"Best multiplayer game ever? For sure!"

Back in 1998, a little know team called Valve Software came out with a first person shooter, titled Half-Life. It was an instant hit, winning over 50 game of the year awards from various reviewers. Soon after, countless modifications (mods) came out for the game, and some of the better were the multiplayer ones. The best well known of those are Counter Strike and Team Fortress Classic, and I will give my personal experience with the former game in this review.

Gameplay-10/10

Simply put, the gameplay in Counter Strike is amazing. The thrill of taking down enemy after enemy with realistic weapons never gets old. There are three main types of game, Hostage rescue, Demolition, and Assassination. Each provides a completely different experience. Each of these game types are spread across tens if not hundreds of maps. There are also user created maps, which include team deathmatch style combat and other types. Unlike most multiplayer games, each game is divided into “rounds”, which last from 1-5 minutes on average. When you are killed you are out for the round and can observe other players fighting it out. This adds something to each game that most other multiplayer games don’t have: a sense of accomplishment for a kill. In Team Fortress Classic for example, you may feel good to save your flag from the enemy, but they will come back with more forces almost right after. Gameplay is great. I can never get enough of this game. I’m sure once you try it you will be hooked and reeled in to its superb gameplay mechanics.

Community-4/10

Instead of a story category, I decided to include one about the types of people you will meet on Counter Strike. This is the worst part about the game, unfortunately. Each time you get a kill, people will call you things like “HACKER!!!!” and “N00B!” and some other words I would not wish to repeat in this review. There is a very large amount of cursing and foul mouthing in this game. Thank god for the mute feature. If you do find a good server with people who actually know how to play on it though, the game experience will go up in value a quite a bit more. That’s what “clans” are for. They can provide you with a wonderful way to play the game without people cussing and being annoying. I have been through about 5 or 6 various clans throughout my playing experience, and I would recommend trying to get into one if you want to have the maximum fun possible from this game.

Graphics-7/10

This game is from 1999. Which means that the graphics are nothing compared to today’s standards. The models are blocky, the environments have major issues with clipping, and sometimes this can be incredibly frustrating. Why this category doesn’t get a 3/10 is the textures and level design. Each level has great design and normally no balance problems between teams, and each area looks completely different than the last. The maps are from tiny-to-very large size. If you have a nice PC the graphics will not actually be all that bad. I have two computers with Counter Strike on them. One has an 8mb graphics support card, and I have to turn the game settings to the lowest resolution and settings I can play with for the game to run smoothly. On my new PC with a 64mb Nvidia card though, the graphics look smooth and run fine.

Sound-10/10

This is one of the game’s greatest features. The sound is actually useful, unlike many other games. Footsteps can be heard, and gunshots/explosions sound incredibly realistic. Each gun has it’s own unique sound, and matches what it would sound like in real life. The Artic Warfare Magnum sniper rifle has a giant “BOOM” as it fires, and the silenced USP has a barely audible “choo” as it fires. Some of the best sound in any game, period.

Replayability-10/10
You can honestly play this game forever. There are hundreds of custom maps available for download, so there is always a new experience to be had. If you want to try it out, you can use Worldcraft, the Half-Life level editor to make some new arenas to play on. Some of the game’s best levels are user created, and with a little practice you could be a great mapmaker as well.

Overall-9.4/10

This game is great. Worth the $25 for sure. You can also get it as a free download if you already have the original Half-Life installed on your computer. I would recommend this to any FPS and multiplayer game fan. A broadband Internet connection really helps. After playing on dial-up then wireless Internet I found that the latency for the latter was significantly lower than the former. The game is easily playable on dial-up, just not as fun as broadband.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/01/03, Updated 03/14/04


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