|A Very Large Explosion|
The Indomitable Cate Archer
Such Is the Nature of Revenge
"A Very Large Explosion" is the 14th level in The Operative: No One Lives Forever. It consists of two scenes, and is the third installment in the "Alpine Quartet" series, which make up the grand finale of the game. While the mission's main objective is fairly simple in theory (climb up, get the list, escape the mountain alive), it proves to be a little more challenging than that in practice...
Now that you have the list, you must get off this mountain alive. You should expect heavy opposition. It's what you don't expect that you should be afraid of.
There's also the matter of the name you glimpsed at the top of the list.
- UNITY Strike Force Epsilon
- On final approach to Chateau Dumas
A UNITY strike force heads for the Chateau by Helicopter. Upon arrival, they immediately ambush the guards, who raise the alarm, and prepare for Cate Archer's extraction. At the same time, Archer has just returned to the surface. Fighting her way towards the helicopters, she encounters the Elite Guard for the first time, who are revealed to be the Baroness' private henchwomen. She runs into one of them attacking her in a large hall.
Succeeding this encounter, Archer leaves through a side entrance where a UNITY agent informs her that a helicopter is waiting for her in the courtyard. Archer warns him that they need to escape within the "next 15 minutes" before "a very large explosion" occurs. Unfortunately, the rescue team has left just before Archer could arrive. She then deals with the two remaining Elite Guard before entering the main gondola station.
Archer rides the gondola off the mountain, warding off several H.A.R.M. helicopters. At this point, the source of the explosion is revealed: Baron Dumas was infected by his own wife and the explosion not only kills him but also razes the entire chateau. The UNITY strike force, which has only just realized its blunder, believes Archer to have been killed.
This also causes the gondola to break down, forcing Archer to continue her journey on foot. However, she is immediately confronted by Dmitrij Volkov who demands that she hand over the list and he will "kill her swiftly". When Archer refuses, the ground suddenly breaks apart, and the two plunge into a cave beneath the ice. A battle ensues where Archer is armed with only a revolver, while Dmitrij has an assault rifle.
Against all odds, Archer is able to defeat Volkov, who, soon after, wanders onto an unstable piece of ground, causing him to drop into the depths. Standing near the edge, she looks down and coldly wishes him goodbye.
Well, the whole level is going to have a lot of firefights and fun! Stealth isn't important now. In fights with mooks use Dum Dum and FMJ bullets, while also hiding behind the obstacles. The Elite Guards have small health, but much armor. They can throw grenades; shoot fast and accurate. Kill them with Phosphorus or even Cyanide ammo. African and Asian Hip chicks have Geldmacher SVD, so kill them on distance, while the European has AK-47 and should be killed with rapid fire. You can also provoke Black and Blondie to chase you and kill them behind corner. Try to save and increase your armor as much as possible before fighting with them. Also, there is a secret room with an intelligence item and ammo.
Your health gets restored, but once for the rest of mission. Each of six helicopters will encounter the player. Destroy them with Phosphorus and High Explosive ammo. Try to lose no armor or as little as possible. After dealing with them, save your game and use Belt Buckle. Then there'll be a fight with Volkov.
The player starts the boss fight unarmed, with their only supplies some distance away. Around where they start, there is a small alcove for cover on their right and to their left is a crumbly pathway to the said supplies where they can find the revolver and a rock for cover. Inside that small alcove and at the top of the ramp are two Body Armor pickups for additional protection.
On higher difficulties, Volkov's high accuracy will force the player to take cover right as the scene starts, and even a detour to the ramp in the event that they are low on armor. The trip to the left area is also risky, since they will lose their footing for brief moments as the loose rocks beneath them fall away.
Once they get to the end of the pathway and pick up the gun, the player can start fighting Volkov proper. Accordingly, he will begin to hide behind a formation of ice pillars and stalagmites, only peeking out for brief moments to return fire. The player must be fast and accurate in order to damage him. Upon taking enough hits, he will move over to another similar area of cover. It is important to remember that he will constantly switch between his hiding places, old and new, until he is out of health.
Announcer: "Battle stations! We are under attack."
(UNITY Task Force attacks)
Announcer: "All coffee breaks are hereby postponed until the threat has been neutralized."
H.A.R.M. Thug: "Ah, man."
AK-47 • Alps • Ammo box • Bacalov Corrector • Baron Dumas • Baroness Dumas • Belt Buckle • Body Armor • Cate Archer • Cheese • Cheetah • Coffee • Dmitrij Volkov • Dumas Chateau • Elite Guard • Fox • Geldmacher SVD • Gondola • Gordon 9mm Submachinegun • Hampton MPL 9mm SMG • H.A.R.M. • Helicopter • Lion • M79 Grenade Launcher • Petri .38 Airweight Revolver • Searchlight • Shepherd Arms 9mm • Snowmobile • Steak • Strike Force Epsilon • UNITY • Zebra
- If the opening cutscene is skipped, the general alarm will not sound.
- With only two items, this mission has the least amount of intelligence items in the game and neither of them can be viewed in the Intelligence Gallery. The first is a ledger in a hidden film room in Scene 1 and the other is obtained through shooting down all six helicopters in Scene 2.
- Although difficult, it is possible to prevent the death of the first UNITY contact. However if he survives, he stays behind and presumably dies in the explosion. The second agent is impossible to save and will always be killed.
- Even though they have average health, the Elite Guard are among the toughest enemies in the game with their very sturdy armor, requiring several FMJ and explosive rounds to kill. The Acid Gas is the only weapon that can kill them instantly.
- The mission could be considered a mini-boss rush that ends with a real boss fight; The Elite Guard pose as three of them in the Scene 1, the six helicopters in the second are the next (although destroying them is optional), and the end boss is the showdown with Volkov.
- Despite the alarm being raised and the chateau turning into a battlefield, Baron Dumas is completely oblivious to the overall situation.
- The player's health is refilled as soon as they start Scene 2. Normally, health is replenished after every boss fight. This could be due to how challenging the gondola ride with the 6 helicopters is. This does not happen before fighting Volkov, so they should try not to get hit for as long as they are in the gondola.
- Even if not equipped beforehand, the Petri .38 Airweight Revolver will always be the weapon the player recovers in the showdown with Volkov.
- It is unclear why a box of ammunition, along with body armor, would appear in a random cave, let alone one from UNITY.
- Although Archer loses all of her weapons in her fall, she somehow keeps her hat on.
- Volkov has no weapon when he talks to Cate, yet, after his fall, is somehow armed with an AK-47. There is no indication of him having the weapon beforehand.
- Given how close they were in the cutscene prior, it is not clear how Volkov and Archer landed so far apart from each other on opposite sides of a crevice. It should be noted that the ground below them gives way even before they can so much as run off.
- A Snowmobile can be seen standing behind Volkov when he first approaches her. It is possible that Archer used this to continue her journey off the mountain after her fight with Volkov. Still, as far as one can see, there is no clear path leading out of, nor away from, the hole.
- It is falsely assumed that Volkov sustained his injuries seen in the sequel from his showdown with Cate. In reality, he sustains them in a Skiing accident following the events of the prequel game Contract J.A.C.K. His conversation with The Director after the credits and several hints in No One Lives Forever 2, testify to this.
|The Operative: No One Lives Forever missions|
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