This was originally published on the now-defunct gaming site 3DGaming.net on 27 March 1999.
This previous November, a small Seattle based company known as Valve Software released Half-Life, which some have labeled as one of the most revolutionary games in many years. Before the release of Half-Life, there were rumors of a remake of Team Fortress Half-Life style. Sadly, to ensure a stable product, TF did not ship with Half-Life. Instead, it was to become its own stand along product, to emerge from the shadows concurrent with the release of id’s Quake 3 Arena and Epic’s Unreal Tournament.
And similar to these other two products, Team Fortress 2 would similarly be a multiplayer only game. Much to the surprise of its fans, Valve announced an update soon to be released for Half-Life: Team Fortress Classic. More than a demo, but less than a new game, it would be something to quench the thirst of TF fans until the release of Team Fortress 2. Team Fortress Classic doesn’t have many expectations to live up to; all it has to do is simply be fun. That’s all we gamers can ask.
At the time of its release (online) there was nothing quite like the squad warfare twist of Team Fortress, and thus it stood out. And still does to this day. But if you’ve come in search of a story, please don’t sit down, this isn’t your floor. Stories are found on the third floor, this is the exclusive multiplayer only floor. I enjoy multiplayer as much as the next guy, but this is one of the few games that did it right, and to add injury to insult, the programmers of TF did it for free.
When compared to games such as Blood 2 it’s absolutely stunning how well made it is. And when people are playing a game almost three years after its release, that’s a clear sign of the game’s quality.
The translation to Half-Life’s engine is flawless. Infact it perfectly fits Half-Life’s pseudo-science fiction/military feel, since Team Fortress is a military tactical squad based warfare game. The engine wraps around TF like a new skin. Nothing felt out of place at all, although at times, it felt very similar to playing Chaotic Dreams (the hallucination grenade is really friggin’ cool), but it’s nothing to get excited about.
As long as Valve focuses more on the gameplay and less on the graphics I’m satisfied. Everything here is just right. No complaints from me. Read on below and you’ll discover why I’ll be playing this game for a long time to come.
I was never much a fan of Quake or Team Fortress Quake myself, because I stuck to what I knew best: adventure games. That was then. This is now. Much has changed since the “I wrote this plot on a napkin and thought we should use it for a game” days. Gamers have asked more of the developers, and they have listened. Quake II has become the multiplayer game to beat, Sin failed to be the blockbuster it was projected to be, Half-Life has set an example of how future games should be, and Wing Commander has its own movie.
But that was then. This is now. And the gameplay is still for the most part, the same. Although since I never truly involved myself very much with Quake TF, I don’t know what was or wasn’t in it even after having played it a fair bit. But I believe that I should be asking myself “Well Ilya, did I have a good time playing it?” And to that I can honestly say “Yes” .
There’s nothing wrong with TF, and it is very enjoyable, but I myself prefer the visceral victory of deathmatch more, but that’s merely personal preference. But yeah, if you liked Tribes, and you liked Quake TF, and you enjoy team based games, give this a jingle, cause baby, it’s got your number. Just set up a gun turret and get out of range and watch the fireworks.
The weapons of the game are pretty friggin cool. Everything right is wrong again. And I couldn’t be happier. First off is the new shotgun. It’s about the same length as the old one, simply thinner. And fires a helluva lot faster. I love to get down with the hoe rhythm of this gun, cause it cranks out shots quicker than Sweet Dick Willy does Heinekens.
In short, it’s really friggin’ cool to show off the room cleaning process with this bad mutha. If you’re not familiar with the room cleaning process, well, this is it: you walk into a room filled with people, and you’re the only one who walks out. Well, that’s the room cleaning process. Back to Team Fortress Classic.
The shotgun has also been given the once over. Now it fires two shots at once, instead of one, essentially, what used to be it’s secondary fire is now its primary fire
The rocket launcher has a new setup as well. Now there are two variations on it. One is the regular version, and one is the pyro version. The regular version allows for four consecutive shots to be fired before it’s reloaded quickly. Let’s call this Rocket Launcher A (RLa) This is the most amazing weapon to use against the scout running away with your flag.
Sadly, the hum of the rocket launcher is gone. You know what I’m talking about. When you’d be running down a hallway and someone would aim for your head, you’d hear the hum of the rocket coming for you. Well, suck it down, cause now it’s a helluva lot more silent. The pyro version is a bit slower, louder, and leaves a red trail, and it does less splash damage; a direct hit is not something that I desire. This’ll be referred to as Rocket Launcher B (RLb).
The pistol is slightly changed. Now it doubles as a regular pistol and as a silencer. Unfortunately, the silencer fires too damn slowly, which isn’t much fun. The Gauss Gun is a weakling (not too unlike me at 3 in the morning) and fires a pussy green laser thing. I have deemed it the pussy gun. The mp5 did a Pamela Anderson and got a face lift, er…sorta. Instead of firing bullets at a rapid pace, it fires…nails. Yeah. Nails. I forgot we were playing Quake. You won’t see me using this.
The sniper rifle and its automatic version are the shit. This is why the sniper class rules. The regular sniper rifle has a secondary fire that allows it to zoom in and fire one shot at a time. And even when it’s not zoomed in, it’s friggin cool. The automatic version of the sniper rifle doesn’t allow for zooming in, but it more than makes up for it with the automatic firing. Really fast. A lot of bullets. Popcorn!
The Egon Gun is now officially too cool. Instead of firing that ghostbusters effect thingy, it’s a flame thrower. And people light on fire. Yep. 3D polygons with sprite fires. Not exactly a stunning effect, but still, people are running around! On fire! Because of the flame thrower! Fire! Fire! Yeah! Cool! Sadly, the crossbow was pulled.
Well, it wasn’t in the original, so why break tradition? This isn’t a quickie in your dad’s car you know… The humiliation weapon known as the crowbar is still around for those of you who think you’re cute. The chaingun is the newest addition to the gang. It takes a while to spin up, but, to quote my a friend “Dag yo, this gun smokes.” That’s right. Watch the carnage. Jump into my ocean baby.
There’s also two new grenade launchers in the game, one is similar to that of Quake’s, and the other one works through remote detonation, although I’m not quite sure since the grenades wouldn’t blow up when I stepped on them, and I couldn’t figure out how to blow them up. I can’t find any documentation on them either, so go figure…The final new weapon? Oh this one is so cool. The monkey wrench. Yeah, random, but very cool.
As for the characters themselves, there’s a whole lot more to it. In the game are 9 character classes: scout, sniper, soldier, demolition man, heavy weapons guy, pyro, spy, engineer, and medic. Each class has different traits to them. Here’s the low down on them to get you in the know.
Scout: This is the guy you want to have capturing the flag, cause he doesn’t just run, he flies. It’s pretty cool. The scout is not only the fastest class but also the weakest. And he has the special ability (also referred to as the secondary fire) to display onscreen the status of the flags. Yeah, it’s kind of a retard special ability, but bitch to Valve, not me. The scout comes equipped with the new shotgun, the remade mp5, and the crowbar.
Sniper: He comes loaded with a very cool looking sniper rifle that has a secondary fire option that allows it to zoom in. Slow but deadly. The second weapon that the sniper can use is my favorite: the automatic rifle. It’s the popcorn gun of Half-Life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t zoom in, which isn’t a bad trade off for the fast rate of fire.
The sniper also comes with the mp5 nail gun and crowbar and moves at about the equivalent of Quake, if not a tad bit slower. If you’re wondering about the grenade attack, the primary and secondary grenade attack are the sam : bland regular grenades. Damn. No acid tab lube job grenades of love? Oh well.
Soldier: Comes prepared with RLa, crowbar, and the new and old shotguns. He’s not quite as fast as the scout, but he packs a punch. And don’t stand near him when he fires his grenade, especially if it’s in an enclosed space, cause you’ll be dead. The damn thing spins around shooting nails before exploding.
Demolition Man: Explosively fun. Oh yeah. What a great pun. Ha! I’m hysterical! Anyways, he carries two grenade launchers, a regular one (if you’ve played Quake, you’ll know what I’m talking about) and a pipebomb one that detonates remotely. And the secondary grenade attack on the demolition man is a grenade that explodes into smaller grenades. Lethal. His lack of speed is compensated by the sheer power he has.
Heavy Weapons Guy: He comes equipped with a very much loaded chain gun. Do not walk in its way for any reason other than being completely drunk. Also in his arsenal are the new shotgun and the crowbar. The only recompensation for all this power? He moves slowly. Real slowly. And the secondary fire on the grenade is the same as that of the demolition man.
Pyro: He comes equipped with a modified Egon Gun, now a flame thrower. Also in the package thrown in for good measure are the RLb and crowbar. The rocket launcher now has a red trail at the end of it and smaller splash damage, and it seems to move more slowly, but its effect is really cool. A direct hit will light someone on fire and after 3 direct hits from the rocket launcher, say goodbye. His secondary fire on the grenade explodes and leaves a circle of flames. So, uh, don’t walk into them. As for the movement rate, well, it’s not quite as fast as Quake, but it’s slightly faster than Quake II.
Spy: He is surprisingly slow for a spy, as the movement rate is somewhere near Half-Life speed. But he more than makes up for it by being lethal. The spy comes packaged with the shotgun, the mp5 nailgun, a knife, silencer, and regular pistol. Slow but deadly. Just like my last girlfriend.
Engineer: He is always a guy you want defending the base, since he sets up all the turrets. He (I suddenly find myself wondering why there are no she in TFC) comes bundled with a modified gauss gun that shoots little green things, the shotgun, and a wrench. Yeah. I know. A wrench. But he’s cool. I promise. The engineer builds the sentry guns you see defending flags. These guys rock. A lot. And as for movement rate, they’re a bit faster than the spy.
Medic: I really hate this class. They’re such pricks. Especially if they camp. Medics have the ability to poison others. And only the medic of the team you’re on can cure you. Annoying. The medic comes prepackaged with a mp5, shotgun, the new shotgun, and a medical recharge thingy. And he moves as fast as the scout does. So he might be useful to have around if for one reason or another, no one picks the scout class.
If Unreal is the prettiest engine on the market, this is the second prettiest engine around. What can be said of the graphics that haven’t already been said? They kick ass. Skeletal animation, 16-bit color, and a whole crapload more than even Paul could blow. But despite that, it’s still a very pretty game. What makes the game even more impressive are the backdrops of the day/afternoon/evening desert sky which add to the atmosphere.
The colors work well with one another so you don’t really tend to see guys looking like a part of a wall. Everything fits just right. I can’t say enough how much the graphics of the Half-Life engine are a prime example of programming at its best. Team Fortress keeps up with the tradition. The flame graphics have been slightly improved over the regular version of Half-Life, yet they still look kinda jaggy at times.
The skins themselves are slightly improved and don’t all look alike, as was the case with Quake II. Can we say hard core Half-Life pr0n? Yes, just imagine, you too could become a conspirator in this conscious act of evil against all that is good. Ack. Yes. Back to graphics. Well, they’re pretty friggin damn good. Stop talking about Unreal. Shut up and play. Cause the graphics kick. The models all have their own distinct personality, and everything sort of just… meshes. Hell, one model even has a cigarette in his mouth.
The one giant piece of credit that Valve deserves (Romero, are you listening?): everything feels and sounds like what it is. The rocket launcher looks and sounds like a rocket launcher, the sniper rifle looks and sounds like a sniper rifle, etc. And even what used to be the Egon Gun, now the flame thrower, looks and sounds like a flame thrower. Now, uh, Ion. Read what I just wrote, and uh, stop and think for a second. Cause, uh, your rocket launcher looked like a friggin tuning fork, and, uh, that’s pretty damn lame. That’s all for now. The news will follow the evening movie. Have a nice day.
Perhaps more than any other game out there, Half-Life is an orgasmic jungle of sound. It is a veritable cornucopia of sounds. And Team Fortress Classic continues that proud tradition. How? It’s called A3D 2.0 baby, and it’s a luscious little trinket of love and happiness. Everything has its own sound down to the two different versions of the rocket launcher. The sound effects in Half-Life have always been orgasmically lush, and I’m happy to say the trend continues.
The implementation of top notch sound Sweet Dick Willy style really comes to the foreground when someone has the sniper rifle and you don’t. The sheer sense of terror of having to figure out where the sound is coming from is what impressed the hell out of me. Even the clang of metal has it’s own sound. And for those of you with Aureal 2.0 based cards (I happen to be one of those special people): there’s not a whole lot than can be said other than ‘Please be careful where you step and please refrain from wetting your pants’.
I’m wondering how long it’ll take newbies to figure this game out. Hit a special key and it gives you a list of character classes. Choose one and have fun with it. If you want to change classes, hit the nifty little class change key and choose a new class, and then die, and you become the newly chosen class. Or you could do it quicker, go to the console and type in ‘kill.’
The interface is fairly simple. Once you start the game, all your options are presented to you in a neat and organized style. To activate Team Fortress Classic you have to go into the custom game option and activate it. It would be much easier to place this on the main screen as so to not confuse people like myself or Levelord(drunk, stoned, or who knows what else).
Other than that, the interface is fairly intuitive and easy to understand. The options to set up controls, advanced controls, graphics, sound, etc, are all present. I’d loved to have seen some more options for graphics akin to Unreal, but perhaps it’s best that Valve not include such options as to not throw newbies for a loop.
In-game, the interface is fairly simple. Buttons 1-9 are all different weapons. And no one really has a problem with this do they? Good! Unlike the other games I’ve bitched about, this one is so newbie friendly even someone who just graduated from Myst could understand this, and two days later you’d see that same person in irc doing ascii art of penises and fireplaces.
So, yeah, the interface is fairly simple. You can choose your skin, your name, your logo (you can spraypaint a logo, yeah, it’s kinda cool. Mine says ‘You Suck’) etc. It’s pretty friggin easy to comprehend. The game even pings servers via its own in game pinger thingy. Yeah. Have a ball. No gamespy? Nice! Although, I prefer Hydra-SB (insert sucking noise of choice)… that’s just me.
Everything said and done. Half-Life rocks. It’s the most gosh darn amazing game to play multiplayer, While it lacks at times that ‘let me play with your boobies’ visceral feel that Quake II has, it makes up for it with all that blood. Massive and massive dollops of blood. So much blood. Everywhere. Ahem. Yes. Well, TFC is so cool it’s beyond words! Why? The Hunted. I love this mod so much I want to start typing in caps to exhume my love for this mod.
What is the hunted you say? Well, remember back in the old school days of Quake that I never really liked because I thought the Quake engine wasn’t all that? Well, anyways, there was this neat mod out called ‘The Hunted President’ which I never played. But I knew about it. And ladies and gentlemen, it’s back, and it is amazing.
Anyways, in The Hunted, there is one big fat turd of an ambassador, and he has to get from the starting point to the volvo on the other side of the map… alive. How praytell is this done? With bodyguards. Yep. Very cool. And who’s out to kill this jello blob of a man? Assassins of course. Who else would it be? Gene Simmons?
Well, anyways, I love this mod. Why? Actual teamwork is required. Yep. Real teamwork. Not the sassafras ‘blow me and I’ll help capture the flag’ of Tribes and not the ‘r.t.f.m. newbie!’ of Quake II CTF. I mean real teamwork is done here. It has to be done; otherwise the person playing the ambassador is pooch screwed the moment he spawns. Well, that’s The Hunted, I already found a new icq buddy because of this alone.
I would actually talk to my teammates and ask “Is it clear?” “Good to go”? And they would reply with “Stay there sir,” or “Go go go!” To say the least, I felt involved and a part of something for the first time in a game. No longer was I just helping out or being the lone wolf (in this case, the lone wolf has a John Carmack skin), but for once I was working with random people on the internet to get a job done. And it was tres cool.
The next thing found in TFC? It’s called ‘Defend the Capture Points.’ I’m not too crazy about this game because the map blows. But essentially, each team has a base with flags inside, and once you pick one up your movement rate hits the ground. So, you need to take that flag and place it over one of five markers. Once that’s done, the area where you placed that flag becomes your territory. Until the red team decides to place their own little lucky charm eating flag on there. At that point you introduce them to the tip of your rocket launcher and send them through a wall.
Also found in TFC is regular capture the flag. The most notorious map, as well as the most enjoyable one is 2Fort5. Each team has to capture the other teams’ flag. Just get a few scouts and medics to pimp the flag and leave a moist and warm surprise for the other team. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the stuff love baby.
This is where the real fun begins, because here the engineers come out and play. You want your flag defended? Create some sentry guns to piss off the scouts. Want to make sure your pyros and heavy weapons guys don’t run out of ammo? Set up an ammo dispenser. Essentially, wreak all havoc upon the map.
The final type of game is a mod on ctf called ‘Rock 2’, which takes place in a prison and is probably the biggest map of all the maps available. There are two teams. Each with their own warden’s office and gas chamber. Each team’s objective is to get the other team’s key from the warden’s office all the way on the other side of the map, and then head for the enemy’s gas chamber. What happens when you arrive there? Oh, nothing much, you just… kill everyone on the other team who isn’t wearing a protective suit as toxic gas fills the level. Oh yeah, you can’t get damaged if you’re in water. Above all though, hunted is the most fun, simply because it’s actually thrilling. And it’s riddled with bugs.
My favorite? If the fat tubby dude leaves, one of the bodyguards ends up taking his place. There’s only one problem. The bodyguards carry rocket launchers. And now the hunted is carrying a rocket launcher, making the job of snipers that much more difficult. That’s just one bug. Of several. Occasionally, models will just…break down. No, really. Arms and legs and shit will go spinning around in ways the human body never intended them to.
I’d take a screenshot, but that causes TFC to crash. Unless you’re playing a LAN game. Like I said: riddled with bugs. So for rating this one, I’m going to be a prick and rate each mod. Yeah, yeah, you may not like it, but neither did anyone on the other team when they suddenly found themselves dead from poison gas.
Sometimes TFC is purely brilliant (The Hunted), and sometimes it’s really friggin stupid (Defend the Capture Points), but at least the damn thing is fun. And yeah, it’s buggier than Aaron’s (Sin reviewer) beard. But it’s always fun. And remember, this is still a beta, so I’m sure Valve will have stamped out all the problems by the time the release on April 2nd. I have to give Valve credit for listening to their fans though. They could have released this today, and it would
have sucked, but instead it was delayed, so that it would stop crashing… all the time. And instead of releasing this as part of the final game, Valve wanted to hype the game a different way. Not through ‘Suck it Down’ ad campaigns, or through ‘We’re using our technology to save the worl… uh, sorry guys, we’re going to use this crap to make video games cooler,’ marketing hype. Nah. Instead, we get a small taste of things to come.
Valve has so far earned themselves the best marks I’ve seen in a long time and have consistently outdone their competition simply by catering to the fan base with updates, new maps, new skins, and simply caring about what their fans have to say. Valve could have gone the low road and released new maps and made fans pay for it, as many developers have done. Instead, they release new ones periodically to give their fans something new to play with. By releasing new maps for an upcoming addon that they could have simply charged for, Valve deserves a lot of credit. But for going above and beyond the call of duty, Valve, baby, we love ya.
What’s even more interesting is that I could have had this review out two days ago just to beat everyone to the punch, but I didn’t. I wanted to find out everything I could, look for all the bugs, and give myself time to judge this addon properly. And that can’t be done by playing with a game for forty or so minutes and then writing a review. Take that into consideration when reading this, because unlike other sites, we try to give you the real skinny on the game. If it sucks, believe me, you’ll know it, even if the game is Daikatana.
Quick Peek: A unique twist on squad based tactical warfare Half-Life style.
Pros: It’s free, it has some truly outstanding mods, Valve made it, it rejuvenates Team Fortress, it’s multiplayer only.
Cons: Not enough maps, some bugs still prevalent, only us press wankers have it.
Value: It’ll be available for download on the 2nd of April if Valve sticks to their promises. And all that’s required is that you own Half-Life.
End of the Line
System Reqs: Pentium 166, 32MB RAM, Half-Life
APIs Supported: Direct3D, OpenGL
Hype Level: 10/10
Overall Grade: A
Recommendation: Get this baby the second its out for download. You won’t regret it. Really.
The Hunted: A+
Defend the Capture Points: C+
Rock2 CTF: A