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Retro Corner: The Operative: No One Lives Forever

No One Lives Forever mines 60s spy fiction to make a truly memorable game

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No One Lives Forever is a first person shooter borrowing from the kitsch and camp 60s spy genre. You play as Cate Archer, a Scottish femme fatale who certainly has a touch of Bond about her. She’s an agent for UNITY a secret international organisation tasked with stopping terrorist organisations bent on taking over the world. In No One Lives Forever, Archer is tasked with stopping H.A.R.M, a terrorist organisation full of colourful characters. Including mad German opera singers and kilt wearing Scots.

The game garnered much critical praise for its implementation of stealth sections and multiple ways of completing every level. You can take the stealthy option and use a wide array of gadgets to distract enemies; alternatively you can run in guns blazing.

Bond has Q and Archer has Santa who provides her with a set of gadgets based around feminine beauty products. Her lipstick doubles as an explosive grenade, perfume bottles hold poison gas and sunglasses detect land mines.

No One Lives Forever keeps you guessing. You are protecting an ambassador in Marrakesh one minute, riding your Triumph motorcycle out of a volcano base another, and stealing an antidote from H.A.R.M’s space station the next.

Having a female protagonist allowed the game to stand out from other spy fiction. Despite being smart, good-looking, and resourceful, Archer must be better due to the social climate of the time. She gets more flack when things go wrong, and has to fight for the chance to prove herself to her superiors.

No One Lives Forever is a funny game, mining the seemingly ridiculous 60s spy fiction like The Avengers. However, the developers separate it from the likes of Austin Powers by putting storytelling first and letting the comedy come naturally.

Whether you’re looking for an FPS that doesn’t take itself too seriously, or stealth sections that aren’t mind-numbingly tedious, I can heartily recommend Monolith’s No One Lives Forever.