The Operative: No One Lives Forever
Publisher: Fox Interactive
Developer: Monolith Productions
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"No One Lives Forever takes the impressive enemy artificial intelligence of Half-Life, the stealth features of Thief: The Dark Project, and the gadgetry of the console shooter GoldenEye 007 and then combines them all with a unique, colorful '60s setting and a great sense of humor." - Erik Wolpaw, GameSpot Review
For a while, it seemed as though this year would be devoid of any truly innovative action games. While there were a number of great action games released - as evidenced by the list of nominees - none really did much to advance the genre. Last year Quake III and Unreal Tournament popularized the notion of fast-paced carnage played online, but beyond that, the only really memorable action game in recent memory was Valve's Half-Life, which was released more than two years ago. But just when it seemed as though 2000 would come and go without any significant action game, Monolith released The Operative: No One Lives Forever, a game that's considered an equal to Half-Life in many respects and superior in others.
The game does a lot of things right. The most noticeable aspect is the graphics supplied by the robust LithTech 2.0 engine. This technology has been constantly evolving since Monolith first released Shogo: Mobile Armor Division in 1998, and it's now easily the most impressive 3D engine on the market. The game renders both indoor and outdoor scenes beautifully, and it is capable of displaying a high amount of detail in a cramped corridor or breathtaking vistas of snowy mountaintops without hesitation. Likewise, the character models are the most lifelike of any game, let alone an action game, and they are rendered using thousands of polygons and the latest in animation and lip-synching technologies. The story in No One Lives Forever is equally impressive. Punctuated by an excellent script and movie-like camera placement during cutscenes, the game's plot keeps the pace of the game brisk, and sharp voice acting provides for excellent and often humorous dialogue throughout the length of No One Lives Forever. Few action games have had as many memorable characters or as much character interaction as this one.
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But the game's biggest appeal is its ability to successfully and seamlessly blend various aspects of other great action games into a single, cohesive package. No One Lives Forever has elements of stealth like Thief: The Dark Project, scripting like Half-Life, the high-tech gadgetry of GoldenEye 007, and the massive levels of Unreal. Ultimately, No One Lives Forever delivers the most satisfying single-player experience of any action game this year.
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