To The Death! | Video Games

To The… Finish Line!

Yes, it’s the 2006 Olympic Games, brought to you live from Italy!

Cs_italy, that is. This charming Counter-Strike map will host today’s event, the marathon, or as they say in Italy, marathan-o. That’s right, this isn’t a deathmatch, it’s a race! This twenty-six mile footrace will take our competitors through the narrow streets of cs_italy roughly 265 times, so I hope you’re ready to see hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of running!

Let’s meet our competitors, who hail from many nations and dimensions!


Representing the Xen Borderworld, we’ve got the wise, the wondrous, the incredibly ugly Vortigant! The Vort is one of the few Xen creatures that qualified for the marathon, being one of Xen’s only bipeds. Vortigaunts are a bit slow and methodical, but you know what they say: Slow and methodical wins the race! Provided it doesn’t stop to dispense confusing bits of wisdom, it should have a good chance of bringing home the gold.

Not that this matters, since this is a race and not a fight, but Vortigaunts have a number of attacks available to them. They can summon some sort of weird green lightning from the earth and blast opponents at range. Up close, they can swipe at their opponents with their claws; they’ve even been known to kick any enemies lurking around their ankles.


All the way from the Combine planet of… the Combine dimension of… well, we’re not sure where the Combine are from, really. Anyway, it’s the Combine Elite Soldier! He’s armed with an AR2 pulse rifle, perhaps a poor choice, considering all the running he’s about to do. I can’t imagine the heavy, bulky body armor doing much to help, either. I’d say he’s in for some serious chafing.


Barney Calhoun is representing the planet Earth. He’s a solid runner, though he expends a little too much energy making wisecracks. He’s armed with a shotgun, for reasons unknown, because as I’ve said, this is a marathon and in no way some sort of combat exercise.


The Poison Headcrab! An odd choice, perhaps, as a fast headcrab might be better suited to a marathon, but no matter! The Poison Headcrab is representing the dual nations of Xen and uh… Dead People, I guess.

Here’s some trivia: the Poison Zombie carries four poison headcrabs on its body, three of which may detach and leap at its enemies! And not only is this zombie extremely durable, it has a deadly claw swipe that can slash opponents to the ground. Good thing this is just a race and not a fight or it could get totally gruesome!


And finally, who could be better suited to a long road-trip than the irascible rollermine? This metal Combine contraption starts off slow but can really pick up speed. It can also leap into the air, extending electrified prongs to shock its opponents to death, which it won’t be doing because this is, of course, a race and not some sort of horrible battle to the death. I can’t stress that enough.


Is everyone ready? On your mark! Get set! TO THE… RACE!


Oh my God! They’re not racing! They’re fighting! To the Death! I cannot believe this shocking turn of events!

The Poison Zombie has lurched sideways and takes a swipe at the Combine Elite, who opens up, point blank with his pulse rifle! Meanwhile, the Vortigaunt is summoning up some of that deadly green lightning I coincidentally mentioned earlier.


Ka-Pow! The Combine Elite is blasted out of frame and up the street! Our first casualty, though he is technically in the lead at this point, since this is a race. The zombie lurches over to deal with the human, Barney.


Americans, huh? No sense of sportsmanship. Here, just as the race kicks off, Barney blasts the Poison Zombie right in the legs. For shame. And with the world watching! Bob Costas would be aghast.


Wounded, but still game, the Poison Zombie detaches a headcrab, introducing four more legs into the race that doesn’t appear to be much of a race at all at this point.


It appears to be a divide and conquer strategy, as the headcrab scuttles over to the Vort and postures in a threatening fashion. This scuttling cannot be construed as taking a lead as it hasn’t advanced down the road, simply across it, sideways. The Vort’s battery is recharged, however, and ready to deal with this brash upstart.


Ka-blastie! The venemous little head-hugger goes hurtling harmlessly away, overtaking the dead Combine! The zombie team is now in the lead!


Well, finally, some actual running! Barney, reloading his shottie, flees the zombie who has detached another headcrab and thus moves into third behind the dead Combine and dead headcrab. You won’t see this shit on NBC!


Several things happen at once! Barney is shocked in the leg by the rollermine (out of frame) and the Vort blasts the Poison Zombie to death, or whatever you call it when zombies die. Re-Death? Death 2? Death: Episode One? Who knows? Still a couple loose headcrabs running around, though, so the Team Zombie is still in what I am stubbornly continuing to call a race.


Speaking of teams, Vorty and Barney are taking on one of the headcrabs together, though it looks as if Barney may have also shot the Vort in the foot. Man, a lotta cheap shots by Calhoun today. There goes his endorsement deals.


Whoops! Don’t forget about the rollermine! It rolls up, as rollermines tend to do, discharging electricity and looking for a little payback.


Ka-Kneecap! Barney gets his comeuppance, as the rollermine jolts him right in the knee! He manages to repel it with a shotgun blast but the damage is already done. And… the race is actually, finally, truly underway, as the rollermine bounces a hundred feet up the road, taking a HUGE lead!


See, I told you it was a marathon. In the lead is the rollermine, but the Vort thuds up the road, hot on its tail, passing by the dead headcrab who has now fallen into third.


The rollermine suddenly changes directions, slamming into the Vortigaunt’s crotch! Ouch!


Despite the internal genitalia, it is a fatal injury for the Vort, and it falls, just fifty or sixty feet from the starting line. The agony of defeat.


We’ll spare you the rest of the photos. The rollermine is more or less indestructible except if submerged in water or blasted with explosives, two things this map is lacking in. And Barney just repeatedly unloads his shotgun at a safe distance, never venturing close enough to entice the rollermine to backtrack and kill him, and not making any real headway in the race.

So, this marathon ends with the Rollermine in first place, winning the Gold Medal, the Silver Medal going to the dead Vort with the scorched groin, and the Bronze going to Barney Calhoun. Though many have died, the Olympic spirit lives on!