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When it comes to Team Fortress it's best to let Gorebagg tell you the tale in his own words.
I've been playing Team Fortress for well over a decade now, ever since it first came out...as a matter of fact, my gaming days date back to before Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake I...
We had several servers up under the name "Gorebagg's SlayGround" and at one point our clan numbered in the hundreds...
I've always recommended Team Fortress as the M1 Garand of internet game play...it's simply the best all-around strategy/skill game on the market.
So naturally I was apprehensive about the NEW Team Fortress, TF2...for a long time it looked as if it would be nothing but "vaporware", meaning it would never happen...but at last the Beta came out, and of course I bought the orange box in order to be able to sample it well before its official release date, so I could review it.
By golly, it is sheer fun...the so-called "cartoony" aspect has its charm and the character movement, voicebytes and general mayhem are all absolutely beyond any expectation I had formed prior to its release.
There's a mic voice option as well, which is great for those fast clan games where you just don't have time to type out messages...I recommend a cheap mic that has little or no noise filter...You can get a good TF2 gaming mic at Staples for around ten bucks.
The thing you're going to like most about TF2 is the pro attitude of most players...as a general rule, most of the 3000+ servers are run well, and the admins keep the trash talk down to almost zero except in the servers that advertise trash, which are fortunately very few.
I found most of the maps to my liking, especially the rocking, neverending gameplay you'll enjoy in floodzone, which finishes only when one team totally overwhelms the other, with combat ranging around a central control point...it can go several hours, maybe even days...sorta like Monopoly used to be when it was played straight.
What else can I tell you? For one thing, the download is a long one. You might prefer to buy the disc online and just load it in. On the other hand, you could do what I did twice (I run two computers, because I'm a gaming geek freak and one game at a time is too slow for me)...download it while you sleep...figure about 6 to 12 hours depending on your connection and luck.
It might take a few tries to get it up and running, but once you do, you'll find it so engrossing and fun that you'll be spending many sleepless nights and some work days on fake sick leave in the throes of its addictive enchantment.
All in all, I'd say that TF2 is currently in the Winner's Circle for online gaming. Those who are into Massive Multiplayer Online games won't like it much...there's a complete absence of the mating/dating/relating stuff that over-hormonal teens crave. It's just a wild and crazy give-and-take combat course with thousands of great servers to choose from, with great chars, great weapons, great maps and terrific pro players to enjoy it with.
Hope to see you online!
Peace, & Happy Fragging!
Gorebagg Da Lost