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

It started as a 'Terrorists vs Counter-Terrorists' modification for the original Half-Life inspired by tactical shooters such as Rainbow Six until Valve decided to release it as its own standalone game on retail discs, and later via Steam. It was one of the first multiplayer games that restricted respawning until the end of round, and actually gave teams a score only after the opposing team has been completely killed, encouraging more tactical gameplay rather than mindless spawn 'n shoot affairs very common on multiplayer PVP shooters...

...And that's about it. Depending on the map, there are several objectives that complement the shooting, such as "Bomb Defusal," "Hostages Rescue" and the now-banished "escort the VIP" (as of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive it doesn't appear as a game mode anymore). Various custom game modes have been introduced by intrepid modders: modes that limit you to specific weapons selections (Gun Game), modes with special, often gimmicky goals (like Prop Hunt), and even maps where the object isn't to kill the opposing side but rather to navigate the map in a maze-like fashion.

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It has enjoyed a great deal of attention from the world's top gamers for twenty years, with a long standing competitive scene to this day, that's now even more prominent as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is specifically tailored for E-Sports in mind. This is largely due in part to the fact that the gunplay is incredibly deadly. Just about every weapon has very high kill potential, with even the basic starter pistol being capable of performing a One-Hit Kill in certain situations and contexts. The Economy system (where each player is given funds that increase based on kills and completion of objectives), map design that encourages holding angles, and other smaller elements all come together to form a game that reward reflexes, strategy, and on-the-fly decision making like few others.

The Counter-Strike series consists of the following games:

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  • Half-Life: Counter-Strike (2000): Often referred to as CS 1.6 (its last version) or HLCS, originally a 1999 free mod for Half-Life, Valve Software acquired the rights to it and released stand-alone, retail versions of it after its initial outing. Ported to the Xbox (with updated graphics and without the Half-Life title) in 2003.
  • Counter-Strike: Condition Zero (2004): A stand-alone expansion pack with remade models, textures, visuals, and maps (in vein of Half-Life Blue Shift) while running on the same engine and also adds few new weapons and tools, 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.
  • 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. Originally included with retail copies of Half-Life 2.
  • 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, and as said above, It's also specifically designed for E-Sports in mind. As of 2018 it is available for free, on time with a new Danger Zone game mode, but free players are limited to matchmaking between other free players, and won't have access to "prime" status drops. Those who have bought the game got assigned to a "Prime" account, and the price for Prime Access is now twice the price than when CS:GO was a paid-only game.

As well as some obscure, non-Valve-developed spinoffs designed originally for Asian markets.

  • Counter-Strike: NEO (2005): A Japan-only, arcade-only spin-off developed by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Essentially CS with a completely different visual design and a background story.
    • Counter-Strike NEO -WHITE MEMORIES- (2005): A spin-off of the arcade spin-off, this was a full-fledged flash visual novel by Namco, with a full episodic story, and gameplay segments that resemble Wolfenstein 3D. The series in its entirety (minus episode seven) can be found here.
  • 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, where in addition to all the modes and features of 1.6, this has both "infection" zombie mode (where one hit of a randomly-chosen Lightning Bruiser zombie of different types can infect humans instantly and zombies win by infecting all humans while humans win by surviving the round time or killing all zombies) and co-op zombie killing mode.
  • Counter-Strike Online 2 (2013): Another free-to-play game, again developed by Nexon, this time based on Counter-Strike: Source, but with an entirely redesigned art style. After running at least 5 years in East Asia without an English version, it was shut down in 2018.
  • Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies (2014): The Steam version of Counter-Strike Online.

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

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The tropes have been planted!

     Specific To Global Offensive 
  • A.K.A.-47: Most of the guns in Global Offensive use their actual names, just without the weapon manufacturers, with the exceptions being the Sawed off Remington 870 just being shortened to "Sawed-Off", while the Taser is renamed to the "Zeus x27 (the name "Taser" is a brand-name). Some weapons, particularly those with entirely new models, use names that are close to, but not quite, their real names; such as the Mk 18 Mod 0 becoming the "M4A4", the Sig SG 556 is now the "SG 553", the FN SSR Mark 20/FN SCAR-H TPR combines the two names and shortens it to "SCAR-20", and the AI Arctic Warfare Magnum is called by its community nickname "AWP" (which in real life is a slightly different model, the Arctic Warfare Police). The latter is also true of the Cross-promotional "AWP-er Hand" weapon in Team Fortress 2.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Despite being released in 2012, this game has Basque separatists still being a major threat (the Basque insurgency ended in 2011 and hadn't been notable since the early 2000s). All of the terrorist group descriptions also only mention attacks in the 1980s and 1990s, which would be odd if the missions you're undertaking against them in-game are happening in the 2010s and they've been active in the intervening decades. Maps frequently have devices that would have been outdated by the time of the game's release, such as CRT-based computer monitors and televisions (Most of which are recycled from previous Valve Source Engine games). Further muddling things is a number weapons and gadgets that did not exist until the mid-to-late 2000's, and the "Danger Zone" mode features drones and portable computer tablets - staple technology of The New '10s.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted; besides the damage reduction provided in the original game, armor in Global Offensive drastically reduces how much the player's aim thrown off when hit (AKA "aimpunch"). 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.
  • Artificial Stupidity: 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 Fanfic: Arms Race and Demolition mode from CS:GO are based from the "Gun Game" custom scripted gameplay mode where you are given different weapons after each kill.
  • Ascended Glitch:
    • A major overhaul to the Train map 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 saying in Russian "DO NOT STEP ON THE BIRDS"note  was added as a memorial.
    • Overpass had a hidden boost above a certain railing discovered by the Fnatic team and applied in the quarterfinals of Dreamhack 2014, which allowed one player to see most of the map — said player quickly proceeded to grab an AWP and dispatch the entire enemy team. The boost was removed, but also immortalized with a sign saying in German "DO NOT CLIMB THE RAILING"note .
      • Even more of an ascended glitch in CS:GO's Flying Scoutsman mode, where the new map "Dizzy" features slopes made specifically for surfing.
  • Bank Robbery: The setting of the 'Bank' and 'Downtown' maps.
  • Battle Royale Game: Danger Zone, which apparently pits death-row inmates against each other meant for a "test" or "experiment" of some sort. Unique to Danger Zone is the ability to collect and earn money to buy weapons and items with tablet, which is then delivered by drone to your position. Playing with team of two also allow a player to respawn after a set amount of time as long as the other team member alive.
  • 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.
  • Blue/Orange Contrast: The two factions are represented by blue (Counter-Terrorists) and orange (Terrorists).
  • Camping a Crapper: The CS:GO version of "de_vertigo" has multiple port-o-potty's with closable doors that one could use as ambush spots. Note that this rarely works due to the fact that you can't see your opponents either, and going based on sound would probably result in you appearing right in their gunsights anyways, but it can be hilarious when it does.
  • Cherry Tapping: The Zeus, which usually gets used as a humiliation weapon rather than for tactical purposes due to its pitiful range, its single use nature and the fact that it rewards the player $0 for killing someone.
  • Color-Coded Item Tiers: This game divides weapon skins into seven tiers: Consumer grade (white), Industrial grade (light blue), Mil-spec (blue), Restricted (purple), Classified (magenta), Covert (red) and melee weapon-only tier marked with a star symbol (gold).
  • Game Mod: CS:GO has a Steam Workshop support where players can subscribe user-made maps. Some of the best ones are added to regular map rotation, either temporary or permanent.
  • Holiday Mode: From December 18, 2013 onwards, the game has one activated near Christmas. Normally it features falling snowflakes on the main menu, chickens wearing antlers, jumpers 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 2 and a mask with the Heavy's face on it), dead player "ghosts" show up on kill cams, and chickens are zombies.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: This is common in casual servers, which has much fewer restrictions on player numbers or equipment cost, resulting in complete and utter chaos. A running gag even says that the standard response to "eco round?"note  is always "NYET"note , and the answer to "plan?" in de_dust2 is always "SUKA BLYAT RASH B!"
    • 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.
  • Lightning Gun: The Zeus x27 (A.K.A. Taser) is a short range One-Hit Kill Throw Away Gun, regardless of where you hit your target.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Only found in Danger Zone, but can be used to tank enemy fire for a while before it eventually breaks.
  • 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 their head.
  • Medal of Dishonor: "The Road to Hell" achievement is paved with good intentions - er, we mean, awarded from blinding an enemy player who then kills an ally.
  • Molotov Cocktail: A terrorist-specific grenade, which starts a fire that lasts seven seconds once it hits the the ground (and only the ground; it just bounces off walls), damaging and slowing down whoever walks through it. It's used mostly for the sake of area denial, but can be put out by a smoke grenade. The weapon is exclusive to the Terrorist side, but Counter-Terrorists have incendiary grenades that function identically. Astoundingly, despite just being the traditional glass bottle full of gasoline, rum, and a rag, it costs $400 (and used to be more than twice that!).
  • Motor Mouth: Most terrorists factions speak their lines very quickly. To a degree, the CT's can be chatty as well.
  • No Fair Cheating: While you can unlock achievements by fighting against bots, you can't increase Stattrak (a more expensive than usual weapons fitted with kill counters for bragging rights or personal pride) count by killing bots.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: In this game, 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.
  • Out of the Inferno: 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.
  • Permanently Missable Content: After an "Operation" event ended the exclusive maps will be removed. You can still search for the map in Workshop or wait until the maps are re-added, either on the next Operation event or by popular demand.
  • Right-Handed Left-Handed Guns: Averted in this game, where for the very first time in the series, there are properly-modeled weapons for right-handed users.
    • All the models are merely mirrored on the other, non-visible side, which is most noticeable on the Desert Eagle in Inspect mode, where all of the text will be flipped horizontally.
  • Shout-Out: Community demolition map "Studio" has one of its studio sets being a recreation of Inferno's Bombside B.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The Terrorists planting the bomb begins one of two Variable Mix music tracks (one for either side), and the CT variation 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.
  • 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 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. 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.

     A - Z 
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality:
    • Nobody is quite sure why the terrorists always field fixed amounts of men to openly plant bombs on what appears to be an empty, evacuated area, or take hostages and yet not executing them when the CT goes openly loud. Even stranger is why special forces organizations only deploy fixed amount of operatives to stop them, rather than severely outnumber the terrorists or call in any drones or helicopters to assist. The answer is two-fold, an eloquently simple - A: it wouldn't be the Counter-Strike that everyone knows and loves if it was realistic, and B: It wouldn't be as fun otherwise.
    • 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.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: There's no reason to think that the original game is set any later or earlier than the late 90s, when it was developed. Ditto for Counter-Strike: Source, which is just the original with updated graphics and physics. Subsequent games, however, introduce some ambiguity. This may or may not be due to the implied Shared Universe with Half-Life, which features an Apocalypse How event in 200X.
    • Condition Zero and Deleted Scenes, released in 2004, add more scant flavor text in the form of the mission briefings. The Midwest Militia Right-Wing Militia Fanatic group is reacting to the Waco siege of 1993. The "Recoil" mission is based on the Battle of Mogadishu, 1993. "Truth in Chaos" puts you in the role of Japanese law enforcement trying to stop "a homicidal cult stockpiling supplies of a deadly nerve gas to release on a populated area", an obvious reference to Aum Shinrikyo's 1994 and 1995 terrorist attacks, which used their stockpiles of sarin and VX. "Pipe Dream" has you as Spetsnaz fighting vaguely Muslim bad guys in Turkmenistan (given the border setting as shown on the map, likely were meant to be a spin-off of one of the many Tajik Islamist groups active in the 90s, as Russian Spetsnaz WERE involved in the Tajikistani Civil War of 1993 to 1997). More explicitly, "Rise Hard" has you as the British fighting Irish terrorists in Belfast (The Troubles ended in 1998). Also, the Guerrilla Warfare, with an estimated 2,000 fighters, is stated to be "the largest terrorist group in the world", which wouldn't be the case in the mid-2000s as various Al-Qaeda franchises had tens of thousands of members by then. On the other hand, "Thin Ice" features fictional high-tech automated turrets. The exact same ones as in Black Mesa, in fact.
  • 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. 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.
  • Anonymous Ringer: The terrorist groups in Condition Zero and to a lesser extent in Global Offensive are closely based on real world groups active in the 1980's and 1990's, though in-game they either go unnamed or are slotted under a generic title (e.g. "Guerrilla Warfare"), as detailed above.
    • "Fastline" and "Truth in Chaos": Aum Shinrikyo
    • "Rise Hard": the Irish Republican Army
    • Separatists: Euskadi Ta Askatasuna
    • Elite Crew:note  Fatah-RC, PLF, PIJ
    • "Sandstorm": Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Rather poorly disguised with the name "Bagbah, Ataq."
  • 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.
  • Armor Points: Purchasing kevlar vests will give you armor you otherwise won't have, which are indicated in points.
  • Ascended Glitch: 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 Counter-Strike: Source. A small but devoted set of servers still operate these maps.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Despite the Artificial Stupidity below, the bots quality are steadily improved over time to the point of outperforming a team of seasoned players.
    • Before CS:GO, the bots in Condition Zero and Counter Strike 1.6 will do a few tactics considered by real players, such as trying to camp strategic spots on the map.
  • Ascended Fanfic:
    • The first version of Counter-Strike shipped with no bots until the infamous POD Bots is available as separate release, and then Counter-Strike Condition Zero is released with bots feature build in, and the final version of 'Classic' Counter-Strike, dubbed 1.6, has bot support integrated in the game.
  • A-Team Firing: Firing on full-auto is harshly discouraged by causing the aiming reticule to become extremely large after only a few rounds, meaning that you're not going to hit anyone by holding down the trigger unless you're at extremely close range. Single aimed shots and short, controlled bursts are the only way to hit people at any sort of range.
  • 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: 'Miami' from the Xbox version of Counter-Strike. And the 'Miami Heat' mission from Deleted Scenes.
  • 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.note 
    • 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 difficult, as taking time to line up a shot may get you killed as the head is a small target — though on the other hand, you're also expected to learn headshot-facilitating techniques such as peeking and crosshair placement.
  • 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 that armor is worth the money in CS:GO is because 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 Counter-Strike 1.6 or Source. In Global Offensive, the weapon deals significantly more damage.
  • 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).
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Played With. Certain obstacles such as thin walls, doors, crates, etc. will not entirely protect people from bullets, though they do reduce the damage of bullets that have to pass through it. This is referred to as "Wall Banging". Hiding behind a stone wall will still protect you, however.
  • 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.
  • 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 armor 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 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.
    • This is what usually happens when a professional team enters a casual match.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Several guns are known for this, foremost being the Desert Eagle and AWP (And arguably the AK-47, staple of Terrorist teams that it is, thanks to it's hard to control recoil). The Desert Eagle, also known as the Deagle, is a pistol with prodigious recoil and spread after the first shot. it however also has incredible damage output for it's price and great first shot accuracy, making it capable of killing an opponent with a headshot at any range even through a helmet. The AWP is a powerful sniper rifle, the most powerful in game with the capability to one hit kill any target with a body shot. It is also tedious to reload, suffers even worse than usual when fired on the move, cannot be fired accurately before scoping in, and is all-around a very slow gun.
      • Doubly for Deagle in Global Offensive. Before it was a go-to gun for pistol rounds and eco rounds. 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 among professional players. The few who still use it however now tend to treat it more like an un-scoped sniper rifle rather than a regular pistol.
    • The AWP also has the unintended side-effect in being a memetic gun, some newer players will often flock to the gun citing it's one hit kill potential. While this is certainly true and it easily can be worth the price tag having a team full of AWPer's is counterproductive and can easily see the team that stacked AW Ps punished for their mistake by a more balanced team composition.
    • Getting a kill with the knife is very difficult as in most situations it is easier to just shoot them rather than expose yourself while attempting to close in. However, actually pulling it off nets you $1500, and a smug sense of superiority that can often infuriate an opponent.
    • Spray control with automatic rifles. Mastering it, especially at range, takes practice (and has to be done for each gun separately), but those who can do it are capable of accurate fire without letting up on the trigger.
    • The Semi-Auto Sniper Rifles on the other hand have a reputation for being newbie weapons and far more forgiving in use that the AWP, as a result you have the capacity to rake in kills, but failing with it will not only beggar you, it can also be seen as genuinely embarrassing.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Running while shooting will send your bullets anywhere but forward. 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.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: The weapon draw animation for every single gun in Global Offensive has you do a shotgun pump, a bolt pull, or a slide pull. This is a gameplay mechanic: the gun cock adds a split second time window during which you are vulnerable, to make you think twice before attempting to sidestep your gun's movement speed penalty by switching to the knife and then to your gun as soon as you see someone.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • When the bomb defusal mode was first introduced during the beta, the bomb was not a selectable equipment à la grenades. Instead, the player carrying the bomb hit a designated key that plants the bomb instantly anywhere on the map. However, if the bomb detonates outside a bombsite, the round would not end and effectively turn into a deathmatch.
    • Prior to Source, players would have to buy ammo. This was removed in future games, where ammo was automatically given at the beginning of each round and along with the gun you purchase. In Source, you can still "buy" ammo, but only inside the first 45 seconds of a round and only to replenish up to the amount you start with, making it something rarely needed unless you've been spamming your gun for no reason at spawn or you caught a very early rush on a map where the two sides start near each other.
  • 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.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The Counter-Terrorist team. We got the GIGN, the SAS, the SEAL Team Six / Navy SEALs, the GSG9, and in Global Offensive we also have the IDF, the SWAT and the FBI Hostage Rescue Team.
  • 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 CT's 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 CT's 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.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: The minimap offers a limited form of this: it can pick up the source of enemy gunfire (including decoy grenades) and changes enemy markers to question marks, which slowly fade out, if they stop firing or X's (which also fade out) if they die. Equally useful is the ability to see your teammates' locations at all times, so if you hear approaching footsteps and there's no one nearby on the radar, you can ambush the enemy pretty easily.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The two terrorist factions fighting over the radioactive material in Deleted Scenes.
  • Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: Pretty solidly in the Semi-Simulationist category. Grounded elements such as needing to stop and aim to fire accurately, people being very vulnerable without armor, armor absorbing only a few rounds before failing, guns having "penetration" stats distinct from their "damage" stats, no healing or (in classic modes) respawns, and limited equipment capacity are balanced out by arcade-ish elements inherited from Half-Life like bunny hopping, being able to move at 15 mph forever after being shot in the leg, non-random bullet spray patterns (learning to compensate them is considered skillful), stutter-stepping (alternating between left and right sidestepping to take advantage of a split second window of gun accuracy on each direction change), and a small degree of jump direction control in mid-air. Gun accuracy is halfway between arcade and simulationist: there is usually no button to aim down your sights except for the AUG and the SG553, but standing still functions as such, and the first shot of a burst in some guns such as the Desert Eagle or the AK-47 is 100% accurate.
    • The single-player missions in Condition Zero and Deleted Scenes push things more towards Semi-Classic, as your character carries more gear, kills dozens of enemies every ten or so minutes (including taking down tanks and attack helicopters), and is Half-Life levels of tough and fast. There are even medkits.
  • Gaiden Game: To Half-Life, originally; the first game was actually given the Half-Life title when sold at retail while its Source remake was initially only sold bundled with copies of Half-Life 2. Though it has arguably become more popular than the series that spawned it.
  • 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 CSS skins than it has skins of any other game combined. Just to name an example: the famous de_dust2 map, currently the poster child map of the entire series, started out as a fan-made map.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Some weapons are locked to certain teams, but there are some inversions and aversions here.
    • Straight: M4s and FAMAS (Counter-Terrorist only); AK, Galil, MAC-10, Tec-9, Sawed-Off Shotgun, SG 552/556 (Terrorist only).
    • Averted: Dual Berettas, Desert Eagle, P228/P250, UMP-45, MP5/MP7, Steyr Scout/SSG-08, AWP, M249, Negev (all available to both teams).
    • Inverted: USP/P2000, TMP/MP9, AUG (Counter-Terrorist only); Glock (Terrorist only).
    • Where this gets rather odd is that the weapon selection (which favors NATO weapons for Counter-Terrorists) applies regardless of what real-world organizations is used for the counter-terrorist team on each map. The GSG-9, Israel Defense Force, and the Spetsnaz can all get American M4s and French FAMASes, but can't get their own G3SG/1s, Galils or AKs except by stealing them from dead terrorists.
  • Guns Akimbo: Dual Beretta Elites. They used to be totally useless back in HLCS for anything more than looking cool during the pistol round, but CS:GO later made them actually viable for competitive play by making them function like a semiautomatic submachinegun with a very long reload. However, 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: Naturally.
    • The Arms Deal update for Global Offensive has added weapon skins and crates, but above all, pressing a button while ingame (F by default) will play 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.
    • Prior to CS:GO (which limits freely shareable usermade content into maps only), 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 CT's 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.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Downplayed. 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. The sound made is still the classical "fwip", but the noise level of this "fwip" is still pretty high. 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: One can hide until the round is lost when severely outnumbered by the enemy and unlikely to win. The rationale behind this is that holding onto ones' equipment that cost several thousands 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.
    • Averted in the Heavy Assault Suit game mode, where wearing the titular armor changes the character's model.
  • Instant-Win Condition:
    • A bomb 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. Time out will result in CT winning.
    • Hostage rescue matches also won by the CT if all the hostage are rescued regardless of the terrorists remaining. Time out will result in T winning.
  • 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.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: In Deleted Scenes and Global Offensive, all characters speak English [except for the opposing side in Deleted Scenes], however accented.
  • Kaizo Trap: Unlike most games, both teams can still fight each other in the several seconds lull 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 one of the online games. No one works together, unless they're in clans.
  • L33t L1ng0:
    • 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. Amount of time spent playing (with some exceptions) correlates with percentage of vocabulary replaced with "AWP SUX/ROX", "N00B", "FAG", etc.
    • In the game itself, there's the L337 Krew, later renamed the Elite Crew: the terrorist faction in de_dust, de_dust2, and de_mirage often refereed to as the "Leet Crew". Global Offensive's 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 accessible place behind. Then they wait until one of CT's 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.
  • 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. It was later replaced in Global Offensive with a clear riot shield that takes up your secondary weapon slot.
  • Meta Game: Extensive, complex and constantly evolving with new map and weapon updates.
  • Mighty Glacier: Players wearing the Heavy Assault Suit and wielding the Negev can take a large amount of abuse while packing enough firepower to shred through groups of enemies at close range. However, they move at a fraction of the usual movement speed.
  • 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.
    • Global Offensive got an update, in April 2017, that dropped the Negev's price to $2000note , even less than what an AK-47 costs. Cue many players buying the Negev — which fires 800 rounds per minute, almost as much as the P90 — simply to overcome their crippling lack of accuracy with a constant bullet spray that can last well over 15 seconds.
  • Motor Mouth: Most terrorists factions in Global Offensive speak their lines very quickly. To a degree, the CT's can be chatty as well.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Every single player mission in Condition Zero and Deleted Scenes has you playing as the Counter-Terrorists.
  • One-Hit Kill: The AWP Sniper Rifle is a one shot kill anywhere but the leg. Banned from pubsnote  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.
  • 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 CS:GO, 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).
    • At the end of rounds before teams switch sides, expect to see players throwing all their guns out in front of them.
  • 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, the fictional countries of Ataq and Boshistan in Condition Zero, and the unspecified country where the level Recoil in Deleted Scenes is set (the map actually shows it being in the Congo, but the mission briefing says it's "somewhere in North Africa", which the architecture, geography, clothing, and phenotypes support). de_dust2 itself went from taking place in a desert fortress at a nondescript location in HLCS, to taking place in an Arab palace in Source, to taking place in Global Offensive in a war-torn city somewhere in Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia (judging from a few street signs in French). In CS:GO, the country of origin for the Leet Crew terrorists is left ambiguous, though their opponents on these maps are always the Israeli Defense Force, which combined with Libyan support for their group suggests that they're Palestinian.
  • 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.
  • Reset Button: Any events and carnage happening during the course of a round, including damages to the environment, disappear without a trace on the next round start.
  • Revenue-Enhancing Devices: In form of Loot Box, where the "crate can be only opened with a key that is bought in a market" feature that was passed down from Team Fortress 2's Mann-Conomy update. There are also special missions that require you to buy a ticket to participate, although almost all content (barring the exclusive "Co-Op Strike") is open for the common gameplay mode. None of these give a player more advantage over the others though in regular games.
  • Right-Handed Left-Handed Guns:
    • 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 de_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.
  • Shared Universe: Several hints that the Counter-Strike games shared one with Half-Life (and by extension Portal) are present in the 1.6 retail release and Condition Zero:
    • The projector in the meeting room of cs_office displays a Black Mesa logo on the screen.
    • Black Mesa scientist models are still used for some of the hostages.
    • The SUVs in cs_militia and de_piranesi have Black mesa logos on them. Notably, the same SUV without the logo appears in cs_siege, so it wasn't like they just got lazy.
    • The "Thin Ice" mission in Deleted Scenes has the building being guarded by several ceiling-mounted turrets identical to the ones found in Black Mesa.
    • Another Deleted Scenes mission, "Lost Cause", has you encounter the exact same (fictional) M23B tripwire mines that the HECU used in Half-Life.
    • The shipping containers in cs_assault have Black Mesa logos.
  • 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.
    • At the start of a round in Global Offensive, the SAS have a chance of hearing "Watch out for these fellas; they've got a bit of an arsenal and they don't mind using it."
    • The "1337 Krew" terrorist skin is a reskin of Gordon Freeman from Half-Life (of which the game is a mod of).
    • The gang leader in "The Turn of the Crank" wears a white suit, trades in drugs, speaks with a heavy Cuban accent, and is coked up in the final battle, making him hard to kill. He screams at you all the way, and you breach the room he's hiding in with explosives.
    • "Recoil", being set in Northern Africa and fighting off Jihadi after being shot down in an RPG, being a member of Delta Force and picking up a stranded sniper... we'll give you two seconds. TIME'S UP! Black Hawk Down.
    • The achievement in Global Offensive for winning a round by planting the bomb is named "Someone Set Up Us The Bomb".
    • Some maps in Global Offensive recycle assets and layouts from past Valve games, especially Left 4 Dead, which leads to the theory that Global Offensive is actually a prequel to Left 4 Dead. Though this was debunked in Left 4 Dead 2, where Louis acknowledges Counter-Strike as an in-universe video game.
    • Then again the classic Counter-Strike up to version 1.6 reuses assets from Half-Life (including Black Mesa containers, scientist, and cars), which also led to the theory that Counter-Strike is actually a prequel to Half-Life.
    • In CS:GO, the Operation Hydra guardian mission "Continental Etiquette" can be seen as a shout-out to John Wick: Chapter 2; You have access to armored suits, you're required to get pistol headshots, and the mission takes place on a map with scenery very reminiscent of Rome, where the second act of that film takes place.
    • The map "Sub-Zero" contains monitors, two of which are broadcasting an image of a terrorist, with the initials: VNN underneath it, a reference to the Youtube series; Valve News Network.
  • 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.
  • Sighted Guns Are Low-Tech: No, they don't, especially the AWP, which packs more punch. However, for the automatic rifles, Competitive Balance prevails and the drawbacks (such as lower damage per shot or rate of fire) made a lot of pro players avoid the automatic scoped assault rifles and the automatic scoped sniper rifles. Then there is the other bolt action sniper rifle, which is generally useless.
  • 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 and you won't be able to see when passing through it. 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 Virtus.pro 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.
  • Sniper Pistol: The Desert Eagle (and more recently, the R8 Revolver) are known for both packing one hell of a punch at any range with very precise first-shot accuracy. The R8 in particular, since an R8 user can sometimes outsnipe other snipers.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: 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.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Handguns, Shotguns, SMGs, Rifles (Assault Rifles and Sniper Rifles), Light Machine Guns, Grenades, and a Knife. 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: Played straight in Source, where all the primary weapons stick to your back when inactive (your pistols are in a leg holster). Global Offensive does mostly the same thing, except for one special inversion: Counter-Terrorists using submachine-guns have the gun stick to the front when unequipped. For other games the unequipped weapons just don't appear at all.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Can happen if only one or just a very few players on a team are competent, and the rest of their team is useless.
  • 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).
    • If you pay for the ticket to play some of the events in CS:GO, you'll also got interesting story tidbits about both the Phoenix (the terrorists) and the counter terrorists.
  • 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).
  • 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 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.
  • Updated Re Release: Effectively every "game" in the series is just an updated version of the original 1999 mod, maintaining the same gameplay and mechanics and keeping the original weapons and maps, just with updated graphics and balance with additional weapons, maps, skins, game modes, etc. added.
  • 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:
    • Italy and a few other maps feature chickens you can shoot for the fun of it. They run away if you shoot near them, and will make a beeline for th eopposite direction, which can make it (when an enemy is nearby) give away your position, since, well y'know, they can hear the gunshot.. In Global Offensive's Deathmatch mode, killing a chicken nets you one point.
    • You can kill teammates in all the gamesnote .
    • 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.
    • Killing teammates, in games prior to Global Offensive, will cause you to be killed the next round, or kicked sometimes. In Global Offensive, killing too many teammates or doing too much team damage, in Competitive modes only, will cause you to be kicked from the match, leaving you to eat a temporary ban from playing Competitive that could last for up to a week. Additionally, doing this enough might cause you to get investigated by the Overwatch systemnote , which could potentially end up in a permanent competitive ban!
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • The idea of "saving" or going "eco" (economic mode). When your team loses all their weapons and has no cash left, it seems sensible to buy whatever crummy SMG's you can afford and hope for the best. Most people just buy nothing for a few rounds (and likely die) so that they can save up enough money for proper weapons and equipment, since spending money on bad weapons will probably result in a Curb-Stomp Battle anyways.
    • Despite the Video Game Cruelty Punishment of killing hostages, it can be a viable strategy depending on the server. 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 CT's from saving them. The CT's can win the round much faster if they rescue at least one, and kill the remainders, which automatically wins the round.
    • Not buying helmets when playing as Counter-Terrorist. Most T-side high-end weapons can kill you with one headshot anyway, so you might as well save the $150.
  • 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, which are both Arab.
    • Mostly averted (again) with the new terrorists in Deleted Scenes, which features Arab jihadists, Muslim Filipino rebels, Japanese cultists, Russian terrorists, bank robbers, Colombian drug cartels, and so on. But played straight in two cases: "Rise Hard", where the terrorists use generic Midwest Militia skins but have Irish accents, and "Drug Lab", where the terrorists have Guerrilla Warfare skins but are anti-government rebels with vaguely Hispanic accents, with the mission set in Colombia. They're pretty obvious expies of the IRA and FARC respectively.
    • The sharply-dressed Professionals in CS:GO, The rebellious teenagers (probably?) Anarchists in CS:GO, and even Phoenix Connexion high ranking members as appeared in the Operations map.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Shooting friendly bots (or teammates in ranked) 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?!
    Leet Krew: I fear your bullets more than I fear our enemies'!
  • X Days Since: "Vertigo" in Global Offensive (set in an under-construction skyscraper) features a "This Jobsite Has Suffered X Injuries" sign in the Terrorist's spawn. In each match the number starts at 0, and increases for every player that falls off the map.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Comes in two flavors - Infection (which came before the Halo game mode), wherein one guy gets infected and must run around and convert (usually with one or two melee hit) the others and 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.


The tropes have been defused.
Counter-Terrorists win!

mrHeadshot: omg
pr0h4xOr97: n00b
[1337clAn]ub0rz: camper!
Player: *** camper
[1337clAn]mast4h: votekick troper

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