What is Counter-Strike? A quick and accurate definition could be, "A Teamplay modification for Half-Life, based on goodies versus baddies in the real world." But what is it to the people who play it? Some would say, "A highly realistic game". Others would say, "It's revolutionary in game design". Most would say, "It's the best game, ever"...
Counter-Strike is a team-based game consisting of two opposing sides: the Terrorists and the Counter-Terrorists. Both sides have a role to play in each environment, ranging from planting and defusing bombs, rescuing hostages, escaping from facilities, and even defending or assassinating a VIP. Each side has access to different guns and different equipment, and must engage in different styles of play to overcome the opposing team.
Why is the game so popular, though? Counter-Strike's success lies in the enjoyment factor. The coordination of its well-designed features makes it easy to play but difficult to master. If the extreme tactical possibilities are not reason enough to like the game, perhaps consider the many online servers available, ease of play for newcomers, the vast range of guns, character looks, scenarios and maps, general replay value, and the fact that it is free!
Controlling Counter-Strike is just like any other FPS game you can buy today, but the gameplay is quite different. The game is divided into rounds of unknown length, each independent from the last except for monetary rewards determined by wins and losses. Each round begins at the respective Terrorist and Counter-Terrorist start points and ends whenever a mission objective is completed or the opposing team is eliminated. At the start of a round you are allocated time to choose your arsenal. You have limited money to spend, and limited time to spend it, so you must plan ahead, or become fluent with the equipment buying system. Your gear will consist of one pistol, a primary weapon and any other equipment you wish to buy including grenades, vests, defusion kits and night-vision goggles. Money is gained by assisting your team with kills or by accomplishing objectives, and lost by killing hostages or teammates. In its entirety, the gameplay has been well designed and flows beautifully.