Review by grendel03

"The latest version really stands above the original"

Just to clarify things
This review is written with the 1.2 version of Counter-Strike: Condition zero. Many new additions have been added to the game since 1.0 and if you're interested in buying it, upgrading is a must.

Overview
In counter strike you could be either a Counter-Terrorist or a Terrorist. Their are three main types of maps: CS where you rescue or guard hostages, DE where you plant or defuse a bomb, and AS where you escort or assassinate a VIP. When you first join you would have to purchase your weapon. Money is earned for completing tasks; such as killing an enemy, rescuing a hostage, planting a bomb, defusing a bomb, killing the vip, and etc. The more money you get the better guns you can buy. If you die during the round you loose anything that you buy.
When Condition Zero was first released it was just Counter-Strike with a single player game, some re-textured, maps, and good bot support. Everything else was just like Counter-Strike. Then VALVe released the 1.1 and 1.2 patches. These patches updated some of the maps even further, added new models, beefed up the sound, and improved the Hostage AI.

Gameplay 10
There are two modes of single player gameplay to cover. Normal Condition Zero and the Deleted Scenes.
Deleted Scenes
For those who eagerly followed the production of Condition Zero (all three years of it), you probably know that Deleted Scenes is part of what the second producer (Ritual) made. Unlike the other mode it has a story line. Some of the models and environmental textures are outstanding considering how old the engine is. And some of the scripted sequences are well done. This however, is the end of good things that can be said about it. The AI is dumb, you can't pick up any of your enemies weapons even when you run out of bullets, the correct ammo for your weapon and other weapons are just "magically" placed around the map right when you should start to get worried. For example, there's a level that takes place in an office building. An inspection of the cubicles shows that the employees brought shells and grenades to work with them that day. Finally the amount of enemies is somewhat ridiculous.
Normal mode
The gameplay for normal mode is just like Counter-Strike with bots. For a detailed explanation check out the reviews on that game, or read the summary I wrote in the introduction. The single player missions have four difficulty levels, Easy, Normal, Hard, Expert. The missions themselves are divided up into "Tours of Duty". Each Tour consists of three maps, each map has a main objective. And some secondary objectives that must be completed to finish the level. The game has rounds just like in Counter-Strike so you will have to beat (or lose) that level several times to finish the map. The secondary objectives are based on the difficulty level. For example: on easy it's rescue one hostage, but on hard it's rescue all hostages. High difficulties will have you completing objectives, like kill X number of enemies with <this gun> without dying. While the lower difficulty levels will be content to just let you kill the person and not worry about dying.
But before you start a level you must choose your team. Team members are categorized in 4 ways. The first is skill, the second is Co-op (how well they work as a team), the third is Bravery, and the fourth is the weapon they use. There are five levels of team mates. On the lower three levels their are usually trade offs, like one might have high skill, bad co-op, and good bravery. Or they might have high or good in every category but use a crappy weapon. So it's important to choose a balanced team. To choose that team you'll need reputation points, beating a map will yield you one point. To get a level one team mate it will cost you one point, to get a level three it will cost you thee points, and so on up to level five.
Finally there's the improved hostage AI and an upgraded "buy" feature that lets you make packages for an auto purchase system. The old hostages would just follow around and speak when you "Used" them. The new hostages will try to escape if the terrorist don't worry about guarding them. They'll also give you hints, and say things like "Crap!" when you're being shot at, or they'll give a cheer when you win. The upgraded "buy" feature lets you define packages for different types of weapons. If you don't have enough money the game will automatically select another weapon in the category that you're trying to buy from. If you chose to buy the rifle package and you don't have enough for the standard one, it will chose a cheaper option so you still get a rifle.

Graphics 9
Noting special about these, the game is based on the Half-Life engine and that is over four years old. Condition Zero vastly improved the textures and models that were in Counter-Strike. And they are a huge improvement over the old models.

Sound 8
The sound is an improvement too. It sounds like there is more base in the sound effects. The radio messages are easier to understand but they sound really scratchy. The simulated static from a radio comes off really bad.

Controls 10
The default keys are well placed and they fell responsive. Nothing much has changed here from the original.

Multiplayer 9
Just like the normal single player but with people instead of bots (most of the time). Their are no secondary objectives, and you can choose a player model. My problem was it's lack of backward compatibly with Counter-Strike. You can't play on the same servers even though is based on the same engine. And there's no way to update the models in Counter-Strike with those in Condition-Zero.

Overall: 9/10 not an average


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/03/04


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