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The sequel to No One Lives Forever continues the adventures of superspy Cate Archer, pitting her once more against H.A.R.M. (the baddies get the sinister acronym, of course) and the inevitable threat of global catastrophe. A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way creates an engrossing, experience in the spirit of the original, but not necessarily in its image.
H.A.R.M. is back with only one obstacle to thwart their quest for world domination: Cate Archer, the beautiful but deadly UNITY operative who foiled their last nefarious plot. The world's most deadly assassins are summoned with one simple objective: to kill Cate Archer.
Meanwhile, the United States has uncovered a top secret Soviet project that, if successful, could bring about a third World War. Can Cate avert a nuclear holocaust and simultaneously stay out of H.A.R.M.'s way? It's all very retro again, very Modesty Blaise, and that means lots of colourful outfits and environments, and oodles of smarmy, archaic dialogue, in tones so well polished you can almost hear the shine.
The game incorporates seemingly endless all-out shooting matches side by side with something more sneaky and stealthy, both influenced by, but not really that similar to other renowned FPS games such as the Unreal Tournament and Quake series, as well as the likes of Headhunter and the Metal Gear Solid series.
It's hard to know where to place a game like this in the pantheon of shoot-'em-ups, simply because of its central character. She's not like other game characters in the genre - Cate Archer doesn't look like any kind of 'ultra-gladiator' type (minus the giant cotton bud) or some gruesome half-human, half-breakfast cereal creature. No, Cate's a bit of alright, but she's a real tough cookie, as she proved in The Operative: No-one Lives Forever. Players of the previous game will find plenty in this similarly mission-based sequel to delight them. It's different enough to attract fans of The Operative, and a sufficiently attractive proposition to attract newcomers looking for something a little less Heavy Metal/Gothic than the majority of FPS titles.
Not quite the Highway to Hell, then. More like a lie down in Strawberry Fields.