Go back to The Operative: No One Lives Forever

Written by: Rik

Date posted: May 26, 2008

The plot of NOLF isn’t desperately complicated: essentially you’re a spy working for the good guys (known as U.N.I.T.Y) investigating a sinister terrorist operation known as H.A.R.M (the bad guys).

Frankly, it won’t keep you on the edge of your seat. While there are a lot of cut-scenes, unfortunately much of the dialogue is laboured and unengaging. The voice acting ranges from fairly good to painfully bad, although I guess a case could be made that some of the terrible accents are (for once) a deliberate feature. Anyway, a spy game wouldn’t be a spy game without boasting a full complement of stiff-upper-lip type superiors and ridiculously overblown nemeses, and NOLF certainly doesn’t disappoint in this respect.

Let’s take a look at some of the major characters, shall we?

Cate Archer

A former cat burglar, Archer now puts her stealthy skills to more honourable use by sneaking about for U.N.I.T.Y instead. Equally adept at brushing aside sexist remarks with a pithy put-down or firing off a few hundred rounds at an army of onrushing bad guys. Scottish accent not the worst in the game, although she does say ‘Aye’ rather too often for my liking.


Bruno Lawrie

Looking more like a university lecturer than a secret agent, Bruno is Cate’s mentor and major ally within U.N.I.T.Y. Possible candidate for ‘worst beard in gaming history’.


Agent Smith

Uptight member of the U.N.I.T.Y administration, who constantly goads Archer about her performance in the field. Perhaps he’d be less tense if he didn’t have to expend so much energy on keeping his left eyebrow arched throughout the game.


Agent Jones

The big cheese at U.N.I.T.Y, Jones is a generally more friendly character than his moustachioed colleague, prepared to give Archer the benefit of the doubt early on. Makes frequent references to his career as a field agent, although it’s hard to imagine his portly frame ever sneaking through any windows or vaulting over barbed wire fences.


Tom Goodman

Broad-shouldered, brash American agent who accompanies Archer on a number of missions. Nauseating cheddar grin and Superman-style quiff make him a difficult character to warm to. Nice Hawaiian shirts though.


Dmitrij Volkov

Your typical Eastern European villain, complete with sinister bald head and well-maintained handlebar moustache. Curiously handy in a long-range gunfight for someone with a patch over one eye.


Inge Wagner

Nightclub owner and failed opera singer, Inge’s terrible voice precluded decent album sales so she turned to crime to make ends meet. ‘Comedy’ German accent makes her dialogue almost as uncomfortable to listen to as her music.


Magnus Armstrong

Ginger-bearded, kilt-wearing, heavy-drinking Scottish stereotypes ahoy! Armstrong’s a fairly unpleasant character, but due to an unwavering loyalty to his fellow countrymen (and women) he refuses numerous opportunities to kill off Archer on account of her Scottish roots.