Dec. 12, 2002
No One Lives Forever 2
A Spy In H.A.R.M.'S Way

No One Lives Forever 2 is a great choice for a gamer's stocking stuffer. Besides porn.

NOLF2 is the sequel to, right, No One Lives Forever, the game that put both Lithtech, the game engine, on the map, and restored my faith in Monolith as a reputable game designer.

See, I discovered Monolith because they developed Blood, easily the best Build Engine game made (Duke Nukem 3D was also a Build game) -- but then Monolith went and put out the steaming pile of shit known as Blood 2 and pretty much fucked their reputation.

(Blood is still pretty fun to play. I mean, when you shoot a Satan worshipper with a flare gun and they burst into flames, screaming "It burns! It burns!" and then collapse into a pile of charred bones and fleshy chunks, you can't help but have a good time doing it.)

Anyway, NOLF2 is a great showcase for the Lith2 engine (called "Jupiter"). There are plenty of fancy special effects in the game, including dynamic lighting (shadows are cast by in-game light sources) and pixel-shaded water and lava. It looks dope.

There don't appear to be as many death animations as there were for the first NOLF -- maybe only three or four -- but they still look pretty good, and detect when you have shot someone in the head or the leg or what-have-you.

Pick your Bond, fanboy...

Bond #1

"Excuse me, dear, as I ... ahem... tidy up..."

Bond #2

The fate of Bond #2

There's no location-specific damage-modeling, which is sort of a bummer -- because it's always a thrill to cover your enemy with bullet holes -- but it's still fun.

NOLF2 winds down to a pretty standard first-person shooter. There are some sneaking elements, which become a lot less fun and viable when you realize that it's easier to just stand tall with your Gordon machinegun and run around blasting people.

Once I figured out that sneaking around was just going to make the game last longer, I started shooting.

Unlike NOLF, you don't get little awards for getting 100% head shots, not missing with any of your bullets, being undetected, or not killing anyone, so there's no real motivation to do so..

Hmmm... actually, the more I talk about it, I wonder whether NOLF2 is really *that* great. I guess what makes it good fun is the overall experience. Well, let's start from the top.

Installation is pretty smooth, although the installer requires a restart, which is g@y. It also requires DirectX 8.1.

Oh, and you require the patch -- otherwise you'll lose dialogue in the game.

Again, graphically, NOLF2 rocks out. Models are high-polygon count, and well-textured all over. Some games just do detail-textures for the faces, but NOLF2 gets the good stuff on the rest of the body, as well.

This is great for the in-game cut scenes, when you can scope out the goodie of our heroine, Cate Archer, because her boobies are "well textured."

("Hey baby, nice shading...")

Uh, anyway, the overal visual design is splended. The game is set in the Sixties and is modeled after, say Goldfinger, with goofy villains (such as the gang of "hitman mimes," who have huge sweat stains under their pits), and an underwater secret base, where you get to ride a submarine disguised as a shark.

Bond #3

The American Bond would say, "Holy sweet ta-tas!"

Bond #4

Here's that adorable
Scottish drunk.

And, for game standards at least, the game features a pretty funny script. Lots of one-liners and sight gags, along with cute little weapons, such as quarters that you can fling to distract your enemies, and bananas that cause them to slip and fall.

Equally cute is the fact that after your enemies skid on a banana peel, you can run over and pop caps into the skulls. Big fun.

There's one game sequence that's most phat, where you're pursuing a unicycle-riding midget on a tricycle being driven by your drunken Scottish henchman while you fire away at sniping mimes. That's good shit.

The enemy artificial intelligence has some interesting quirks, but it's nothing to get excited about. The bad guys will shuffle back and forth, lie down to fire, and seek cover and pop out to shoot. They have some nice behaviors, such as when one of them gets popped next to another bad guy, the other one will give the dead guy a shake, then pull out "corpse dissolver" to get rid of the body.

(Of course, this doesn't play very realistically -- when people get their heads shot off, others typically start running.)

NOLF2 also suffers from the first-person shooter dilemna regarding "number of enemies on-screen." Because the poly-count of the models in the game is so high, you'll never see more than three or four enemies on the screen at a time, which drastically reduces the sense that you're "fighting an army." It's more like taking on al Quaeda terrorists, one cell at a time.

So, NOLF2 is a pretty standard first-person shooter, but it's got the added bonus of quality graphics, brilliantly arranged sets, and a humorous plot and script. There aren't many games that succeed on a lot of levels, but NOLF2 does.

It's also been available for a while, and you'll probably find it for a good price.

This shit is motherfuckin' recommended, motherfucker.

Bond #5

Now anyone can be Bond #6. Hurrah.

Is it g@y that we had you pick your favorite Bond, and not your favorite Bond Girl? I blame Ken. You should, too. (Correct answer: Roger Moore.)

Nobody Lives Forever 2

- Win 98, Me, 2000, XP
- 500 MHz processor
- 128 MB RAM
- 1.2 MB hard drive space
- (in addition to free space - for Windows swap file)

Complain here, preferably with
"Definitely a jackhammer. I'm in there with some pressure
and when I'm done, you're not the same as before."

King Mongo | Rants | NA!P

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