Counter Strike

Counter Strike is a game supposed to simulate a Terrorist - Counter-Terrorist conflict. How well it fares depends on how much one is willing to believe that everyone is fourteen and running with knives is the fastest way to cover big distances.

The entire game experience summarized in one screenshot.

Just The Facts

  1. First Person Shooter with emphasis on team tactics.
  2. Two teams - Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists.
  3. First Counter Strike was a hobbyist modification of Half-Life, the newest one (Counter Strike: Source) was created by professional game developers.

The gist

Counter Strike is a tactical FPS, meaning running around with a BFG-10K is not the best way to win and you are supposed to actually not kill certain people. (specifically your teammates) The game itself is divided into rounds and played on a number of maps with scenarios ranging from the Terrorists having to plant a bomb to the Counter-Terrorists having to rescue hostages. Both teams have a set of weapons specific to only their team, but you're most likely going to be running around with an AK-47, M4A1 or an AWP. The rest of the differences are purely cosmetic with each team having a subset of different-looking characters. There is no respawning - you die, you wait for another round.

Even though you can play with Bots (computer-controlled entities), Counter Strike is mostly a multiplayer game. Part of this has to do with the fact that Bots are on average as challenging as your grandmother, the other part is that Bots won't care if you talk shit after shooting them in the head with a metaphorical extension of your shrunk genitals rifle.

CS player

"Yeah, bitch, you just got owned."

Playing

The first thing you have to do is choose some nickname under which you're going to play. Since creativity is not the best side of an average video gamer (along with everything else besides shooting virtual people in the head and masturbating), you're most likely to meet people with names taken from '90s movies, WWE champions, sexual activities and profanity, probably with some or all of the fitting letters replaced with numbers.

After choosing a name for yourself you should go and join a server. Upon doing so you'll be greeted with a server welcome message (usually the owner begging for money) and then will have to choose between the teams. When you finally decide who you want to be and how you want to look like, if you're lucky, you'll spawn at your team's spawn point. If you're not you'll have to wait until the round ends, which means a minute or two of watching both teams running around like headless chickens, taking sips of Pepsi and contemplating the cracks on your ceiling.

"Methinks it is like a weasel."

When you're finally able to play, before you go into action you'd better stock up on armor and guns. For this you're given a menu full of trademark lawsuit dodging names to choose from. On most servers you won't be able to afford anything better than a kevlar and a peashooter for your first round, and since you probably will suck with those, your only hope is that someone will drop a better gun or else you'll spend the rest of the game wandering around the map like a child in the fog, at the mercy of a spastic furious youth with aiming skills built into muscle reflexes. Long story short - you'll die a lot. Most gunfights last from 0.1 to 1 second, mainly because people who play this game have been playing it long enough to automatically aim for the head from any angle or distance, but also because the armor in this game appears to be made out of papier-mache. It only goes two ways from here - either you get good enough to be competitive (which strangely coincides with becoming obese and short-sighted) or get bored of dying all the time and quit.

The weapons

It's no surprise that an FPS concentrates on guns, and Counter Strike being the Serious Game For Serious People tries to simulate their behavior as realistically as it can. And boy, does it disappoint. Before we go into details, let us mention the cannons at our disposal:

  • AK-47/M4A1 - the standard rifles for Terrorists/Counter-Terrorists. People run around with them because unlike most other weapons they actually seem to work from time to time and also they auto-buy if you don't have time to select your gear.
  • Benelli shotguns - just imagine the spray tool from MS Paint, only with bullets.
  • AWP - the ultimate (when it comes to strength) sniper rifle. Since most hits are kills with this weapon, by round 10 you'll be sure to find almost everyone running with them across the map. Contrary to the weapon's type, it's mostly used in quick offense as it only takes a milisecond to switch to scopes. Generally limits the game to whose ass flashes from round the corner first.
  • Sub-Machine Guns - the MP5 and the FN90 (which looks like you're carrying around a black toaster) are the only SMGs worth your interest. Others might be good at peeling grapes/hunting butterflies.
  • Automatic sniper rifles - unlike the AWP, they don't need to be reloaded after every shot, also can pack quite a punch. Considered lame by most "pro" players because they actually work as weapons.

Counter Strike tries as best as it can to simulate the use of mentioned weapons, assuming that the characters using them have arms made out of Jell-O and snort crack inbetween rounds. You will quickly find out that the newest and greatest weapons have the precision of 18th century muskets, which leads most players to either emulate the musket behavior by taking breaks between shots or continuously shooting while aiming at the ground. Because the guns in the game behave in a nonsensical but predictable fashion, causing bullets to fly at incredibly odd upward angles after a second of shooting, the latter trick ensures that by aiming at the enemy's feet you're actually aiming at his chest.

There are three types of grenades available for you to chuck at your enemies/wound your teammates: the explosive grenade, the flashbang and the smoke grenade. The flashbang is a grenade capable of temporarily blinding your enemies, making them easy targets. Because it's relatively cheap, an average game quickly degenerates into a wedding picture session simulator. The High Explosive grenade is about as deadly as a Christmas cracker and generally serves as a device to piss off your oponents before throwing a flashbang. The smoke grenade usually accompanies the flashbang and serves as a great tool for ambushing people with a knife.

The missions

The gameplay revolves around teams completing certain missions. Winning scores the team a point and at the end of the match the participants are presented with a score table, presumably to make rude comments regarding the quality of the opposing team. The newest Counter Strike features two types of missions:

  • Bomb missions - the Terrorists have to plant the bomb and the Counter-Terrorists have to either stop them or diffuse the bomb before it explodes. Certain points at the map, called bombsites, are where the bomb has to be planted, which limits the gameplay to the Counter-Terrorists camping at the sites with AWPs and the Terrorists throwing smoke grenades and flashbangs, trying to rush in.
  • Hostage rescue missions - the Terrorists are holding hostages and the Counter-Terrorists have to rescue them. The hostages have to be led to a certain secure zone for the Counter-Terrorists to win the mission. Just like in bomb missions, the gameplay consists of one side camping with AWPs and the other one throwing grenades, but the hostages provide a certain twist. One can surely say that the country which sent Counter-Terrorists to rescue these people is very charitable, considering the fact that the AI-controlled rescue targets are rusty-nail-licking retarded. They have a strange tendency to bump into walls, crates and practically everything avoidable by a creature with the coping skills of a lobotomized cockroach. What makes it worse is that they also like to forget that they're actually following their savior to safety and just stay behind waiting for you to come back, pat them on the head, give a hearty smile and get gunned down by the remaining Terrorists who just woke up and realized what's happening. This leads to an obvious solution - upon reaching the hostages, the Counter-Terrorist players shoot all of them but one in the head, leaving only a single mentally deficient leper to lead to the rescue zone.

There are Assasination missions in the older version of Counter Strike, but the only difference from the Hostage rescue mission is that the VIP the Counter-Terrorists have to protect is only mildly retarded, being controlled by one player from their team.

The players

Being violent and full of guns, Counter Strike naturally attracts people old enough to be fascinated by aggressive behavior but too young to be interested in vaginas - adolescents.

From left: B1tchCrushaXXX, [DE]Terminator and 0wnM4sh33n

Counter Strike tends to keep the players at the developmental level of early adolescence, creating things like the World Cyber Games where the participants are usually on the verge of being legally adult, yet still taking pixels way too seriously.

This by itself wouldn't be that bad if not for the fact that kids playing Counter Strike tend to carry their attitude into the game, being insulting, spoiled little shits Them typing insults at someone on the other end of the cable, trying to show off their hardcore self, isn't nearly as bad as them using the voice communication available for players. If there's one thing counter-terrorism manuals mention, it is to focus on the mission, and that's as hard as it gets when you're treated with a toddler-like voice shrieking commands into your ears and arguing about the other players' mothers every thirty seconds. Unsurprisingly, teams composed of chipmunk-sounding players tend to lose, which only prompts the brats to screech even louder.

Occasionally the players will form what's called a "clan", meaning they will now have the same overly masculine clan name and occasionally play against some other bunch of people with overgrown egos. The point is that being a lone prick is tiring, so most of the people taking the game seriously will band together with other pricks, creating huge prickfests known as e-sports.

The result

Players using the problematic game engine to their advantage by, for example, shooting through walls or jumping on each other's heads (proven battlefield tactic) to get to some high ledges isn't even where the annoying part begins. You could take all the mentioned nonsense out and the people you get to play with would still be enough to convince you that your species is doomed and microphones are the tool of Satan. If you don't believe us, just watch the following video ten times in a row:

Assuming you can deal with the fact you will wait 10 times longer than you'll actually play the game, Counter Strike still doesn't offer you anything but whiny playerbase and monotonous gameplay, centered around long-estabilished tactics. It's a counter-terrorism simulator in which terrorists are little children and counter-terrorists are douchebags. Or vice-versa. Or both. In long-term the experience is so unbearable that if future terrorists were presented with this game as kids, they would probably choose a different career. Which makes Counter Strike the weirdest invention theoretically capable of bringing about world peace.