A Very Large Explosion
A Very Large Explosion Title
Mission guide
The Indomitable Cate Archer
Such Is the Nature of Revenge
"A Very Large Explosion" is a level in the award-winning video game The Operative: No One Lives Forever. It is the 14th mission of the game, 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 (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.


Scene 1Edit

UNITY Strike Force Epsilon
On final approach to Chateau Dumas

A UNITY strike force in headed directly for the Chateau by Helicopter. Upon arrival, they immediately ambush the castle guards and prepare for Cate Archer's safe extraction. The alarm has been raised and Cate must fight her way out of the chateau and get aboard one of the Helicopters. On her way, she encounters Elite Guard, who are now revealed to have been the Baroness' private henchwomen all along. The first one ambushes Cate in a large hall of the chateau.

Following this encounter, Archer exits the chateau through a side entrance where she meets a UNITY agent who informs her that a helicopter is waiting for her in the courtyard. Archer warns him that they need to get off this within the next 15 minutes as "there's going to be a very large explosion!". Unfortunately, due to a silly misunderstanding amongst the UNITY agents, the last helicopter leaves just before Archer arrives in the courtyard. The other two Elite Guards ambush Archer. After she defeats them, Archer then proceeds to the main gondola station.

Scene 2Edit

Archer rides the Gondola off the mountain and must fight off no less than six H.A.R.M. helicopters. At this point, the scene cuts back to the chateau where Baron Dumas is enjoying what now turns out to be his last meal: he has been infected by his own wife and the explosion kills not only him but also destroys the entire chateau. The UNITY strike force, which has now realized its mistake, believes Archer has been killed in the explosion.

The explosion has also destroyed the gondola's mechanism, so Archer must 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". After Archer refuses, the impact of the explosion causes the ground to shake and both plunge down into a cave beneath the ice. A "showdown" ensues between the two where Archer, now opted for a revolver only, must defeat her arch-enemy.

Cate starts the scene unarmed but to her luck the area she fell has resources but she needs to reach them first. This alone turns this boss fight to a twenty meter hurdle for positioning also. To where she started there's a small alcove for cover on her right and to her left there's a loose looking pathway to the above where she can find revolver and take cover. Inside that small alcove by where you started and at top of the ramp, there are two Body Armor pickups to endure the damage and refresh yourself.

At high difficulties Volkov's high accuracy will force you to take cover right away at the start of the scene. Volkov will try to suppress Cate to hunt her unarmed outright before she reaches the gun and potentially score a few more hits while she's on her way to it.

Once Cate reaches the top by skipping on loose stones to watch them fall deeper into the crevice, she grabs revolver and a cover based gunfight starts. Volkov tends to take cover once Cate is armed and occassionally peeks to opens fire with his AK-47 while Cate has to aim her revolver whe he peeks by taking cover. Volkov can be seen changing position between three covers formed by stalagmite and icicle pillars once he endured a few shots from one position enough.

Once defeated, Volkov plunges into the depths and Archer proudly ends the mission with the words "Goodbye Dmitrij!".

Memorable quotesEdit

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-47AlpsAmmo boxBacalov CorrectorBaron DumasBaroness DumasBelt BuckleBody ArmorCate ArcherCheeseCheetahCoffeeDmitrij VolkovDumas ChateauElite GuardFoxGeldmacher SVDGondolaGordon 9mm SubmachinegunHampton MPL 9mm SMGH.A.R.M.HelicopterLionM79 Grenade LauncherPetri .38 Airweight RevolverSearchlightShepherd Arms 9mmSnowmobileSteakStrike Force EpsilonUNITYZebra


  • 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 obtained through shooting down all six helicopters in Scene 2.
  • Although it proves 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, Elite Guard are among the toughest adversaries in the game with their very sturdy armor and will take several FMJ shots and explosions to kill. The Acid Gas is the only weapon that kills them near instantly.
  • Whole mission plays like a climactic mini-boss rush that ends with a real boss fight. Elite Guards pose as three of them in the first, you'll face six helicopters at least in the second scene then whole mission ends with a real showdown against boss.
  • Despite the alarm having been raised and the chateau practically turning into a battlefield, Baron Dumas appears to be completely oblivious to the whole affair.
  • Your health is refilled as soon as you start Scene 2. Normally, your health would be 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 you fight Volkov, so try not to get hit for as long as you are in the gondola.
  • Even if you haven't equipped the Petri .38 Airweight Revolver, this will always be the weapon which you recover during the showdown with Volkov. It's unexplained how that pistol with a box of ammunition arrived there without UNITY having such foresight. Mission briefing doesn't cover an emergency cave where UNITY hid ammo for Archer, nor anyone else mentions it.
  • Although Archer loses all of her weapons during her fall, she somehow manages to keep her hat on.
  • It's also another question how Volkov managed to hold onto his AK-47 rifle after the fall while Archer lost every piece of equipment she had once.
  • Looking at their talking positions in the first few seconds of the cutscene it's never answered how Volkov and Archer managed to fall with such distance apart between them into the crevice and unhurt in the process. It feels like some scene is missing. It'd be more believable if Cate ended up in a body of water at the cave below, losing her equipment buried to mud beneath but finally meet gazes with Volkov at the main area upon finding her way out.
  • 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.
  • It is often falsely assumed that Volkov sustained his injuries seen in the sequel from his showdown with Cate. However, he actually 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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