"Easily the most over hyped game in gaming history"

Surely if we are an FPS gamer, you've at least tried Counter-Strike. The game that is sp called the game 'everyone' plays, and loves, the game that all games should model after, and should play exactly like this game. Well in truth is; that would be very sad if it did happen, because Counter-Strike is shrouded in hype, but the true colors of the game are quite far from expected. With outdated graphics, corrupted admins, poor game play variety, buggy game play, and hackers run rampant, this game is definitely a shadow of what it could, and should of been.

Story 0/10
No physical story, at all. The single player mode is pathetic, and playing it will absolutely improve your skills 0%. Plus the game is not realistic at all, for Counter-Terrorist VS Terrorist doesn't play out in Real-Life like it's played on Counter-Strike at all and it actually falls close to a fictional game.

Graphics 7/10
The graphics still feed off the old Half-Life engine, which graphics aren't so outstanding anymore. Time to update that game engine eh, 'CS team’? While the actual character models are good, the actual movements are the worst I’ve ever seen. When you jump, you kick up your legs like you are doing a cannon ball, and you swing your legs like a pansy to boot. Your body also curves in some strange ways, and you can twist your body 360 degrees while your legs remain forward, and your torso is backwards. Quite amazing. Not to mention some animations are just incomplete and skip frequently. Definitely could have used some work there. The environments are decent, but nothing great, Day of Defeat, another mod for Half-Life definitely took the cake in the best graphical game for Half-Life, which looks amazing. This is another reason I believe that you can run this game. My friend has a 1 MB Video Card, arguably the worst type of card you can have, and he can still run the game decently. So I also suppose people don't know much better in the FPS realm, so they play Counter-Strike, since you can have a computer as old as Half-Life and still run this game, but I am making a generalization.

Sounds 7/10
The sounds were probably some of the best things in the game, and some of the worst. The gun shots are pretty nice, but don't accurately represent the sound in real-life, and sound very dull, and not rich, but they get the job done at a bare minimum. The actual voice overs on the other hand, are horrendous, and are probably the WORST voice overs for a tactical game ever, absolutely no feeling or emotion into them at all. This game also has no music what so ever, at least a theme for CS would have been nice, but nope, nothing. However, you can pop in your favorite music CD and listen to it directly in Counter-Strike, which makes up for the music loss. In addition to the voice overs, luckily, you can use your own voice to communicate with your team. However the other team can hear what you say, even if you want to privately talk with your team, how pointless is that? Quality of the voices are very poor, and they will have to speak pretty loud to get some in clear. Especially those who are very abusive of voice chat, and play some annoying or even offensive sounds, but luckily, you can turn voice receiving off.

Gameplay 6/10
The gameplay of course, is what makes and what breaks Counter-Strike. As stated above, many people argue that is game is so addictive and fun. At some point, it may, but not so much for a newbie. Counter-Strike was made back in 1999. It's now 2004. Can you imagine how many clans, and how many veterans have been made during this time gap? If you decided you wanted to play Counter-Strike, maybe because a friend encouraged you to, or you heard all the hype about it still, then you are going to be in for a lot of frustration and hardship. Counter-Strike has absolutely no newbie friendly gameplay, and that person will CONSTANTLY get obliterated by the veteran players. You'll notice you are spending 90% of your time spectating a player, which everyone of course finds boring. Of course, playing on LAN or playing in a game with friends can help turn this extreme disadvantage into more fair play. But jumping into the CS realm today would just be insane, and quite a few frustrating months as you desperately try to train and get better, because you'll notice that you unload an entire clip into someone’s chest, and they don't die, they cap you once, and you died. You can sustain a decent amount of damage in areas other than the torso or head, but during being shot, there is no chance of escape, as you move very slow, so if you can't locate your enemy, and just decide to run, good luck trying to, because you'll probably be dead before you even move just an inch away.

Basically, Counter-Strike follows a constant system of the Skilled VS Unskilled. The skilled will always have the dominating rifles or 'AWP' (which is a Sniper Rifle), while the losing team is stuck using SMGs and Handguns. The money system definitely is a good idea, to help prevent people using incredibly cheap guns (but they could have just balanced out the guns to make it easier, and remove the money system) it is still flawed in many ways. While most maps are balanced, there are still maps in which the Terrorist or Counter-Terrorists have the terrain advantage on their side, making the game even more unbalanced.

I believe that most people who say CS is awesome is the people who got a very early start on it, when most people were not hacking, and the game was overall a balanced game in terms of player skill. However most new players jumping into the game will most likely dislike this game for a long time, and then finally see what is so 'cool' when you finally get good at it. Which brings up another point is hacking; there are no 30:4 kill/death ratios in CS. Or you are immediately called a 'hacker'. Which you really never can tell, since about 1/4 of the CS servers contain at least 1 hacker. Some include Aimbots, which allows the cheater to get a headshot instantly. Speed hack, moving at much faster rates, or even Wallhacks, and seeing players right through walls. It also shows the imbalance of the game how there is no cheat protection, except when the admins customly add a program to check for it, but there is no purpose even trying to get really good at the game, or you will be dubbed a hacker, and most likely booted by an angry admin.

The iron sights are pretty inaccurate. When you move, the iron sights slightly increase, but not very much. If you had iron sights directly on a person, then rapidly fired at him, you will notice he will just not go down. While he puts a bullet into your torso twice, or scores a headshot and kills you instantly. The problem is just poor iron sights, with the bullets virtually never staying where you aim, and they end up spraying all over the place, Obviously the CS team doesn't know about iron sights much, for how open or how tight together they are, determines the possible areas for the bullets to go. While some may say it's not tactical to spray bullets, and it's better to time and aim your shots (which I will say you HAVE to do at anything longer than nearly in the face of your opponent), you should still be able to spray some bullets when he's at nearly point blank range, and land a few shots. This again, is what will most likely happen to new players, as you curve into the lousy aiming on CS, you'll learn how to hit targets better.

Probably one of the main imbalances is terms of weapons and how the teams actually fight each other. Most terrorists get the Glock/AK, while the Counter-Terrorists get the USP/M4. About 80-90% of the people you see in the game will be using this gun combo, while the other 10-20% will have AWP. All guns are basically crap, and a skilled player will easily take out a player using the expensive rifles or SMGs, simply by using the Auto-Buy combo. AWP can also be incredibly cheap, and fictional to a real Sniper Rifle. There is no wobbling, and it's just a solid easy to aim Sniper Rifle, a skilled player with this will be virtually unstoppable. Even if you are a new player, you will find that AWP can put you at the top. This game REALLY needed some balances in the weapons department, because it's just pretty pathetic on the variety of weapons that people use, and it's always the same weapons every round. Good luck finding anyone 'stupid' enough to use the MAC 10 over the Glock/AK or USP/M4.

Lastly, a problem in CS is lack of variety each round. Typically, each map only has 1 or 2 routes to travel in, making it not so tactical in that area, for there needs to be more path ways to sneak up on and evade your enemy. Which don't get me wrong, but there is a few maps that feature this (such as CS_Assault). Remember how I said how boring spectating can be? Well it's even worse when you got two teams complaining when it boils down to a 1v1 match, and one or two of the people are too cowardly to hunt and end up camping for minutes on end, to try to catch the enemy from the blind side. Which a lot of people also do to try to blind side the enemy, so if you don't like camping, then definitely don't go CS, because there is someone camping behind a door or a crate nearly every round. CS also lacks some good variety on modes, and it's typically bomb diffusion, or hostage rescue, old modes like the 'ES' (escape) mode is long gone. There are no Deathmatch modes, so once you die, that’s it until the round is over. Luckily, some talented people have crafted some mods to keep CS good in flavor, and also created some good maps to play on. Which I recommend an easy close quarters battle map to play on if you are new, since it's easier to get the feel for aiming.

Replay Ability (No Definite Score)
How much you replay this game obviously depends on how experienced you are, if you are new, and get frustrated easily, the game will start to collect dust really fast. If you are a veteran at this game, you'll notice it playing it constantly, since as I stated above, this game does get interesting once you get good, but that doesn't give any excuses to not make the game enjoyable for new players at all, which is the main reason why this game scores a 6. There should of been more balances in the money system, and basically ways to make the game easier for newbie’s, without them having to travel server to server to find someone who matches their skill level, which would be a long and difficult trip to find if you are just starting out.

Recommendations
If you really loved Counter-Strike, then get Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, which looks like some improvement over the original CS, but most of the veterans will probably move there, so it wouldn't exactly be as newbie friendly as before, unless some balance features got added in. Counter-Strike 2 will probably be released sometime in late 2004, or early 2005, because it's obvious it will be made once Half-Life 2 is here, using the amazing Half-Life 2 engine, which may really turn Counter-Strike around. Call of Duty is also a way more balanced game, that features a 'Search and Destroy' mode, which is the Axis forces planting a bomb, then the Allied forces must then locate the bomb and defuse it. Sound familiar? You may also want to try Day of Defeat, another mod for Half-Life. It plays more about capturing each teams flags by having your troops stand near it, but you can respawn, and is actually quite a more realistic game than Counter-Strike, and a bit more easier. So if you are looking for a new decent game to play, with no additional fee, download Day of Defeat. Lastly, if you want to download a new game, download America's Army, a game much more realistic than Counter-Strike,

Worth the Purchase?
Half-Life is roughly around $10 today, and is extremely easily to pick up. Once you have that, you can download Steam, a popular program for playing Half-Life mods online, which then you can download Counter-Strike for nothing, provided you have a legit Half-Life CD Key. If you have dialup, you can buy Half-Life for $10, and Counter-Strike around the same price. So Counter-Strike is not only graphically easy to handle, but it is also very easy on the wallet, so everyone can get a crack at Counter-Strike.

Final Words
Counter-Strike may seem like an interesting game, but when you see the big picture, you will see a very imbalanced game, where it's the same garbage every round, where everyone is isolated to a team of Skilled VS Unskilled. The concept was definitely there with the making of a good Terrorist VS Counter-Terrorist game, but the actual game missed the target. There are tons of many more realistic games than Counter-Strike, which are so underrated, as tons of current FPS games blow CS out of the water. It's the gossip of many people, low graphical requirements, and low price is what still keeps gamers playing Counter-Strike, and will probably be a long time before the majority of gamers see some of the greater tactical FPS shooters out there.

Overall Score 6/10 (Not an Average)


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 02/26/04


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