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  Review: Counter-Strike - Condition Zero
On 05/13/04 by Stephen "Sgt. Bilbo" Carmichael

Developer: Turtle Rock
Publisher: Sierra Entertainment
Release Date: March 23, 2004
ESRB: Mature
Official Site:
Platform: PC

For years, we gamers have enjoyed the wondrous world of Half-Life. Created in 1998, it was unleashed to the public and has been milked for all its worth. In the time since its release, a number of modifications have been released. Some of the more popular mods are Day of Defeat and Team Fortress. The most popular, and in some respects, the granddaddy of all mods is CounterStrike.

For the uninitiated, CounterStrike sets two teams against each other with set objectives. The teams are terrorist and counter-terrorist.
:: counter-strike: condition zero ::

:: counter-strike: condition zero ::

:: counter-strike: condition zero ::
The goals can be anything from saving hostages to setting explosives to just plain annihilate the opposition. To do this, you will have access to a number of real world weaponry like the Steyr Aug and AK-47 assault rifles, as well as pistols and grenades.

All of this sounds great�but is it really worth the $39.99 asking price? Especially considering you can download the game off the internet (legally) free. Read on�

Installing the game is a breeze, as with any Windows game. However, things get slightly ugly with Steam. Steam is the proprietary service front end provided by Valve to allow you easy access to all of your Half-Life games. This requires you be online and has a nasty habit of running in the background, whether you want it to or not. While this can be disabled, it is annoying to have to hunt the option down. Once you get Steam up and running, by creating a username and password and loading your CD Keys, you are set. Steam is nice, but I am not a huge believer in the system. You can play without it, but Steam does ensure your games are updated to the most recent versions. Now that the game is installed�let us play!

At the heart of the CounterStrike, experience lays the Half-Life engine. If you have played that game, you know exactly what this is like. Typical first-person shooter material. You use your mouse to look around and the keyboard to move. You can change weapons with your mouse wheel (assuming you have one) and attack using your mouse buttons.

The pacing of the game is fast. You run by default and you have to be quick to see your opponents before they catch you in their sights. Never stand still.
:: counter-strike: condition zero ::

:: counter-strike: condition zero ::

:: counter-strike: condition zero ::
However, you have to watch for campers, which do make the online game very irritating. However, if online does not suit you, this version of CounterStrike (CS) has single player in the form of bot matches.

In games like this, bots make or break the single player experience. In this Condition Zero, it is a mixed bag. On the higher difficulty levels, the bots are absolute machines, and will hunt you down methodically, and your teammates are pretty good themselves. However, once you go to the easier levels, the bots become incredibly retarded, sometimes getting stuck behind obstacles and not backing you up when you are being shot at. Not bad, but definitely not the up to the benchmark set by the Unreal Tournament series.

For a graphics engine that was based on the Quake 2 engine, the Half-Life engine is still holding on, but on life support only. Low Polygon models and low-resolution textures seem to be the best this engine can do, and in today�s gaming world, that just does not cut it. High resolutions are supported, but that does not change the fact that this is an old engine that needs to be put to pasture.

Audio is a definite mixed bag. Many of the sound effects are from the original mod, which, in turn, came from the original Half-Life game. The only new addition to the sound effects is the inclusion of voice communication via a headset. This makes team coordination very easy and prevents needless deaths due to typing on a keyboard. This is a very nice bonus and something many games of this type need to consider adding. Props to Ritual for adding this.

While I do sound a bit critical of the game, rest assured, it is very fun, but is it really $40 worth of fun, considering there are games like Unreal Tournament 2004 on the same shelf. It is showing its age and is in dire need of an upgrade. Considering there are better games out there, I cannot recommend this game that highly at its current price.

In a Word: Good, but not worth $39.99. Wait for the price to drop, or just download the mod. You will play it online for the most part, anyway.

Word to the Publisher: Time to stop milking this poor source of income. Let the next generation begin.

Final Score: 7.5/10
#1 - Kobayashi - 05/13/04 @ 03:38 AM EST
Yeah well - I can't see why they'd bother seeing how they'll have to do Counter-Strike again for the Half-Life 2 engine :)
#2 - Shataan - 05/13/04 @ 09:40 AM EST
Looks almost like Monolith did this actually. lol
#3 - sweetjimmy - 05/13/04 @ 12:35 PM EST
good review, bud!
#4 - Sgt. Bilbo - 05/13/04 @ 01:37 PM EST
Thanks, Jimmy. I'm still honing my skills in professional writing. Glad to know someone thinks its decent.Last Edited on 05/13/04 @ 01:42 PM EST
/ / /
#5 - Malkavian^C^ - 05/13/04 @ 08:33 PM EST
You complain about the graphics, I say it does cut it, for the game runs smooth as silk on a machine that's not cutting edge and still looks pretty damn good (esp compared to the original CS)
its also one of the only games i have that doesn't chunk in multiplayer when alot of characters are on screen. chalk that up in aprt to the low poly modelsLast Edited on 05/13/04 @ 08:35 PM EST
/ / /
#6 - Anon@ - 05/13/04 @ 10:31 PM EST
I wasn't knocking the game's graphics that badly...but face the facts...the game is running on a 7 year old engine...times have changed, and for $40, customers demand better.
/ / /
#7 - HyBriDJoKeR - 05/14/04 @ 10:58 AM EST
I wasn't that excited about this game to much either, the price and the graphics turned me away...I'll probably get it as a mod instead. This game is much worse on the XBox for sure.
/ / /
#8 - sweetjimmy - 05/14/04 @ 01:28 PM EST
Halflife was visually incredible back in its day. I remember my first 3D accelerated card; an Intel 720, I think... the trainride sequence was marvelous to behold; especially when you were used to playing Unreal in software mode.
/ / /
#9 - Arioch - 05/15/04 @ 12:58 PM EST
My first 3D experience was firing up GLQuake on my Diamond Monster Voodoo card. I was going apeshit on how the game looked in all of it's 640x480 glory.
/ / /
#10 - Arioch - 05/15/04 @ 04:05 PM EST
I am actually glad a lot of people still play CS since I don't - that cuts down on the number of asswipes I have to deal with in games I play from this millenium.

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