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The Operative: No One Lives Forever (Windows)

90
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Tomer Gabel (4380)
Written on  :  Sep 28, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.14 Stars4.14 Stars4.14 Stars4.14 Stars4.14 Stars

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Summary

Fun, cheezy and well-executed. Overall a great game.

The Good

Jut finished playing NOLF, almost three years late - but does it really matter? I've found over the years that a good game just doesn't diminish over time. Too bad so few people have the capacity and patience required to judge a game in the context of its relevant timeframe; luckily MobyGames' reviewers include some such enlightened souls.

With that said, simply put, NOLF KICKS ASS! The game engine (LithTech) generally excels at rendering goregous scenes at decent frame-rates. The indoor scenes are most convincing, and the outdoor scenes are great too. The vast variety of form and colour in the game, combined with the continuous excitement of firefights and daring escapes makes for a very intense gaming experience that never bores. One of the worst qualities in recent years' games is their tendency for endless dream-sequences or linear "run from the bad guys" scenes; even the most linear and scripted scenes in NOLF give you a sense of satisfaction, that you've done something rather than watched as something unfolds. In this respect, NOLF compares very favourably to much more highly-praised games such as Max Payne.

The story is cheezy but very suitable for a 60s-esque spy movie. It's not overly ambitious (which, again, compares favourably to Max Payne) though not overly simplistic, unfolds well across the game's timeframe and manages to stay coherent. The game is also accompanied by very well performed, suitably cliché spy movie music, which (almost) never annoys and never gets in the way of the action.

The variety of weapons and gadgets in the game is absolutely astounding! From various semi-automatic pistols to machine guns, sniper rifles, AK-47 and even a long-distance, high-explosive firing sniper riple, this game has it ALL. Although I never found much use for most of the gadgets (being a "shoot first and ask questions later" player), it was nice to have all sorts of gadgets - lock pick, zip-cord, body-removing spray (ha!) and other cool items. The vast amount of weapons is adequately accompanied by a vast diversity of missions, from typical "enter the building and kill everyone" missions to even more typical "protect the ambassador" missions. Some missions involve subtlety and stealth while others require you to go through minefields and remove "obstacles" with the sniper rifle. There're even missions that require you to do some actual thinking: blow up a generator before attempting access through an electrocuted fence, or do some jumping to lower platforms, shooting people from behind instead of using an elevator. Don't get me wrong: the ability to finish a task in one of many ways comes nothing close to Deus Ex, but it is non-too-shabby...

On top of that, the game is absolutely hillarious; sometimes you get to hear the most ridiculous dialogue from your enemies ("Would you like to buy a monkey?"), others you will face some of the craziest situations ever concieved (Igne Wagner boss level, anyone?). Rest of the game you'll be blowing up a gajillion people with gajillion cool guns. What's not to like?

The Bad

There are very few things that I dislike about NOLF; primarily the one mandatory stealth mission, which I just cheated my way out of. I can't STAND stealth. The beautiful thing about Deus Ex is that at no point during the game is anything so utterly scripted that you can't avoid either a gunfight or a stealthy approach. NOLF just isn't as good in that respect.

Also, some parts are far more linear than I would've liked (primarily towards the end of the game).

Other than that, no complaints!

The Bottom Line

An extremely well-executed game with a hell of a lot going for it. Just get it and play it, you won't regret it - that's a promise!