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Game ReviewsHelm's Deep mod/map for Counter-Strike by Arathorn-(Valar)

Helm's Deep mod/map for Counter-Strike

Arathorn-(Valar)
February 1st, 2004
System: PC
Developer: Valve Software
Publisher: -

Prologue

Counter-Strike is a popular multi-player add-on of the famed "Half-Life" FPS (First Person Shooter) game that came out in the late '90s (there's GOLD in them thar hills!) It allows a number of players (set by the server) to join a game that pits 'Terrorists' vs. 'Counter-Terrorists' in various scenarios and settings.

Basics

The Helm's Deep mod/map for Counter-Strike uses Helm's Deep as a backdrop where you to try to either infiltrate or defend the Keep. The goal is to place or diffuse a bomb at the Keep entrance within a preset time limit, depending which side you join. Terrorists attack, Counter-Terrorists defend. On some online servers, the goal is to save hostages by having them follow you to a safe 'zone' or to prevent this task, again in the allotted time. Some servers are altered so that you can use varied weaponry or even allow you to vote on how each segment will be played ex: low/anti-gravity vs regular. In some cases this involves having to change settings in your config files to add lines to allow for the new weaponry or effect. Not difficult once you know how, as HL and CS veterans can attest to. I've also noticed that some servers have armour/ammo on the ground for replenishing while others allow you to use the BUY option. Yet others have both.

You can also choose to only 'spectate' a game and can join it once a segment is over, as per regular CS rules.

Gameplay

The map itself is quite small so it doesn't take long to memorize all the ins and outs. The backdrop mimics Helm's Deep quite nicely with ramparts, a tower, ladders and alcoves. The main inner area has a couple of stories and the door to the Keep where the bomb must be placed, for that version of the mod. The Keep itself is never entered, as it doesn't play a part in the gameplay. In the hostage version, the hostages must be led to a special area where they disappear and you get paid for your work! The version I downloaded and played on my LAN was the bomb version, so I'll speak further to that. The important thing to remember, as in Half-Life, is to always explore and/or hack/blast your way through. Without spoiling anything, what might seem to be a dead-end, may not be. Things can be blown up and switches can be found as well that give you an advantage, so keep an eye out.

Hint: How exactly did they breach the wall anyway? Food for thought...

Synopsis

I loved the feel of the mod, as the surroundings put me right into the epic Tolkien showdown. Initially I tested it out on the LAN with only two players, my brother and myself, and thought it would get boring quickly being such a small map, but I was pleasantly surprised. As we explored, we found different ways to attempt to achieve our goals.

One time, I blasted from above while my enemy attempted to, what I thought was in vain, breach the walls. He barely made it in and I sat in wait while he set the bomb. As he ran out, his task complete, I jumped out and was sure one blast would end it, but I missed and he triple shotgunned me down, with only 5 health to spare!

Another time, we simply met up in the center of the main area and blasted away until I won with only 6!

Yet another, I lay in wait again where I was sure he'd be coming in, when to my surprise he had found another entrance and had set the bomb! As I frantically ran to the door to attempt to disable it I threw a grenade to lure him out, then snuck in another entrance and diffused the bomb just in the nick of time, after he had taken the bait.

Pros/Cons

Pros:

  • Setting was very close to the Keep backdrop and enjoyable to explore
  • By trying both scenarios and teams, learning strategy and location can be the key to victory
  • With the right amount of people this map can prove to be quite enjoyable

Cons:

  • It is a small map, and eventually like with any of the smaller mods, interest will dwindle
  • With too many people, it just becomes a frag-fest and you can't get 2 feet without having to wait to respawn again
  • In some areas, from certain angles, the map loses its clarity and makes it hard to gauge your perception (really a Half-Life bug)

Conclusion

Get online, and find a game running the Helm's Deep map and try out the different variations. Explore and scheme and you'll have a great time for a while. Once bored with it, go read a book <snortle!>.

Images:

  • 
        The game begins just outside of Helm's Deep with a message appearing across the screen.

    The game begins just outside of Helm's Deep with a message appearing across the screen.

  • 
        Behind you is the ominous area where the Orc hoards came from to attack (can't go that way, but looks gloomy)!

    Behind you is the ominous area where the Orc hoards came from to attack (can't go that way, but looks gloomy)!

  • 
        Up the pathway are the main doors to the inner sanctum (note the door looks open, but that's a CS bug).

    Up the pathway are the main doors to the inner sanctum (note the door looks open, but that's a CS bug).

  • 
        Up above I've targeted my enemy and am ready to fire away.

    Up above I've targeted my enemy and am ready to fire away.

  • 
        The grate in the wall below the main ramparts. Could this be a weakness?

    The grate in the wall below the main ramparts. Could this be a weakness?

  • 
        You've found an Orc ladder. Scale the wall!!

    You've found an Orc ladder. Scale the wall!!

  • 
        Another Orc ladder and the main tower high above the causeway. Hmmm.. wasn't there a grate around here before..?

    Another Orc ladder and the main tower high above the causeway. Hmmm.. wasn't there a grate around here before..?

  • 
        You're on top of the rampart.. have to find a way down.. or onward to the right.

    You're on top of the rampart.. have to find a way down.. or onward to the right.

  • 
        Another door with the tower high above.

    Another door with the tower high above.

  • 
        Hmmm.. a darkened ladder.. where might this go?

    Hmmm.. a darkened ladder.. where might this go?

  • 
        High above the fray to the left of the tower.

    High above the fray to the left of the tower.

  • 
        On the right of the tower, the rampart way below.

    On the right of the tower, the rampart way below.

  • 
        Just outside the main door to the Keep. Defend this area with your life.

    Just outside the main door to the Keep. Defend this area with your life.

  • 
        The doorway leading out to the main area. I hear drums, horns.. they're storming the gate!

    The doorway leading out to the main area. I hear drums, horns.. they're storming the gate!

  • 
        Out in the main area, you've just planted the bomb. The clock ticks.

    Out in the main area, you've just planted the bomb. The clock ticks.

  • 
        Victory! The door to the Keep has been breached.

    Victory! The door to the Keep has been breached.

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