Counter Strike was released as a modification for the popular Half-Life games and quickly became the most popular modification maybe even surpassing the main game in itself. While the mod completely lacks a single player aspect, the multiplayer is amazing not just focusing on individual skills but truly having to work as a team. Valve has continued to try and capitalize on its success coming out with new versions like Counter Strike Condition Zero and now Counter Strike: Source based off the Half Life 2 Source engine. While these new versions of the game have been released people still stay with the original and the real question is: Can Counter Strike: Source replace the older version of Counter Strike?
While Condition Zero does have a following and now with Source coming out and the older version of the game still being played Condition Zero will not be the game to replace the original. The true determination of Sources success will be the so called E-Sports. E-Sports is competitive gaming where teams or individuals play for prizes, money, and sponsors normally in a LAN game. These so called E-Sports came into being not too long ago and Counter Strike played a large role. Sources popularity will be determined if the E-Sports switch to Source rather then playing the older Counter Strike then many others will switch as well. Where the money is the people will follow.
Anyway enough background I bet you are wondering what is Counter Strike? Well as you might have already guessed it is a team based First Person Shooter, however it is for online play only. For those of you who are on 56k the game is still playable as long as you find a server near you to play on. You can choose between either Counter Terrorists who try and stop the terrorists (Duh) or Terrorists. Several different types of missions are available to play. Missions where Terrorists must plant a bomb at certain points in the map and Counter Terrorists must attempt to stop them through either eliminating them or by defusing the bomb after it is planted. One of the most exciting times in the game is when the Counter Terrorists have eliminated all the terrorists, but the Terrorists managed to plant the bomb. Will the CTs be able to defuse in time? Or will the bomb explode sending the poor men flying in the air like ragdolls. Watching 4 CT guys go down with the bomb is always an enjoyable sight when youre on the Terrorists, even though you died you accomplished your goal while taking out some extra enemy via the bomb. There are also hostage rescuing missions where the Terrorists are bunked up in some type of fortified area and your job as a Counter Terrorist is to go in and save those people. Look out for the nooks and crannies a lot of times the Terrorists will wait to hear you tell the hostages to follow you and pop out from their hiding spot. There are several other types of gameplay, but those are the main two. Other levels you may have to escort a certain team member to a certain place in a map without the terrorists killing them, or in another it can simply be kill all your enemies.
As the map starts the Counter Terrorists and Terrorists spawn (where you start) on opposite sides of the map. In this spawn area you have the buy zone where you can purchase any equipment that you may want to have before running off and trying to accomplish your objective. Most servers limit the amount of time you can buy so make sure you get everything you need and fast. You can either use the graphical menu and select items with your mouse or you can use your numbers and select everything using that. Id recommend using the numbers since this way is faster and you have a better chance of getting everything you need. Dont want to go out into the battle short of that bomb defuse kit, which makes the defuse time for the bomb go much faster then it would otherwise. Forget this item and you may be on of the poor unfortunate souls to have the timer run out on you and be sent hurtling through the air.
Two very important components of this game are the radar and in game voice communication. The radar allows you to see where all of your teammates are as well as where the bomb is and any hostages are if you are the team that either has to plant or rescue the hostages. It would be a little unfair if the Counter Terrorists were leading the hostages away and the terrorists radar showed which way they were going. Voice Communications is even better then this radar if your team is actually using it, and including this is one thing that allowed CS to set the standards for team based online gaming. By pressing the key that you assign to voice communication you can talk to your teammates, relaying important information such as enemy position, bomb location. Knowing that the enemy has a sniper all the way across the map if you round this corner is a very important piece of information. If you are armed with a shotgun and around the corner is nothing but open space that is not a very favorable match up for you. However you could go around the other way and come up behind the sniper and blow him against the wall with your shotgun since your team has relayed his position to you.
Most maps have several different ways to get to the same place, stealth being a major role in the game. Engaging in a firefight everytime you spot someone will get you killed. Your main goal for most missions is to accomplish the objective, not kill everyone, therefore you should focus on that mainly. Keys are assigned to crouching and walking which enable you to sneak stealthily around the map. If you just run around at full speed your enemies will be able to hear your footsteps and know that you are heading in there direction. Also your ability to quickly get to spot you want to go and setup to wait for your opponents to make the unwise decision of running into you. Being crouched and waiting for an opponent will make your crosshairs smaller making your gun more accurate, giving you the advantage. Each map has a few areas that always seem to be these points of emphasis. Whether it is a bridge between the spawns leading to the bomb or hallway leading up to the hostages. I was disappointed to see that there arent that many maps included with the game and several of the most popular ones from the original arent included due to Valve not being able to obtain the rights to them. Only 9 different maps are available to play when the game was released 6 demolition and 3 hostage rescue. Thankfully the maps that are included are well designed and offer a pretty good variety of different options of landscapes. Its not just the same bland hallway type design you see in some games.
There will be more maps to come in the future though as Valve has just recently released Source Software Development Kit know as SDK. This will allow people to create new maps, create new modifications among other things. Unfortunately some of the other things will be cheats. People argue if Valve should have released this at all since it gives cheat developers an opportunity to code cheats for this game. However now people will be able to play their favorite maps from the original that were not included since these are some of the first maps people are working on with SDK. Since writing this review valve has added several new maps themselves and other people have created countless of their own.
Weapons, Grenades, and other Equipment
I said earlier you buy your equipment at the beginning of the map in the buy zone. You start out with a set amount of cash in order to purchase your weaponry. Most servers start you out at $800. As your team wins and you take out opposing players you will be given more cash. The more cash you have the better weapons and more equipment you will be able to purchase obviously. For those of you who played the original all the original guns have returned however they may be slightly different. Also you will notice a few new guns such as the cheaper rifles before the AK and m4a1. Each side has different type of guns however they make it pretty much even between the sides so that one doesn‚t have an advantage of weaponry over the other. Well at least in weaponry they could buy, whether they can afford it or not is another story. You can buy pistols, shotguns, a machine gun, smgs which are smaller guns, but have large clips and are good at close range. However they dont do a whole lot of damage so you have to hit people more. There are several different types of rifles you can buy 3 different type of automatic guns and then 3 different types of sniper rifles as well. One being pretty much one shot one kill, another does less damage but you have a better ability to fire while on the move, and the last being an automatic sniper rifle. The autosniper is way too easy IMO and I hope that they edit it in the future so is not so dominate. Make sure you dont forget to buy ammunition with your weaponry, otherwise you will only get one clip. Dont want to get in a firefight and find yourself run out of ammunition, *click, click ahh s#&t!* then futily charge him with your trusty knife.
Buying and using grenades effectively can be the difference between living and dying. The three different types of grenades that can be purchased are the frag is like the average grenade and blows up, flashbang which emits bright light and will turn your screen completely white and then fades down depending on the proximity you are to it. Flashbangs have been improved a lot and stun opponents or for you not so apt at throwing them yourself/teammates much more. Throwing one of these around a corner will pretty much completely disable any enemies there forcing them to try and flee blindly before you can gun them down. Always fun watching your opponent stumble around in an attempt to flee and then pop pop headshot! You end his blindness for him. Sure if you just rush around a corner you might be able to take one guy out, but if there are several enemies there you will surely end up dying most the time. However if you use a flash you should be able to take them out. Finally smoke grenades emit well smoke, blocking vision for a certain area. These are useful for trying to cross a certain area and you want to make sure you dont get picked off by a sniper that may be waiting for you to run by. Kevlar is another important piece of equipment which will enable you to take more hits. You can also buy a helmet along with it if you so choose. Other options include nightvision goggles as well as the bomb defusal kit I talked of earlier.
Graphics: 9.7/10 Run on 128 MB Geforce 4 Ti4200
While the gameplay between the original CS and Source is argued that the original is still better graphics are what the source engine from Half-Life 2 which is used here towers above the older game. Graphics in the first game were fuzzy and grainy no matter what card you were running it on, now this is no longer the case. While smoke grenades in the original featured some black blotchy type smoke, the smoke looks and actually acts like smoke now, being more visible during certain patches not just a solid mass. The visuals in this game are amazing, especially the water. While only one map that Ive seen features it de_aztec it is simply amazing the reflections and the ripples in the water as you run across it or as bullets go flying in. Take note that most of my graphical settings are on medium! The new death animations have to be my favorite thing about it though. Bodies no longer disappear they will stay there slumped against the wall legs kicked out arms to the side head down. Sometimes after I die I just look around the map looking for people have died and the position they are in. While I miss the way headshots were performed in the original CS the only way you can tell now is that the top of your screen shows that it hit the head, is the way people go flying in the air when the bomb blows up on them or a grenade lands at there feet and does enough damage to finish them off. The poor souls are sent hurtling through the air a lot of times landing head first, ouch! The gun animations as well as overall look have been improved, they are now sleeker and of course less grainy.
The only real downsides to the graphics departments are that the game is demanding and framerates are not all that high. However the game supposedly sets it up so that it can run at the optimum level on your machine. The other problem I have with the game are the spray paints. By pressing T in the game you can put a custom spray on the map. A new feature for this is that they can now be animated as well. Valve had to have known that people had been using this to spray pornographic images in the game. Now not only did they include it in the game once again, but now you can have animated pornographic sprays. I had the unfortunate experience of running into one where someone decided it would be funny to spray a guy playing with himself. For parents Im sure these are things they dont want their younger children seeing, and they wont know about it unless they sit there and watch there child play the game. Some people will also try and exploit this by having an animated character from the game shooting. It makes it look like a real person they are just not 3d. Still it can be rather tricky at a distance someone may use this as a decoy when you shoot at that theyll pop out from an area near by and kill you. While some people do spray cool sprays with their name/clan name many people abuse it and Im surprised Valve included it once again. I looked for an option to not allow custom sprays to show up for you, but was unable to find one. Im pretty sure you were able to do it in the first so there should be a way you could do it.
As I mentioned that fact that you can use voice communications with teammates as well as trying to be quiet and not allowing your enemies to hear you play a large role in the game. However having voice communications isnt always a good thing. As some people are not exactly mature and may choose to use excessive foul language and pick on others. Once again a turn off for parents who are thinking of purchasing this game for younger children. Due to the importance of voice and other sounds there is not really any music in this game, which drags the sound score down a little. However Valve does do a nice job on what sounds are included. From the firing of the guns, reloading clips, to the explosions of grenades all do sound very realistic.
Replay Value: 9/10
Im assuming if you bought this game or are considering it you like first person shooters. If that is so then you should like this game. While it is slower paced then some other games like Unreal Tournament and Doom you are still shooting and blowing stuff up. The opportunity to communicate live with real people who you play with as well as working as good overall gameplay, fun objectives, great graphics combine to offer a well polished game you will find yourself coming back to play again and again.
The original Counter-Strike was a great game. Valve now has improved upon the original with greatly pumped up graphics, better sounds, with the same great concepts that made the first so popular. While the game is not without bugs and problems, Ive had it freeze up on me and crash on several occasions. They are being worked upon and as we go forward the game will continue to get better and better and will have more and more to offer. People will continue to develop more maps, modifications like server stats that will cause people to play on the same servers in hopes to make it on the list along with other top players. More maps will increase the replay value since there were only 9 originally. As time goes on the games popularity will continue to grow more people who didnt know about or play the original CS will get it and hopefully eventually those that continue to play the older game will warm up and move over to this version. With this information I dont see how Counter Strike: Source will not become a very popular game. Once again however the biggest factor on its popularity will be the E-Sports. In conclusion Valve offers an improved graphical game of a classic online shooter in Counter Strike: Source.
Now that youve read the review Ill leave my system specs as well as the recommended requirements given on Half-Life 2‚s box
My PC_____________________Recommended Requirements
2 GHz_____________________Processor 2.4 GHz Processor
512 MB____________________Ram 512 MB Ram
Geforce 4 128MB Ti4200____DirectX 9 level Graphics Card
__________________________4.5 GB Hard Drive space
Keep in mind those are recommended requirements the game can run on less however you may run into some problems.
This concludes the review, feel free to rate it now the rest is for people who are interested in purchasing the game or tips for those who have already done so.
Getting Started Installation Process and Starting the Game
Feel free to skip over this section if you just want to know about the game, Im adding this for people actually looking to buy the game and to let them know of problems they may encounter. Counter Strike: Source is included in with the game Half Life 2 which is a rather long installation process which includes 5 disks. While I did not time it I have been told by others that it took them over an hour. Dont believe it took that long for me but once again I did not time it when I installed. So after finally getting the game installed you still cannot play? What! Thats right now you have to register your game through steam. Dont have Steam you say? Well then you are going to have to download install steam and then finally you will get to play. I bought the game on the first day it was released and was quite disappointed when Steam gave me the following error:
The Steam servers are currently too busy to handle your request. Please try again in a few minutes.
Thats wonderful I just dropped $50 on a game that I cant even register so I can play. They had been selling the game online for quite some time and should have known what to expect and estimate what type of usage they would get and be prepared. Unfortunately it seemed they were not and I had to wait very much against my will. I was able to get the game the first day much to my surprise, however I would not be playing it. While I personally do not like Steam and wish I could just play the games without being connected to it I know why it is there. With all the pirating of games, music, software that goes on these days it is understandable that Valve would go to these lengths to make sure that people actually pay for a product they worked very hard on. Especially since Counter Strike is arguably the most popular online game of all time. The following is a quote from CS Banana posted on the 26th of November: Yesterday, Valve disabled approximately 20,000 Steam accounts which had been used to try to access Half-Life 2 without purchasing it. The method used was extremely easy for Valve to trace and confirm, and so there is no question that the accounts disabled were used to try and illegally obtain Half-Life 2
Loading the game up takes a decent amount of time since you have to first connect through steam and then the game must load. When it does finally load up you will be greeted by a screen with Counter Strike Source in the middle of the screen over two counter terrorists in the background. Choices on the left hand of the screen of finding a server, creating one, looking to see if any of your friends are online playing, report a bug, video stress test, and options. Finding a server will load a list a servers organized by the ping. I usually try and join servers where the ping is low and there are a fair amount of players already playing. A nice option that is included for full servers is to check a box for it to either alert you when a spot opens or to make you join automatically when a spot opens up. A very nice option if you want to get on a certain popular server. Once you find the server you want to play on you must once again go through a loading process. It is a little lengthy for me however could be my pc. You can also create your own server to play on the only way to really play single player. Originally the game didnt have bots however with updates through steam it is now possible. Friends Network doesnt work for me, Ive tried to add several of my friends I know who have the game. They say they are on steam and are going to play, however it says they are offline. The video stress test tests the average frame rate your pc will get mine was 53.04, and then gives you the option of uploading the information to Valve. Options will let you change things such as the name of your player before you enter the server, key settings, mouse speed, graphics, and speakers. Id recommend you adjust the brightness levels as it is kind of dark if you dont. Also make sure you go to sound if you have a surround sound setup. You have to change the speaker to the type of surround sound you have 5.1/7.1 in order for it to work correctly.
- The number one tip is of course aiming for the head. I try to aim for the face and shoot a few shots at a time since guns will recoil and the more you hold down and shoot the less accurate you will be. The only time I really go at it and let loose on the firing is if Im like right on top of a guy.
- Buy Grenades, they can do damage without getting any in return in the case of frag grenades and flashbangs can disable opponents allowing you to easily take them out.
- Watch the radar, if you see where one of your teammates go down then you have a pretty idea of where your enemies are. Also you should try and go with at least one teammate otherwise you could very well be over powered by several of the opposition.
- Shoot in bursts, as I kind of said already the more you shoot the less accurate your gun gets and takes time to get the crosshair back down to normal size. Crouching and standing still make you more accurate.
- make sure when you are walking up to corners and other high traffic areas to use your walk or crouch key so as not to allow your enemies to know you are coming.
I finished this review some time ago maybe a month after the games release, however even now there is no cheat protection. Even though the game has just been released recently there are already cheats out for it. The most common is easily spotted being a speed hack. Ive seen on numerous occasions luckily it is so easily spotted as the player moves about 3 times as fast as everyone else if not more so.
The wall hack gives a player the ability to see players through walls and floors. There was an actual way to make this work in game by just changing some values when CS: Source was still in Beta. Luckily Valve has since updated it and it is no longer available that way. The wall hack can be difficult to spot, however if they just shoot a wall randomly without actually ever seeing the person and somehow get a headshot that may be a clue. However there are many good players out there so dont just go around throwing out accusations.
Trigger bot and aimbots are two of the worst kind of cheats. I havent run into either as of yet and am hoping that I wont run into one. However I am sure they eventually will be developed as the game is still very new. A trigger bot has the human control the mouse, but automatically shoots when the crosshair is over an enemy. There are even ones that shoot in bursts for you so it even controls your rate of fire in some situations. The aimbot is a little easier to spot then the trigger in that it does everything for the person aims, shoots. Normally they can be turned on and off however can be spotted if the person whips around extremely fast and does 180 headshots without the person behind them even firing a shot.
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