Heroines to Watch Out For #3: Cate Archer


  • Name: Cate Archer
  • Game(s): The Operative: No One Lives Forever, No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.’s Way
  • Creator: Monolith Productions

Cate Archer is the star of the No One Lives Forever series, a campy ode to the glamorous British spy-fi craze of the 1960s. In the great tradition of Mrs. Emma Peel, Archer is a masterful spy whose wit, intelligence, and skill in the field can match and often exceed any of her male counterparts. She’s confident, she’s funny, she’s on top of her game, and she’s definitely sexy—but she isn’t a sex object. She’s what happens when the Bond girl stops playing second fiddle.


Archer is a Scottish secret agent working for UNITY, an international organization based in the UK aimed at defeating any and all evil masterminds bent on world domination. Similar to Michael Caine’s character in The Ipcress File, Archer was pulled out of her life of petty cat burglary by UNITY and reformed into a super sleuth. She’s actually the first female operative in the organization, making her a trailblazer for women spies in the in-game world. Given the series’ diverse gameplay style Archer can either be a stealth expert or a run-and-gun soldier, meaning that she can hold her own in both cunning and brute force. To be sure, she’s way more of a positive role model for women than Bond ever was for men.


The first game finds her investigating the deaths of several high-profile UNITY agents, which leads her to the discovery of the terrorist organization HARM. The second game reintroduces HARM and has them hatching another dastardly plot, this time threatening World War III. During her exploits Archer infiltrates a chateau in the German Alps, freefalls from an airplane without a parachute, has a swordfight with a deadly ninja assassin in the middle of a tornado, discovers a conspiracy to develop cyborg super soldiers in Antarctica, scuba dives through a shipwreck in the Caribbean, discovers the antidote to a dangerous biological explosive, breaks out of HARM’s secret volcano lair (of course), and even goes into outerspace.

I think that in two games Cate Archer has managed to earn a good chunk of the spy cred that’s taken James Bond twenty-three films to gather. At the very least she supersedes the Roger Moore iteration.


About Bryan Cebulski

Writer. Cis queer. History, masculinity, media. Point-and-click adventure protagonist. He/Him/His. Collects bad habits like Jessica Rabbit.
This entry was posted in Heroines to Watch Out For, Videogames and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s