|The Indomitable Cate Archer|
A Very Large Explosion
"The Indomitable Cate Archer" is a level in the award-winning video game The Operative: No One Lives Forever. It is the 13th mission of the game and the second part of the "Alpine Quartet" which forms the last part of the game. In it, Cate continues her search for the list of H.A.R.M.'s intended victims, encountering old and new adversaries along the way.
Once you reach the chateau, you'll have to act quickly. The first challenge is to locate the list. The greater challenge will be to deliver it to Command.
Needless to say, subtlety is advisable. The odds against you are already overwhelming enough without you drawing undue attention to yourself.
Cate arrives at the supply gondola docking station. After sneaking around the area she eventually ends up in a courtyard where Magnus Armstrong, accompanied by another guard, knocks her out. Once again, Armstrong refuses to kill her despite the guard's "prudent" suggestion. The guard admits that he hasn't been able to sleep since the explosion in England and asks what Armstrong would do if he were to head for the gondola with the intention to leave this organization. Armstrong, who appears to be having second thoughts about his career as well, offers him some advice: "Don't get yourself killed".
At this point, the PlayStation 2 version cuts immediately to the bonus level Nine Years Ago. The PC version proceeds directly to Scene 2.
Cate wakes up in a small cell in a now ruined monastery. Baroness Dumas taunts her about her failure and brags over the fact that H.A.R.M. works for her. It becomes clear that the Baroness is using the reagent to exact revenge or "Housecleaning" as she calls it on the people and society whom she deems responsible for her terrible childhood. She also discloses the unnerving news that Cate has also in fact been infected. While Cate was supposed to receive a "10-hour fuse", that "bloated moron" gave her 10 days, which now only leaves her about 45 minutes to live. Before the Baroness leaves, she calls for Armstrong to guard Cate.
Once Armstrong arrives, Cate challenges him to a fight. He is reluctant at first but following her constant provocations, especially in calling him a "coward". After Cate beats him, he keeps his promise and lets her go. He also tells her where to find the list of names and that it's "time to look for a new job" as he's not keen on discussing her escape with the Baroness.
Cate recovers her gear and sneaks out of the monastery. The Chateau itself is closed off by a large gate, so Cate enters the wine cellar via an underground tunnel. The entrance to the secret lair is hidden behind a pile of wood in the cellar.
Knowing that she is poisoned, Cate must find an antidote sample within the next 10 minutes. Luckily, the research facility contains a vessel of antidote. Once cured, she ventures further into the lair in search of the list.
Volkov informs the Baroness of Cate's escape and retrieval of the antidote. He decides to go after Cate himself. The Baroness reminds him that they don't have much time and to kill Armstrong too "while he's at it".
Cate wanders through a complex network of underground caves before finally discovering the Baroness' private office. She retrieves the list from the safe and is amazed to find a certain name at the top of the list. An angry Baroness storms into the office and sends in more guards to kill her. Cate pursues the Baroness outside to the helipad but it's too late, the Baroness escapes.
- Cate Archer
- Magnus Armstrong (final appearance)
- Baroness Dumas
- Dmitrij Volkov
- H.A.R.M. Guards
- Along with A Tenuous Lead , this is one of the only missions in the game that doesn't commence with a cutscene.
- This mission finally resolves the mystery of who the mastermind behind H.A.R.M.'s evil plan really is. While The Director is undoubtedly the administrative leader of the organization, the Baroness was in charge of this particular operation and thereby functioned as one of H.A.R.M.'s executive directors
- An intelligence item suggests that the town where the Baroness does her window shopping is called "Kleinstadt", which literally means "Small Town".
- The fight against Armstrong is the only boss fight in the game that is fought solely in melee combat style.
- Even if not equipped at the start of the mission, the standard gear that is recovered in Scene 2 always consists of the Cigarette Lighter, Barrette and the Shepherd Arms 9mm.
- If you take out the guard in the room where your gear is stored before he is alerted, you will not be able to obtain the revolver he uses when he does take notice.
- Unlike the ones in The Dive, the shark in Scene 4 cannot be killed and must be avoided. Shooting a guard on a nearby balcony will distract it and provide a good opportunity to swim to the next platform
- Volkov makes his first appearance after an absence of seven levels/four missions. He last appeared in Scene 6 of Safecracker.
- Shooting the Baroness' helicopter has no effect, as it won't take any damage. However, some gamers have reported that it suddenly disappears if machine guns are used.
- This level marks the last appearance of Magnus Armstrong in the game. He returns in the sequel in which he is not only elevated to main character status, but also becomes an ally who joins UNITY and becomes Cate's partner.
- One of the intelligence items that Archer finds in Scene 2 references the 1997 video game "Claw" by Monolith Productions. Captain Claw is also within a prison when he finds a note that starts with "I am writing this with a quill and a piece of torn parchment for my Spanish captors. I will then hide it in the wall..."
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