Have You Played… Team Fortress Classic?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I did and I didn’t like it. To me, Team Fortress Classic was unfairly dumped in a bin called “a team-based multiplayer shooter like Counter-Strike only messy and guff.”

As I say, I know that’s an unfair comparison, but I stand by thinking the game messy. I never ever joined a Team Fortress Classic server and had a good experience. It was always chaotic; it was always full of conc-jumping wunderkids; I always seemed to pick a class that felt useless; its maps always seemed to result in stalemates around single, narrow chokepoints. I never had fun.

Or, well, that’s not true. There was one thing I liked about the game: feign death. The ability to at any point press a button and pretend to be a corpse. Most players would be wise to the trick and would shoot you as you lay prone on the ground, but occasionally you’d experience the wonderful thrill of watching a player walk by you unknowingly. I think I only managed to use that scenario to my advantage a few times, but it was worth it each time. A preview of what the Spy brought as a matter of course to Team Fortress 2.

Before you take to the comments to lambast me: I can appreciate that Team Fortress Classic had a lot going for it. I think maybe if I’d been in a clan then I’d have liked it. Sing its praises in the comments if you feel like it.


  1. Hunchback says:

    I prefer the art style of TFC rather than TF2.

    • SDB says:

      Team Fortress Classic was the best FPS for its time. Clan matches with capture the flag 9v9 and 5v5 matches in the STA league. Probably the best gaming experiance i’ve ever had. Nowadays these new games are a joke and their social networking. Back in the 90s TFC had it going with a vast player base. You really need to look into the history of TFC and watch more videos.

      Team fortress 2 I hate with a passion. Completely ruined the series for me. But im glad modders made fortress forever. Fortress forever is the TRUE TEAM FORTRESS 2. Valve just went greedy and carebear for the bads.

      • SomeDuder says:

        While I don’t hate the new stuff with the passion you are summoning, I do get what you are saying. It just took more effort in the good old days to get your game talking across the Internet, plus there were simply fewer multiplayer games, so communities were strong and filled with more know-how than “HOW I MINE FOR FISH!??1?!//”.

        Basically, everything is shit now. Good job, new people. You ruined it.

        But hey, I did put 300+ hours into TF2, before they started with the hats. And imagine how I feel nowadays, when I thought that the hats were the dumbest thing ever and it couldn’t possibly get worse.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        “Valve just went greedy and carebear for the bads.”

        I’ve reached the point where I see those terms and disregard everything else the person says.

      • Nucas says:

        is anyone playing fortress forever? i’ve thought about installing it but assume the community must be so minuscule the only people playing are the absolute diehards and i’ll get destroyed.

      • BattleMage says:

        I used to play Quake:TF, TFC and TF 1.5 a lot. I had the original Team Fortress 2: Brotherhood of Arms (link to 66.media.tumblr.com) preordered for nearly a decade before Valve released new screenshots with the new comic art style. Totally ruined it for me.
        The original idea of TF2 – more cooperative teamplay – sounded really good.

  2. Distec says:

    I can’t say it was ever particularly “balanced” but Hunted was amazingly fun and I’m sad that it never got a proper update in TF2. I also liked maps with quirks like rock2, which required you to infiltrate the enemy base to release nerve gas and kill everybody (unless you had a protective suit). I really enjoyed the sequel, but it did shave off so many of TFC’s eccentricities.

    I didn’t like Medics conc-jumping everywhere and essentially acting as objective runners.

  3. klops says:

    No, I haven’t played TFC. I played Quake World Team Fortress, though, and learned to play with mouse and keyboard with that game. When testing single player Quake I looked up with page up and down with page down but (un)fortunately that wasn’t enough when playing against people.

    • whatthefuckisthis says:

      Shoutouts to starting online FPS with QWTF and making the transition from single player. I distinctly remember learning about +mlook and how binds worked, but I didn’t know you could just set a +/- command in console to be “always on”… so for a few months I played with a whacky config wherein I just always held down a key bound to +mlook so I could actually use the mouse, lol. Also learning about the WASD style before half-life came out and made it the default forever.

      Also lol @ the URL just saying TFC is trash and then it opens up with “I did and didn’t like it”. If you got a harsh opinion, let’s hear it. Don’t sugarcoat it. For what it’s worth TFC was the bane of my existence as a QWTF player: between it and Everquest, it was a primary reason QWTF died out. And it was a lot slower paced and much of the game lacked the “oomph” QWTF had. So I despised TFC for a long time. However I’ve gotten over it these days (mostly because TF2 is way, way worse in that comparison, so I’ll take any real TF I can get!) and accept it, and enjoy playing Fortress Forever (a TFC-like mod for Source) these days.

      • Jahandar says:

        Yeah, the original TF for quake was the best. To your point, when everyone was moving to M+K for quake, I ended up choosing FXCV instead of WASD and still use it to this day. I much prefer having the extra keys above and left of my hand.

      • slight says:

        nme spy in basement!

    • LionsPhil says:

      I miss properly juicy gibs, where everyone is packed full of moist steak and dogfood, fit to burst.

  4. Firkragg says:

    Ah yes, the only multiplayer game I ever felt I mastered (thanks to school summer holidays + absolute obsession when I was 14-15). I loved its messiness at the time, most because it was so different from CS back then.

  5. int says:

    Very satisfying to gib players with the fully charged sniper rifle. And like someone mentioned above, I loved hunted too and wish they’d made a version for TF2. There were three teams if I recall; one of which was only snipers who were against everyone while one team escorted the VIP and the final one was out to kill him as well.

    It was challenging, especially as a sniper to play with 300 ping and higher. Go 56k modems!

    • Livebythesword says:

      As I recall there were 2 teams, one (snipers) that was supposed to kill the VIP and another (think it was limited to soldiers and heavies) to escort him. Had a lot of fun with that mode, shame that it’s something I’ve never seen anywhere else.

  6. 12souza says:

    I found the game very fun back in the day. You’re spot on when you said that you had to be in a clan, otherwise its just a spamfest on 32 man servers lol. But with organized play, it was super fun

    • Petuko says:

      I was never in a clan and I still had a blast with TFC in its heyday. I wasn’t amazing at it and couldn’t really figure out the more advanced techniques but it was still an absolute joy.

  7. J.C. says:

    I did, I loved the Spy’s ability to just pretend to be dead. Fooled so many people doing that.

  8. Ink Incorporated Incorporation says:

    Team Fortress Classic is my favourite video game of all time, but I can respect your opinion. It can be a bit rough on new players, and it was certainly rough on me. I gave it a good enough time, and now I’m addicted.

  9. Tallfeather says:

    I loved this and REALLY got into it, for years. I still have endgame screenshots of clan matches for fond memories.

    I was the defensive lead for my clan, and one of my abilities was to smell a spy a million miles away. I loved the ones feigning on the ground the best. I’d pretend I wasn’t paying attention (looking somewhere else) while I casually walked over –
    then stood on them and beat them do death with a crowbar.

  10. LionsPhil says:

    It was an amazing game, and a lot more flexible in what mappers did than TF2: stuff like the football maps, even if they were a bit rubbish. Heck, having four teams sometimes. Armour and friendly fire damage to it. Spy checking by a handshake system of shooting the ceiling rather than just spraying everything with fire because of that. Grenades rather than sappers. Detpacks blasting new routes through the map. Stickybombs that worked as a final explosive up-yours on death rather than fizzling. Infectious diseases. Good times.

    I remember some of the versions it begat in other engines being good too, including the Wolf:ET and Unreal Tournament (original and best) ones. (And, yes, I know TFC was spun from a Quake version.) IIRC UnrealFortress Gold let you equip your sentry guns with (some of then?) player weapons. Flak turrets in ambush spots were horrifically brutal.

    Counter-Strike just couldn’t compare, the dull old twitch pseudo-realism angry-teenager thing.

  11. hovertrain says:

    <3 to PC Zone for hosting their public 2fort server and all the regulars who made it great.

  12. angrym0b says:

    TFC was one of my favorite games, back in the day. I eschewed Counter-Strike for it, instead being drawn in by the rocket jumps and EMP blasts.

    2fort was my map – I’d set up my sentry near the flag, then my dispenser at the bottom of the lift (primed to detonate should any enemy get near it), before going on the offensive – the offensive engineer. Man, it was good fun. Tossing an EMP up into the sniper nest and racking up the kills. Muhaha!

    It certainly wasn’t rubbish, it just had a steep learning curve, but a curve that was well worth climbing if you had the stomach for it.

    TF2 was an utter disappointment for me. I play it with friends now and again and I have fun for a little while, but my interest in it quickly wanes. But gee whiz, it does have hats!! /s

  13. Vesperan says:

    I grew up on TFC, and it says a lot about the popular multiplayer games at the time that I stopped playing TFC as I wanted to play a far more ‘realistic’ game: Counterstrike.

    I have no idea when that was, but it was Counterstrike Beta 2, and when I came back to TFC quite a bit later everyone was bunny hopping and conc jumping insanely.

    Which was not the TFC I grew up on. I was an old man, at 17.

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  17. Bweahns says:

    I loved TFC. I was heavily into Quake2 at the time and this game was totally different. I loved playing as an Engi the most. It was a different experience to bunny hopping around at high speed playing Quake2. I ended up moving onto Counter Strike and continued playing Quake2.

  18. Uberwolfe says:

    Hang on a sec, TFC came before Counterstrike… it was also a completely different kettle of fish, and, in my opinion vastly more fun than Counterstrike.

    Ah, the pleasure of camping the upper level on 2fort and sniping all those pesky medics trying to cross the bridge.

  19. 3vilGrin says:

    By far the best game I’ve ever played. The skill ceiling is so high that it is still being played today, and at a level that would make the old premiers seem weak. Yes, at first sniping was the fun class where you could be sure of grabbing a few kills, even helping dominate on a defence. But once you understood the dynamics of the game and had been handed your ass by a well organised offence, the only choice was to learn. The perpetuating levels of offence and defence are what make this the best game in existence.