Counter-Strike (CS for short) first arrived on the PC gaming scene back in 1999, a free mod of the critically acclaimed Half-Life. The concept was rather simple: a first-person shooter (FPS) pitting two teams of human players on a multiplayer network against each other, each time trying to wipe each other out (though that was never the only way to win).
In a journey spanning more than a decade, Counter-Strike and its simple but effective concept have come a long way. Today, it is the gold standard for multiplayer FPS games, a benchmark they invariably end up being measured up against.
There are many reasons for this aside from CS being a great game. The sheer momentum generated by a mod can go further than all the promotion money can buy, as crowds of players draw in more crowds. Nevertheless, CS obviously did something right to stay at the top of the genre in a rapidly growing market that is constantly offering the next big thing.
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No more plasma guns, health packs, or absurd rocket jumps. It just doesn’t happen that way in the real world: you run out of ammo at a bad time, take one bullet in the head and die from it. Counter-Strike concentrated on providing a believable Terrorist vs. Counter-Terrorist experience, despite the fact that you knew you were coming back to life to fight the next round.
Realism has its pitfalls too. People tend to approach the gaming with predetermined expectations based on the setting, meaning that, in a military shooter, if the AK-47 doesn’t sound exactly like a real AK-47, some gun expert is going to tell you, and anybody who cares to listen, about it.
Objectives and Teamwork
Objectives are a big part of Counter-Strike, and teamwork is the most effective way to achieve those objectives. Earlier games had objectives, but none were quite as well-suited to the theme as the ones in CS, where you plant (or diffuse) bombs and rescue hostages.
Since it started out as a free mod and continues to ship with the source code, CS receives immense support from community members. Take, for instance, the large variety of well-balanced maps for the game, particularly for bomb/defuse scenarios.
While graphics have improved over the years, CS was and continues to remain friendly to low-end machines. This not only shows a commitment to reaching out to the largest possible number of gamers but also the developers’ belief that eye-candy graphics can only take a game so far-what keeps people coming back is solid gameplay.
There’s no dilly-dally. Within seconds of spawning, you’re in a vicious firefight with the enemy. Every corner you creep around is a potential death trap. Attacks happen at breakneck speed and well-placed ambushes do away with large groups of enemies in seconds.
Counter-Strike Online game continues to rule the multiplayer FPS roost and remains among the most highly played PC games. With its 2004 debut on Xbox, it has expanded to the console market as well. This is one true example of a product that has survived the test of time.