Contract J.A.C.K.

aka: Contract JACK, No One Lives Forever: Contract J.A.C.K., Wu Ren Yong Sheng 2: Shashou JACK
Moby ID: 11245
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Description official descriptions

Contract J.A.C.K. is the prequel to No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way. The game revolves around John Jack, a contract killer under the H.A.R.M. flag. Jack is sent on a mission by H.A.R.M., whether he likes it or not, to stop an Italian crime organization. The game lets players explore "the dark side" of the No One Lives Forever universe, and features a large arsenal of weapons and over 10 single player levels.

Spellings

  • Агент Д.Ж.Е.К. - Russian spelling
  • 无人永生2:杀手JACK - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

150 People (113 developers, 37 thanks) · View all

Lead Sound Designer
Senior 2D/3D Artist
Animator
Senior 2D/3D Artists
Producer
2D/3D Artists
Level Designers
Senior Engineers
Engineers
Associate Producer
QA Lead
Director of Development
Creative Director
Lead Game Designer
Art Director
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 60% (based on 28 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 30 ratings with 6 reviews)

No One Lives Forever without the espionage. At least you get to shoot a lot.

The Good
I bought Contract J.A.C.K. not long after I finished No One Lives Forever 2. NOLF 2 was an excellent game and left me wanting still more 60's spy action with Cate Archer. Sadly, there was no NOLF 3 around. But there was Contract J.A.C.K., a game set in the same universe that was apparently a prequel to the game I had just played.

Indeed, Contract J.A.C.K. is set in the NOLF world and even features a cameo by Cate Archer herself. That is the only thing that makes it a NOLF game, though. J.A.C.K. takes an entirely different direction from the rest of the series, being a frantic out-and-out shooter rather than an espionage game.

And there is much shooting. Near constant shooting, in fact. Don't even try sneaking around. There's no point. This is like Doom in the 1960's. Just keep your finger on the trigger. If you like alot of action, this game does have it.

As usual for Monolith's efforts in this series, the game is pretty darned funny. The conversations between your enemies are a particular highlight. Also, there very fact that your primary opponent is a group called "Danger, Danger" is just too funny.

Graphics use the Lithtech II engine and therefore are nothing to sneeze at. All the character and level design is all high quality. Sound as well is very well done, with competent voice acting throughout.

The Bad
It's not what I wanted from this series. Yes, I know that this game sets forth to be a fast-paced shooter from the get-go, but it's still continuing the tradition of the NOLF series. There is none of the depth of gameplay in the previous two games. No gadgets, no intelligence to pick up, no sneaking around. It's just straight-forward shooting. And from this series, that's disappointing.

As well, J.A.C.K. doesn't even do the straight-up shooter that well. The basic philosophy of most encounters seems to be sending massive mobs of fairly stupid enemies. Further, the enemies respawn way too fast (a problem some NOLF 2 areas) and many do not drop ammo (you should not have ammo problems in a shooter like this).

All in all, Contract J.A.C.K. just isn't all that much fun to play with the kind of gameplay that is presented most of the time.

The Bottom Line
If you have played through the other two NOLF games and absolutely need more, then this might help satiate the urge just a little. Otherwise, go check out the rest of the series first.

Windows · by Steelysama (82) · 2009

No One Lives Forever 2 Minus Cate Archer And The Charm.

The Good
The prequel to the excellent “No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In Harms Way”. “Contract J.A.C.K. shows gamers a darker version of the NOLF universe. Instead of playing as the super spy Cate Archer, we get to play as John Jack, a hitman, and the jack of the title.

In “Contract J.A.C.K.”, you take on the crime syndicate, Danger! Danger! While working for H.A.R.M. The games seven missions take you from Italy, to the Moon! The plot is not as well done as in NOLF 2. Nor is Jack’s adventure as long as either of Cate’s. Yet you manage to kill more people than in both NOLFS combined. But then again you are a contract killer.

There are no gadgets in J.A.C.K. But there are new weapons, including some that have returned from NOLF 1 and were not in it’s sequel. So I guess the amount of guns is supposed to make up for the lack of gadgets. Thankfully vehicle segments return. There are even more than there were in NOLF 2. And this time around the vehicles come equipped with a gun.

Most of the humor of previous games is gone. There are still some funny moments. But the jokes tend to be darker. For some reason there is a lot of explicit language in this one unlike the other games. The game also seems more violent, but I guess this is to be expected.

The Graphics are stunning. Once again thanks to the Jupiter engine. Monolith still uses this engine in it’s games, showing just how awesome it is. Like NOLF 2 this game looks great even on the lowest setting. The weapons and characters are look amazing. And the real time lighting effects have to be seen to be believed. The flash of light when you fire your gun is so sweet!

There is even less music in this than NOLF 2. But it is quality over quantity. The voice overs are good except for Jack, who has too much of a gruff voice. Which makes him sound odd. Some of the weapons sound different and more realistic.

J.A.C.K. plays more like Serious Sam than No One Lives Forever. This of course was disappointing to NOLF fans. As the NOLF series is known for successfully blending stealth and action segments.

The Bad
This game is way too short. You can finish it in one sitting. So it only has about four hours of gameplay. The difficulty settings are ridiculous. On easy it is way too easy. On Normal it is about ten times more difficult. The A.I. is not as good as we would expect, often enemies run right into to harms way.(No pun intended.) For some reason the box claims that there are ten missions. I have no idea where they got that number, as there are only seven missions. Three less than stated on the box.

The Bottom Line
Overall Contract J.A.C.K. is an average game. That while it does not live up the NOLF series, there is some fun to be had if you can get over it’s dissimilarities to NOLF. Do not pay full price for this game as it is too short, in fact I would not pay over $20. I got my copy on Amazon for about $6.00.

Windows · by MasterMegid (723) · 2006

Monolith should be ashamed of this putrid shooter.

The Good
I've said it about a thousand times and I'll say it again: I LOVE Monolith studios. Next to ID, they are my favourite shooter developer. They did such classics as Blood, SHOGO , Condemned, and of course their shining golden masterpiece No one lives Forever 2 . NOLF 2 was a sparkling golden gem from the heavens and one of the best shooters of this decade, let alone all time. It was absolutely brilliant, it broke all conventions by being a taught spy thriller, a raunchy comedy and spy spoof, with Stealth, Action, Puzzles, Adventure.. The whole shebang. It proved that Monolith had brains and weren't afraid to use them. The only people that didn't like NOLF 2 were those who prefer their shooters without their brains. Now, I love mindless shooters, but they have to be executed right. So when they decided to make a purely action based game in the NOLF universe, I expected something along the lines of Blood and was anticipating the game greatly. Enough chit-chat, lets kick off this review.

Honestly, there are only a couple good things that can be said about Contract J.A.C.K. One of those things is the music and sound effects. The music is great and the sound effects are great. The game captures the kitschy style of the NOLF universe well. The graphics are still stylized as well. There is also a level towards the end that does a good job of parodying Moonraker. The game is also bloody, if you like the red goop there's plenty of it. There are a couple OK jokes, and the cameo by Cate Archer is funny and her voice acting is still top notch.

The Bad
Beyond that? Barf. What ruins this is that Monolith not only took out their brains, they apparently left anyone skilled out of this project. The level design is bland, boring, and distinctly linear. The AI might as well sit in a corner and wait for someone to put on a dunce cap and paint a target on their skulls, they clearly aren't smart enough to use the basic motor functions to put the dunce cap on thereselves and its amazing that they even have a "Shoot" function. The AI in Doom is years ahead of the bad guys in Contract JACK. All they know how to do is stand and pull the trigger in your direction. They can barely move, they do NO maneuvering to try and avoid your fire, not even strafing or walking to a different area. You think by 2003 this would be a requirement.

With no challenge in the AI there is no fun in shooting them. Its about as fun as going deer hunting but all the deer are already dead. These folks cant even charge in and do suicide moves like most AI in old school shoot 'em ups would do.

The humour in this game is bland and lacking the intelligence of the other NOLF games. The game is hardly funny at all. None of the quirkiness or thrills are here either.

The story is bland, stupid, and lacking any tension. It may set up the events of NOLF 2, but it does it with no style or interest. Other than returning characters from the NOLF 1/2 cast, there's no one here that can keep your attention or get you involved or interested in the story. The game is yawn inducing in its plot and its levels. None of the stealth elements of the first two games are here and there aren't really any gadgets, just guns, and since you can't use different ammo types like in the other games, the guns are boring to shoot and don't feel powerful or fun.

The game is short, anyone can blast through it in about 3 and a half hours.. although, on reflection, that may be Monolith having mercy.

The Bottom Line
Contract JACK is an affront to nature, let alone the prestigious name of Monolith and No one Lives Forever. The game is one of the most boring, stupid, and bland shooters out there. The only reason it might get more attention and be considered "slightly" better than the absolute droves of bland, uninspired, and lame bargain bin shooters is because it is part of the NOLF series and was developed by Monolith; but in truth, the game really isn't any better than those games. I could develop something better in about 3 months with FPS creator. I don't know how Monolith could screw something up so bad. None of their talent or intelligence shows here, and this is easily one of the worst shooters ever made.

Windows · by Kaddy B. (777) · 2009

[ View all 6 player reviews ]

Trivia

German version

In the German version, all blood effects and death cries were removed. Also missing are ragdoll physics for corpses and the possibility to set them on fire.

References to the predecessors

Here are a few references to the other games of the No One Lives Forever series:

  • The game begins above the Drunken Scotsman (Magnus Armstrong?) which has a vandalized poster advertising Inge Wagner.
  • During the insertion into Czechoslovakia, Cate Archer is briefly visible near a rabbit.
  • Cate Archer wanted posters pop up from time to time.
  • The game shows off H.A.R.M.'s NOLF 2 lair including comments on the "lava".
  • Music from NOLF2 appears in some missions. * The Jade Hamster, a fictional movie spy from NOLF2 returns on several cinematic posters.

Awards

  • Computer Games Magazine
    • March 2004 - #4 Worst Game of the Year 2003

Information also contributed by PCGamer77.

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Related Sites +

  • NOLFGIRL.COM
    A community site dedicated to the NOLF universe.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 11245
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Mattias Kreku.

Additional contributors: Terrence Bosky, Unicorn Lynx, Solid Flamingo, Stratege, Patrick Bregger, Plok, JimmyA, R3dn3ck3r.

Game added December 8, 2003. Last modified January 18, 2024.