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If you've never experienced Counter-Strike before, this new version of the classic team-based PC shooter may cause you to wonder what, exactly, all the fuss is about.
Counter-Strike isn't just a game, it's a phenomenon. Originally created by a couple of college students as a downloadable mod for Valve's pioneering 1998 PC first-person shooter, Half-Life, Counter-Strike has more than outlived the game on which it was based and remains one of the most widely played online games in the world, despite being based on 5-year-old technology. Why did Counter-Strike take the world by storm? For one thing, it was free and piggybacked a game that had a huge installed base. But, more importantly, it combined realistic kill-or-be-killed gunplay in a highly competitive, team-oriented environment that featured an incredibly fast, perfectly tuned, arcadelike pace. Much like the way Street Fighter II pioneered the fighting game but was never truly surpassed, so will Counter-Strike remain the once and future king of team-based shooters. Now Microsoft, in partnership with Valve, has brought Counter-Strike to the Xbox, where it's no longer free and no longer as responsive, but, in other respects, is largely the same game as the PC version. It's a bare-bones product that's a missed opportunity, offering no compelling reasons to make it recommendable over the PC version, except to someone with an Xbox Live account and a completely outdated PC. On its own merits, it can make for some good fun online, but if you've never experienced Counter-Strike before, this new version may cause you to wonder what, exactly, all the fuss is about. ...
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