My buddy Rob took pity on me today and allowed me to make use of his Steam account to try out the beta version of Counter-Strike: Source. Rob’s in the beta because he bought a new ATI video card last year when they were giving away vouchers for a free copy of HL2 along with the cards. He’s not a CS fan, though, so until HL2 itself is released he’s not too interested in checking things out.
Me, I’m a long-time Counter-Strike player. I’m decent enough at the game that I’ve actually been banned from a server or two because the admins thought I was cheating which is why I miss the days of Detroit CS, a local server which I was fortunate enough to be an admin on until it went offline. I’ve invested entirely too much time playing that game and the more I see of the Source version the more my anticipation builds. So it was with no small amount of glee that I logged into Steam tonight and downloaded the beta to try out. There’s a screenshot on the right here that shows a little of what the game looks like. It still plays a lot like the CS you’ve known and loved for years except it looks amazingly better and there are some subtle differences that do affect game play. Smoke grenades, for example, are actually damned useful now and flash bangs in CS: Source are things to fear. Hiding behind crates will actually keep you from being damaged by frag grenades, unlike in previous versions of the game, but now armor is no where near as effective if you get caught by one. The random objects scattered around a level which you can interact with are nice as well.
I didn’t even mind the fact that the past several hours of gaming was done on the one CS map I hate the most: Dust. Which, naturally, is one of the more popular maps ever. Some servers had the Aztec map to play as well, but I didn’t get a chance to try that one out tonight. Tomorrow perhaps. Right now I have to go to bed and dream of the day that HL2 hits store shelves.