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No One Lives Forever - PC

by Fox Interactive Media
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews) 91 / 100

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Platform: PC
Edition: Standard

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Product Details

Platform: PC | Edition: Standard
  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B00004ZASP
  • Media: Video Game
  • Release Date: November 11, 2000
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,463 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes

Product Description

Platform: PC | Edition: Standard


No One Lives Forever is a story-driven, first-person adventure delivering over-the-top action, tense subterfuge, outrageous villains, and wry humor in the tradition of the great 1960s spy films and TV shows. Players assume the role of Agent Archer, an operative working for a covert anticrime organization. Armed with an assortment of conventional and experimental weaponry and gadgets, players explore exotic locales and contend with deadly agents as they evade traps, unravel mysteries, and become entangled in a cleverly constructed conspiracy that threatens the entire free world.


Just when it seemed as if first-person shooters had run out of ideas, along comes No One Lives Forever to reinvigorate the genre. Two years after the release of Half-Life, a first-person shooter has finally arrived that's so stylish, so ingenious, so well written, so well acted, and otherwise so great that this review won't have to include the expression "it's no Half-Life" - except for right there. No One Lives Forever takes the impressive enemy artificial intelligence of Half-Life, the stealth features of Thief: The Dark Project, and the gadgetry of the console shooter GoldenEye 007 and then combines them all with a unique, colorful '60s setting and a great sense of humor. The resulting game's unrelenting inventiveness shows in virtually every aspect of its design.

Although you might expect that it's somehow inspired by Austin Powers, No One Lives Forever's inspirations actually seem to be drawn simply from the same cultural well as the Mike Myers comedy. The game's plot is part Avengers and part Our Man Flint, with a little Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs thrown in for good measure. The story itself isn't especially engaging: The good guys, an international antiterrorist organization called U.N.I.T.Y., attempt to foil the world-domination plans of the bad guys, a mysteriously well-funded group of homicidal lunatics called H.A.R.M. But this simple plot acts as a framework on which the designers have strung a great number of brilliantly absurd details.

Someone at Monolith had the bright idea to portray the cutscenes in the game using cinematic flair, rather than with bland camera angles typical of most games. By locking the camera down and framing each shot as if it really were from a movie, the designers have given the game a singular look that really sets it apart from the competition. The acting in No One Lives Forever is so good and the dialogue is often so sharp that it'll cast a pall over your memory of previous action games and might even ruin your experience with future shooters that are any less impressive.

Thankfully, the gameplay in No One Lives Forever is every bit a match for the execution of its story. The game includes close to 60 levels spread over 15 diverse and often brightly lit and colorful environments. Expect to spend more than 20 hours finishing the single-player game. The action alternates between missions in which shooting at things is the primary goal and levels wherein the game's heroine, Cate Archer, must sneak undetected from one place to another. Some missions combine the two elements in surprising ways. True to the game's spy theme, stealth is always rewarded, even though it's not always strictly required. At the end of every level, you're ranked on your performance, and a large part of your score is based on remaining unseen.

Unlike many other shooters before it, No One Lives Forever never settles into a boring routine. After a few more-standard shooting or sneaking sequences, the game always adds an interesting twist. It's a testament to the game's ingenuity that to describe the setting or action of many of the levels would spoil a lot of the fun of experiencing these sequences for the first time. But to give you some idea of what to expect, here's a description of just the very first mission. You must protect a clueless yet surly ambassador from assassins as he stumbles around the streets of Morocco. First you'll stand at a window and snipe enemies as they appear at various spots in a building across the street. Then you must sneak to another room, without alerting any civilians to your presence, where you set up a new sniper nest for another round of protecting the ambassador. Once you've finished this sequence, your room is besieged by a group of thugs, and a wild, close-quarters gunfight ensues. This is all in the first level of 60.

Every gunfight in No One Lives Forever is very exciting thanks to the game's truly outstanding artificial intelligence for enemy characters. For starters, you won't ever witness an enemy running in place or bumping into things as in many other shooters. It's almost startling to realize just how much of an effect that one detail can have on your sense of immersion in the gameworld. But the developers have done much more than rectify that problem. Namely, your enemies actually appear to care whether or not they live or die. In large groups, they'll assault you head-on. But alone or in pairs, they'll often run for cover and then switch position if they notice you've moved. They'll knock furniture over to hide behind, they'll stoop down to investigate the bodies of their dead coworkers, and they'll even hunker down behind tables, stick their weapons over their heads, and spray suppressing gunfire blindly at you. The enemy behavior seems to be partially scripted, but replaying a battle using different tactics will often result in different enemy actions. What adds to the illusion that you're taking on real, live opponents is that you'll frequently sneak up on henchman engaged in long, often hilarious discussions to pass the time while going about their tedious jobs. These conversations range from a critical reevaluation of the Edsel to an argument over correlation versus causality as it relates to beer consumption among criminals. Delivered in a deadpan style that perfectly matches the dialogue, these ancillary conversations are one of the best parts of the game. You'll replay levels simply to hear dialogue you may have missed by alerting the guards to your presence.

The motion-captured animation of the game's characters is also top-notch. Although there aren't a huge number of different character models, they're so well animated that they can express emotion through body language alone. And you'll notice other impressive details such as how enemies killed at the top of stairways will actually come tumbling down. It's true that the characters in No One Lives Forever don't take damage in so many ways as in Soldier of Fortune; you can't vivisect them into forty bloody pieces. But a single head shot will usually take an enemy down, and chest hits appear to be more damaging than targeting a limb, all of which is more than enough to reward accuracy over wild shooting.

The graphics in No One Lives Forever are powered by the newest version of Monolith's Lithtech engine. It seems a little less technologically advanced than either the Unreal Tournament or Quake III Arena engines. There are no curved or reflective surfaces on display, and items you'll find throughout the game frequently appear blocky. But it's hardly an issue. Regardless of how many triangles the engine is spitting out, the art direction in No One Lives Forever is spectacular, and the graphics are colorful and always interesting. The game even saves and loads data quickly, unlike other recent Lithtech-engine games.

The game's sound effects and '60s-era music are excellent as well. Different game actions have different themes, which actually segue from one piece to another without a jarring jump cut. It's a subtle effect that's one of many other features that make No One Lives Forever seem so polished.

To live up to the single-player game, the multiplayer experience of No One Lives Forever would have to be pretty spectacular. In short, it's not, though there's nothing really wrong with it either. There's a built-in game finder, plenty of character models to choose from, four deathmatch levels, and six maps designed for a capture-the-flag variant called U.N.I.T.Y. versus H.A.R.M. The problem is that most of the elements that make the single-player game special - the acting, the dialogue, the sneaking, and the precisely orchestrated gun battles - are simply absent from the multiplayer game. However, the multiplayer mode does have a few interesting elements. For instance, motorcycles and snowmobiles are provided to help you traverse a couple of the larger maps. But ultimately, there isn't a lot to differentiate the multiplayer component of No One Lives Forever from that of most other shooters.

Whatever minor problems or shortcomings there are in No One Lives Forever are dwarfed by the technical expertise and sheer creativity that went into it. The fact is that Monolith Productions has finally delivered an undeniably superlative action game.--Erik Wolpaw--Copyright © 2000 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited. -- GameSpot Review

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frankly Astonishing.... November 20, 2000
Platform for Display:PC|Edition:Standard
This is a great game. Funny, engrossing, challenging. And the details can blow you away...
For example, when was the last time you played a first person shooter where you shoot a guy at the top of some steps and he rolls down the steps seamlessly, just like in the movies. I suggest never. Or, if you shoot a guy on a balcony, he falls over the railing just like the movies. There are no games in the market that have this sort of extra character animation.
Or background music which seamlessly blends in with the action? The music can have a sort of quiet sound, but when you spot a sniper and pick him off with a rifle, the music kicks in with a single beat, like a drum shot, just like the movies. When people suddenly discover you, the music changes intensity smoothly, like the movies. Believe me, you haven't heard music transitions handled this well since the LucasArts Jedi Knight PC games.
These are only examples of what can happen during the shooting action in the game. The music, storyline, cutscenes, voice acting, missions, etc. are all just wonderful, and the main character has to be one of the most attractive woman in PC gaming history. If you play a lot of PC games, this is the sort of game which can take your breath away and make you say "Wow..." in how the game just does things better than so many of the other games out there.
The graphics engine is a bit weak, but perfectly adequate, and very satisfying when you consider games like Rune which are stunningly gorgeous but become incredibly boring after the redundant gameplay drives you to tears...
NOLF simply rocks. A must buy.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A proud successor to Half-Life November 13, 2000
Platform for Display:PC|Edition:Standard
I'm not usually a fan of FPS games. I thoroughly enjoyed this game. Take the best elements of Thief, Half-Life, and old James Bond movies, mix them together, and you've got this game. Whoever designed the levels and missions for this game deserves very high praise. The story is also very engaging, with a tongue in cheek variety of humor that's not as over the top as Austin Powers.
This game is primarily a sneaker. While you're not completely incompetent in a straight-up fight, you'll do best to get through the missions using stealth. The voice acting throughout the game is excellent. Guards carry on conversations about the nature of evil, job security for being the henchman of a criminal mastermind, etc. All of these are delivered very well and are quite funny. I'd often go back after completing a mission just so I could hear things that I missed the first time around.
The AI in the game is superb. The bad guys rarely rush at you head-on, like a last-ditch bonzai charge. Frequently they'll flip over furniture to use for cover, and will even use suppressive fire. I can't say enough how much I loved the gunfights in this game. I liked them better than Half-Life's, and that's saying a lot.
While the engine that runs the game doesn't have as much eye candy as Unreal Tournament or Quake 3, it's definitely passable. Beyond that, though, the animations are perfect. If you shoot somebody while they're going down the stairs, they'll stumble for a while before tumbling down, rather than just gliding down like in most shooters.
If you're at all a fan of first person shooters, and particularly if you enjoyed Half-Life, you owe it to yourself to pick this game up. I wouldn't hesitate to call it one of the best games of the year.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is Cate Archer the next Lara Croft? December 5, 2000
Platform for Display:PC|Edition:Standard
I was pleasantly surprised by this game. It's far from the run of the mill first-person shooters that are being churned out.
What's different? First of all, there's actually a story and plenty of cutscenes between and during the missions. The locations are in the exotic locales you would expect in a 60's spy flick. The music is excellent (you'll find yourself humming the theme song), the acting is top notch (I love Cate's accent), and, as many of the other reviewers have pointed out, the characters have plenty of interesting stories you can eavesdrop on.
The AI is some of the best I've seen - the bad guys hide, duck behind corners or nearby objects and generally make it seem like they would prefer not to be shot. The developers have spent a lot of time making each locale look authentic, plus they have a great sense of humor too. Among other gags, you'll see a large sign pointing a rocket ship to the left with an equally large sign pointing out the toilet to the right.
I only have a couple problems with the game. First off, it's not really a "shooter". It's more a "sneaker", resembling Thief or Rainbow Six. Perhaps I'm just not that good at this game but there are missions that I just find impossible to complete. I'm always getting caught which sets off all the alarms and causes a quick death for me. I'll probably have to get a walkthrough or cheat codes to finish the game and I hate games where I have to do that! Maybe I'm getting old?
The load times are excruciating! Load up the game, start a mission, go make a sandwich, eat it, take a nap, wake up, get married, have kids, eliminate world hunger and hopefully by that time the mission will have started. Finally, I can see people with high-end systems complaining about the graphics.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Old Game Made Available
I remember playing this game as a kid.
Published 3 months ago by Mpr90
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
This is a great game and works great on my windows 7 PC!
Published 3 months ago by David Drumheller
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THIS GAME!
Absolutely love this game...so great for its time and so very funny! There's also 3 songs that are so funky and memorable that I listen to them regularly. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Tom Harvey
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the best FPS/Stealth game of all time
I'll never forget getting the demo of this game on a cd in a computer magazine. Some friends and I were checking it out when all of the sudden one of the bad guys got into a... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Khatmandu
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent fun.
Loved this game. Played it over and over. Retro fun. A First person shooter that is interested in more than just shooting stuff up.
Published 13 months ago by Diane
5.0 out of 5 stars love this game
If you love FPS games this is def one to have. good play and story. You'll have hours of good play. one of my favorites.
Published 20 months ago by Marc Cedeno
5.0 out of 5 stars Great game
They don't make quality games like this anymore. I am going to see if it will run on my current computer. I miss playing this.
Published on December 5, 2012 by Jax Mom
5.0 out of 5 stars NOLF!
Easily one of my favorite FPS games ever made, I really can't believe that I hated this game when I first played it.
Published on April 15, 2012 by Brandon
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting game
I bought this game for my girlfiend since she said she use to play it all the time. She was not joking, she plays it quite a bit for a girl who does not play many videogames. Read more
Published on March 6, 2012 by Ty
3.0 out of 5 stars Great inventiveness to the FPS, but unfortunately marred by stupidity
By and large, No One Lives Forever is a welcome invention to the first-person-shooter genre. Immediately, once you hear that very title spoken, you think of a James Bond film. Read more
Published on August 4, 2011 by turanga1i1a
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Platform: PC | Edition: Standard