power. Let me first say that No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way continues the excitement of the first game, though almost reaches the level of quality of the first game. Before I get to that, let me share what I love about this game.
For the most part, NOLF 2 keeps doing what the first NOLF did. As U.N.I.T.Y. agent Cate Archer, you walk, run, and sneak through various environments. Whether you choose to complete your mission objectives with the aid of careful stealth or direct confrontation is up to you. You can use weapons and gadgets such as machine guns, pistols with silencers, tranquilizer dart guns, and bombs disguised as cats. The enemies you encounter are programmed with plenty of artificial intelligence, such that they will react to the sounds you make. Hence, you must be careful if you want to use stealth, but if you want, you can throw coins to lure an enemy towards you while you prepare a quiet ambush attack.
Like its predecessor, NOLF 2 takes Cate Archer around the world. Locations for her mission include Japan, India, the Soviet Union, and even Akron, Ohio, in the United States. The evil organization H.A.R.M. certainly has an international presence, which makes Cate's adventure a rather exciting one. As for villains, they include evil mimes, deadly female ninjas, H.A.R.M. agents, Soviet soldiers, and one kind of foe originating from a heinous lab experiment. So yeah, it's an eclectic mix of baddies, just like in the first NOLF game.
As for the reason why NOLF 2 is a small step below the first NOLF game, it's mainly the fact that the adventure doesn't feel as epic here. The first NOLF game had lots of levels covering many locations (even a space station!), whereas NOLF 2 covers larger areas of fewer locations around the world. Also, the villainous scheme in this game feels a bit tame compared to the evil scheme in NOLF 1. Oh, and there are plenty of mastermind villains in NOLF 2, though some of them have loose ends unresolved by the end of the game's story. It's as if the writers got lazy and assumed that there will be a No One Lives Forever 3 to finally wrap things up.
Don't get me wrong. NOLF 2 is still a lot of fun. I enjoyed doing things like sneaking up on ninjas, fighting some more of them close to a tornado, running and gunning past Soviet foes, navigating snowy environments, and solving a few puzzles. The NOLF 2 design team did a great job recreating the experience of being Cate Archer in NOLF 1. It's too bad a third NOLF had not been on the immediate horizon, and I'm not sure if it will ever happen. Oh well. At least fans of the first NOLF game have one extra chance to save the world as the dashing and daring agent Cate Archer.
For more information about The Operative: No One Lives Forever, visit the Internet Movie Database and Moby Games.
In addition, check out my review of The Operative: No One Lives Forever.