Team Fortress Classic
Windows - 1999
Description of Team Fortress Classic
Kill or Be Killed!
Most multiplayer on-line games have fairly shallow gameplay. They do well in the deathmatch (DM) or capture the flag (CTF) gaming modes, but leave a lot to be desired in the areas of team-play and co-operative gaming. Now, I like co-op gaming and team based play much better than all the others, so it was with some small amount of joy that I found out about Team Fortress Classic (TFC).
TFC is from the people that brought you Half-Life: Valve and Sierra. The original Team Fortress is a modification or "mod" to Quake 1 and was released in August, 1996. TF broke away from the traditional "frag fests" and introduced a new team-play aspect. With the addition of new scenarios and character classes, TF quickly became a hit within the Quake community. TF still has several web sites dedicated to it, even after all this time, and the latest version (2.8) was just recently released. TFC, however, is an odd sort of add-on pack that has not taken the usual route to the gaming world. While endorsed and promoted by the publishers, one does not have to buy it in the usual manner. It can be freely downloaded as a patch for Half-Life. Is it any good, or does it quickly get mired down in the tired world of DM ad nauseum?
Hickory, Dickory, Dock!
I must point out that TFC game uses the exact same gaming engine and control schemes as Half-Life. This game is an extension of the original HL 's multiplayer mode, which featured DM and precious little else. I welcomed the addition of real team based play and a more cooperative gaming experience. Several games have attempted to do this in the past; Starseige: Tribes and Rainbow Six seem to have come the closest. Each, however, was really lacking some element. Whether it was clearly assigned roles or clearly designated missions, something never quite rang true about the "team"-play that was supposedly going on.
TFC uses a relatively unique way to ensure that at least the mission roles are defined. The game uses different player "classes" such as Engineer, Soldier, Medic, Heavy Weapons Guy, Sniper, and Spy. Each has certain advantages and disadvantage, and, theoretically, all must work together to obtain their goals. I'll get to the problem of clearly defined missions later. In any event, the use of these specializations really adds a whole new dimension to the gaming experience. Want a door booby-trapped or a forward supply base? You need an engineer. Want to take out the enemy overwatch with pinpoint precision? You need a sniper! You get the idea. Each specific action that can be performed is best done by a certain player type. This really makes the game quite a lot more fun, as you try to figure out what class is best suited to your style of play.
And how about that price! That is a HUGE plus for this game, and one that Sierra / Valve should be thanked for. This game has been distributed free to anyone who owns the original HL, and upgrades to the newest 188.8.131.52 version. While the file is quite large, the majority of the update appears to center around TFC. In any case, the inclusion of this game can be considered a bonus game offered to any owner of the original. Now that Sierra knows that it has a possible gold mine on its hands, Team Fortress 2 is now on the horizon as a stand-alone (and regularly priced) game.
Another nice feature is the number and variety of both in-house produced and player created game maps. Some are very run-of-the-mill, and show nothing new or special, but some are absolutely ingenious. Take, for example, the map called "Rats". In "Rats" the players fight for control of a unique environment... someone's kitchen! And, you guessed it, they are the size of rodents. It is an absolutely outrageous game, and even brings out the best in the tired old DM experience. Players crawl up through shelves, release deadly poisons on their foes, climb into refrigerators, and scurry across countertops at a frantic pace. Another map, called "Hunted" sets up two teams against each other. One team must guard a single player, called the "President" as he tries to reach a certain point. The President is armed only with a little umbrella, and so is guarded by a team of soldiers. On the other side is a team of "Assassins" who are trying to make sure that he never makes his appointment. The map has numerous hiding places and choke points where the assassins can create havoc for the president's team, which only adds to the excitement and suspense. Skillful team tactics and plain old heavy weapons are the President's teams' best options, while the Assassins need stealth, patience and a keen knowledge of the surroundings. Overall, these two game maps alone create such a different atmosphere that they make the whole game worth trying out.
Last, but certainly not least, is the fact that one does not need to have the game CD in a drive in order to play the game. This greatly expands the number of people who can be playing it at any particular time, and increases the amount of players available in the gaming world.
Now it is time to delve into the things that most people really want to know. That is, "what is wrong with this game?" Well, the game does have problems. But there is something wrong with almost every game ever made, or else we would have an incredible list of "Gold" games. The most troubling part of TFC is that the games are rarely a true team effort. DM and CTF variants dominate the list of games so much that one sometimes has to search through several games to find a team game. I spent several evenings popping in and out of DM and CTF games looking for something with a little more excitement. The gaming in the DM and CTF games is so similar to every other game out there that it is really hard to tell what game you are playing. Aside from the graphics and some of the scenery, this could be any other multiplayer game, and most people don't play DM for the scenery.
Next has got to be the just plain "buggy" nature of the game. It was quite common for me to have the game halt and kick me out in the middle of playing. Sometimes, while new maps were loading for the server that I was on, I would have my machine come to a dead standstill, and I was forced to do a soft reboot in order to play any more. Connecting to the games is sometimes problematic, and the refresh does not always work well. There is some quite inscrutable symbology used to let you know what kind of game you're playing, and it took me a while to figure it out. Also, load times for each map were really excessive, even for maps that I had played several times before. These load times seem to be more server-related and synchronization problems rather than software problems, but it still took some getting used to. Some of the load times were in terms of minutes, not seconds.
On the positive side, TFC has some good team based gameplay, a fantastic price (free), and a host of games to play. It has some of the most unique scenarios I have ever seen in multiplayer gaming, and many new player-created maps are available. On the negative side, most games end up being DM or CTF or their variants, the game is prone to some rather odd bugs and game crashes during and between gameplay, and team gameplay usually suffers when playing. Overall, I think this is a good multiplayer game, but doesn't quite cut it in terms of stability. Try it, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Review By GamesDomain
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
RidiculousBox 2019-09-13 0 point
Im not sure if its possible, but can you upload the original Team Fortress? https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Team_Fortress
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