Review by Counter-Striker

"This has to be the best multi-player game ever created..."

When you think of the best online multi-player game, what comes to mind? Quake? Unreal? Team Fortress Classic? Close, not even, even closer, but all three fall short in the shadow of the almighty, Counter-strike. This game, once a simple-looking modification to the great Half-life, has developed into one of, if not THE most played online game in the world. For good reason. It has awesome graphics, great gameplay, and so much realism, it would make Tom Clancy suck his thumb.

Graphics(9/10): These are great, and really add to the whole atmosphere of the game. The individual skins of the Terrorist and Counter-terrorist teams allow you to easilly identify friend and foe, and make the decision to implant a hollowpoint round in their skull. There are four skins for each team, and are based on real terrorist factions and response squads of the world. If you choose the right skin on certain map, you can have the advantage, thanks to your camoflauge. The only reason the graphics don't recieve a perfect 10 is that the animations on the models look awkward and out of place. Onto the maps, oh my goodness, the maps. They are great, except for a choice few. I never really liked Final Option, the concept was just too un-realistic. The best maps are the ones that could be real-life scenarios. My personal favorite is 747, which has the Counter-terrorist team rescuing hostages of a Boeing 747 commercial airplane. The textures and lighting are great on this map, as well as the others. Small realistic touches, such as a generator in that back of a mansion to cut the power, and the ability to climb up a telephone wire servicing ladder to reach a sniping spot add to the overall feel of the game. The weapons are probably the best part of the graphics, because they are all accurately modeled after real-life counterparts, and feature beautiful details such as manufacturer names, bolts moving, and even light reflecting off metal surfaces. All in all, magnificent.

Sound(8/10): Another aspect that adds to the realism. Footsteps that echo in long corridors, bolt action rifles chinking when drawn back, explosions. They are all awesome. Each gun has their own unique sound, with varying loudness and frequency. Their are different footstep samples for various surfaces. A splash indicates entering water. They all immerse you into the experience. The game even lets you use radio commands to organize and execute your assault on the rival team. These are used by the (default)Z, X, and C keys, then by pressing a number after the list pops onscreen. The messages only appear on your team's screens, so the opposing force can't antcipate your next move. Rainbow Six, eat your heart out. Some maps feature music, but only in specific areas. For example, Italy, where opera-type music plays from an old-fashioned stereo on the upper floor of a house. Blow up the stereo, and the music is gone. Jolly good fun. The only drawback to this category is the samples that are taken from Half-life/Team Fortress Classic. They just detract from the realistic feel of the game.

Controls(10/10): Considering that you can customize them up the nose, this category automatically recieves perfect marks. But even using the default set is easy and intuitive. It basically uses the Half-life control scheme, and adds some extra buttons for the new features like radio commands and buying items. Not much else to say about this, except it is pure butta.

Gameplay(10/10): This is the meat of the game. Even if it didn't have breathtaking graphics and immersive environments, it could hold up to other games in this category alone. The gameplay is perfection. It uses the basic First Person Shooter formula, you know, I shoot you really fast, you shoot me back, but adds the realism that makes you play in awe. This game is so deep, that it makes a root canal seem shallow. Everytime you play a map, there is something new to be learned. New camping spots, a new attack plan, a new....everything. The teamwork-focused gameplay enforces this, as you must work together to stay alive. If you blitz the enemy line, guns blazing, when the smoke clears, the only thing left is your body. Having a partner draw fire, flip flashbangs to distract the opposition, give you boosts to otherwise-inacesssable areas, all reinforce this. Play alone, die. If you want to be on your own, go play Quake. This is a cooperative man's game. Play together, or play something else. That's all there is to it.

Overall(9/10): This game is simply great. While probably not embraced by the Quake community because of something called realism, it ultimately crushes THAT game by offering deep gameplay, great graphics, awesome sounds, and an immersive experience matched by none.

Buy or Rent?: Buy. MAde into a retail-version after V 1.0 of the mod, it is a great purchase, and is worth the money. If you have a fast connection(cable or higher), I recommend downloading it. It will take a while(I had to leave my computer on overnight), but it is definately worth it. The minute you get, it, start playing, and I guarantee you, you will be hooked. Have fun.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/13/01, Updated 04/13/01

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