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NOLF is set in the 60s, with all the trappings of a camp spy movie - the hammy accents, the atrocious fashion sense, the near-ridiculous 'state of the art' gadgets and a round-the-globe romp. But more on that later. (Warning: Mild Spoilers Ahead) The protagonist is Cate Archer, a former thief, now turned U.N.I.T.Y (British Intelligence, for lack of a more accurate description) field agent. As a newbie in the spy business, she's basically been itching for a chance to get to active duty, and now is out to prove to the patriarchal management of U.N.I.T.Y that a woman has the moxie to make it as a spy.
The weapons are all period pieces as well, and there's something about a bolt action rifle that really gets me going. One handy implementation is the multiple ammo type, that lets you cycle through FMJ, phosphorous and cyanide rounds, if you've got em. Nothing like a few phosphorous bullets to turn a baddie into a flaming wretch. The crossbow and harpoon gun also nail enemies to nearby walls. You simply CANNOT go wrong with that concept.
End of the day, gameplay is king. This was the first game I played where I shot someone and they rolled down staircases, fell over railings and generally made life more interesting for me. Occasionally, you might have to remind yourself to stop laughing and start shooting, but I can't take that as anything other than a good thing. The occasional stealth mission kind of slows down things a bit, as if you're seen, you lose the mission. With things like guard patrol routes and camera movement to think about, it can get a bit frustrating at times. But only a small quibble really. Only clumsy oafs like me will need to rely on the Quicksave button to get by spots like these. There are also extended conversations between Cate and some characters (usually the bigwigs at U.N.I.T.Y) where you have some choices in conversation, usually between polite and acid, and making the right choice can get you a few bonus points. I really liked the conversations, but I can imagine others getting a little bored quick. Anyway, this is a superlative shooter that many more people ought to have played. I for one am glad I did.
Developer: Monolith Productions
Publisher: Fox Interactive
Platforms: PC, PS2, Mac.
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