The Operative: No One Lives Forever


(commonly shortened to No One Lives Forever, abbreviated NOLF) is a first-person shooter video game with stealth gameplay elements, developed by Monolith Productions and published by Fox Interactive, released for Windows in 2000. Set in the 1960s, No One Lives Forever has been critically acclaimed for, among other things, its stylistic representation of the era in the spirit of many espionage-themed films and television series of that decade, as well as for its prevalent use of humor.

The Operative: No One Lives Forever was published in 2000, and stars female protagonist and spy Cate Archer. The game is a mixture of a first-person shooter and a first-person sneaker: most (but not all) missions can be solved in multiple ways: using sneaking to avoid danger, using gadgets, or by going in with guns blazing.

The basic plot of the game is that a secret organization, UNITY, watches over world peace. Seven UNITY agents are murdered within a week, leaving UNITY with a critical manpower shortage. In response, Cate Archer (an ex-cat burglar) is given a role as field agent to try to discover the cause of the agent assassinations. All roads lead to a new terrorist organization named H.A.R.M., run by a colorful assortment of characters intent on destroying the free world.

The game is set in the 1960s, and includes a lot of humor: resembling a mixture of Austin Powers and James Bond with the lead character echoing Modesty Blaise, or Emma Peel from The Avengers. The player is able to scuba dive a shipwreck, freefall from an airplane and explore a space station in zero gravity, all the while fighting armed villains.

A novel feature of the game is its array of gadgets, including a body-removing powder (for disposing of incriminating corpses), lock picks, and an electronic poodle to distract guard dogs. Additionally, the missions are littered with "intelligence items": briefcases, envelopes, and manilla folders containing textual notes which often provide humorous side-notes to the game, as well as overheard conversations between guards or scientists (the truth about the failure of the Edsel, for example). Points awarded from intelligence items could gain certain awards at the end of the mission that would add up for bonuses. For example the 'Thanks For Not Getting Hurt' Award allowed a 10% increase in maximum health – up to a limit of 120%. Such bonuses were available for health, armor, ammo capacity, damage, accuracy, and reputation. The reputation awards are earned by choosing the 'nice' responses in dialogue trees (although it is uncertain what benefits the reputation bonuses confer).

The game is also notable for its use of sound: not only are enemies aware of noise made by the player, but the game features 1960s-style music, which flexibly adapts to the situations that players finds themselves in, similar to that of movie soundtracks (for instance, increasing in tempo or urgency when the player is in a combat situation).

The game won several Game of the Year awards, including ones from Computer Games Magazine, Computer Gaming World, PC Gamer, and Gamespy.

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