Review by Ghost Reeper

"Counter-Strike Condition What?"

When first announced Counter-Strike: Condition Zero (CZ) was to be a single player version of the popular multiplayer mod Counter-Strike (CS). However after a few good years of development and going through many different developers the end result is...maybe not what we expected.

You could say there are three different modes of play here. You have Ritual Entertainment's ''Deleted Scenes'' and Turtle Rock Studio's single player and multiplayer.

- The ''Deleted Scenes''
The biggest contribution seen here is mostly the player and weapon models, but I'll get to that soon enough. As soon as you start playing the Deleted Scenes you'll realize this is alot like a Half-Life or Opposing Force single player game. The AI isn't too impressive and will for the most part nearly go suicidal to kill you. For the standard CS player this won't seem like a very big deal, but for the ''old school'' Half-Life players this is nearly heaven. If you've ever played Half-Life, Opposing Force, or maybe even Blue Shift and said ''I wish this was more realistic'' then this is perfect for you. You have the standard Counter-Strike weapons along with a flame torch, fiber optic camera, remote bombs, and the list goes on. However due to lack of true storyline this might get a bit old.

- Turtle Rock Studio's Single Player
Turtle Rock introduced something nobody has really seen before. You get to pick your team (bots) which range in various weapons and skill levels and play on the standard CS maps we are all used to with a slight twist. Along with your standard objectives of planting a bomb or rescuing a hostage you get a few more challenges. For example, you might have to kill two or three guys with only a pistol, or maybe rescue all hostages before you can proceed to the next level. At low levels of difficulty these bots seem fairly standard as far as bots go. However the higher you go the more ''life like'' they become. These bots will do everything from planting and defusing a bomb to plain flat out camping just like a person would. You'll find yourself checking spots you'll often find players hiding and possibly more. The big drawback here is that you will grow tired of this after a few good rounds of it.

- Turtle Rock Studio's Multiplayer
The purpose of this is quite a bit cloudy and will make you ask yourself ''What makes this different?''. Other than retextured maps there isn't really a dramatic difference in CZ and CS 1.6 when it comes to multiplayer. There aren't any new sounds or player models, and any CZ specific maps have been leaked and are currently played by many CS 1.6 players everywhere.
* For extended information read Final/Personal Thoughts

Neither of these have much storyline. In the ''Deleted Scenes'' you are basically somewhat of a rogue ''Counter-Terrorist'' and encounter some difficult situations with new objectives. In Turtle Rock's single player you...carry out objectives. The best I could describe it would be a ''simulated multiplayer'' so its not really a single player game if based on storyline.

If I were to be rating each section of this review I'd give both of these games a 10/10 in this category.

- ''Deleted Scenes''
In the ''Deleted Scenes'' almost every sound, player model, weapon model, and sprite has been completely redone from scratch. The level design itself will almost make you question if your still on that old Half-Life engine. The background sounds and the character models definitely give off a ''realistic'' feel to the game.

- Turtle Rock
All of the popular maps from CS have been retextured and some redesigned in a few ways. It definitely gives off a feel of something ''new'' and can at times make you stop and pause just to look some of the eye candy. Along with having those old maps you get a few new maps that also add to the ''new'' factor in CZ. Unfortunately other than a few background sounds you won't really hear anything too new and impressive.

Replay Value
Both developers have added some replay value to each part of the games. However I see very little chance of many people playing the single player mode more than a five times maximum. There is just nothing in either mode of play that will draw a person back into playing.

Final/Personal Thoughts
Whether your a devoted Counter-Strike player, or a new player to the CS community I still say go out and buy this. It was a long and bumpy road to the final release of this game and it shows in the gameplay. But this is also something new and Counter-Strike related. If you own Counter-Strike take advantage of the 10$ discount Valve is offering I'd say its very worth it. I can say if you've never played Counter-Strike this game is a nice way to start. Ritual Entertainment has a nice training mission in their half of the game and Turtle Rock's whole single player will definitely get you used to the maps and different modes of play available.

*Continued Explanation*
In time this review will easily show age as CS 1.6 will become CS 1.7 or maybe lose its version all together. Valve plans to allow Condition Zero players to play on the same servers as Counter-Strike players. As for those who bought CZ for new multiplayer content the future is unknown. It can easily be said that the content leaks of this game was the major drawback. After the leaks took place CZ lost nearly all of the unique features it had. The players and server admins using the leaked models and running the leaked maps have only made this worse. It is unknown to most people what Valve wanted CZ to be like. If you asked me what I expected of Condition Zero a few years ago I'd tell you that Ritual's version was exactly it. But if you take a look at alot of the retextured and new maps in Turtle Rock's version they are alot similar if not exactly like those found in the Counter-Strike Xbox port. It is of my sole opinion that if Valve would have taken Counter-Strike's multiplayer, Turtle Rock's AI, and Ritual's single player and merged them as one, they could have had a very strong selling game.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 03/24/04

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