This Japanese visual novel is CSGO’s weirdest spinoff

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The Counter-Strike series is full of weird footnotes, but nothing tops the game’s lost visual novel from 2005.

Counter-Strike NEO -WHITE MEMORIES- is a visual novel exclusive to Japan that is based on the Counter-Strike franchise. The game was developed entirely by Bandai Namco and released in 2005. While primarily a visual novel, the game also has portions that play out more similarly to Doom than Counter-Strike. While Counter-Strike is no stranger to crossovers and spinoffs, this is probably the strangest such entry.

The Counter-Strike visual novel follows the plight of three special operatives named Sho, Oumar, and Reonof. The trio appears to be in hot pursuit of an amnesiac female civilian named Maki. Her character biography introduces her as the survivor of a previous incident related to the main characters. Quick introductions for each character are included in the attract mode, which also features a banging anime theme song.

Counter-Strike NEO -WHITE MEMORIES- is not available on any modern platforms. The only way to experience the CS visual novel is to watch a gameplay video on YouTube. The Counter-Strike NEO series originated with a Japan-only arcade cabinet game that has also been discontinued. This era is definitely the weirdest period for Valve’s tactical shooter franchise.

How many spinoffs does CSGO have?

While spinoff games for CSGO are a rarity nowadays, they used to be quite common. Back when Counter-Strike was still closely associated with the Half-Life series, expansions were a fairly frequent occurrence. 2004’s Counter-Strike: Condition Zero added a single-player campaign with full bot support. In 2008, Korean games host Nexon published a revamped version of Counter-Strike 1.6 called Counter-Strike Online.

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A Source-based sequel followed in 2013. The old method of expansion packs and spinoff games has generally been left behind, but there are still a few crossovers in modern CSGO. The most recent is a surprise sticker collaboration with Battlefield 2042.


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