Gamers bought “Half-Life” back in the ’90s
when it was the best and most innovative videogame to come out in
years and when “Counter-Strike” came out shortly
thereafter, they battled hordes of fanatical players in an online
environment comprised of clans and guilds. But now, more than five
years later, the game sits innocuously on the shelf next to several
other outdated titles. With Microsoft’s recent port of
“Counter-Strike” to the XBox, gamers may be thinking
that it is time to relive some past glory with new-age technology;
however, if players are expecting a nostalgic trip down memory
lane, the newest version of the counter-terrorism shooter might
leave them asking for more.

The game is basically the same as it was a half decade ago, only
with the addition of a few extra levels and the XBox Live platform
backing the online play. The greatest addition is the easy-to-use
radial-buy menu at the start of each round. At the beginning of
each level, gamers choose sides by selecting either terrorist or
counter-terrorist. Players storm through several rounds lasting
only a few minutes each and, upon completion, can switch levels and
change sides. There are only two basic types of competition:
demolition games, where the terrorist team tries to set and
detonate a bomb, and hostage missions, where the counter-terrorists
attempt to free hostages. In both cases, the opposing side is
trying to thwart these efforts. The game could be improved upon by
having more mission options, such as VIP protection or some form of
escape mode, but, unfortunately, players are presented with just
the two options.

“Counter-Strike” has always focused on its fairly
realistic gun play. Unlike some games, where you boldly dash
headfirst into a room full of armed opponents, shrugging off
bullets like Superman, trying this in “Counter-Strike”
will most likely lead to your early demise. Once the player’s
health reaches zero, the game gives you a few minutes to sit and
think about what you’ve done as you watch your teammates
finish the mission. Beginners may be frustrated by this at first,
but prudence becomes the order of the day.

While the game does ship with a single player option featuring
bots of different skill levels, the online play is the bread and
butter of “Counter-Strike.” Without Xbox Live, the game
is not worth the $50 price tag. But if you already have a
subscription and enjoyed the PC version or similar first person
shooters, “Counter-Strike” can be an enjoyable
diversion.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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