I like to think of Cate Archer as a fine example of a well-designed female game character. While some may hold up Lara Croft as the standard, her stick-thin limbs, microscopic waist, and oversized bustline make me question her overall believability. Miss Archer, in contrast, is extremely witty, competent in all aspects of her job, and confident in her ability to carry out her missions, to say nothing of her more believable physique.
Thankfully, Cate's making a comeback in No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way. Courtesy of MacPlay and The Omni Group, NOLF2 looks to take players back to the 60s, once again letting them play the role of a super-spy whose mission is to once again save the world from those that seek to do it harm. Given the nature of her opponents, Cate will have to ply all the high-tech tools, weapons, and psychedelic outfits she can get her hands on in order to succeed.
Rife with the irreverent humor that made the first game so enjoyable, NOLF2 continues the trend, catapulting players into the most ridiculous of situations. Needlessly elaborate death-dealing devices, tricycle chases, and poorly-constructed underwater bases are all part of the package. This is to say nothing of the usual cadre of incompetent guards, out-of-shape policemen, and secret plan of some Soviet soldiers to run around naked.
Time to Save the World...AgainThe story of NOLF2 takes place not too long after the first title. Still in the employ of the peace-loving organization known as UNITY, Cate Archer is now considered one of their top agents, and gets the respect afforded to one. The main director of UNITY has decided to take a much-needed vacation, leaving Cate's long-time mentor Bruno Lawrie as his stand in. This in itself leads to some laughs, with Bruno sending out memos pleading with fellow agents to stop addressing him as "Your Royal Highness" or "Most Exalted Leader."
While on a routine scouting mission in Japan, Cate begins to unearth information on a plan titled Project: Omega. As she digs a little deeper for information, it becomes apparent that the evil organization known as H.A.R.M. has once again reared its ugly head in a bid for chaos, world domination, and a whole lot of money. Complicating the matter is the involvement of the Soviet Union and the United States of America, who seem ready to go to war at any moment. This precarious situation is exacerbated by a trigger-happy U.S. general, a vertically-challenged fellow who seems more interested in launching nukes than suing for peace (his grand plan of attack includes a drawing of Russia with a bunch of arrows pointing towards it).
H.A.R.M., being a forward-thinking evil organization, understands the threat that Cate represents. Making her their number one target, they dispatch assassins of fearful repute that possess both deadly abilities and questionable mental health to take care of her. Along the way, she'll run into some familiar personages such as H.A.R.M. agent Dimitrij Volkov and former enemy turned ally Magnus Armstrong. New characters are also introduced, including the head honcho of H.A.R.M. himself, a posturing dandy who's mother constantly berates him over the phone for his lack of maternal respect, and his personal assassin Isako, a beautiful female ninja whose talents including smoke bombs, shurikens, and sword work.