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Old 10-15-2003, 01:16 AM   #1
Ice_Commando
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Default An Unbiased Review

First of all it's hard to review a game like this because it uses the Half-Life 1 engine-- which I think is the source of it's major flaws. Second, I don't know whether I should look at it from the perspective of a CS fan, or of a game critic, because there's a huge difference. All the reviewers in game magazines today are going to stomp this game, for reasons i'll get to, but it's a much different story when you understand what they had to work with.

I'll get right to the point and say that the biggest flaw is the enemy AI. Thanks to this, every mission, no matter how creative, feels the same. After playing a few missions you begin to know what the AI is going to do, and where they are going to show up. It feels like target practice because the enemies just pop out, you kill them, they drop back down. They don't act like terrorists who want you dead, they act like robots that don't know what they're doing half the time. But thankfully, ritual's huge amounts of scripting saves it somewhat from being so repetitive.
Every mission has something going on, like tanks busting through the wall, or harriers taking out buildings. This helps you feel like your more apart of the action and brings you into the environment, where as the AI makes you feel like your playing bop-a-gofer at chuckey cheese. Unfortunately, the scripted sequences aren't perfect, they do a lot of strange things that make it really feel like your playing a scripted game. For example, during one mission, I get the impression that they imagine you'll use a shotgun in a certain area, because there is a terrorist against the wall that's just waiting to be blown out the window. Instead I was low on ammo and switched over to my handgun and headshot him-- it's pretty strange when they go flying through the window anyway, as if the pistol has that much kick to it. And this is just one example.
Another irritating aspect is the AI spawning. It's true what other reviews say, you can actually see enemies at times come out of thin air. However, most of the time you don't see it, you just realize that someone is hacking at your back with a machete in what was a seemingly empty hall. But again, these problems seem to be a problem of the HL engine-- I don't know if the programmers could have taken anymore steps to fix this, or if maybe they just didn't have the time, it's hard to tell. Granted, the steps they take to make the AI more interesting makes me think that they couldn't do much to help it.
Another grip, and possibly the biggest for CS fans and Valve, is that the game doesn't "feel" like your playing counter-strike. It feels more like Solider of Fortune 2, or the original half-life. Headshots aren't what they are in CS, it takes a few hits to bring them down if you have something like a pistol. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing, since the AI just sits there shooting at you and doesn't move, it'd be almost too easy if one easy shot could take them down. But this is not by any means an easy game (I played on normal) thanks to the AI once again. Dieing is always frustrating. Later in the game it gets really annoying when LAW rocket launcher carrying enemies start shooting you at point blank range in tight quartered office cubicles. And there's plenty more strange things than this, like kamikaze thugs in underground drug labs-- Don't get me wrong, those guys are hilarious, but the enemies don't always seem to fit in with the circumstances.

But enough about the AI. The missions and levels in this game have a lot of variety and helps to keep you playing. None of the levels feel like they were rushed or put together with leftover assets-- they all look polished and give you a good sense of the environment. It's surprising the things they've accomplished with the HL engine, i've never seen it look as good as it does here. The missions aren't disappointing either. You do everything from shoot down an enemy helicopter from the back of a jeep to busting into a crack house. Like I said before, every mission has a huge amount of scripted sequences that help bring you into the action, your team mates and enemies help too with all the speech in the game. But this only goes so far, since they all pretty much sound like GI-Joe VA's with horrible accents. But that is a minor complaint.

Despite all of the flaws i've mentioned, this still makes for one hell of a game when put in the same boat as the other HL games. Most of all the game barely looks like it's using the engine thanks to the excellent models, texturing and detailed levels. And though the AI is shallow, there is some redemption with what they do with it-- the many different death and entrance sequences, and small touches like enemies flipping over tables to provide cover help make it much more interesting.

If valve calls this a bad game it is their own fault, they should have seen this coming. Because from what I see, Ritual did everything they could to give players an fulfilling gaming experience.

Sorry it's not written better. Feel free to delete if i'm going against the rules.
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Old 10-15-2003, 03:33 AM   #2
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

You are right on point. I agree with you 100%. This is an entertaining game with its flaws. The main flaw is that with years of delays it will be hard for most of the community to praise this. I think most of the people on this forum have been excited for this game, and should still pick it up. Though $50 would be too pricey. Ice Commando great review.
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Old 10-15-2003, 06:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

Fair

I think that the reason the enemy AI doesnt feel more realistic is because they are not set up to be able to run and shoot at the same time. I imagine that would have resulted in the game being WAY harder. LOL
I couldnt imagine a normal person beating the High Rise level if the bad guys had been running and shooting at the same time.
It makes me feel so much better just knowing that people are finaly playing these maps. I had lost almost all hope after valve was so quiet for so long..

I still have that multiplayer map kicking around too. Now that CZ has gone gold I think I am free to finish the level. Looks like I need to get this quake 3 map I am working on done much sooner... grrr

anyway
that review is nice... I fear what the magazines will say though.....
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Old 10-15-2003, 11:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

I agree with everything Ice said one thing that bothers me is people saying that this doesnt feel like Counter-Strike. I dont think there is a way to make a single player "feel" like counter-strike its just not possible. I didnt want to get this game just for a new counter-strike experience. I like playin multiplayer games the most online, and there is no real way to make that feeling of counter-strike into a single player. I wanted to get this game soley for the updated models and sound in multiplayer. The single player was just a bonus to me. I usually dont like single players but I have enjoyed playing Condition Zero. Yes the AI is stupid but that kind of gives the game a little humour to it. Pissed me off when I was just like tryin to get something then I hear a terrorist start yelling and I turn around and to my suprise there is some camel jockey hacking away with a machette at me. I dunno why but I thought it was so funny when i was playing the first mission and another camel jockey came running out and blew himself up to try to injure me.Good job ritual.
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Old 10-16-2003, 10:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

IF you could do so xile or Commando, could u list all of the mission names in cz from 1st level to last level in order and tell me what kind of environment there in

(examp) 1. operation dingbat - Jungle

lol nice example huh
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Old 10-16-2003, 12:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

to be honest I would like to know this list also since the Ritual version never did get leaked. (Not that I know of anyway)

if its not any trouble
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Old 10-16-2003, 02:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

I'll list the maps, but people* are having huge problems with the game crashing so they* still haven't got through the first level.
World Map:

Counter Terrorist training - this is the central headquarters and training facility for Counter-terrorists ... (eastern US)

Recoil - An army blackhawk has been shot down. Casualties ... (Africa)

Turn of the Crank - It is suspected that an urban drug ring ... (northwest America)

Drug Lab - Intel has reported that a highly organized drug cartel ... (Columbia I think)

Downed Pilot - A helicopter has been shot down near a mining compound in the jungles of Argentina... (Argentina duh)

Rise Hard - A group of political radicals has taken over a high rise building... (UK or England what's the diff?)

Motorcade Assault - A European terrorist organization has come to prominence... (I think north Spain. and, prominence? what were you/they thinking? lol)

Alamo - The US embassy in Yipiti... (Yipiti i guess)

Secret War - Rebels have taken over a remote missle complex in Russia... (northern Russia)

Hankagai - The safety of this vip is vital. his tour of... (located around Singapore, even though it's obviously Japanaese)

Lost Cause - While on vacation in the Philippines, a group of German nationals... (looks like in Thailand)

and those are all the maps on the world map with only recoil and training unlocked. of course it was hard to come by this info as I personally DON'T* have this leak. bahaha
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Old 10-16-2003, 04:24 PM   #8
Castle
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

AH!

thanks!

however you are missing one mission I think
it is 12 missions right?

is it Building Recon?

hmm hold on a second. people have talked about playing other missions that are not in the list.
hmm
this list doesnt sound correct to me
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Old 10-16-2003, 04:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

That list looks correct to me-- I just checked and it is only 10 missions, not including the training one.
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Old 10-16-2003, 04:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

Building recon is in there...

World map shows other levels than the "play game" option. I believe building recon is the thirth. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]
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Old 10-16-2003, 07:19 PM   #11
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

Quote:
people* are having huge problems with the game crashing so they* still haven't got through the first level.

where are you quoting from most people i talk to run it fine and have already completed it.
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Old 10-16-2003, 09:55 PM   #12
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

Can you save and load the games, or did Valve cut that out, too?
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Old 10-16-2003, 10:27 PM   #13
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review *DELETED*

Post deleted by badman
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Old 10-16-2003, 10:35 PM   #14
Ice_Commando
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

You can save and load.
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Old 10-16-2003, 10:50 PM   #15
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

Here's a question!

After loading a mission, can you change the game's video resolution without having it quit out of the mission without warning?
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Old 10-16-2003, 11:19 PM   #16
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

just tested it brush. after changing resolution it reset the game and went back to the main menu without warning. well....sort of, it actually reset back to half-life's main menu. must be because of the leak. im guessing when the final is released it will reset to cz's menu (sucks though).
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Old 10-17-2003, 01:59 AM   #17
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

hey um does anyone have the turtle rock version of cz that works mine crashes when i try to start a multiplayer game and just doesnt plain work when i try to actually play the turtle rock cz
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Old 10-17-2003, 02:07 AM   #18
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

i heard you have to copy the dll's from cstrike to cstrike_trs to make it work somehow.-.
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Old 10-17-2003, 03:36 PM   #19
Kalabalana
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

that was every single location on my world map
I'm having huge problems with crashing, I can only play up to the part in recoil where it tries to load the next part of the map, saveing happens without crashing, loading always crashes.
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Old 10-17-2003, 05:57 PM   #20
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wow, thats the first i've heard of it. no crashing here. im gonna try that .dll thing but right now im getting the same problem as you, Vash.
edit: yes the dll gets it to work, but ofcourse it is only counter-strike now, no bots, no turtle rock cz. But all of the maps are awesome, dust aztec, just awesome.
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Old 10-23-2003, 10:20 AM   #21
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Default Re: An Unbiased Review

there is also the mission "thin ice" which isnt on the world map. there may be more. im not all the way through yet.
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