Half-Life: Counter-Strike

aka: Hλlf-Life: Counter-Strike
(prices updated 10/4 9:41 AM )

Description official descriptions

Half-Life: Counter-Strike is a stand-alone package containing a collection of multiplayer Half-Life mods. It includes the following:


  • 半条命:反恐精英 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 戰慄時空之絕對武力 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 카운터 스트라이크 - Korean spelling

Groups +



Credits (Windows version)

53 People (51 developers, 2 thanks) · View all



Average score: 89% (based on 16 ratings)


Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 129 ratings with 6 reviews)

Multiplayer revolution indeed.

The Good
Without a doubt the first multiplayer-only game that brought the right amount of realism and team tactics to what's still essentially an arcade game without dulling gameplay. That's Counter-Strike in a nutshell, I mean, there's really nothing shockingly revealing that I can add to the reams of text that have been written trying to explain it's success but what the heck, right?

Let's see, first you take the thrilling team-based fps gameplay found since the days of the first Quake CTF maps, but increase the complexity behind it's goals. Instead of running to blue base and back you now have to plant/defuse a bomb, rescue a group of hostages, etc. in any of the urban-themed maps, and all for points that eventually make up the game's final objective. The realistic arsenal of weapons takes gameplay back to the basic firearm tactics without stopping with gimmicks such as bouncing bullets, mini-nukes or the like, and said weapons don't just magically spawn here or there, you have to buy them (as well as the ammo, grenades and armor) with the cash you get from the successful completition of each mission. Loose the assignment, or screw up (shoot a hostage for instance) and your team gets a pay cut the next round. A simple idea that adds lots of variety to a game and that periodically helps shift the balance of power in the maps.

Movement rate is also slower than on most arcadey deathmatch games, with a bigger emphasis on precission aiming and recoil as spraying bullets around while you are running with your SMGs will accomplish nothing as your line of fire is much more fickle and prone to lose it's aim than you were used to. Damage is more realistic with usually a few shots needed to bring someone down and death is final (well, at least until the next round).

To add to the experience you also have to remember that the game is based as a Half-Life mod, so you already have an engine that supports semi-realistic ballistics, skeletal animation and enough graphic detail for you to make out details such as what weapon is someone wielding and what team does he belong to (terrorists or counter-terrorists).

The Bad
It's still not completely realistic, as any glance to other mods such as Day of Defeat will show. And playing this game in single-player mode is just pathetic for obvious reasons thus limiting it's appeal (no matter just how smart the bots you use are). I might also add that playing this game over modem/internet connections is equally dull, for the real experience you have to set yourself a lan-party with 8 friends or so, and that's not always an option.

The Bottom Line
The biggest thing to happen to multiplayer gaming since Quake and still THE multiplayer game for many people, and rightly so! Blending team tactics, strategic elements and deeper gameplay without dulling the experience of shooting the hell out of your best buddies. A must for anyone that even remotely considers himself an action gamer. Anyone else just move on... nothing for you reflex-impaired folks here.

Windows · by Zovni (10504) · 2003

The start of a new style of first person shooters

The Good
Since I grew up with the likes of Doom and Quake, it took me a while to get used to the whole realism style of CS. But once I finally picked up on the tricks of the trade, I haven't stopped playing.

The graphics are important to the survival aspect of CS. The two different teams, Terrorists and Counter Terrorists, both have different skins, making it much easier to recognise a teammate. And if you have a good eye, you can tell which gun the player is holding, so you know if you should take him on or back out of the fire fight.

The maps are of great variety, which adds to the lastability factor greatly. And of course, there are plenty more to download over the internet, or you can make some yourself.

The gameplay itself may seem difficult at first (it did to me), but once you get going, you'll find yourself flying through to camping spots before the enemy get near the area in no time at all. The menu system used in CS is very simple and easy to use, even for beginners. And because your playing with teammates, you can watch what they do and learn from your mistakes.

I enjoyed the fact that, no matter how many times you play a particular map, it will never be the same game. People learn from their mistakes, take different paths to trick you or fall back and ambush at a particular point. It's never the same.

Sound is also an important inclusion, in any game really. In CS, you can hear players footsteps when near you, creating another task of whether you should wait or run. And the sounds of gun fire, shouting and laughter (trust me, it always happens) adds to the games fun factor.

Finally, the range of weapons are fantastic. But no matter how tough the bigger weapons are, it all comes down to timing, control and aiming. Shoot at the waist and the opposition will last that little bit longer. Shoot towards the head and he should be dead in no time, no matter what the weapon. Of course, it's more fun sneaking up behind with a knife.

The Bad
Depending on who you play with, some times people don't play as a team. Bad move. This a team game, nothing else. If you want to win, you have to stick together, or play tactics. Really skilled players can go it alone, of course, but if you are just starting out it's better to stick with a group.

The only major problem here is lag. If you playing over the net, unless you have a high speed connection, don't expect a smooth game. LAN is the better choice, although that can also have problems if there's to many on at the one time.

The latest patch includes voice support, so you can talk over microphone to other players. This is great for serious players, but you'll always get someone who just chats like he is one ICQ, and that gets very annoying when you trying to concentrate on the game.

Some may also hate the fact that once dead, they must wait for the next round and they may run out of cash for bigger weapons. These are problems, but I'm used to all of that.

The Bottom Line
If you prefer blasting action non-stop, stick with Quake. But everyone should at least try Counter-Strike once. The combo of team play and tactics is perfect. And here you get extra mods such as Wanted (a fav of mine). Of course, you can download CS for free, but as a total package with the added extras included, and the fact that you don't need Half Life to play this, the boxed CS is well worth your money. Get this now.

Windows · by Kartanym (12382) · 2006

Re-defined Multi-player games, but also re-defined kids into bunch of @#!%$!@$'s

The Good
2nd Update. Note: This review is limited only to the multi-player experience.

The best Artificial Intelligence (AI) in gaming is called Human Intelligence. It is because the human mind continues to adapt against various real-life mathematical algorithms, although ironically in real-life they have usually have intelligence of an average mosquito, it's amazing what a human opponent can do when they are permanently settled in a moss-covered chair playing Counter-Strike all day long (all night and all week long for that matter)...like me a loooong time ago. :) Not having a life does have its moments. :p

The Bad
This will be one of the most serious reviews I'm about to attempt (yeah, right). This paper is about the The Sociological and Psychological Impact of the Multi-Player Counter-Strike Pop Culture Experience to Online Un-Suspecting Youth.

<hr />

It all seemed so innocent the first time you entered the battleground. The purpose was short and simple: shoot the other team with everything you've got.
Well, until first blood apparently is YOU!

When that happens, you know you're going to say something bad. In fact, you want to say something ugly so bad, your head feels like its going to explode.

You remember you're younger years (which was several minutes ago), when you were naive and eager to serve your fellow team-mates: running as fast as you can to the front lines while trying to draw the enemies bullets from your comrades-at-arms... only to find out what damage a sniper rifle can do. You never knew where the bullet came from.

Next thing you know, you and the next pile of multi-player victims are swearing your young innocence all over the multiplayer screen, trying to curse all the players that are still playing about "not being fair" bla...bla...bla...hoping a response. Not realizing knowing that dead players can't speak to the living.

Technical Note: Chatting on the screen after being killed may only be viewed by other players not playing. The chat cannot be viewed by players still in the game (ie. alive).

After a several games and dozens of sniper bullets later, everyone now has a Sniper Rifle. No one no longer wants "to be a hero" in front lines with a $5000 Machine Gun or a simple pistol. Nooooo, everyone must carry a Sniper Rifle, since no one wants to die abruptly without warning.

Suddenly every one becomes...gasp a COWARD! Everyone's hiding in corners at unbelievable areas that even your momma can't find you. Hiding gleefully with that Sniper, scoping anything that remotely looks like movement. Sweat coming down your shin, ignoring other gun battles and the cries of your dying comrades in the alley beside you. It's every man or boy to himself now.

And there goes 20 years of chivalry, ethics, and comradeship of gaming down the drain. There goes the virtues of Ultima, the nobility of King's Quest, the bravery of Monkey Island. No one wants to be a pirate anymore. Everyone just wants to be "not dead".

This game truly inspires the worst of what an emo teenager can do in the terms of selfishness, immorality, egoistic and non-cooperation. They created monsters of people who were only idiots. :p

Some people actually "grew up" by simply walking away or putting down their sniper rifle, and just using the standard sub-machine guns. If that happens, the game usually became fun again.

Honor was restored since you now praise the person that killed you in melee combat or that shot your head (headshot) from a distance with an assault rifle, since it was fair and just combat. Although you still slander the bloke that knifed you when you weren't looking, but at least it wasn't a sniper bullet...

You may not be the top player in the "frag list" (number of players you killed), but at least now you had fun. This is essentially what games are supposed to be about.

The Bottom Line
I seriously think you have to be AT LEAST 25 if you want to play the multi-player game...

Windows · by Indra was here (20633) · 2007

[ View all 6 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Anyone played the OG downloadable version (pre-Steam)? Plok (157503) May 27th, 2021


Brazil version

Counter-Strike was banned from sale in Brazil due to a judge's ruling in October, 2007. This was apparently triggered by the popularity of a user-made map named cs_Rio in which the court claims the objective is for drug dealers to kill police in Rio and that they can also take UN members as hostage. What is not pointed out is that players can play on either side of the two unnamed groups, and that a game company has no control over user-made maps.

German version

The US version of Half-Life is banned in Germany but Counter-Strike is not - which is surprising, because the Counter-Strike version distributed in Germany is basically a cut-down version of Half-Life US with the Counter-Strike mod.

On 16th May 2002, after a long debate, the German authorities came to the conclusion that Counter-Strike would not be banned in Germany. The reasons were stated in the BPjM's opinion, released shortly after the verdict. Key points include "strong strategical elements", "possibility of team communication" and "action scenarios that do largely without sensationalism"

There are two German censored versions: original retail and the Steam version. In the original releases all blood effects were removed, there is only one kind of hostage and killed persons don't die but sit on the ground and shake their head. In the Steam version only the blood was removed.

Retail version

The version of Counter-Strike included in this package is identical to version 1.0 that can be freely-downloaded; the difference is that it's sold commercially and the mod authors receive a portion of the profits. This mod is officially sanctioned and distributed by Sierra.

References to the game

  • Half-Life: Counter-Strike was parodied in two episodes of "Die Redaktion" (The Editorial Team), a monthly comedy video produced by the German gaming magazine GameStar. They were published on the DVD of issue 04/2005 and 01/2006 respectively.

  • The game is referenced in the 2010 Susanne Bier film Hævnen (English title: In a Better World). The boy Christian (William Jøhnk Nielsen) can be seen playing the game on his laptop.

Robert Steinhäuser controversy

After the mass murder in a school in Erfurt, Germany, where thirteen teachers, two students and a policeman were killed by Robert Steinhäuser, an ex-student of that school. In Germany, the waves went high, the politicians wanted to ban each and every violent game and movie, the sooner the better. Many people think that he was an Counter-Strike addict but the only source that he's playing this game was a policeman, telling this right after the incident. At a later press conference policemen said that Steinhäuser didn't even have an internet-connection! And playing Counter-Strike without internet is quite a boring thing. You couldn't even download bots...


  • In the map de_dust, there is a smarties pack hidden inside a wall (you can only see it in free-look mode)!
  • In as_highrise, in the corridor behind the boards, there is a sign behind a door (it's hidden, you can only see it in observer mode!).
  • In cs_office, there is a blow-uppable wall near two boxes. Blow it up and you will find a surprise!

Trademark names and logos

Since version 1.0 (retail), the game replaced many trademark names and logos. Some were crudely replaced (The Beoks neon logo in cs_militia reverts to Becks in software mod at distances, for example).


  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 2001 (Issue #201) – Add-On of the Year
    • November 2002 (Issue #220) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • Game Informer Magazine
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #49 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
  • GameSpy
    • 2000 – Special Award for Multiplayer Gaming
    • 2001 – #29 Top Game of All Time
    • 2011 – #6 Top PC Game of the 2000s
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 02/2002 - Special Award as "Best Multiplayer Game in 2001"
    • Issue 01/2007 - One of the "Ten Most Influential PC Games". (It is one of the most successful game mods and shows how user participation can keep a title alive for a long time. Because of Half-Life: Counter-Strike, many of today's suitable games can be modded and the usability of most editors improved greatly. This game is also an important step for the electronic sports scene.)

Information also contributed by -Chris, Archagon, leileilol, PCGamer77 phlux, Scaryfun, Sciere and tarion.

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Related Sites +

  • [email protected]
    A very comprehensive CS website. Includes CS screenshots, links, and movies.
  • Official Website
    The official Counter-Strike site. You can download the full version here (Half-Life required)!

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 2726


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kasey Chang.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Archagon, Sciere, CaesarZX, Paulus18950, lee jun ho, Patrick Bregger, Plok.

Game added December 3rd, 2000. Last modified July 16th, 2023.