Pixel Boost: No One Lives Forever 2 at 1440p

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Cate Archer lives forever (in our hearts).

It's been 12 years since the PC hosted the adventures of 1960s superspy Cate Archer. Twelve years too long. If you've played NOLF or its sequel, No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way, you know why they're some of the best shooters of all time: smart AI, inventive weaponry, and an endlessly witty script. They were also some of the best-looking games of the early 2000s, which means they hold up remarkably well today--with a little tinkering to add widescreen support and higher resolutions. While the rights to the NOLF games have been lost to legal limbo for years, a trademark filing back in May could hint that they'll finally show up on Steam or GOG in the future. For now, the only way to play them is to load up a trusty old CD copy. If you've got one, it's time to put on your best spy outfit and get ready to Pixel Boost.

Install it

As mentioned above, there's currently no easy way to get ahold of No One Lives Forever or NOLF2. Developer Monolith Productions was acquired in 2004, and publisher Sierra was absorbed into Activision in 2008. On the bright side, disc copies aren't too rare. You can grab one on eBay for about $10-$20 (£5-10 in the UK), or even pick up a brand new copy on Amazon for $20.

No One Lives Forever 2 installs just fine on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, but the first game requires a special patched installer for 64-bit Windows. You can grab that installer on Play Old PC Games.

Run it in high resolution

There are two simple steps to running No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way at a decent resolution on modern Windows.

Step one: patch the game. When you install NOLF 2 from its CDs, it'll be running version 1.0, not the final 1.3. The game's built-in patcher is no good, since Sierra's servers shut off years ago. Thankfully, patch 1.3 is easy to find online. Download it from ModDB and install it.

Step two: add widescreen support. A Widescreen Gaming Forum member created a simple patch for the game that adds widescreen support and makes it easy to adjust FOV and resolution. Download the patch here and follow its simple instructions to get it running.

The patch works almost perfectly. When Cate takes damage, you'll notice the flash of red that appears on the screen (as you can see in one of the screens on the next page) is still 4:3. Some text in the menus isn't quite properly aligned. But the game perfectly playable in widescreen, and I was able to run it at 1440p with no issues. Unfortunately, NOLF 2 crashed when I tried to run it at resolutions above 1440p, and I couldn't figure out why.

Mod it

NOLF2 doesn't have an active modding scene, but there are two mods to check out if you're a dedicated fan. The first is LiveForever Mod, which will allow you to play multiplayer online even though Sierra's servers have long gone silent.

The second is the No One Lives Forever 2 toolkit, which provides editing tools and the game's source code. Write your own mods!

No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way at 2560x1440 on the LPC

These screenshots were taken on the Large Pixel Collider, with No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way running at 1440p with all settings cranked to the max.