Review by Showtime1080

"Surprising fun"

Little joy exists beyond the savage feeling of ripping a slug through the hardened skull of an enemy fighter. Watching his brain explode into a fountain of blood and brain matter, after carefully lining up the crosshair feels so absolutely satisfying, it grips the murderous soul deeply imbedded and rips it out. In fact, CounterStrike presents the art of killing in such a sophisticated manner, the sensation of death no longer has any outward social responsibility; it becomes the long enduring need to fulfill a primal instinct that's long been unintentionally suppressed. The primal instinct to kill becomes as natural as the motor mechanics of breathing.

One reason for this barbarianism lies in the claustrophobic maps, where the areas swallow the participants whole, and pit them against each other in a brutal test of strength, will, and endurance. Yet, the maps allow a small glimmer of strategy to make the art of killing a bit more tactical. Each team of ruthless barbarians start out at opposite sides of each map and rush each other to complete a goal ---whether its rescuing hostages or demolishing a target. The initial rush to gain momentum resembles olden days of war, where huge armies would stand in wide open fields, face each other, blow a battle horn and come tearing after each other with weapons drawn. CounterStrike forces that same kinetic energy but into tiny cages, filled to the brim with testosterone and death.

But there is some sort of direction to the chaos, some would call it strategy, but there is no method to this type of killing. Instead its more of a direction, a light hearted guidance to madness, that every single map in CounterStrike posses and must not only be found, but the most crucial element is informing your teammates of this particular guidance and organizing them to successfully all go the same route.

For instance, take dust2. One of the top 5 most popular maps in CounterStrike. A bright map where the brown sand reflects the sun to blinding levels and dust flies all over your face. There is a long hallway on the right side of the map, which is usually referred to as "Long A”. There's also a broad doorway in the middle, then on the left contains an impossible dark and scary hallway that leads to one of the other bomb sites. Now imagine the tension ensuing as you countdown the timer for the round to start and you hear your teammates yelling in real time over the microphone:

"Lets go Long A!"
"No they were waiting for us there last time. Lets go up the middle"
"NO, no. That's the point. They wouldn't expect us to go the same route!"

By this time, the round is about to start and the general direction hasn't been confirmed yet.

"Ok Ok, lets go Long A"

And off you go, weapons drawn, ready to fire slugs into the bodies for that all rewarding splash of blood that explodes from bodies after taking a hit. Hopefully, the organization kept up and they all went Long A. If so, by sheer numbers alone, a squadron of, maybe, 5 would easily take out a few of the enemy straglers who may have charged their primary firepower to a different location. This cat and mouse, guessing game brings a real sense of gamemanship to the brutal world of CounterStrike that makes communication just as important as placing a beautiful headshot from 30 feet away into a pissed off opponent who was looking to do the same to you.

He was pissed off because he fired his M4 assault rifle 20 times but every single bullet missed. The opponent, however, fired two shots and killed him instantly.

It's unfair and mean. But that's how it is in CounterStrike. One round, you'll execute 3 fantastic headshots, balleting around the map with masterful choreography, the next, you'll kill nobody and end up dying quickly. Maybe your team failed to establish a proper plan, leaving you alone to rush a site. Miscommunication may have been the culprit or perhaps a general lapse in concentration.

For the weapons in CounterStrike, save for a few sniper rifles are HIGHLY realistic and shoot bullets with an appalling sense of scatterness. If you hold down the trigger and fire the bullets of an AK47 assault rifle in one continuous string against a wall, the bullets would fly all over the place, some bullets shooting at the floor, others flying almost to the ceiling. Needless to say, it takes tremendous poise to pump the trigger (shoot short bursts of bullets) and accurately aim the shots, rather than panic at the sight of an enemy and shoot wildly. From the lowly pistol, to the High powered sniper rifle, each gun fires with different physics and requires a different approach to kill people with efficiency. But even the CHANCE to equip the high-powered weaponry is a privilege. Not every barbarian pitted in the modern day Roman Coliseum of death runs around with the sniper rifle or fully automatic assault rifles. Why?

Because they cost money. CounterStrike employs an ingenious sense of economics into the world, by allowing participants to purchase weapons before the start of each round. Depending on the amount of money you have, your selection of weaponry and gear changes, forcing gamers to strategize on an even deeper level. If you're low on money, and can't afford anything but a single shot pistol, you don't necessarily want to meet the enemy force head-on. If you have little money, that means they've allotted the larger portion of the pool of money. And the larger portion of money nearly guarantees their ownership of the big beefy stuff.

BOOOOOMMM!!

The bathroom of the strip club explodes with a thunderous roar. The scantily clad women dancing on the poles with their g-strings and 7-inch heels, blow up into a rubble of blood, flesh and bones. The explosion was executed by one man. His team long dead by a fury of nades and bullets, he snuck his way around the club intent on complete his team's mission. Too cautious to even run, he tiptoed around the club, listening attentively for that audible crunch of oncoming footsteps. With adrenaline pumping, while you stalk around the room, the silence becomes maddening, almost to the point of lunacy. But, you hear footsteps. They seem to be approaching from the left, so you crouch in the corner and wait until he rears his navy blue, goody-two-shoe, counter-terrorist uniform. Snap! Two well-placed bullets in his abdomen drop him with ease. You continue to the bomb site, plant the bomb and wait for additional counter-terrorists to appear who want nothing more than your head or the diffusal of the bomb. Amazingly, when all the bloodshed and smoke clears from a round, when only a few barbarians remain in the war, the mayhem of CounterStrike turns into pure stealth. Even though blood has been shed, the objectives still must be fulfilled. The hostages still need rescuing. Something needs to be blown up.

When it's all said and done, CounterStrike truly deserves to be the #1 most popular online game EVER. The millions of people that still loyally play it even years after its release is a testament that speaks for itself, but its very nature is also its only blemish. The anonymity of the internet creates a stage for all kinds of the most despicable shades of cheaters that truly ruin the experience for those that wish to kill fairly. Remember the scatter that occurs when the assault rifle is held down too long? Gone. A hack can make the bullets fly in one straight line. Remember carefully lining up the cursor on a head? Gone. A hack can aim for you. Or how about vanishing into thin air, then reappearing with a knife and speedily stabbing somebody like a man shot through a cannon? Do you think its fun playing against somebody who can see through walls?

Even with the sharp character models, the action packed, maps, the authentic gun sounds pilfering from every weapon, the slug slug slug of a bullet smacking the flesh, there's this hint of unrealism whenever a cheater joins the sever. Nevertheless, the quality of CounterStrike overrides all social mishaps spewing from the enigma that is the internet. Excellent game.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/03/05


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