Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Jason Blum (aka Medic911)

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Valve
Price Range: $35
Learning curve time: Short
Age level: 13+
ESRB Rating: Mature
Patches / Upgrades: n/a
System Requirements: 200Mhz + Internet

Genre: First-Person Shooter (Multiplayer)
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 2 of 5
Adult Content: 3 of 5

Logo for 'Counter-Strike' I should say right up front, I'm a bit biased. I designed a couple of the “official” levels for this game. Nonetheless, I promise to be impartial in my review :) (BTW, look for the Christian “fish symbol” and the Ten Commandments within the hidden 'easter-eggs' of my levels!)

This game began life as a mod to the popular game "Half-Life", but soon became so popular that the game company who made “Half-Life” bought it and put it in stores as a stand-alone product. Last time I heard, it had more players at any given time than "Quake Arena", "Unreal Tournament", and ALL other half-life mods combined. That's a lot of people, folks.

In "Counter-Strike", players assume the role of either terrorists, or counter-terrorists, and then become a part of an on-line team in which they must work together to win certain objective-based scenarios. A typical map might have the terrorists attempting to plant a bomb inside a specific location, while the other team tries to stop them. Another scenario involves rescuing hostages.

The rounds usually last 5 to 10 minutes, and once you're killed, you're out of the mission for good. No wimpy respawn here! (You can however, float around the map in invisible “ghost” mode and observe the action… so it doesn't get too boring).

Screenshot from 'Counter-Strike' The weapons are all realistic real-world weapons. The H&K MP-5, Benelli Shotgun, Glock, Colt M-16… and many more.

I've played many multiplayer games, from “Doom” to “Tribes”, and this game is by FAR my personal favorite. That's why I chose to design game levels for it. Few games offer better models, and more realistic combat.

Screenshot from 'Counter-Strike' There is nothing objectionable within the game, aside from the violence. No language or nudity. No occult themes. The violence is realistic, and involves extreme situations such as sniping enemies, aiming for the "head kill", and an occasional splatter of blood on a wall or floor. However, the gore is not overly done, and the violence isn't glorified like it is in some games. Make no mistakes though: there IS a great deal of killing in the game. Many rounds end only after the entire enemy team has been eliminated (i.e. killed), and individual kills are tracked. Now I should mention one important caveat: I said there is no adult language or content. Now that I think about it, that's not exactly true. See, the game itself has no such content, but being a multiplayer game, players are able to type in real-time “chat” between each other. This means it's not uncommon to encounter abusive, offensive, foul-mouthed players. Such is the risk of any on-line past-time, but it's worth mentioning. An even greater potential problem is the new phenomenon of "spray logos". Ordinarily, players are able to choose from a number of stock logos which they can spraypaint on the walls within the game. This was a feature of the original half-life, and the mod team never bothered to remove this feature. However, players have recently figured out how to hack the feature, allowing them to spraypaint large, colorful, custom pictures of near-photo quality. Unfortunately, there are players who occasionally feel the need to spray pornographic images within the game. This isn't a very common problem, but it DOES happen, and is a very real risk.

In summary, if you're sensitive to simulated violence, this game is not for you. If you don't want your kids to run any risk of seeing pornography or being exposed to other player's foul language, then you'd be safer to avoid it. But if you're shopping for yourself, and you can handle the POTENTIAL risk of being exposed to these things, with the understanding that it's not a part of the game itself, so much as the errant behavior of a few players… then this game can't be beat.

Year of Release—2000

Positive—Counter-Strike is a popular modification to the 1998 game of the year Half-Life. In 1999 the mod was released, but it didn't really go mainstream until 2000 when it completed the beta stage and went gold. Counter-Strike takes place in the present where you take on the role of either a terrorist or counter-terrorist. The objective is to plant/defuse bombs, rescue hostages, and escort vips to safe locations. This game is extremely realistic and penalizes you for killing hostages. This game is perfect for a Christian since it takes the role of a police officer working to defend justice. There is no sadistic plot, occults or mutilation. Once you are shot you die instantly. There is excessive blood when you get a head shot, but that is what happens in real life. Unlike Half life or Quake the bodies do not explode in chunky bits after death. This game has become popular over the years and can have audiences of up to 200,000 people at a time. Offensive: There is combat, weapon use, and killing but nothing that any teenage watching TV would be used to. There is no sexual content, or evil presences. Commendable: This game requires a lot of team work and tactical plays, you are penalized for being killed or killing hostages. This game takes tact and timing. As with any online game there is a risk of encountering bad mannered people, but when you go out into the world the same thing happens.
   —Don Thompson, age 18

Hey I've got the answer to the other players being foul or having inappropriate sprays. Have a LAN Party at your church! We have been having 1 once a month since February and we just started playing Counter-Strike at the latest one. It was a blast and there was no problem with language or “sprays”. I give it a 4 of 5 Christian rating (the violence) but a 4 instead of 2 for Adult content, because we avoid the Internet for play. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Andrew “The_Raven42” Yager, age 26

Positive—I used to like Quake (I, II and III), but that time I was younger and against Christ (I know this sounds harsh, but I'm being honest). Now that I'm a reborn Christian, I just hate to see those pentagrams and Satan worship (it that's a joke, then they are certainly not Christian). When I played Counter-Strike, I was amazed. It's SO MUCH better to play online than to play against some strange monsters and full of pentagrams and Satanic symbols (it looks like ID software sells Pentagrams!). It's cool to play against some friends, and about those immature and/or anti-Christian people, that's everywhere, you can't walk away from them. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Joao Marcus Christ, age 21

Comments from Young People…

Positive—The game is violent, and there is a little blood. I am happy to say that some servers (computers that run the game) have added a swear-word ban, for those of us who don't want to be abused by other players. It is the best thing ever to happen to online players. :) My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Ender Dace, age 17

Negative—This game's a real A+. It's great simulations and realistic warfare makes it much more fun to either be the good guy OR the bag guy. Outside of one or two unnecessary photos of spray-paint, there isn't much that is too offensive, but usually no ten-year-old will be playing these games yet anyway. With the new “voice-command” chat, there is more interaction between player, BUT, unfortunately, even if the server itself will ban those who use vulgar language or cheat, the players won't be kicked from the server when using a real-time audio chat. Other than that, this IS gonna be the BEST multiplayer game for years to come, and hey, maybe someday YOU COULD BE ONE OF THE BEST players on CS! My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Chris Schroeder, age 16

Neutral—This game is very well done but I have to warn you about the players. A lot of them are extremely obnoxious and rude, plus they cheat a lot. If you already have Half-Life, you can download it for free at Do I recommend it? Yes, if you have a lot of tolerance for idiots. My Ratings: [3/3]
   —Ryan Deroche, age 15

Positive—My friends and I have started a Christian server that we monitor for the problems that [were spoken of] in [this] review (i.e. cussing and porn sprays). The name of our server [and address] is (, Judges) if you would like to check it out. We are also working on a Web site where you can check your stats as well as learn about us and about God and why our server is different…
   —Stephen Cory

Positive—I have played Counterstrike for 2 years and it has only affected me in positive ways. I have come closer to my friends and fellow gamers through my clan, [H8]. I read prior feedback stating that profanity and pornography are used in the game. This is untrue. With a good server admin pornographic sprays can be disabled and filters can stop profane words. More recently I have brought my 11 year old brother into the game. He and I have shared countless hours playing the game and discussing the game. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Evan Wheeler, age 16, non-Christian

Positive—I really like this game. It's a great game. Even though it is a great game there are some setbacks as with every internet/multiplayer game. the biggest one is the people who use the “custom spray hack” to paint pornographic pictures that can be sprayed on the walls of the map. (they disappear after about two rounds) There is also bad language, which as I said before, is setback of internet play. I suggest that you set a 'Lan' at your church or a friend's house to have once a month if you do not want your child to be exposed to thing like I have mentioned above. I felt this game was offensive. All the shooting and dying just made the game no fun for me. There are also people who post “nude” images of people in the game, so you might accidentally see one when you didn't want to. Although this game had good gameplay, I felt as a Christian that is was very offensive. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Cole Whipple, age 16

Neutral—The first thing I would like to say is that there IS a lot of violence, and blood. That said it's a great game when playing on the internet you can and probably will run into foul language. The entire point of the game is if your are the terrorist plant the bomb or protect the hostage. If you are Counter-terrorist you do the opposite stop the terrorists from planting the bomb or save the hostage, but as you are both trying to do the opposite you usually end up killing each other. The game-play is great but the violence and gore make it a hard title to enjoy a lot. The bottom line is it's great to play with your friends but be VERY cautious on the internet just like any other game. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Brady, age 14

When I first played this game, I couldn't stop. I'll tell you up front: if you play it, make sure you have TONS of free time. You won't be able to stop playing once you start …unless your game doesn't work too well (like mine). I'll tell you, you better have a good computer and a fast connection to play this game! It takes up (full install) somewhere above 1 gigabyte, and if you have a slow modem, you'll spend A LOT more time connecting than actually playing. As a Christian, I hesitate to play this game. Yes, I have it, and yes, it doesn't really work, but sometimes I think about all the violence that happens in this world; is it really just okay to imitate it? Like mentioned before, there is basically no sexual messages or satanic themes, unless you chat with people. This is one HuGE drawback of any Internet game…you can be playing, with your Christian CD playing in your boombox behind you, your Bible on your desk, and people will be saying, "FUUUUUUU*****!!!" and "You ********!!!" If you think you can handle the violence in this game, by all means, play it! It's a lot of fun. But as for me, I'd rather stick to my walk with Christ. I have enough problems already. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Paul Sohn, age 14

The game is violent, and there is a little blood. I am happy to say that some servers (computers that run the game) have added a swear-word ban, for those of us who don't want to be abused by other players. It is the best thing ever to happen to online players. :) My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Ender Dace, age 17

I LOVE this game. It provides hours of entertainment on those boring days. It is sad about the immature players, but I can deal with them. PS …which maps are the ones you made? I'd very much like to try them. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Steve Connor, age 15

An excellent half-life multiplayer mod! THE GOOD: In this game you can be a terrorist or a counter terrorist. And there are different types of objectives in each level such as, blasting bombs, rescuing hostages, etc. The game comes with tons of weapons. THE BAD: Everybody uses high profanity and I have seen pornographic pictures that people can spray paint on the walls. And some people use harsh words against God and Jesus. So be careful when you play games on the Internet. My Ratings: [1/5]
   —George Scoulas, age 14

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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