Genre: First Person Shooter Developer: Valve Software Publisher: Microsoft Classification: MA15+ Release Date: 31st Dec 2003 Platforms:XBOX
Average of 51 Ratings
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Love it or hate it, theres no denying that Counter-Strike would have to be one of (if not THE) biggest multiplayer sensations to ever hit the PC. From its humble beginnings as an amateur modification for Half-Life, to its current status as a fully fledged retail game owned and backed by Valve, it has brought multiplayer gaming to the masses. A console conversion of the Counter-Strike phenomenon has been a long time coming, but now we finally have one and XBox owners are discovering the game that hooked hundreds of thousands of PC gamers world wide.
All in all, Counter-Strike (CS) on XBox is a very faithful conversion of the PC original. Brought to us by Ritual Entertainment, the guys behind the recent Star Trek: Elite Force 2 and the upcoming Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, CS on XBox retains the core gameplay that made the PC version such a hit, while tailoring the experience to be as accessible to console players as possible. The concept is very simple; two teams, Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists are placed at opposite ends of a level, and are given a time limit to complete their objectives. Either side can win by completing their objectives, or by entirely wiping out the opposing team before the time limit expires. Once a player is killed, they have to sit out and wait until the round is over, after which both teams respawn back where they started and do it all over again. This simple gameplay is one of the reasons Counter-Strike has been received so well amongst PC gamers, it allows experienced players to develop their own strategies and play in an advanced manner, while it also allows beginner players to easily jump in and understand the game and get up to speed as quick as possible.
Objectives can take two forms, depending on which level (also known as a map) is being played. Some maps involve the Terrorists guarding a group of hostages, while the Counter-Terrorists have to rescue the hostages and bring them back to a safe zone. The other maps involve the Terrorists having to plant a bomb at one of two pre-determined locations on the map, while the Counter-Terrorists have to stop the bomb being planted (or defuse the bomb before it explodes if it is planted). CS for XBox has done away with the Escort type maps that the PC version contained, but to make up for this it includes many new maps that the PC version does not have, making a total of 15 Demolition maps and 4 Hostage Rescue maps. Many classic maps from the PC version make an appearance here, including Dust, Aztec, Italy, Cobble and Militia, as well as a slew of new maps including Fastline (a Demolition map which takes place on a subway train) and Miami (a Hostage Rescue map which takes place in the heart of, you guessed it, Miami).
One of the features that set Counter-Strike apart from the other First Person shooters of the day was its unique way of equipping players with weaponry and equipment. Players would receive money during the game for successfully completing objectives, killing other players, and winning rounds. Then at the start of each new round each player would have five to ten seconds to buy their equipment for the next round from a popup buy menu. Guns, ammunition, kevlar vests, grenades and equipment such as night vision and bomb defusal kits were all bought from this buy menu, using the funds earnt during the game. This gameplay mechanic makes its way over almost unchanged to the XBox version, albeit with a slightly different interface. The Buy menu is now a circular menu cut into pie shaped segments. Using the left analogue stick you press in the direction of the segment you want and press the A button to activate it. Items are split into 5 categories: Pistols, Sub-machine guns, Rifles, Heavy weapons and Equipment. The more powerful weapons cost more money, so they cannot be bought early in the game, but as your team achieves victories you will find yourself being able to buy the better weaponry.
CS for XBox contains a large assortment of weaponry with which to dispatch your foes. All up there are 25 different weapons you can play with. Some weapons are restricted to the Counter-Terrorist side only, and others are restricted to Terrorist only, but there is a large pool of weapons that both sides share. Die-hard fans of Counter-Strike on PC may be a little disappointed with the selection of weapons though, as a number of fan favourites are missing from the lineup, namely the MP5, the Desert Eagle, and the AK-47. While there are substitutes for these weapons that basically serve the same purposes, it's really not quite the same. CS for XBox borrows a little from the newly updated Counter-Strike 1.6 as well as the upcoming Condition Zero by including the Riot Shield as a weapon. The Riot Shield is Counter-Terrorist only and is classed as a Heavy weapon. You cannot hold a rifle while holding the Riot Shield, only a handgun, but when you have the Riot Shield equipped and held in front of you, you cannot be shot. This can make a great addition to the team as the rest of the team can advance in relative safety behind the player with the shield. To balance this out, the Terrorist side has access to a larger and more powerful collection of rifles and machine guns.
The controls in CS for XBox generally work very well. The left anlogue stick is used for movement, while the right anlogue stick is used for looking up and down and turning. Controls for choosing grenades, changing weapons, jumping, reloading, dropping your current weapon (to pick up a new one off the ground) and using your current weapon's secondary function are mapped onto the face buttons of the controller. Crouching and firing your weapon are mapped onto the left and right triggers respectively. Crouching in Counter-Strike has quite an impact on the game, as your accuracy with any given weapon will be greater while crouching, so it works well having this in an easy to reach location. The only downside to the control scheme is the way you have to change weapons. At any time a player could be holding up to three different weapons (a knife, a handgun and a rifle) as well as up to three different types of grenades. You have to use the Y button, by default, to cycle through your three weapons, and the black button to cycle through your grenades. This can sometimes lead to some unfortunate deaths while you're madly mashing buttons trying to cycle through to your rifle instead of your knife and ending up with a smoke grenade instead.
You can play CS for XBox single player, but this really acts as nothing more than practise for the multiplayer portion of the game. You will probably not find yourself spending long in the single player portion of the game as it really does not offer a lot. There is no story to work your way through, or any kind of structured play at all for that matter. All you can really do is choose a difficulty level, choose a map, and have a short 4 round game against computer controlled opponents. While Counter-Strike for PC was a fully multiplayer experience also, it would have been nice to see the XBox version incorporate some of the single player content of the upcoming Counter-Strike: Condition Zero. Multiplayer though is where this game shines, and is really why you would buy it. The game can be played Multiplayer over System Link or XBox Live. When you log onto XBox Live you are presented with the generic Quick Game, Optimatch, and Host Game options and you can choose any of these methods to get yourself playing. Full voice comms are supported so you can co-ordinate with your team, but there is no way to communicate with players outside of your team. The game generally runs very well, and even handles moderate lag quite well, but if your lag gets too extreme the game will quickly become unplayable as other players will seem to warp all over the place in front of you. This can sometimes be a real problem, as a lot of the hosted servers are usually overseas in Europe or the US, so here in Australia we don't often get the greatest ping times to them. If you can find yourself a reasonably fast server though, or even better, a local server run by another Aussie, then you'll have plenty of fun online with CS.
The sounds are generally what you would expect from a game like this. Guns sound like guns, explosions sound like explosions, and the screams of people dying sound like the screams of people dying. Just because the sounds aren't anything out of the ordinary though, does not mean they are bad. While everything is rather generic, it's all very well done and sounds very effective. The Uzi may sound just like every other Uzi, but it's very GOOD at sounding just like every other Uzi. Because the sounds are so down to earth and so grounded in reality, they promote the atmosphere of the game perfectly. There is not a lot of music throughout the game, but what there is works well. Usually it's nothing more than a rather heroic sounding piece of orchestral fare, but it helps to stir the blood and makes you want to go right some wrongs and take down some bad guys, which I guess in the end is the whole point.
Graphically, CS for XBox is almost unrecognisable as the same game on PC. The graphics for all the maps have been entirely redone, and while classic maps such as Dust or Aztec have the same layout as the PC versions, visually they look like entirely new and different maps. Gone are the sometimes bland dirty brown and grey textures a lot of the PC version's maps sported, now we are treated to some genuinely beautiful textures and some really detailed looking maps. The first few times you play through a map like Aztec you could be forgiven for losing your bearings and thinking you were in an entirely new map altogther. On top of the great looking maps, we are treated to brand new player models which also look amazingly good. They retain a lot of familiar animations from their PC counterparts, but everything has been smoothed out, and some animations have been entirely replaced, so the end effect is very impressive. The terrorist models look suitably evil and shifty, as good terrorist models should, and the Counter-Terrorist models run the gamut from standard SWAT looking guys, to Army rangers complete with desert camoflauge and slouch hats. New effects have been added to the various grenades as well. High Explosive grenades now make a much louder, much more impressive explosion when they go off, and the smoke from Smoke grenades is so thick and so realistic that you really can now use it to hide your movements or cause a distraction. All these graphical updates and extras take CS for XBox from being potentially just another PC conversion, to something truly fresh and new.
A very good conversion of the PC classic which retains the core gameplay and feel of the original.
Many of the classic PC maps make their appearance in CS for XBox, along with a whole swag of new maps to try your hand at.
New graphics for all the levels, as well as new character models and new special effects look excellant and give the game a fresh, new feel to it.
Good sounds and music that, while not being overbearing, accompany the mood of the game perfectly.
While the controls are mostly effective, switching weapons can sometimes be a bit of an issue and may get you in trouble if you're not prepared.
No real single player mode to speak of limits this game to people who really only want to play it Multiplayer over XBox Live or System Link.
The lack of some of the more popular weapons and the Escort maps from the PC version of Counter-Strike may turn off some of the Die-Hard players wanting to try it out on XBox.
Can sometimes be hard to find a good lag-free server on XBox Live due to so many of them being overseas.
Counter-Strike for XBox is a brilliant conversion of the PC title that equals, and in some ways surpasses, the original. While it may not convert a lot of the players of the PC version over, it's a great way to let all those XBox owners out there in on the action. It's not really suited to anyone looking for a single player experience, but if you haven't played CS before, or you're looking for a new online action game to add to your collection, I'd definately recommend picking this one up.
Valve have put together a dismal effort of bringing one of the most popular PC multiplayer games to Xbox. They didn't bother updating the graphics or sound, or adding new elements to the gameplay. This is just a straight port of the PC version with a few new maps thrown in.
If you like CS on PC and have a xbox, buy it. It's a great game, even better with LIVE, I think it's better then the PC version because there's NO lag. :D
So like I said above, if you like the PC version, buy a xbox version tomorrow.