I loved Team Fortress Classic. While I won’t argue it was more balanced than TF2, or even better then TF2, since I consider the two so different as to be incomparable, I loved it for what it was. It was Team Fortress boiled down to its core: Two teams of dudes shooting each other and working together to fill their teammate’s inherent weaknesses. No cartoony graphics, no multinational band of misfits, just nails and bullets and grenades.
And there are some things I really miss from it, things that make me turn the game on and play on bot-choked 2fort/dustbowl servers (because that’s all there is left…), just to experience it again. Things like:
1. The nailgun
This weapon was under-appreciated, its existence generally taken for granted by the TFC Community. I didn’t realize how much I relied on it until TF2 snatched it away from me. Imagine a Syringe Gun whose projectiles were unaffected by gravity; just fired a stream of perfectly-accurate nails in whatever direction you were pointing. Rubbish against moving targets, but great against sentries, and as a demo/medic main, sentries are my arch-enemies. With positioning you could remove any sentry from anywhere with this beauty, and it wasn’t too shabby against pursuers in tight corridors either. Almost completely gone from TF2 in every way, and man do I often want it back.
2. The Concussion Grenade
While nailgun was under-appreciated, this weapon was legendary, and many TFC players consider it their favorite thing in the whole game, myself included. I’ve got a clay-baked figure of one on my desk. It’s probably why I’m addicted to the Sticky Jumper in TF2.
The conc grenade was designed by Valve for dissuading pursuers by knocking them back and giving them a disorientation effect (a concussion, if you will). But because it did the same to the player, the community quickly found its true calling as a glorious mobility tool that let Scouts and Medics fly over the front lines, chaining concs to zip through enemy defenses and grab/escape with the flag. And it was very, very good at this. Along with the Rocket Launcher and the Sniper Rifle it became one of the cornerstones of the TFC metagame, and helped to make TFC an incredibly fast-paced game, far faster than TF2.
Plus it looked really cool. Someone should make a misc. that sticks it on TF2 Scout and Medic’s belt or something. I’d buy it.
3. The Combat Medic
At this point, can you guess what battlefield role I usually played in TFC?
Flagrunner, in case that wasn’t obvious. I loved zipping through the sky, grabbing the flag and disappearing before the sentry gun can even fully turn around and figure out what happened. And (just like in TF2) I almost always played the Medic, even though he was absolutely nothing like our German doktor.
The TFC Medic was an incredibly versatile jack-of-all-trades that could bypass, fight, or defend at a moment’s notice. He had a double-barreled shotgun that let him trade shots with the combat classes, a Super Nailgun that dealt higher DPS than everyone else’s nailgun, and his medkit could heal/overheal teammates or tag enemies with a permanent infection that could only be stopped by other Medics (or death). He had the aforementioned conc grenades as well as your basic hand grenades (Scout didn’t get hand grenades), meaning he also had the damage output to blow obstacles out of his way. Combined with above-average speed and health-regeneration, he was more versatile than any TF2 class can dare to be, and a blast to play. You really felt like you could take on the entire enemy team as this guy. The only thing you couldn’t effectively do was heal teammates (but you certainly did it better than the other 8 classes.)
4. Green and Yellow teams
Yes, TFC had support for two more teams. This was most useful in custom gamemodes, but it added some nice color and saw a few official uses. For example, ported Half Life Online maps would operate in TFC as four-team deathmatches, and the Hunted game mode had three teams (the BLU Civilian, RED Bodyguards, and YELLOW Assassins.) More on that later.
I’m not sure how these fit into Team Fortress canon (a single picture on the TF2 Engineer Update page implies TFC does fit into TF2 canon). Perhaps there are two other Mann brothers floating around? Or Green and Yellow were unrelated competitors who eventually gave up or were defeated by the time the TF2 mercenaries were hired? Not sure. But I’ve always considered Green my favorite team, and haven’t changed my mind yet.
5. Lost Game Modes
TFC had some gems as game modes that didn’t make the transition to TF2. Most of these were because of the high emphasis on flags in TFC: Control Points were captured by carrying a flag from the previous CP, some maps had neutral flags for both teams to steal from each other, and Hunted was basically Assault/Defence where somebody got to play the flag.
Hunted, speaking of which, was another game mode I miss. Somebody got to play the Civilian, a pitifully weak portly man in a suit armed only with an Umbrella. His bodyguards tried to escort him to the truck at the end of the map, and the Assassins (composed only of Snipers) tried to kill him. I actually loved playing the Civilian, which was good because nobody else ever wanted to. Valve actually invented Payload because they were trying to find a way to make Hunted work without all the flaws, and Payload is a great game mode, but I miss playing the Prez.
Rock2 was another game mode that didn’t survive. Both teams had to infiltrate an enemy base, steal a passcard, then bring the passcard to a safe room still in the enemy base, whereupon the rest of the map would be filled with poisonous gas. Great concept and great gameplay, not sure why Valve cut it.
Not sure how to wrap this up. Go try out TFC. I know STAR_ lambasted it, I know most of SPUF has nothing but bad things to say about it, but it really can be a fun experience. It just takes some getting used to, and a willingness to experiment. Hit me up and I’d love to run a game with you and show you the ropes.