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Counter-Strike (CS) is a series of multiplayer first-person shooter video games, in which teams of terrorists battle to perpetrate an act of terror (bombing, hostage-taking, assassination) and counter-terrorists try to prevent it (bomb defusal, hostage rescue). The series began on Windows in 1999 with the first game, Counter-Strike. It was initially released as a modification ("mod") for Half-Life and designed by Minh "Gooseman" Le and Jess "Cliffe" Cliffe before the rights to the game's intellectual property were acquired by Valve, the developers of Half-Life.
That original game was followed by Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, developed by Turtle Rock Studios and released in 2004. In November of that year, Counter-Strike: Source was released by Valve. Released eight months after Condition Zero, Source was a remake of the original Counter-Strike and the first in the series to run on Valve's newly created Source engine. The fourth game in the main series, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, was released by Valve in 2012 for Windows, OS X, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Hidden Path Entertainment, who worked on Counter-Strike: Source post-release, helped to develop the game alongside Valve.
There have been several community-made spin-off titles created over the years. These include the Online series, Neo, and Nexon: Zombies.
Counter-Strike is an objective-based, multiplayer first-person shooter. Two opposing teams—the Terrorists and the Counter Terrorists—compete in game modes to complete objectives, such as securing a location to plant or defuse a bomb and rescuing or guarding hostages. At the end of each round, players are rewarded based on their individual performance with in-game currency to spend on more powerful weapons in subsequent rounds. Winning rounds results in more money than losing, and completing objectives such as killing enemy players gives cash bonuses. Uncooperative actions, such as killing teammates, results in a penalty.
Condition Zero Main article: Counter-Strike: Condition Zero
Counter-Strike was followed-up with Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, developed by Turtle Rock Studios and released in 2004. It used the Half-Life GoldSrc engine, similar to its predecessor. Besides the multiplayer mode, it also included a single-player mode with a "full" campaign and bonus levels. The game received mixed reviews in contrast to its predecessor and was quickly followed with a further entry to the series titled Counter-Strike: Source
Counter-Strike: Source was the first publicly released game by Valve to run on the Source engine. Counter-Strike: Source was initially released as a beta to members of the Valve Cyber Café Program on August 11, 2004. On August 18, 2004, the beta was released to owners of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and those who had received a Half-Life 2 voucher bundled with some ATI Radeon video cards. While the original release only included a version for Microsoft Windows, the game eventually received a port to OS X on June 23, 2010 with a Linux port afterwards in 2013.
Global Offensive Main article: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was the fourth release in the main, Valve-developed Counter-Strike series in 2012. Much like Counter-Strike: Source the game runs on the Source engine. It is available on Microsoft Windows, OSX, and Linux, as well as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, and is backwards compatible on the Xbox One console.
A Japanese arcade adaptation of Counter-Strike, the original Half-Life multiplayer modification. It is published by Namco, and runs on a Linux system. The game involves anime-designed characters in a futuristic designed version of Counter-Strike. A selection of single-player missions, mini-games, and seasonal events were added to prolong the game's interest with players
Online series Main articles: Counter-Strike Online and Counter-Strike Online 2
Counter-Strike Online is a free-to-play spin-off available in much of eastern Asia. It was developed by Nexon, with oversight from Valve. It uses a micropayment model that is managed by a custom version of the Steam back-end. Announced in 2012 and aimed at the Asian gaming market, a sequel titled Counter-Strike Online 2 was developed by Nexon on the Source game engine, and released in 2013
In August 2014, Nexon announced Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies, a free-to-play, zombie-themed spin-off, developed on the GoldSrc game engine. On September 23, 2014, an open beta was released on Steam. The game launched on October 7, 2014, featuring 50 maps and 20 game modes. The game features both player versus player modes such as team deathmatch, hostage rescue, bomb defusal, and player versus environment modes such as cooperative campaign missions and base defending. Reception from critics was generally negative with criticism aimed at the game's poor user interface, microtransactions, and dated graphics
Competitive play Main article: Counter-Strike in esports
Counter-Strike has had nearly 20 years of competitive play beginning with the original Counter-Strike. The first major was hosted in 2001 at the Cyberathlete Professional League. Cyberathlete Professional League, along with World Cyber Games and Electronic Sports World Cup were among the largest tournaments for the Counter-Strike series until 2007. In 2013, Valve hosted Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships which became the most prestigious tournament in CS:GO.