|Team Fortress 2|
|Wednesday, 15 August 2007 08:33|
Team Fortress 2 (TF2) is the sequel to the game that put class-based, multiplayer team warfare on the map. The original Team Fortress was a was developed as a free add-on (mod) for Quake and it is sometimes referred to as Quake Team Fortress or QTF. The concept was sparked from Quake modification to create a sniper rifle. The sniper class was born and the game was born there. It was released on August 24, 1996 as a completely free add-on. When the game was first released the install process wasn’t for the technically faint of heart. Its fast pace first-person-shooter (FPS) action coupled with the strategy elements of its maps instantly raised the bar for multiplayer games. The characters classes Team Fortress brought with it, added that missing something to the multiplayer arena. In my opinion no game to date has been able to replicated its game play. FPS games have offered various weapons, but the weapon was always the only thing that set you apart from everyone else in the game. With TF, choosing from one of the nine characters didn’t just provide you with a different arsenal it also would dictate your tactics and the role you took in the game.
The Soldier was a versatile character with a powerful rocket. The rocket launcher became a favorite of many as it allowed skilled Quake players to perform what was known as the rocket jump. The physics of the game would were such that if a player could jump, look down, and fire a rocket in quick succession the Soldier would be propelled high enough to jump to platforms that were otherwise not easily accessible. The Sniper had very little health but his one-shot-one-kill weapon was lethal. The Spy could disguise himself as the enemy, carried a tranquilizer gun, a deadly knife, and a hallucinogenic grenade. The Heavy Weapons Guy was great in a defensive role as he was very tough, had lots of armor, and a toted gargantuan gun. The Medic could heal other players as well as infect the enemy. Although he was a fragile fellow, the Scout was exceedingly fast and if you blinked he was gone (with your flag). The Demo Man could lay remote traps or bombard the enemy with explosives. The Pyro’s packed not only a flame thrower, but napalm grenades that could block the path of others with flame. The Engineer was also quite unique, as he could build and upgrade a remote sentry gun that would devastate any enemy within its range. If you’ve never played this might sound like a lot. It is, but I’ve left out even more. Besides the characters individual set of weaponry, each had there on speed, health, and armor.Each individual traits and arms of each character makes class based gaming difficult for authors to create the necessary critical balance. You can’t have one class that is superior to the rest. For instance, if you introduced a fourth item in rock, paper, scissors that trumped the others – the game wouldn’t have much meaning. The authors of Team Fortress excelled in this area, providing a near perfect balance. For instance, the Scout was fragile, but his speed made him an admiral target. The Sniper was one shot lethal, but if not guarded by his teammates, a spy could easily sneak up behind him. The Heavy Weapons guy wasn’t the quickest fellow, but if you heard his gun winding up, you had better already be running. I’m only scratching the surface here, but you get the idea.
The massively popularity of the free Team Fortress mod lead to the commercial promise of Team Fortress 2. A movie was even rumored in the works at one point. A few years later with no TF2 insight, the original game was ported to the Quake II engine as a commercial mod and to the Half-Life engine as Team Fortress Classic. Although both provided better graphics, neither held a candle to the original’s game play. Many of the false promises where accompanied with screenshots like the one picture here. The hype was just vaporware as no game was ever produced. There were even disputes between the developers as they couldn't even collectively decide what form the new game should take. Some wanted a more realistic type of war game, while others were looking to improve on the smooth fast play of the original concept. In 2006 though, Valve Software announced Team Fortress 2 was to be bundled with “Half-Life 2: Episode Two” as part of “The Orange Box”. It appears a path was chosen and has been set once again. I’m still not going to hold my breath as I would have been holding it for a decade already, but it looks like the game might actually materialize this time. Besides more screenshots and demo videos like the ones below, retailers actually have the game available for pre-order right now. TF was one of the all time greats, I hope they do it justice with TF2. On October 9th 2007 we can all find out.
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