Old-School Counter Strike

Apr 10, 2015

Counter Strike has been one of the most successful online first person shooters ever. . Not only has it been a runaway hit for over 6 years, but it has changed the face of multiplayer FPS. Traditionally, first person shooters only relied upon death match style multiplayer games. Where the strategy in death match games only went as far as getting as many kills as possible, while trying to avoid you own demise. While there was some variation such as capture the flag and team DM games, the replayability just wasn’t there. This was mainly attributed to the fact that the game could only go a couple of ways and, in short, was repetitive drivel. It’s debatable when the revolution of FPS multiplayer began, but it is clear that Counter Strike was one of the first, and defiantly the most successful.

It wasn’t that Counter Strike was the new game on the market, or that it was the best looking, it was just the best multiplayer game created so far for the gaming community. Strangely it wasn’t millions of dollars and hundreds of programmers that created this epic, it was actually small group of programmers living in California. Moreover, Counter Strike wasn’t created for fame and fortune, but was rather given away as a free modification for Valve’s Half Life. Unique in so many ways, Counter Strike was the first, and to my knowledge only game ever solely designed and created for multiplayer, and nothing else.

Much the way our government has failed to deliver, Counter Strike was designed and created “by the people, and for the people.” Not driven by money or fame, the counter strike team set out to create the best game they could and used the gaming communities input. The real question that developers have been asking is why is counter strike so successful? How has CS survived for 6 years on an antiquated graphics against wave after wave of blockbusters like Halo, Far Cry, and juggernaut franchises like Unreal Tournament?

In the beginning Counter Strike was a unique, it was a mixture of death match and strategy games that hadn’t been attempted. This new type of game play games brought the gaming community flocking to CS in the thousands. Even today six years after it’s initial beta release, Counter Strike still has anywhere from 100,000 – 350,000 players gaming away across the country. Initially CS was unique, but how has the game carried across 6 years with outdated graphics or serious revamping? While there isn’t any one answer, in my opinion no one has offered a game that comes close to its replayability. I myself have been a devote CS player through thick and thin, I played in the beta days, played in all levels of CAL (cyberathlete amateur league), and even still continue to play Counter Strike: Source. I’ve been a gamer all my life, and I still don’t understand how CS is still fun after 6 years. Counter Strike hasn’t even had very much in the way of new content over that time. I still play the same maps I did 6 years ago, and they’re not really all the different. All in all I’ve probably spent hundreds of hours playing dust2 and nuke, but they never seem to get old. Not to say that CS has ever disappointed me, ohhh no.

CS has been a joy for me, but it has also driven me to the brink of sanity. A glorious game that has been steadily ransacked with each ensuing update. Ever since leaving Beta 7, CS has been sliding downwards into the depths of mediocrity. Here is a small list of some noteworthy changes made to Counter Strike over the years.

Version 1.0:

  • The game leaves the beta stages, and remains in good working order, mostly.

Version 1.1:

  • Made jumping while shooting more inaccurate w/ submachine guns
  • Took out sniper crosshair when zoomed out
  • AWP leg shots now non-lethal

Version 1.3:

  • Bunny hopping removed

Version 1.4:

  • Changed so players must stand still when planting the bomb
  • Changed so players can’t move or shoot while defusing the bomb
  • Adjusted pistol accuracy while jumping (all pistols)
  • Adjusted player jumping values to minimize bunny hopping
  • Changed so the VIP can’t drop any weapons

Version 1.6: (Current)

  • Added delay to AWP scope

For those of you who don’t play CS let me summarize this list. The game has basically been sliding away from being a skilled competition to becoming a hodge pogery of prattle brained lickspittles spraying for glory. First they took away shooting while jumping, mainly because most players were getting slaughtered by it and complained. While this does make the game more realistic it’s not nearly as fun, and while we’re at it when did realism mean a game was better or more fun? You want realism go join the army and go to Iraq. Until then deal with the fact that games are meant to be fun, not necessarily realistic. Next they crippled the sniper rifles by making the non lethal shot. This would be ok, if Valve had actually fixed the hit boxes. In 1.1 you could crouch and the hit boxes from your legs would envelope most of your body and part of your head (depending on the angle). Next they removed the ability to jump in secession. This was akin to adding stamina to a game, where you could only jump once without losing speed. The nail in the coffin was 1.4, where they crippled the accuracy of pistols and rifles demolished your ability to jump and pretty much created a game where mediocrity reigned supreme.

Next, Valve created CS: Source, a new and updated version of Counter Strike based on the HL2 engine. While more or less another rendition of 1.6, there are several more changes that were added to just suck the fun out of CS. It has a better looking graphics engine, but that’s about all it has. Aside from changing the feel of the game, Valve added an upgraded physics system to all the objects in the game. This is not a bad idea, but it has significant bugs. Maybe it’s just me, but a tire or a bucket shouldn’t hinder a player from walking. All in all, ever since Valve took over Counter Strike development from its original creators it has been sliding slowly downhill. I’m not really sure why I still play the game, but it’s at least better than most multiplayer games out there. Perhaps that’s the only glimmer of truth I’ve found in Counter Strike, while it isn’t what it once was, there is still no other game to hit the market that even comes close to competing with it for the multiplayer FPS crown. Love what it was, or hate what it’s become, either way it’s still the best online fun around.

CS:GO is the newest version, but I haven’t even gotten around playing it yet. It looks like it invested a lot into the graphics and less into balancing and gameplay.