Cate Archer’s second and sadly final outing managed to improve on the gameplay and graphics of the already excellent first game and deliver a superbly entertaining espionage experience that is every bit as desirable as the super agent herself. Once again, the stylish Ms Archer will take on the evil forces of H.A.R.M across several locations in the world. She will need to use stealth, cunning, brute force and a variety of spy gadgets to accomplish her missions while staying out of their cross-hairs.
The game should install just fine on modern versions of Windows. When installing the game, be sure to choose “Recommended” installation for best performance. At the end of the install process the installer will ask you if you want to install DirectX. You should decline, since the version on the disk is somewhat out of date.
UNITY agents should ensure that they have the latest patch installed before embarking on any adventures with agent Archer. The latest patch for the game can be downloaded by using this link. Simply download the executable file and then run it and follow the on-screen prompts. Patching should then be automatic.
Windows 10 Users Only
Due to security related changes in Windows 10, you may find that No One Lives Forever 2 will not start on Windows 10 machines. To get around this, unfortunately it is necessary to disable the games copy protection. Regrettably we’re not able to link to content like this, so you will have to do a little detective work (try checking in with our friends over at UnityHQ). We can tell you the MD5 file hash for the working crack we found was A2FDC559B0D0FE55E0FC5503927306CB.
Starting the game
With the game installed and patch applied, start the game from the Start menu or Start screen and the launcher will appear, as shown below.
Click on “Display”. The display settings will then open.
From the list on the left, choose a resolution that is supported by your monitor. Notice that you cannot choose widescreen resolutions at this point. We’ll have a fix for widescreen later. For now, choose the most suitable resolution from the list. “Renderers” and “Displays” should only have one option in them on most machines, so simply leave those alone and click on “OK”.
We’re done setting options on the launcher now, click on “Play” and make sure the game starts.
Tweaking visual quality
As with most old games, you should be able to crank up all the visual quality settings to the max, even on a more modest modern PC. From the games main menu, Choose “Options” and then “Performance” and then “Special Effects”. Set all the options to their highest setting, as per the screenshot shown below (click on the picture to enlarge it).
Finally, for those of you with Nvidia or ATI graphics hardware, you can also slightly improve the visual quality of the game by forcing antialiasing on in your graphics cards control panel. Consult the instructions that came with your graphics hardware for further instructions on how to do this. We tested this briefly on our Nvidia equipped PC and it didn’t seem to make a big difference, but it certainly didn’t hurt either.
Tweaking sound quality
There are a couple of things you can do to make sure the game sounds as good as it possibly can too. First of all, from the games main menu, choose “Options” and then “Sound”. There’s just one quality setting to change here, so make sure “Sound effects quality” is set to “High”.
Like many of the top games from this era, No One Lives Forever 2 supported the now defunct EAX enhanced audio standard, specifically (according to Wikipedia) EAX HD3. This means that gamers with a suitable EAX sound card could enjoy the best quality surround sound from the game. EAX is no longer supported since Windows Vista, but if you have a suitable Creative Audio sound card and a copy of the Creative ALchemy software, you can restore full EAX sound back into the game. Simply launch your Creative ALchemy software and No One Lives Forever 2 will automatically be detected and added to the list on the left. Select the game and then click the “>>” button to activate support. Full surround sound is then restored to the game.
If you don’t have a Creative sound card, you will need to check with your manufacturer to see if EAX emulation is available. Asus software’s DS3D GX system can also provide this functionality, for instance.
Playing in Widescreen
Widescreen monitors weren’t common when No One Lives Forever 2 launched, but now of course it’s rare to see a monitor that isn’t widescreen. Getting the game to run in widescreen requires a little tinkering, but is well worth it. Start by quitting out of the game if necessary, then downloading the latest version of the widescreen mod from this link. The file is downloaded as a Rar archive. If you need software that can open Rar archives, we recommend 7-zip. There are several tutorials on 7-zip available here.
Once you open the archive, you should find a folder called “WidescreenPatch” and a readme file. What you need to do is copy the WidescreenPatch folder to your No One Lives Forever 2 game folder, under the “Custom/Mods” sub folders. By default, the path to this folder is “D:\Program Files (x86)\Fox\No One Lives Forever 2\Custom\Mods”. Make sure you copy the folder and not just the “WobaksWidescreen.rez” file, otherwise the game will not detect that the mod is installed.
Once you have copied the file from the archive into the Mods folder, launch No One Lives Forever 2 again, you should now see a new button on the launcher labelled “Custom”.
If you don’t see the “Custom” button, you haven’t installed the files in the correct location. Go back and check that you put them in the right place.
Now, just click on “Custom” and then select the box “WidescreenPatch”. Click on “OK”. You can now start the game by clicking “Play”. From the games main menu go to “Options” and then “Display”. Now, click the “Resolution” option until the desired screen resolution is selected, then click on “OK”. The game will now play in widescreen. Cut scenes and movies will still be displayed in 4:3 aspect ratio (with bars at the side of the screen) to prevent them being stretched out of proportion, but the game itself will run pretty much perfectly in widescreen now.
Before you get stuck in, there are a few things you might want to fine tune. Quit the game again and this time browse to the games installation folder. Locate the display.cfg and edit it in Notepad or your favourite text editor. If you’re unfamiliar with editing text/configuration files, see this tutorial.
In display.cfg, find the line that begins “FOV”. Change the number on this line, if necessary, the value should be “90.000000” for 16:9 monitors. Save this file when you’re done editing it.
Now, edit the file “autoexec.cfg”. This file is also in the root of the No One Lives Forever 2 game folder. There are two lines you may want to edit in here. First of all, find “RightHUDPush”. This value affects the positioning of the HUD (heads up display). The author of the widescreen patch recommends it be set to “30.000000”.
Secondly, the line that begins “CrosshairSize” affects, you guessed it, the size of the games cross-hair. You may find that the default value is fine, “0.600000” seemed to work well on our 1080p monitor. If you’re lucky enough to have a 4K monitor you may want to increase the value further.
Save the file once you are done editing. You’re now done installing and tweaking the widescreen mod and you can now begin playing the single player game with all the bells and whistles.
Multiplayer and other notes
If you’re interested in playing the game in multiplayer, you should note that the games official servers were closed down in 2008. However, thanks to the modding community, you can now use the “Live Forever mod” and restore multiplayer functionality to the game. Download the mod here.
This mod is also downloaded as a Rar file. Again, if you can’t open it, check out our 7-Zip tutorials here. Inside the Rar archive is a single file called “LivesForever.rez”. To install the mod, follow these simple steps.
1) Browse to your No One Lives Forever 2 game folder, by default that is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Fox\No One Lives Forever 2”.
2) Open the “Custom” sub folder.
3) Open the “Mods” sub folder.
4) Create a new folder inside this folder, called “LivesForever”, then open it.
5) Extract the LivesForever.rez into the folder you just created.
When you have installed the mod, you need to activate it, again in the same way as the Widescreen mod. Start the game and on the games launcher, choose “Custom” and then select “LivesForever”. Unfortunately, you cannot use LivesForever and the Widescreen patch at the same time, so your multiplayer matches will need to take place in old school 4:3 aspect.
For more information on playing the game in multiplayer or to find friends to play it with, head over to the fan community at UnityHQ.
The superb gaming utility/in-game overlay Evolve fully supports No One Lives Forever 2. Using this tool you can message your friends, access the web as well as take screenshots and videos of your gameplay, all without having to exit back to the desktop.
Game crashes on exit – Typically the game will crash when you exit it. There’s little need to worry about this however, since your progress will not be lost.
Problems saving games and configurations – Like many old titles, No One Lives Forever 2 saves its game data into the same folder as the game itself. In some instances on more modern versions of Windows, this will mean that save games and configuration files cannot be written. To solve this problem you can either run the game as administrator (right click on the games icon and choose “Run as administrator”) or, better still, set the permissions on your game folder so that your user account has full control/read write permissions. You can find a tutorial on how to configure folder permissions here. The games default installation directory is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Fox\No One Lives Forever 2”. The actual save game files are stored in the “Save\Player\SinglePlayer” sub directories. Configuration settings are stored in various configuration files in the root of the installation directory.
Click on any screenshot to enlarge it. Firstly, the game running in its original 4:3 aspect ratio.
Below, the game running with the Widescreen mod in 1080p.