Is there really any other game that defines the standard blokish-gamer image than Counter Strike? This is a series that has been keeping male teenagers from achieving good grades in school since they first discovered its action, and its superiorly-designed Source reimagining only served to intensify the distraction its action caused for all blokes that played it.
Today you’ve got Counter Strike: GO acting as the main torch-carrier for the series, but the action of Counter Strike: Source ca never be forgotten. With features including vastly improved hitbox mechanics, revolutionary (for the time) ragdoll physics, and visual improvements all-round, Counter-Strike Source isn’t just a cleverly-ported Half Life offshoot, but a multiplayer game that defined a generation and helped spark a multiplayer revolution.
The Simplest of Gameplays
Don’t let the (relatively) dated-looking graphics of CS: Source fool you: this game still has some of the most entertaining gameplay available, and this still holds true nearly 12 years after its 2004 release. It’s a classic FPS in the sense of it being both legendary in the FPS world and that it ticks all of the criteria boxes of the FPS genre. You’re to choose whether you wish to be on the terrorist or counter-terrorist team, after which you’re entered into a match where you view all of the shooting action through the eyes of your terrorist or counter-terrorist character. As mentioned above, this is classic FPS, only the one thing that MUST be pointed out here is that this is a multiplayer game.
The gameplay itself requires that you purchase weapons at the beginning of the round, and then go and engage the enemy. Your wider purpose is determined by the kind of match you’re playing, of which there are two main types: bomb defusal and hostage rescue. This is a fairly slim roster of match types compared with Counter Strike: Global Offensive, but simplicity is in this case Source’s friend.
The shooting part of the gameplay is always the same no matter which kind of match you choose to play. It’s a case of paying attention to your crosshair, learning to control the recoil when you shoot (achieved by shooting in bursts when using autos/semi autos or only firing a few rounds at a time when using a pistol), and getting to grips with the various maps that have made CS: Source so very famous over the years.
Earning Your Arsenal
Your starting weapons are inevitably limited (it is recommended that you choose Kevlar and a pistol you can afford) due to the limited money you have at the start of a round. However, each kill earns you some money, and being the winning team can have you flush with cash so that you can enjoy the game’s more impressive and powerful arsenal.
Well-designed, easily-navigable menus facilitate the purchasing process (this is good as you’ve only around 30 seconds to purchase your items at the start of each round), where you can snap up everything from the essential Kevlar + Helmet to handguns like the Desert Eagle, assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles (the AWP is the overly-powerful yet clunky favourite of many newbies), and even machine guns.
Don’t go crazy purchasing the most expensive weapons on the list however. You’ll soon learn that some weapons are more popular than others, and for good reason. Though individual players’ preferences differ, the most popular choice of pistol for your sidearm are either the Glock (large clip, accurate), the USP (slightly more powerful bullets, accurate, optional silencer), or the Desert Eagle (small clip but powerful .50 cal rounds that have incredible stopping power). Likewise, some prefer the Scout sniper rifle over the massive AWP because it’s lighter and has a better reload time than its weighty brother.
Anyone can simply enter into a server and play Counter Strike: Source, but it takes a patient man to actually get good at the gameplay. It’s all about learning which weapons are good to use in certain situations, as well as getting to know the maps (popular ones like Dust2, Aztec, Italy, and Inferno just so happen to be the most fun to play, too) and the way the Source physics engine works.
You can’t jump in the air and shoot accurately in this game, nor can you (for example) just shoot from the hip with the AK-47 and expect to hit a target accurately. Shooting is all about squeezing the trigger to let off a few rounds, allowing your crosshair to return to its tight-knit state, and squeezing off more shots.
The Perfect Accompaniment to Half-Life 2
If you’ve played Half Life 2, you’ll already know a little of what to expect from CS: Source. Nothing can quite prepare you for the level of skill that some professional players have, however, so it’s simply a case of learning how to shoot and move, learning the maps, and progressing slowly over time. With a ridiculously wide array of maps to choose from (many of them custom-made with extra match types such as Gun Game-style ventures), a brilliantly realistic physics engine, and millions of players online waiting for matches, you’re essentially guaranteed to have a great time here if you’re a bloke and you love shooting games.