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Counter-Strike (CS) is a realistic modification of Valve's first-person shooter Half-Life. It is the most widely played Half-Life modification and the most popular game played online.

Table of contents
1 Game play
2 Map types
3 Leagues
4 Clans
5 History
6 Related topics
7 External links

Game play

Counter-Strike is a team-based game where players join either the Terrorists (T) or the Counter-terrorists (CT). Each round starts with the two teams spawning simultaneously; usually they are given a few seconds before the round starts to buy equipment (weapons, ammo, armor, etc.). They can usually buy more equipment for 0-90 secs after the round starts provided they do not leave the "buy zone" (see Counter-Strike equipment). The goal of the game is to help your team defeat the enemy team and to get as many kills as you can. The round ends when either team wins the round or when the round time limit is reached. The game tracks how many players each player has killed, how many times they have died, and gives players money for killing enemies or completing team objectives. It also tracks how many times each team has won. Both teams receive additional money at the beginning of the next round, with the winners of the last round receiving more money than the losers. Surviving players retain their equipment but those who have died must buy new equipment.

Any players killed before the round is over become "ghosts"; their chat/voice messages cannot be seen/heard by the players still alive, they become invisible, but they are able to watch the rest of the round. The developers of Counter-Strike have added several restrictions to this system over the years to prevent spying ghosts from communicating with those still playing. For example, ghosts cannot change their names because in early versions, dead players could communicate with the living by changing their names (e.g., Mr_He_Is_behind_you). Depending on server configuration, ghosts may or may not have possibility of floating freely anywhere on the map. The default in early versions was to allow the ghosts to float freely, but this default was changed later because dead players spied on the living and could communicate through alternative media (most notably voice in case of Internet cafes).

Map types

Currently, there are three main types of maps:

cs_ maps: the original map type, these are based on a hostage rescue situation. 4 Hostages (computer-controlled) are located near the terrorist spawn; the counter-terrorists must lead them to the rescue zone, which is usually near the counter-terrorist spawn (note: some maps have more than one rescue zone). If the counter-terrorists rescue all the hostages within the time limit, they win the round. If a player on either side kills a hostage, (s)he loses money. Killing the entire enemy team also ends the round. If the time limit is reached and the hostages have not been rescued, the terrorists win (even if the hostages have all been killed). Some of the most popular cs_ maps:

de_ maps: based on a bomb-defusing scenario. One of the terrorists starts out with a C-4 bomb, which can only be planted at bomb sites; usually there are two bomb sites on the map, one of which is near the counter-terrorist spawn. Once the bomb has been planted, the counter-terrorists have to locate and defuse it before it explodes. On de_ maps a special defuse kit can be bought to decrease the time it takes to defuse a bomb. Killing the enemy team ends the round if the bomb has not been planted; if the bomb has been planted, terrorists win if they kill the counter-terrorists, but the counter-terrorists must defuse the bomb even if they kill the terrorists. If the round ends and the bomb has not exploded (or been defused) the counter-terrorists win. In recent years, this map type has become the most played type. Popular de_ maps: as_ maps: based on an assassination scenario. One of the counter-terrorists spawns as a VIP (Very Important Person). The VIP can't buy equipment, but starts out with 200 armor (the normal maximum is 100). The VIP must go to a rescue point; this is usually a helicopter or APC. The counter-terrorists win if the VIP makes it to the rescue point or all the terrorists are killed while the VIP is still alive. The terrorists win if the VIP is killed or the time limit is reached and the VIP has not yet made it to the rescue point. as_ maps are far less popular than cs_ and de_ maps. Popular as_ maps: There used to be an es_ (escape) map type where the terrorists would have to flee the counter-terrorists and reach an escape zone, but that type is rarely played anymore. In addition to the maps included with Counter-Strike, there are many custom maps available created by map-making programs.


Many online gaming leagues have adopted Counter-Strike as one of their "ladders". The most "prestigious" and "leet" of them is CPL (Cyberathlete Professional League). Below that is CAL (Cyberathelete Amateur League), which has various divisions. CAL-O is CAL-Open, the lowest ladder, while CAL-I is CAL-Invite, the highest ladder. Between them are CAL-IM (Intermediate) and CAL-M (Main). Teams in this league face off similar to those in professional sports leagues, such as the National Football League. There are also smaller leagues that have fewer rewards. The two most popular smaller leagues are Proving Grounds and Online Gaming League.


Many, if not most experienced players around the world are a member of a "clan". These groups of players are usually friends who play together on a regular basis. Members of clans personalize their names with tags. For example, in a name like "[EW]Bob", "[EW]" is the clan tag and "Bob" is the player's name.

Some clans participate in wars and are ranked against one another. A war is, on average, a best of three matches, one clan against another on different maps.


The Counter-Strike team was formed by Minh Le ("Gooseman") and Jess Cliffe ("cliffe") in 1999. Counter-Strike Beta 1.0 was released in June of that year, followed by a relatively quick succession of beta releases (by the end of 1999, beta 5.0 had been released). CS gained in popularity just as rapidly. The Counter-Strike team joined Valve to turn the fan-created mod into an official mod for Half-Life. In November 2000, Counter-Strike 1.0 -- the first non-beta, official retail version of the game -- was released. A long-awaited single-player version of the game called Counter-Strike: Condition Zero is due for release in 2004.

Related topics

External links