"Counter-Strike is a great game when it can be played with people who play the game the way it was meant to be played."

Counter-Strike is a MOD for the original Half-Life game that came out in 1998. In 2000 gamers all over the world were introduced to the addictive world of Counter-Strike. Over the years Counter-Strike has gone through many changes, altering the look, feel and gameplay of the game. Finally these changes have come to a stop and Counter-Strike is currently halted at it's perfected form, known as Counter-Strike 1.6. While CS 1.6 is definitely not perfect it is still most likely the best form this game will ever have.

Sorry for the people who enjoy the story's of RPGs but there is no story in this game. The game is set in a series of maps that involve Counter-Terrorist vs. Terrorist team based action. Rounds last several minutes and either the Terrorists or the Counter-Terrorists win by either eliminating the other team or completing the map objectives. Rinse & Repeat.

This is the heart of CS. While some may argue saying that Counter-Strike is not a realistic first person shooter, I don't ever recall anyone ever officially labeling CS as a realistic FPS. It is a Team-based FPS. In other words CS is hard to play as a lone wolf. While it is possible, once you master the game, it is not the way the game was meant to be played. CS is meant to be played as a team. You talk to each other over your microphone and you strategize what you are going to do during the round and you constantly report to your teammates of your enemies locations. That is why CS is a tactical FPS because you can't just run in suicidally getting head shots everywhere. You need to play with your team and take over.

One of the best aspects of Counter-Strike is the weapons realistic recoil. All of the weapons in the game suffer from extreme recoil and are difficult to aim. Don't expect to just hold down the click button and run around because this only works when you learn how, and only with certain weapons. Counter-Strike has a very steep learning curve and the weapons take a long time to learn how to use.

Counter-Strike has several different gameplay scenarios to create some very interesting matches. The game has Demolition, Hostage Rescue, Assassination and Escape. Demolition is the most common type of map you will see and play in CS. Demolition involves the Terrorist team strategically planting a bomb at either one of two locations on the level. Once the bomb is planted a timer will commence and the terrorists must guard the bomb from being diffused until it blows up. The Terrorists win by either eliminating the Counter-Terrorists or successfully blowing up the bomb site. Even if all Terrorists die they can still win if the bomb goes off before the Counter-Terrorists have a chance to diffuse the bomb. The Counter-Terrorists win by either eliminating the Terrorists or diffusing the bomb after it has been planted.

For hostage type scenario's the Terrorists must prevent the Counter-Terrorists from rescuing the hostages. Usually these maps take place in buildings where the Terrorists are inside and the Counter-Terrorists must get inside and bring the hostages back outside to one of the rescue zones. Once the Counter-Terrorists have the hostages following them the Terrorists must kill the Counter-Terrorists by either chasing him down or camping at the rescue points waiting for him. The Terrorists win by eliminating all of the Counter-Terrorists. The Counter-Terrorists win by either eliminating the Terrorists or rescuing all of the hostages. If the Terrorists kill the hostages at any time they lose the round.

Assassination maps are not very common on Counter-Strike anymore but they do still exist, and they are actually extremely fun to play if you can find a populated server with people playing properly. One Counter-Terrorist will be the V.I.P. and he will only be able to use his starting pistol, however he has extra armor. This must be played strategically. The Counter-Terrorists win by successfully navigating the V.I.P to one of the two extraction points on the level, or eliminating the Terrorists, but I assure you it is a lot easier to just get the V.I.P. to escape. There is usually a helicopter somewhere on the level and an exit at another point. The Terrorists win when the V.I.P. is dead. So they do not have to kill all of the Counter-Terrorists, they can if they want and then get the V.I.P. last but there is no point in this. Kill the V.I.P. and you win.

Escape maps sadly to my understanding no longer exist in the game, but I feel they must be mentioned somewhere because many people to this date want them to return in Counter-Strike: Source. Escape maps involve levels where the Terrorists try to escape from the level. There are escape points on the level and once half of the Terrorist team escapes they win. Obviously the Counter-Terrorists mission is to eliminate the Terrorists and prevent them from escaping.

There are also different scenarios for CS, most popular being the "fy_" maps "fight yard" where the CT's and the T's are in small deathmatch based levels that give an equal advantage to both sides and the objective is to eliminate the other team. Often these maps give the players free weapons at the start of the round. These maps are fun to play for a break, and do not usually require teamplay.

There are also "deathmatch" servers but they do not exist in extreme numbers, and are hard to find. These servers are modified so that when you die you do not wait until the next round to play again. At the beginning you choose your main and secondary weapon from a menu and then every time you die you constantly respawn with these weapons. This type of gameplay is not singled out to specific levels and is usually played on maps with the "fy_" tag in the front. The real maps are labeled "de_" "cs_" "as_" and "es_" (although "es_" no longer exist).

The graphics in CS at this current date in time are not easy on the eyes. I mean they are not horrible but they are nothing to get excited over. Considering Counter-Strike is a MOD to a game from 1998, they look pretty decent. If you want Counter-Strike with good graphics then Counter-Strike: Source is your bag, which is based off of the Half-Life 2 source engine. Although the graphics in CS 1.6 still hold up and in no way make this game unplayable and if you prefer gameplay over graphics then you should have no problem enjoying CS for what the gameplay has to offer.

The sound in CS is pretty good, but again to today's standards they don't quite stack up as well. By no means is the sound bad, but again Counter-Strike: Source weapons do sound a lot better, but CS 1.6 still holds up as a solid and great game in all aspects. The guns all sound like guns and the explosions sound like explosions so that is all I care about. My main complaint about the sound is the radio voice commands. They sound like a robot recorded them, and these radio commands are for some reason still apparent in Source, but it is not that big of a deal. I am just finding something negative to talk about.

This is where Counter-Strike truly shines. This game offers hours and I mean HOURS of addictive fun. This game is especially fun when played with friends or with people you meet online who play the game objectively and the way it was meant to be played. You can play the game on your own, but don't plan on playing in any clan servers because they will become very frustrated with your lone wolf behaviour. Keep in mind that CS has an extremely steep learning curve. The weapons are very difficult to aim, as they have very realistic recoil. Be ready for many days of frustration, because I can tell you this game is not easy like most FPS. With all the veterans on 1.6 it will definitely take you several hours until you get the hand of the gun recoil and learn the maps layouts. However it is very rewarding because once you learn how to play CS is one of the most fun and popular FPS that you could play. And did I mention it is extremely addictive?

Gameplay: 9
Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Value: 10
Tilt: 10

Overall: 9.1
If you are looking for a great and not to mention cheap FPS that will offer you hours of non-stop addictive action then look no further then Counter-Strike 1.6. Although if you have a powerful enough PC and you have never played Counter-Strike before you may feel more satisfied investing in Counter-Strike: Source, which is a graphically updated version of Counter-Strike 1.6. However Source has many maps and player models that have not yet been added into the game. Assassination maps also do not exist in Source. Counter-Strike 1.6 will always be a classic and is still definitely worth checking out by anyone even remotely interested in the idea.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/27/05

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