Video Game: Counter-Strike

aka: Counter-Strike
Enemy spotted!

Let's Roll!

The most popular online FPS in the world, with some claiming it generates more Internet traffic than the whole of Italy.

It's a 'terrorists vs counter-terrorists' modification for Half-Life.

...And that's about it. There are other modes to supplement the endless death matches, such as "bomb defusal" (the only mode played in competitive matches), "rescue the hostages" (played on public servers essentially) and "escort the VIP" (avoided like the plague). Various custom game modes have been introduced since: modes that limit you to specific weapons selections, modes with special, often gimmicky goals, and even maps where the object isn't to kill the opposing side but rather to navigate the map in a maze-like fashion.

It gets a great deal of the world's top gamers with many long standing competitive scene to this day. It also gets a great deal of the idiots, and also Moral Guardians who rail against it for "teaching kids to kill." Most memorable being the instance of a high school student expelled for basing a Counter-Strike map off of his school. In addition, a judge in Brazil has banned Counter-Strike sales throughout the country, because of a map designed as Rio De Janeiro. Not that it helped, as the game is widely pirated in Brazil.

The Counter-Strike series consists of the following games:

  1. Counter-Strike (1999): Often referred to as 1.6, originally a free mod for Half-Life, Valve Software acquired the rights to it and released stand-alone, retail versions of it after its initial outing.

  2. Counter-Strike: Condition Zero (2004): A stand-alone expansion pack with retooled visuals and maps, along with a simple single-player mode and bot support. Later added was "Deleted Scenes" which is an actual single-player campaign that was cut from the original release.

  3. Counter-Strike: Source (2004): A remake of the original game on the then-new Source engine, bringing with it a slew of new visuals and balance changes.

  4. Counter-Strike: NEO (2005): A Japan-only, arcade-only spin-off developed by Namco. Essentially CS with a completely different visual design and a background story. It also had a series of visual novels tying into the game, however they've been almost entirely lost.

  5. Counter-Strike Online (2008): A free-to-play version of Counter-Strike 1.6 designed specifically for Asian markets, developed by Nexon. Notable for having many additions and content not seen in any of the other games.

  6. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (2012): The only "sequel" released so far, bringing with it new maps, new balance, new visuals, a heavily-revamped graphical style, new weapons, and several new features such as matchmaking.

  7. Counter-Strike Online 2 (2013): Another free-to-play game, again developed by Nexon, this time based on Counter-Strike: Source.

  8. Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies (2014:) Yet another free-to-play iteration, once again by Nexon, though this one has the distinction of actually being on Steam. In addition to all the modes and features of 1.6, this has the eponymous zombies mode, pitting CT's against an infectious horde.

For information on the series' famous competitive scene, check out the Counter-Strike entry in Professional Gaming.

Includes examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Nobody is quite sure why the terrorists always field exactly 5 men to plant bombs or take hostages. Even stranger is why special forces organizations only deploy 5 operatives to stop them, rather than severely outnumber the terrorists or call in any drones or helicopters to assist. The answer is simple: it wouldn't be the Counter-Strike that everyone knows and loves if they did.
    • Every gun always follows its spray pattern to the tee. Realistic? No. Could be fixed? Yes. Would it ruin thriving (and profitable) pro scene (where spray control is used by everyone)? Yes.
  • A.K.A.-47: Though there's an unofficial patch that (mostly) corrects this. Earlier versions of Counter Strike did use the real names for guns.
    • Some details: There was a time (pre-Steam) where which weapon names you got depended on whether you had the mod version, which required Half-Life to play (real names) or had bought the stand-alone retail version of Counter-Strike (fake names). The mod version also is the origin of the aforementioned "unofficial patch" (titles.txt).
    • Depends on regions in Counter-Strike Online. Korean, Japanese and Taiwan versions straight up calls them by their original name, but Malaysian/Singapore and Indonesian versions calls it by Condition Zero titles to ease up the localization work.
    • Mostly averted in Global Offensive. Most guns are called by their actual names (although without the weapon manufacturers,) with the exceptions of the sawed off Remington 870 and the Taser. The Taser uses this trope (as Taser is a brand-name,) being named the "Zeus x27," while the sawed off Remington 870 is simply called the "Sawed-Off Shotgun." A few other weapons, particularly those with entirely new models, use names that are close to but not quite their real names (the Mk 18 Mod 0 is the "M4A4", the Sig SG 556 is the "SG 553", the FN SSR is the "SCAR-20", and the AI Arctic Warfare still has its infamous "AWP" moniker).
  • Announcer Chatter: An extremely common server-side mod will make the game announce a "KILLING SPREE!!!", a "M-m-m-m-monster kill!!!", a "Headshot!", or a "HUMILIATION!!!" (knife kill), taken from Quake and Unreal Tournament.
    • Took until Counter Strike: Source to disable this Most Annoying Sound.
    • Some servers take this to a fascinating extreme, downloading dozens of sound clips to your computer when you first enter them.
    • Counter-Strike Online have their own Announcer Chatter, from the standard multiple kill announcements to UT-like voice clips. Special mention goes to the nearly-haunting 10-second countdown in zombie mode.
  • Armor Is Useless: You can buy a vest, or a vest and a helmet. They barely lessen the damage taken - they're the difference between five bullets killing you and four bullets killing you. Realistically, though, the armor is more effective against most of sub-machine guns and pistols (except the Deagle, Five-Seven, and P250) than against heavier arms and also protects well against grenades.
    • The helmet will protect you enough that a headshot will require two shots from most weapons, although high-caliber weapons will still kill in one shot.
    • Averted in CS:GO, where armor prevents aim punch, where the player's aim is drastically thrown off whenever they are hit. This makes such a huge difference that many players consider a pistol plus armor a better loadout than an SMG or even an assault rifle without armor. Helmets are useful for lessening the effect of a would-be fatal headshot to critical health, which works for most guns except the more powerful rifles.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Unfortunately, Global Offensive's bots dip into this in some aspects. Counter-Terrorist bots often refuse to go near one bomb site despite knowing the other site is clear, Terrorist bots will only use one of the two bomb sites on a few of the maps, bots on both teams will step in front of your shots, refuse to shoot enemies until they get shot first, hit you with a High Explosive grenade despite knowing that there's no enemy nearby, or even shoot at a Decoy Grenade... but perhaps worst of all is that it's completely arbitrary whether a bot will listen to any of your in-game callouts, to the point where they'll even voice their refusal even at the expense of their own lives.
    • This is an Enforced Trope to prevent people from kicking their teammates out in the hopes of having the AI take over for them. Kicking one person off a team will have them replaced with a stupid bot, while losing several teammates will only produce one competent aimbot and several lackluster replacements. It's best to put up with useless teammates than to try to replace them with even worse bots unless they're being extremely toxic.
  • Artistic License Economics: The short-lived attempt by Valve to dynamically price the guns - basically, trying to balance the game by having popular weapons get more and more expensive while making bad guns cheaper than dirt. At one point, a gun somehow cost negative money.
  • Ascended Glitch: A major overhaul to the Train map for Global Offensive added birds which players found out they could stand on top of as they flew away, allowing them quick access to certain parts of the map or to just hide in an unreachable location. This was very quickly fixed, but a sign telling people not to step on pigeons was added as a memorial.
    • Surf maps. In 1.6, players messing around on level editors noticed that if a server's gravity is set at a certain level, the angled rooftops acted like slick hillsides when your player was walking "up" them. Looking along the plane and strafing "up", then looking slightly "downslope" and then back along it, the character would ski/surf along the plane. This lead to specialized maps, and didn't change in CS:Source. A small but devoted set of servers still operate these maps.
  • Ascended Meme: Fans have been joking about StatTrak Music Kits to mock Valve for rolling out new fluff (skins, music kits) while the game still has unfixed issues (hitboxes, weapon balance). On 25th september 2015 Valve actually introduced music kits that track players MVP titles.
  • A-Team Firing: Mercilessly averted, and enforced. Running with your gun, holding down the fire button and waving your gun around is a sure fire way to be shot to tiny little terrorist bits, as any movement enlarges your reticule by a huge amount, and decreases your accuracy by insane amounts. In general, spraying with automatic weapons is discouraged outside of emergencies since most of those bullets won't actually hit (if aiming at the head initially)- firing in short bursts is the best way to keep recoil in check.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: Many guns are cool looking but have major drawbacks or just lack the cost-effectiveness of the M4 or AK-47. Special mention goes to light machine guns, which are devastating but are loud, have insane recoil, and are even heavier than the AWP.
  • Back Stab: The slower, more damaging stab attack with the knife gains the ability to One-Hit Kill when it hits the enemy in the back.
  • Bank Robbery: The setting of the 'Bank' and 'Downtown' maps in Global Offensive. Also, 'Miami' from the Xbox version of Counter-Strike. And the 'Miami Heat' mission from Deleted Scenes.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Global Offensive goes out of its way to prevent the practice of players fragging themselves to deny the enemy cash by taking all the money they have and would've gained that round, even the normal passive amount they get just for participating.
  • Blinded by the Light: Flashbangs really screw with vision and hearing if they go off close enough to you. Careful though, some desperate enemies may just empty their magazine in random directions and sometimes get lucky.
  • Body Armor As Hitpoints: Buying vests or both a vest and a helmet effectively adds armor points on top of hit points, though depending on the enemy weapons the armor may go just as fast as HP does. Actually running out of armor points while alive is fairly rare though, because even the guns with the worst armor penetration do about as much damage to health, which is only restored at the beginning of a new round. It only happens when someone takes significant damage but survives several rounds in a row without replacing their armor.
  • Boom, Headshot: FPS Doug said this while playing Counter-Strike, making it the Trope Namer.
    • In terms of gameplay, a headshot is a sure-fire way to kill someone- a headshot from the weakest gun in the series (the PP Bizon) fired at a target with no armor will deal 108 damage, instantly killing the target. It's fast, effective, simple and clean but is also extremely difficult, as taking time to line up a shot may get you killed as the head is a small target.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • Grenades in general. Less flashy than your weapons, but they are comparatively cheap and give major situational bonuses to your team. Flash grenades weakens enemies ability to retaliate to an attack, Smoke grenades blocks line of sight over a large area, and Incendiary grenades are useful for area denial. A smart player with just a pistol and a grenade can kill a better-equipped opponent and take the monetary lead from them.
    • Some of the less-expensive guns. Several of these are SMG's, which (aside from the P90), are generally weak. They do, however, have TONS of bullets, meaning you'll never have to worry about running out. As for the expensive buys, there's a very good reason that the majority of players go for the M4/AK-47 if they don't want/need an AWP.
    • Armor. While the slightly increased durability is nice, the main reason in CS:GO that armor is worth the money is it reduces how much your aim is thrown off when hit. Some pro players even value having a pistol and armor over having an SMG (or an SMG and armor over having a rifle) since one extra hit before dying and the ability to keep aiming for an opponent is often the difference between life and death.
    • Basic map knowledge and positioning as skills. Everybody practices headshots and spray control, but fewer practice being in optimal spots and working as a team. A well-positioned team has a significant advantage over a disorganized one.
  • Cherry Tapping: Knife kills, though it has the advantage of being a one-hit kill when stabbing someone in the back.
    • Buying the UMP submachine gun in CS or Source.
    • The Zeus in Global Offensive, which usually gets used as a humiliation weapon rather than for tactical purposes due to its pitiful range and single use nature.
  • Comeback Mechanic: A team on a losing streak will receive increasingly larger sums of cash at the start of the next round to help them buy proper equipment and get them back into the game. On a smaller level, getting kills with low-costing guns will net players greater cash bonuses than with more expensive ones to help them catch up (e.g. UMP kills are worth $600 but AWP kills are only $100).
  • Confusion Fu: As an alternative to aiming for a headshot ASAP, some players opt to strafe and jump around to make them hard to hit. This tactic is nearly mandatory against AWP snipers, since for them landing a shot is a One-Hit Kill and missing forces them to switch weapons or spend time reloading.
  • Counter-Strike Will Ruin Your Life: Amount of time spent playing (with some exceptions) correlates with percentage of vocabulary replaced with "AWP SUX/ROX", "N00B", "FAG", etc.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: Subverted. Although both teams share many items (pistols, submachine guns, grenades and armor) and could end the game by duking it out in a deathmatch, the significant equipment and tactics revolve around objectives that serves as one team's antithesis to the opposing team's war doctrine.
    • Terrorist weapons are cheap and loud to suit very aggressive play while Counter-Terrorist weapons are expensive and optionally silenced to encourage some really devious stealth tactics. For example, the Terrorist Molotov Cocktail and the CT Incendiary Grenade perform the same function, but they have different models and the former is $200 cheaper.
    • The metagame in Classic game rules dictates that one team, the aggressors, initiate the match and attempt to win it early while the other, the retaliators, quell the incoming attack or, if pressed, hope to hold the aggressors off until the timer expires. In "defuse" scenarios, Terrorists plant bombs on targets and Counter-Terrorists defuse them. In "hostage" scenarios, Counter-Terrorists rescue hostages and Terrorists resist them.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Apart from the momentary knock-back that occurs when getting shot, damage to your life bar doesn't affect your ability to run and fight.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Most of the time, a team which is saving going up against a team which is fully armed will be this, as the low penetration weapons held by the saving team will struggle to deal damage while the powerful weapons of the other team will tear through their unarmored opponents. In competitive play, the main goal of these rounds is not to win, but to live long enough so they can plant the bomb and get extra money for next round.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • The CZ-75 is unique as it only has one spare magazine in its reserve, this magazine is strapped onto the weapon and is loaded on your first reload. For every subsequent reload, another magazine is taken from your character rather than having another magazine appearing from nowhere. This is the only weapon to have two reload animations, and as a bonus the draw animation shows the character reattaching the spare magazine to the gun. This goes further than other games that features the CZ-75, which usually either shows the spare magazine but have it go unused or not have the spare magazine shown at all.
    • Stat-Trak weapons appear as having a digital display on the side of the weapon that counts kills you have achieved with it. If someone else picks it up, it will stop counting kills, and the display will now flash the message "ERROR UNKNWN USER". Also, if you somehow manage to get the 999,999 kills required before the display reaches its limit, it will simply reset to 0.
    • In Global Offensive if you reload your gun, your character will drop the empty magazine on the ground to see.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Running while shooting will send your bullets anywhere that isn't the reticule. How much it throws off your aim is proportional to movement speed: for most of the series velocity was lost immediately after you let go of the arrow keys, letting you shoot and run all but simultaneously. In Global Offensive reaching a stop takes a fraction of a second, but can be done faster by tapping the direction arrow opposite to the direction you were moving in. However, because of the dangers of sitting perfectly still to aim properly, many players adopt a strategy of shooting a burst of bullets, tapping left/right, shooting again when stopped, moving a bit again, etc. to balance accuracy and being not-so-easy to hit.
    • Certain pistols and SMGs avert it. Most of the hate towards Tec-9 and P90 comes from their high rate of fire combined with low recoil while moving.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Several guns are known for this, the top ones being the AK-47, Deagle and AWP. The AK-47's massive recoil is tough to master, but overcome it and you have an extremely accurate, powerful gun that is useful for just about any situation. The Deagle has huge bullet spread and recoil- it also has incredible damage output and accuracy, making it a viable choice for a primary weapon the whole game. The AWP is a massive Anti-Materiel rifle which has a slow movement speed, is tedious to reload, and is all-around a very slow-using gun. It also has the highest damaging shot of any weapon in the game full-stop, usually dealing damage from a body shot in the high 80's and 90's, and that's on a bad shot. This means that a good AWP user is untouchable at long range.
    • The AWP also has the unintended side-effect in being memetic in it's damage- several new players will flock to the gun, citing it as extremely important. While this is true (it really IS a fantastic gun) having a team full of AWPer's that are not good with the gun is usually going to get your asses handed to you by a much more balanced and prepared team.
    • Getting a kill with the knife is very difficult as in most situations it is easier to just shoot them, and you are exposed while doing so. However, actually pulling one off nets you $1500, which is enough to keep you going for the next round, especially if you are saving.
    • Spray control in automatic rifles. Mastering it, especially at range, takes tons of practice (and has to be done for each gun separately), but those who can do it are capable of stopping rushes without even letting go of the trigger.
    • Doubly for Desert Eagle in Global Offensive. Before it was a go to gun for pistol rounds and ecos. GO increased recoil so that only the first bullet is on target before you have to wait a second for the recoil to reset. Combined with the advent of cheaper and More Dakka capable pistols like CZ, Five-Seven and Tec-9 it fell out of favor even among professional players. The few who still use it tend to treat it more like and unscoped sniper rifle than a regular pistol.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: For all intents and purposes, the raid on a well-armed gang in Modesto of all places goes awry - you, a SWAT member, fall into a huge warehouse under a crime-ridden slum filled with crack for shipping and weapons.
  • Emergency Weapon: As a rule, players only take out their knives when 1) They're trying to run faster 2) They're attempting a backstab 3) They're out of ammo and desperate. Some players will resort to tossing grenades so that they will hit both them and an opponent if they have nothing to lose (i.e. would lose the grenade anyways when they die).
    • One way to tell experienced players from beginners is who switches to a pistol when out of primary weapon ammo in a tight situation and who wastes time trying to reload.
  • Escort Mission: The hostage maps, though most opt to kill the opposing team instead of saving the hostages there. The CTs can actually claim victory on a hostage map by rescuing two hostages and then executing the other two. This is, of course, highly discouraged.
    • Averted in Global Offensive, as the CTs carry the hostages over their shoulder from one set point on the map to the other. Also, only one hostage of two (each in separate locations) needs to be saved. It was originally the same as in previous games, but was eventually changed.
    • The VIP mission mode that was a feature of 1.6 but was never very popular.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The two terrorist factions fighting over the radioactive material in Deleted Scenes.
  • Game Mod: In addition to the fact that this game is the most successful mod ever, custom content is very popular; note that GameBanana had more Counter-Strike: Source skins than it has skins of any other game combined.
  • Genre Popularizer: Counter Strike was the game that showed that first person shooters could have a heavy emphasis on teamwork and slower paced, more realistic gameplay but still be fun to both play and watch.
  • Guns Akimbo: Dual Beretta Elites. More useful than you think they are, despite the longer reload times. They are still less popular than Desert Eagle (due to its stopping power), Tec (see Do Not Run with a Gun) and P250 (cheapest gun in the game).
  • Gun Porn: An update for Global Offensive has added weapon skins and crates, but above all, pressing a button while ingame will deploy a special animation of the player inspecting the weapon. Even better, considering there's now a loadout screen where one can view each weapon and skins, complete with a fully three-dimensional render and pan of said weapons. Third-party mods can also give the player a nice set of fancy new weapons, replacing your boring old M4 with something like an XM8 or tricked-out variant.
  • Hand Cannon: The Desert Eagle (nicknamed "Deagle"), as per tradition. Expensive, heavy, loud, heavy recoil... but it kills in two body-shots from full health at any range, even against armored opponents. For these reasons, using one falls more under Difficult but Awesome if you learn how to make those few shots count.
  • Hold the Line:
    • The CTs goal in Bomb Defusal games is to protect two bomb-sites from the terrorists. Conversely, once the bomb has been planted, the roles switch: the terrorists need to defend the bomb-site from the assaulting CT's so they can't just waltz in and defuse with impunity.
    • Conversely, in Hostage, the Terrorists already have captured the hostages and need them alive. They take on the assaulting CT's, who need to rescue the hostages without killing them.
  • Holiday Mode: As of December 18, 2013, Global Offensive has one. It features falling snowflakes on the main menu, chickens wearing antlers and Santa hats, and the cables on Lake have Christmas lights. Another was introduced for Halloween 2014, where both teams wear a variety of masks (including the clown masks from PAYDAY: The Heist and a mask with the Heavy's face on it), dead player "ghosts" show up on kill cams, and chickens are zombies.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Averted. Some CT weapons come with a silencer/suppressor option, which does not make the weapon silent but reduces the sound and muzzle flash it produces. Enemies can still hear suppressed gunfire, but may have a harder time telling where it's coming from and what weapon it is if they're not paying attention.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In Deleted Scenes, the Spetsnaz commanding officer stays behind to make sure none of the warring terrorists disable the bomb you planted to destroy the nuclear core.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: The practice of "saving", or hiding until the round is lost when one is severely outnumbered by the enemy and unlikely to win. The rationale behind this is that holding onto ones' equipment that cost several thousands of dollars is a safer bet than taking the large risk of trying to win against multiple opponents.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The inevitable result of attempting to spray more than a few shots at someone's head- only one (if any) shot ends up where it's supposed to. Firing fully automatic on recoil-heavy weapons like the AK-47 is a great way to empty the magazine and accomplish basically nothing, similar to real life.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: Averted, the terrorist bomb is just a nondescript plastic explosive with an electronic interface on the front. Their goal, however, is to plant it at a bomb site which has plenty of obvious, well-labelled explosives.
  • Informed Equipment: Most Terrorists player models visibly wear no armor and even fewer have helmets, while most Counter-Terrorists wear both. But playing as either you have actual protection from armor and helmets if and only if you buy it at the beginning of a round.
  • Instant-Win Condition: In Global Offensive, a defusal match is won when either the Terrorists have their bomb reach detonation, even if there's still enemies remaining. On the other hand, the Counter-Terrorists instantly win if they defuse a planted bomb, regardless of more enemies remaining.
  • Interface Screw: The main point of flashbang grenades is to deafen enemies and make their screens screwed up. To a lesser extent, HE Grenades deafen as well and smoke/incendiary grenades mess also limit visibility.
  • Kaizo Trap: Unlike most games, both teams can still fight each other after a round is won and before the next round. Survivors get to transfer their equipment over, so it can be advantageous to hunt down survivors even if you have otherwise lost the round.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: In CS parlance, a "dink" is when a player gets shot in the head but their helmet saved them and left them with ~10 hit points. This can happen for all but the most powerful rifles.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Just go on the online games. No one works together, unless they're in clans. This goes double for casual servers on Global Offensive, which has much fewer restrictions on player numbers or equipment cost, resulting in complete and utter chaos.
    • Somewhat averted for Console Global Offensive, where players are made to work together via forcing them into game chat at all times. It helps that calling for help, informing that an area is clear, requesting that the team go to X etc. is integrated into the in-game voice commands that are just button taps away.
  • Leet Lingo: Something of a Trope Codifier for it. In the wee early days of Counter-Strike 1.6, it was a major stereotype that nearly all chat consisted of l33t sp33k1|\|6 asshole children.
    • In the game itself, there's the Elite Crew: the terrorist faction in de_Dust, de_Dust 2, and de_Mirage often refereed to as the "Leet Crew". Dust 2 even had "L33T KR3W" graffitied on a wall in Dust 2.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Basic counter-terrorist strategy is to split the team up to protect both bomb sites, and then meet back up when they are certain of where the bomb is heading. Standard procedure is normally two people at each site, and the fifth person between the two to act as a fast back-up for either site.
    • Also known on terrorist side as 'Going for picks'. Players split all over the map and drop the bomb in an easily accesible place behind. Then they wait until one of CTs makes a mistake and gets killed so they can attack the weakened site. Or wait until rest of the CT team rotates there and plant on the other site.
  • Lightning Gun: Global Offensive's Zeus x27 (A.K.A. Taser) is a short range One-Hit Kill Throw Away Gun, regardless of where you hit your target.
  • The Load: Incompetent teammates that can't aim properly or accidentally smoke/frag/flash their own teammates.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: The Counter Terrorist's buyable equipment in Condition Zero includes a solid metal riot shield that takes up your primary slot and secondary weapon in return for blocking all forms of harm in the front while it's equipped. The first multiplayer game to use this, and it was absolutely hated by pros. It was eventually backported to 1.6 as well, earning the ire of many pros.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Many pre-scripted voices indicating friendly fire are rather understated in Global Offensive such as a Counter-Terrorist growling "Stop shooting me..." as if someone just flicked a rubber band at his head.
  • Medal of Dishonor: "The Road to Hell" achievement in Global Offensive is paved with good intentions - er, we mean, awarded from blinding an enemy player who then kills an ally.
  • Meta Game: Extensive, complex and constantly evolving with new map and weapon updates.
  • More Dakka: Many automatic weapons reach very high rates of fire (depleting their magazines quickly), especially the P90 SMG, which has a reputation for being a bullet hose.
  • Motor Mouth: Most terrorists factions in Global Offensive speak their lines very quickly. To a degree, the CT's can be chatty as well.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: In Global Offensive, players who commit suicide, whether accidentally or not, no longer receive any cash for that round, in an attempt to stop "denying" a la DOTA (a technique in which a player kills themselves or friendly units to prevent the enemy from receiving bonus cash for killing them).
  • One Bullet Left: Invoked. Killing an enemy with the last bullet (excluding sniper rifles and Zeus x27) in your mag nets you a Steam achievement.
  • One-Hit Kill: The AWP Sniper Rifle is a one shot kill anywhere but the leg. Banned from pubs and the only weapon that can compete with the AK-47, which always has perfect accuracy on its first shot. The Taser is a close range, single-use version.
  • One-Man Army: Averted. While it is possible for a skilled player to single-handedly carry their useless teammates, it is very difficult if the enemy team is also competent. It becomes significantly harder if said player is the only one left and up against 3 or more enemies- actually winning that round would require quite a bit of luck.
  • Out of the Inferno: In Global Offensive having friendly fire off lets your teammates happily walk through the flames created by your incendiary grenade/Molotov cocktail. Otherwise, however, going out of them will be anything but badass as it slows you down while damaging you, forcing you to hobble for your life.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In competitive mode gathering intel on enemy locations and calling strategies is crucial. Barring significant differences in skill level, better communicated team usually wins. Better have a mic on hand. Even better, have a mic and learn names of different spots on the map you're playing.
  • Player Tic: Constant quick-switching between players' current weapon and a knife, partly because the knife affords a speed bonus and partly because the back-to-back animations look like awesome sleight-of-hand tricks. Players using sniper rifles almost always fire, switch to another weapon, then back to the rifle to cancel the reload time and to avoid sitting still when a surviving opponent is certain to retaliate.
    • Though in CSGO, switching the sniper rifle is at best useless (it won't let you fire until the time that the animation for operating the bolt would have taken elapsed, so you can't fire any quicker) and at worst can get you killed (since the draw animation can add time in which the rifle can't be fired).
  • Plunder: A valid tactic is to kill a better-equipped opponent and steal his weapon, especially AWP's. Provided that you survive the round, you don't have to spend $2500+ on a good weapon even if your team loses. The loading screen hints for Global Offensive bring this up.
  • Qurac: de_dust and de_dust2, and the level Recoil for Deleted Scenes. For this reason, the country of origin for the Leet Crew terrorists is left ambiguous, though their opponents are always the Israeli Defense Force.
  • Race Against the Clock: Once the terrorists have planted a bomb, the CT's have a fixed number of seconds to either eliminate their opponents or defuse the bomb, usually less than a minute.
  • Right-Handed Left-Handed Guns: Completely enforced until Global Offensive, where for the very first time in the series, there are properly-modeled weapons for right-handed users.
    • Some weapons in Counter-Strike Online were actually mirrored correctly. The Source MP5 is also correctly modeled for right-handed use.
  • Right Wing Militia Fanatic: Presumably the Militia skin for the Terrorist, and the map cs_militia.
  • Ruritania: Several maps in Global Offensive, such as Inferno. The game also includes Balkan terrorists as a faction.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: Comes in three flavors, Double Barrel and the Quadbarrel for Counter-Strike Online, and a sawn-off Remington 870 in Global Offensive.
  • Shout-Out: The manga store in the Japanese Subway level of Deleted Scenes references Read or Die amongst other manga, and the after-credits to Dr. Strangelove.
  • Shown Their Work: Way too much?
  • Skill Gate Character: Players with P90s tend to clean house at lower matchmaking ranks, thanks to P90's high rate of fire combined with low recoil making firing on the move a viable option. Against more skilled players lack of single shot power and range tends to get those players headshotted by M4s/AKs before they can spray enough shots to get the job done.
  • Smoke Out: This trope is Reconstructed. You can throw a smoke grenade at your feet to escape, but unlike most usages of the trope where smoke bombs confuse enemies, the smoke grenade instead deters enemies from giving chase as there could be anything waiting beyond the smoke cloud. For this reason it doesn't work in open areas, but it is useful in chokepoints.
    • Offensive variants still are doable, especially with ninja plants/defuses (planting or defusing a bomb inside a cloud of smoke).
    • Using smokes to escape a position is still a viable strategy in certain situations. Snax from is infamous for making this kind of plays.
  • Sniper Duel: Very possible between two players wielding AWP's or Scout rifles. These tend to be very quick, since the AWP kills in one hit and other players will usually interfere if they're alive.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: In Global Offensive, the Terrorist side planting a bomb begins a beeping countdown and changes the music to get more and more frantic as time runs out. Experienced players who are well-acquainted with that piece of music know that they have X number of seconds left when the tempo quickens yet again during that 35 seconds.
  • Standard FPS Guns
    • Handguns in CS deserve special mention, being able to go toe-to-toe against full sized guns when in skilled hands.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Averted in Global Offensive, being close to a HE grenade explosion or a flashbang will temporarily deafen you, which in a game all about listening for gunfire and enemy movement can be a very bad thing.
  • Sticks to the Back: At least one counter-terrorist player model in Global Offensive inverts this: rifles stick to the front when unequipped. For other games the unequipped weapons just don't appear at all.
    • Played straight in Source, however.
  • Super Senses: Hearing, specifically. A good player can find a nice little place to hide in, hear some footsteps, and instantly blurt out to his team "3 coming long A."
    • In competitive play this can lead to players trying to "out-sound" each other, mixing walking with running to fool enemies of their position.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: The terrorists don't really have a mission in the normal game. Their backgrounds posit them as anti-government, anti-Western fanatics.
    • Averted in Condition Zero: Deleted Scenes. Some of the terrorists who are present in multiplayer actually have goals and causes (not all of them are present, though).
  • Throw Away Guns: A sometimes effective strategy, both offensively (for Leeroy Jenkinses) and defensively. No time to reload because the enemy is rushing you? Throw away your gun and grab a dead guy's gun! The in-game hints in Global Offensive encourage scavenging for better weapons at the very end of rounds.
    • Alternatively, you can throw your pistol as if it was a grenade, which works, too.
    • There's an achievement for donating enough guns to teammates in this fashion in Global Offensive. A very common practice is for players to give a teammate who has recently died an old firearm when purchasing a better one for themselves.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: A lot of Meta Game and strategy relies on opposing team being well communicated, so a fake on one site can cause all players to be called there, leaving another site open. Teams that don't communicate are immune to this (but still vulnerable in countless other ways).
  • Translation Convention/Just a Stupid Accent: In Deleted Scenes, and Global Offensive all characters speak English [except for the opposing side], however accented.
  • Tuckerization: A few in-game bots are named after developers and content creators:
    • BOT Chris, a normal level bot is named after Chris Auty: the creator of de_inferno.
    • BOT Dave, a hard level bot is named after David Johnston: the creator of de_dust, de_dust2, and de_cobble.
    • BOT Gabe, a hard level bot is named after Valve founder and managing director: Gabe Newell.
    • BOT Minh and BOT Cliffe, two expert level bots are named after Minh Le and Jess Cliffe, the two original creators of the Counter Strike mod.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The equipment advantage can go to one side within a single round, since the losing side likely has lost all their equipment and gets less money for having lost. That said, the amount of money earned for kills increases for less expensive guns, so crafty players can easily make this into a Comeback Mechanic.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: It pays to help your teammates out when they're cash-strapped and you're not, such as by tossing them your old weapon then buying another/upgrading. The difference between a partially eco. (economic = operating under bare minimum equipment) team and a fully equipped one can make or break that round.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can shoot, knife, throw grenades at, or even (in all games but Global Offensive) kill hostages...
    • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: ...but doing so nets a SERIOUS cash penalty, meaning that you're going to suffer for quite a few rounds as a result.
      • Depends on the server though. Most servers, at least in Source, give both teams the max amount of money, making any cash loss nothing to worry about. Also, killing hostages can be a tactic as well. For a Terrorist team that just wants to win via deathmatch or letting the timer run out, they can kill all of the hostages, preventing the CTs from saving them. The C Ts can win the round much faster if they rescue at least one, and kill the remainders, which automatically wins the round.
  • We Need a Distraction: One potentially viable strategy is to have a knife-wielding speedster just run around attracting enemy attention, which lets a team figure out where their opponents are without giving away their own positions.
  • Western Terrorists: Midwest Militia, Arctic Avengers and Phoenix Connexion are from America, Sweden(!) and former Soviet Union states in Eastern Europe respectively. Averted with the Leet Crew and Guerrilla Warfare.
    • Averted (again) in Deleted Scenes, which features Jihadi, Filipino rebels, Japanese and Russian terrorists, bank robbers, and so on.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Shooting friendly bots in Global Offensive will first get standard "Friendly fire!" messages, repeated offenses will more irate, yet even-keeled responses.
    IDF: What the hell?! Is this your first time out?
    Navy SEAL: What the foxtrot is wrong with you?!
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Comes in two flavors - Infection (which came before the Halo game mode), wherein one guy gets infected and must run around and kill the others or where the humans must escape, and NOTD/Zombie Riot, where survivors fight off an army of CPU-controlled zombies. The former usually has nigh-invulnerable zombies and forces players to hole up in buildings and last as long as possible (or escape an area), and the latter is the standard "needs a headshot" kill.
    • Counter-Strike Online recycles the mods above and made it to their official playlist as Zombie Mode (Infection) and Zombie Scenario Mode (NOTD/Zombie Riot).
    • A poor-man's zombie mode can be done by making it so a massive number of bots (unofficial or not) join the opposing team and are only allowed knives. In fact, this is how Turtle Rock studios got the inspiration to make Left 4 Dead.

Terrorists win!