Some time in the 1960's, a former thief Cate Archer is the only female agent in the service of U.N.I.T.Y., a worldwide secret espionage agency. Having been relegated to menial tasks over the years, Cate is finally given a chance to prove herself when a terrorist organization called H.A.R.M. starts to knock off active field agents. Under the qualification of "being available" as a trained agent, Cate is given the authority to track down and investigate these H.A.R.M. activities. In missions around the globe, Agent Archer will find herself sniping assassins, stealing documents, and doing a host of other suitably sneaky, but often deadly espionage tasks.No Ones Lives Forever
is a first-person shooter with stealth elements, often focusing on remaining undetected and obtaining intelligence data. The game combines stylistic elements of James Bond
espionage stories and games (such as Goldeneye 007
) with a humorous attitude. Cate will need to use her weaponry and gadgets to get the drop on enemy agents. Among the gadgets available are photographic sunglasses, a lockpicking barrette, Body Remover powder, a cigarette lighter which can be used for wielding, lipstick explosives and a robotic poodle for distracting guard dogs.
Emphasizing sneakiness, the game not only gives extra points for not being seen, but also features alarms that cannot be shut off and guards that don't return to their docile ways once alerted to the protagonist's presence. Enemies follow AI routines such as knocking tables over and ducking for cover. However, in most levels stealthy approach is not mandatory: theoretically the player can almost always opt for dealing with the situation aggressively, having Cate shoot first and ask questions later, gleefully blazing through the levels. However, while the mission will get completed, Agent Archer will receive a lower score for taking the non-subtle approach. In addition, by acquiring intelligence items Cate will obtain various bonuses to her health, armor, ammo capacity, damage or accuracy.
The game's artwork and music reflect the 1960's setting, from the loud outfits to the beatnik rhythms in the bars. In a homage to spy movies and series of that time period, there are plot twists, shootouts, close calls, setpieces, confrontations against villains, and a few over-the-top action scenes.
- "无人永生" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
- "Никто Не Живёт Вечно " -- Russian spelling
- "Wu Ren Yong Sheng " -- Chinese title
- "No One Lives Forever" -- Common shorter title
- "NOLF" -- Commonly used abbreviation
- "Nikto Ne Zhivjot Vechno" -- Russian title
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The game evolved quite a lot from its original conception. Originally you didn't play as a woman, but as Adam Church, operative for Her Majesty's Most Secret Service (MI0) and the game was not as Austin Powers-Swinging Sixties but strived for a more serious humorous take on the James Bond films (Adam himself was a satirical version of Bond). Early screenshots from late 1999 can be found on the web or in old magazines where you can see the early incarnations of NOLF
A few months after NOLF
's release, the ESRB changed its rating to M and its descriptors to Animated Blood, Animated Violence. The Game of the Year Edition
has this rating, and it is listed as M on the website, but the original boxes don't. Inquiries to the ESRB about why this happened result in a canned "When the game was first submitted, we gave it a T, but then it was resubmitted with more mature content," which is obviously not true.
Several of the game's missions take place in German cities such as East Berlin, Bremen and Frankfurt. While the developers did make an effort to create a proper setting by making signs that are correctly written in German there are some errors. One in particular is a sign in the Stasi (state security ) compound in East Berlin which reads "Begriff -- Kein Trespassing". This would literally translate to "Term -- No Trespassing". Additionally, most of the articles on posters and Inge Wagner's banner are wrong since they use the wrong gender.
Another noteworthy issue are the villains accent's: Most of the villains are supposed to be German. However, some of their accents sound rather East European. One voice actor seems to have based his supposedly German accent on Arnold Schwarzenegger with a more Austrian note to his German.
In the German version, all blood and death cries were removed. This also means that the "MoreBloodOption" cheat has no effect.
On nearly every level the guards, if you don't alert them, will carry on conversations with each other. Many of these are very humorous, as the guards discuss things which range from high brow topics like sociology in how in relates to criminals and alcohol to how let the guard dog relieve itself at the one guard's post. Even if it was part of the point system, being stealthy would be something people would strive for just to hear all these topics.
The game features Inge Wagner, supposedly a grand-granddaughter of the famous German composer Richard Wagner. During your battle against her, a tape recorder plays Wagner's music.
The model and actress Mitzi Martin
was the inspiration for the heroine of the story, Cate Archer.
- In one of the missions, Kate receives a codename "Foxhound". This is an obvious reference to Konami's Metal Gear series., Mitzi Martin, was the inspiration for the heroine of the story, Cate Archer.
- In one of the cut scenes in the mission "The Dive" you'll see a submarine that has the number 5675-309. This is likely a reference to a popular rock song of the 80's by Tommy Tutone, called "Jenny 8675309". Notice the similarities between the numbers?
The game initially sold poorly until the reviews and word of mouth increased interest in the game. Notably, the sales spiked a few months after the games release and enough positive reviews were printed.
The second disc includes In the Lounge
: 9 exclusive music tracks inspired by the 60s, plus 2 groovy music tracks from the Fox Interactive & Indiespace.com music search. The track listing is:
- Goodman's Surprise
- Santa's Workshop
- Be-boppin' Shoo-woopin' Along
- The Operative
- Elevator of Love
- No One Grooves Forever
- Suisse Chalet
- UNITY's Spy
- [untitled track]
- El Dorado (by Archie Thompson)
- Void (by Red Delicious)
Written and composed by Becky Kneubuhl;
Doug Norwine, Flute;
Joe Finetti, Trombone;
Lee Thornberg, Trumpet;
Lisa Kable, Vocals;
Chris Lee, Guitars;
Mixed and recorded by Gabriel Rutman at Asylum Studios"El Dorado"
Written and performed by Archie Thompson;
Published by ArchType Music (BMI);
© 2000 Archie Thompson;"Void"
Written and performed by Red Delicious (Steve Baca, Sara Wallace, Rob King);
Published by Stompin' Music (BMI);
© 2000 Red Delicious
Source code release
The publishers have released the source code for NOLF
for anyone to modify. For anyone interested, they can be downloaded at the download section of the official NOLF
webpage (link available at the related sites section).
Information also contributed by
- Computer Gaming World
- April 2001 (Issue #201) – Action Game of the Year
- April 2001 (Issue #201) – Best Screenplay of the Year
- April 2001 (Issue #201) – Villain of the Year (for H.A.R.M.'s Evil Hand Puppet)
- May 2005 (Issue #251) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
- 2000 – Special Award for Story
- GameStar (Germany)
- Issue 02/2001 - Best Action Game in 2000
- Issue 12/2008 - One of the "10 Coolest Levels" (for the level "Unexpected Turbulence". It is a short level of six minutes but manages to stay in the player's memory because of its original, funny and challenging main idea.
- PC Gamer
- October 2001 - #44 in the "op 50 Best Games of All Time" list
- PC Player (Germany)
- Issue 01/2001 - Best Action-Adventure in 2000