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Back in 1998, Valve released a little game called Half-Life. It is still one of the most-played online games today, with it\'s gripping psi-fi story, intense gameplay, and oh yeah - mods. Counter-Strike is undoubtedly the most popular mod out there. If you\'ve never heard of it, you obviously aren\'t paying too much attention to the gaming industry. Don?t feel too bad though. Lucky for you, I\'m about to break it down.

Game play

Let\'s start out with the basic premise of the game. Teams of terrorists try to either plant bombs or guard hostages while counter-terrorists try to defuse bombs or rescue hostages. Of course, all of this can be avoided by simply killing the opposing team. Your team will receive money each time you successfully kill an enemy, plant/defuse a bomb, or rescue a hostage. This money can be used to buy weapons, ammo, grenades, etc., at the beginning of each round. The game has all the realistic weapons that you would expect, and the selection differs depending on which team you choose to play on. The game starts with 18 different maps, and there are currently two more that you can download for free on Xbox Live, with more on the way. You can choose to play a single-player game, where you endlessly play with/against bots just as you would with real people. There are five different difficulties to choose from, when playing single-player. I\'ve found this to be quite fun at times, even as dull as it sounds. However, I would not buy this game just for the single-player. There\'s no single-player story or campaign mode. The real deal is the Xbox Live multi-player. CS was meant to be played online on the PC, and this was also the main focus for the Xbox port. There\'s no split-screen multi-player. Yes, shed a tear ? that was one of the game\'s biggest letdowns for me. Playing online is a blast though. Literally. I have experienced very little to no lag or slowdown. It never really seems to get old. Maybe that?s why it has lasted this long. Aside from playing online, you can hook up your Xbox to those of your friend(s)\' to play a LAN game. Though I haven\'t tried this, I would imagine it works very much like it does online.

Graphics

The graphics have been improved since the PC version, but they\'re certainly not up to date. Expect chunky character models, choppy animations, and very low-detailed textures. Overall it\'s not a bad-looking game, but it\'s not a very good-looking one either.

Sound

My favorite thing about the sound is Custom Soundtracks. This was also easy to use in the PC version, and it\'s just as easy in the Xbox version, as long as you already have your tracks stored on your Xbox\'s HDD. Aside from custom soundtracks, there is no music in the game. Bots grunt things like \'Cover me,\' in single-player, and other sound effects sound good.

Appropriateness

Well, the game revolves around violence. It\'s for you to decide whether you want to fight as a SEAL or a terrorist. There is also quite a bit of fake-looking, pixelated blood. If you\'re playing online, you might hear some bad language, but I can\'t deduct points from the game because of some people who play it.

Final Thoughts

Though dated, Counter-Strike is a very fun and addictive game. Its strong gameplay is enough to make up for some of it\'s flaws. If you are an Xbox Live subscriber, who like me, missed out on the PC version, I would highly recommend getting Counter-Strike for the Xbox.

Overall

Game play: B- Graphics: C- Sound: C Appropriateness: C+

Overall: 75%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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