Half-Life: Counter-Strike

aka: Hλlf-Life: Counter-Strike
Moby ID: 2726

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 89% (based on 16 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 130 ratings with 6 reviews)

A paradox in entertainment.

The Good
If you've never heard of Counter-Strike, well, I'd like to meet you, shake your hand, give you a hug and move to whatever cave you've been living in all your life. The fact is, Counter-Strike is the most played game on the Internet, it is probably the most well-known game, and it is, in a word, a phenomenon. At any given time there is around 20,000 servers up and running with a good twenty-or-so people in most of them. Everquest can't even compete with those numbers.

Counter-Strike is a perfect game, really. It is an arcade shooter with "one-hit kill" realism, which makes for fast games and can rely heavily on team strategies to accomplish. There is enough realism in this game in which your life does amount to something (this isn't Quake where you can take forty hits, possibly die, and just come back to get revenge) but arcade enough to keep everyone entertained. There aren't many maps that get played, just a select few really, but that's fine because these maps have everything you'd want in them. There are different game modes which keep things interesting. Basically, there is enough in this game to keep you entertained for thirty hours at a time.

But let's face it, folks. The real entertainment in this game doesn't come from the gameplay, nor does it come from the game modes, weapons, arcade gameplay or realism. It comes from the players themselves, and therein lies the paradox...

The Bad
...because it is the people that make up this game, and it is the people that also destroy it. This is not a game for the intelligent -- this isn't a game for the remotely conscious, the people who are only half in-touch with reality. This is a game for idiots and homophobic thirteen year old wiggers. Every laughable thing you've heard about the populace of Counter-Strike is indeed, true. Let me tell you a story.

I knew what Counter-Strike was. I remember playing it while it was in beta, but that was brief and was no good because I was on dial-up at the time. Any gaming forum I visited would always have some sort of Counter-Strike thread, whether it was to admire it or make fun of it. I've seen screenshots, I've heard stories, and all the while I could only think that this was exceptions. People aren't that stupid, people aren't that...that way. These were just exceptions. But somewhat recently I finally decided to give Counter-Strike a shot. After all, the most popular game on the planet must be entertaining, right? Well, the game is, but sadly, the people ruin it.

I don't think I could even give an example here. I admire Mobygames for their ease on censorship, but surely even they have their limits and were I to quote a single line from any Counter-Strike dialogue I don't think this review would get approved. To put it bluntly, this game hosts the most vulgar, most disgusting, most hope-depleting band of people that until recently, I thought were just a myth.

But can it still be fun? Oh, surely, it can. If you can turn off the chat, if can be fun. If you can turn off the voice chat so you don't have to listen to some prepubescent eleven year old kid call you "faggot" and "wallhacker" every time you get a kill, if can be fun. Or even better, if you play on a private server with people you know, it can be fun. Or, if you just want to laugh at horrible decay of our youth's intelligence, it can be fun.

Or if you're just an eleven year old racist homophobic wigger...it can be fun.

The Bottom Line
A phenomenon in multiplayer gaming, Counter-Strike is a paradox in entertainment. On one hand, you have a perfect combination of realism and arcade with strategies and team-tactics thrown in...and on the other hand, you have proof that a good percentage of the human race ought to be launched into the sun. There are ways to enjoy the game if you're not a complete moron, still.

And there is such satisfaction from knifing one of those jerks from behind.

Windows · by kbmb (415) · 2004

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 (12419) · 2006

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 (10503) · 2003

One of the Steepest Learning Curves Ever!

The Good
Counter Strike has a sense of realism that's not found in too many games.You can get killed in one or two hits,and you must work together as a team.Also,the gun graphics and animations are actually very good for a mod and the levels are expertly designed.Plus,its just a very fun multiplayer game that always has people playing and its easy to get into the game.

The Bad
This is a hard game.And I mean hard.During your first hour of play,if you can kill even one person,that's quite good.You'll be facing off experts who can pick you off in one shot and then quickly get anyone trying to cover you.And,shooting your gun is not easy as the bullets get less and less precise the more you shoot.

Another problem is with the lag I had with the game.I have cable and my game still lagged a lot during parts with many players at one time.Then,when I play Team Fortress,I face little or no lag at all.It might sound like a minor complaint but I faced it a lot and it was boring to have to wait until the next game starts.

The Bottom Line
Counter-Strike is a very hard,very fun small little game that will place so much challenge on you the first few times you play,you might just give up.

Windows · by SamandMax (75) · 2001

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 (20767) · 2007

Best multiplayer game ever!!!!

The Good
I liked the team idea, the realism, the weapons, the maps, the modes of play, the sounds, and the graphics.

The Bad
I didn't like the fact that you could have one team change per round, that if you died, you became a ghost for the rest of the round, and the fact that when you select a team, you can't back out. Also, there is lots of clipping. Finally, when you join a game, it doesn't say the wins/losses.

The Bottom Line
A trulty amazing online team-based game. THIS GAME KICKS SOME SERIOUS ASS!!!!

Windows · by Archagon (108) · 2001

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Big John WV, Jacob Gens, Marko Poutiainen, Kabushi, Patrick Bregger, Wizo, Scaryfun, Xoleras, Klaster_1.