Written by  :  Thexder0 (1899)
Written on  :  Sep 28, 2002
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars

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Just like an old James Bond movie (86/100)

The Good

Ok, let me get this out of the way first: the level "Unexpected Turbulence" is one of the coolest levels I have ever played in any shooter to date. If you played the game, you know what I mean; if you did not, I will not spoil it more than I already have. This level probably raises the game rating some 3 or 4 points all by itself...

In general, this is a very good "spy action movie" shooter. The hero kills lots of bad guys, saves lots of innocent people, has tons of weapons and gadgets to use and looks good during the whole process (but, in this case, the hero is a woman, as you probably knew). Some of the action sequences are quite unbelievable and the bad guys are very much over the top, bordering goofy. All in all, reread this paragraph and you will realize that the game is just like an old James Bond movie.

Gameplay sometimes favors stealth over force, what keeps you thinking about how to deal with the different levels. The huge number of weapons and gadgets are wisely introduced during the game a few at a time in pre-mission briefings. AI is fairly good: enemies look for cover (sometimes a bit too much) and often run for help or try to sound alarms instead of taking you by themselves.

The graphics are fine for the game. They are a bit too clean, mostly, but the same can be said for some other outstanding games (like Half-Life). When textures are really necessary (grassy ground, mountains, etc.), they look good enough. The environments do have quite some variation: snowy Europe, tropical landscapes, urban sights, underwater searches, etc.

Sound is mostly excellent: the music is very 60s and the tempo follows the action very nicely. Sound effects are good and varied. Voice talent is also good enough (not stellar), but the *scripts* are really good. In particular, many unimportant characters have in-level conversations that I almost always stopped to listen (sometimes this stop would even make my mission harder...) -- these dialogues ranged from vaguely amusing to very funny. One of them sounds just like I do when teaching Statistics and got me laughing aloud ("Correlation is NOT causation!").

The Bad

As mentioned above, voice acting could be better. Also, the cutscenes that are done with the game engine itself are well scripted, but the movements of the models during such cutscenes could be improved -- there is a lot of repetition and not a lot of expression from the model faces.

Some nitpicking: while it is nice that the music speeds up and gets louder whenever action is going on on the screen, sometimes it would be TOO loud. I often lowered music volume just so I could hear what was going on during the action... but then the music would be VERY feeble out of the action. I guess this little annoyance actually comes from the fact that I LIKED the music and I wanted to hear it, but it would be nice to have two controls for music volume: "action" mode and "non-action" mode.

I was somehow expecting more from story and environments... On the other hand, it is probably just me -- I have just played "Wheel of Time", and the story and world there are so interesting that N.O.L.F. probably lost a couple of marks there.

But, really, I really did not like the plot ending. Too much happens in too little time, and it feels contrived... This was probably done intentionally, but I wished they had held it a bit. Even James Bond movies are not *THAT* goofy at the end.

The Bottom Line

A good shooter with character and plot.