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Counter-Strike

Developer: Valve | Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 11/18/03 | Genre: First Person Shooter

Counter-Strike is a mod that was created by a few college students for the extremely popular Half-Life. To this day, Counter-Strike remains very popular. For those of you not familiar with Counter-Strike, it is one of the first team based shooters. By being a free download for Half-Life, which has a huge user base, this title helped establish the team based shooter in the market place. In order to try and capitalize on the popularity of this online game, Microsoft has teamed up to bring the five year old mod to the Xbox. While the game is faithful to the original, Counter-Strike is beginning to show its age.

In Counter-Strike, you control a Terrorist or an Anit-Terrorist. Players have the option of participating in Demolition and Hostage Rescue missions. In Demolition mode, as the Terrorists, you are trying to drop off a bomb and set it off while the Anti-Terrorists are trying to defend a position from being bombed. The Counter-Terrorists can also defuse a bomb before it goes off to ensure the opposition won't win. In the hostage mode, the Counter-Terrorists go on the offenssive and tries to save hostages and lead them to safety. However, standing in your way are the Terrorists who will try and ensure none of the hostages are freed.

Staying alive has its advantages. By avoiding death and killing your foes, you gain money that you can use to purchase new equipment that will help give you a slight edge over your opponents. However, if you die, you will lose any of the items you purchased and you won't be able to return to play until that particular round is over. (The hostages are saved or killed/the bomb goes off or is deactivated.) When purchasing items, you must act quick because the round begins after a few seconds. You can select the items you want to buy in a circular window that will appear around your character. However, unlike a lot of other First Person Shooters, you will only be able to carry one small gun and one larger one. In addition, you can carry grenades and can also grab weapons off a fallen ally.

Controlling Counter-Strike is very similar to playing Halo. Unfortunately, I don't feel this makes the game better than its PC counterpart. For me, I need a mouse and keyboard in order to control a First Person Shooter. Despite the lack of this controlling combination on the Xbox, Counter-Strike controls just as well as Halo did. A few additional features Counter-Strike offers is the ability to change the sensitivity of the analog sticks in order to make movement much faster.

Counter-Srike is meant to be played on Xbox Live. Even though this is the the primary option, you can also compete against computer controlled bots in an offline mode. You cannot play against any other humans on one Xbox though. This is a single player game until you get on Xbox Live. While I have had fun in the online games I have competed in, I would have personally enjoyed seeing a multiplayer mode offline. Then players could have at least played in a four player split-screen mode and had all four one one side or two on one and two on the other. That is not to say that the computer controlled AI is bad. I would have just enjoyed seeing this offline multiplayer option in the game.

Once you go online, you can play with up to nine other players via Xbox Live. However, if you are running a dedicated server, it is possible to have up to sixteen players. Xbox Live play also allows players to use the voice chat capabilities--a feature that has been very popular on the PC. This will help players plan their strategies and lead their respective teams to a victory.

While Halo on the Xbox didn't offer an online multiplayer mode, players may find feel that Counter-Strike can fill that void. However, the gameplay is very old and tired. It is not as fast or fluid as other current First Person Shooters and players will probably get a bit bored with the game after a weekend of play. Fans of Counter-Strike may have a lot of fun with the game. However, those who are new to Counter-Strike may feel that the gameplay is just a little bit old to justify the cost. I recommend renting it before purchasing.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 12/08/03
ESRB Details: Blood, Intense Violence
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