Fresh and original at every turn

User Rating: 9.6 | The Operative: No One Lives Forever Game of the Year Edition PC
This has got to be one of my favorite games of all time. I've played it 3 times through without getting bored. Why? Simply put, it's fresh, funny, colorful, and entertaining. It both emulates and mocks the '60s-style spy thrillers (e.g. James Bond) with its unerringly confident and feminist protagonist (Cate Archer), over-the-top gadgets (a barrette that doubles as a lockpick and triples as a poisoned dagger; a wind-up poodle that seduces guard dogs), bright and colorful environments (a hip nightclub; a plunging airplane; a shark-infested shipwreck; an Alpine chateau rife with secret passages; etc...) and original objectives (when you are free-falling through the air with enemy parachuters all around you, what would you do to save yourself? hmm...). The game is simply so diverse that it is difficult to get tired of it.

This being a spy game, lots of sneaking and reconnaisance is of course expected. However, besides one mission in which you must remain undetected all the way, it IS a viable option to go in with guns blazing all the time, if that is your preferred style of play. That is probably not the most effective (or even the most fun) method, though. Fortunately, there are many gadgets (as mentioned above) and silent weapons (including a crossbow) that make sneaking around a bit easier.

Graphics are, technically, not spectacular (especially since they are pretty dated by now). Artistically, however, they are delightful and very reminiscent of the style of the '60s. The music and the voice acting are excellent. There are a few vehicles in the game, but they handle pretty awfully: fortunately, they are not really needed. Lastly, something must be said about the humor in the game, which manifests in the sheer outrageousness of some of the people and situations, and also in the hilarious conversations between enemy guards that you overhear while sneaking up on them. This is definitely one of the funniest shooters ever made, if nothing else.

[Note: The Mega Mix Demo for NOLF is pretty disjointed and confusing (plus, they don't tell you some crucial information on how to use your gadgets), although it shows a bit more of the diversity of the locales. The first demo (featuring the whole Misfortune in Morocco mission) is, in my opinion, the more enjoyable of the two. Choose as you will.]

But the bottom line is: No One Lives Forever is a great game, and worth a try!