Counter Strike Source. © Valve Corporation

The success of the original Counter Strike was so great, that for many years players refused to shift to other first-person shooters. Counter Strike Source was the solution for those who fell in love with the original game, but were secretly hoping for better graphics. The newer release uses the Source Game Engine, hence the name, while retaining the team-based objective nature. The missions are more or less the same, but the better graphics and superior Artificial Intelligence improve the gaming experience.

Key facts about Counter Strike Source

  • Counter Strike Source uses the same proven concepts of the original, while offering better graphics, more responsive characters and superior AI.
  • Depending on what team they choose, players need to plant or defuse the bomb, save or detain hostages and security VIP or kill him.
  • Players respawn only after the round completes, but in Counter Strike Source they enjoy less freedom during the period of time spent as ghosts.
  • In Counter Strike Source, the damage inflicted the first based on the impact point, but also the caliber of the weapon and distance.
  • Counter Strike Source emphasizes the importance of head-shots, while allowing skilled players to salvage a seemingly lost round.
  • The retail version of the game includes Deathmatch and Day of Defeat: Source.
Screenshot of Counter Strike Source. © Valve Corporation
Screenshot of Counter Strike Source. © Valve Corporation

The Counter Strike Source games

Virtually nothing has changed in Counter Strike Source, with players competing the same missions and objectives as in the original Counter Strike. The change to basic game mechanics as well as the attention paid to technical details, such as the injuries caused by weapons and grenades, add a new layer of complexity to most of the Counter Strike Source games. Players in both teams need to be more accurate and plan each action several moves in ahead to complete objectives.

Bomb defusal is performed using the same technique, but the counter terrorist unit needs better protection, while the wrongdoers are supposed to have sharpshooters in their team. The importance of being able to deliver head shots emphasized by the fact that players can sustain multiple arm and leg wounds. Conversely, the counter terrorists have an easier mission when trying to protect the VIP, as the target has more hit points and is less susceptible to critical damage.

The popularity of hostage rescue Counter Strike Source games is the result of superior AI, as the hostages are capable of taking cover. Players also have the option of replacing humans with AI controlled foes and teammates of varying skill level.

Truth be told, even when players choose the most intelligent computer controlled teammates, they can still expect green names to fly in the wrong direction. Sometimes, hostages tend to wonder aimlessly instead of respecting the commands issued by players, which can cause confusion and render even the best plan virtually useless.

What is Counter Strike Source?

Counter Strike Source is a proud heir of the original Counter Strike, changing very little in terms of gameplay but crafting a much better looking game. The beta was released on August 18, 2004 and all those who owned Counter Strike Condition Zero received it immediately for free. The new installment builds on the popularity of the game that revolutionized the first-person shooter industry and it’s available after more than a decade. The new versions are also compatible with iOS and Linux operating systems.

Screenshot of Counter Strike Source. © Valve Corporation
Screenshot of Counter Strike Source. © Valve Corporation

Gameplay of Counter Strike Source

Counter Strike Source introduces two additional default character models, with each side now having to choose between five versions. Gameplay changes were subtle affect all compartments, including the structure of individual rounds. Players have a couple of seconds to decide what weapons to purchase and what gear to put on, before the round begins and the freeze time concludes.

Those who have survived the previous round will get to keep the weapons, while stockpiling cash that can be spent on new or additional gear. Players can replace their guns during each round, by simply returning to the starting point within a reasonable period of time. Counter Strike Source also introduces the concept of neutral buy-zones, where both terrorists and counter terrorist can purchase gear. Just like in the original Counter Strike, the fastest way to change your weapon is by picking up the one dropped by an opponent.

At the end of each round, the surviving players will keep their equipment and the ones who fell victim to the onslaught start with the basic weapon. Cash is rewarded to those who survive as well as those who complete the mission, so they will have the financial means needed to acquire better gear. Meanwhile, the results are clearly displayed on the scoreboard, so each team knows if it is leading or trails behind.

A lot of information is not visible to players who are still alive, as this can have an impact on the game and could influence strategy. Once they die, players get to see who carries the bomb, who is the designated the VIP as well as the place where hostages are held. The gameplay allows spectators to roam freely across the map or restricts them to predetermined locations, so they can’t influence the match.

Plot of Counter Strike Source

Counter Strike Source was not developed with the purpose of expanding the Counter Strike universe, but to refine the existing game mechanics. As a result, there is no campaign in this game either and no special missions to complete in single player format. Players learn more about the gameplay by jumping head-first into the sharks infested waters, with most beginners choosing unranked competitions.

Screenshot of Counter Strike Source. © Valve Corporation
Screenshot of Counter Strike Source. © Valve Corporation

The plot of Counter Strike Source is relegated to the status of individual mission objectives and there are no characters or narrative whatsoever. The absence of a storyline can have a deterring effect on those who want to get fully immersed into a special gaming atmosphere. However, the rounds themselves play out differently each time, with players using strategies that range from simplistic to extremely complex.

Counter Strike Source maps are larger and feature destructible areas, with crates that provide shelter but also acting as potential traps. Planting and defusing the bomb can be done in several ways and complex strategies are used by both teams when trying to exfiltrate hostages or the VIP.

Development of Counter Strike Source

Counter Strike Source was not an afterthought of Valve, but a game supposed to build on the popularity of the original title while keeping its legacy alive. Initially released as a beta to Valve Cyber Café Program members, it was soon embraced by first-person shooter fans worldwide. Developers worked mostly on improving the artificial intelligence as well as revamping the manner in which guns work.

The popular special gameplay mods, such as Gun Game and Zombie Mod return to Counter Strike Source under a different packaging. Players are still supposed to choose one team or the other and accumulate superior gear while they start with a pistol in Gun Game. Zombie Mod does exactly what the name would indicate, with half of the players acting as zombies trying to spread the infection using a knife, while the other team tries to survive.

Where can I download Counter Strike Source?

Counter Strike Source was supposed to be a free version of the game for all Valve Cyber Café Program and it didn’t turn into a paid product overnight. It can now be downloaded from the official website as well as thousands of mirror sites owned or operated by the fans. The superstructure is still in place, with plenty of servers scattered worldwide and providing accommodation to those who want to play a quick game or sign up for a tournament.

What are others saying about Counter Strike Source?

When Counter Strike Source hit the shelves, it was appreciated by both fans of the franchise and professional critics. The game earned an overall score of almost 90 out of 100, despite the fact that it didn’t make significant changes to the original. Hardcore fans were disappointed by the fact that the skill ceiling was not even remotely as high as in Counter Strike 1.6, but recreational players had no objections.

Counter Strike Source tournaments

Counter Strike Source had just as many fans as the original when it was released and most of the players simply migrated to the new tournaments. The rules were the same and participants used similar tactics and strategies, while factoring in the subtle changes. The game was chosen for the World Cyber Games and it generated just as much enthusiasm as some of the flagship video games, such as StarCraft.

My rating of Counter Strike Source

A famous saying states that when something works smoothly, don’t bother fixing it and that’s exactly what Counter Strike Source did. You can’t blame developers for trying to customize a fully functional product, while improving the AI, the visuals and the sound effects. It doesn’t bring anything new on the table, but has the merit of not ruining an immensely popular game, so a rate of 8/10 makes perfect sense.

Check out more Counter Strike reviews below:

Overall Score