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The Specialists was created by Filippo "Morfeo" De Luca & Lorenzo "John_Matrix" Pasini. Originally made to be a team-play game (much like Counter-Strike, but with added action movie realism), The Specialists soon evolved into a death-match game with action movie realism. The Specialists 1.0 was first publicly released on October 29, 2002.
On June 21, 2007, The Specialists received its final major update, 3.0.
As of 31 December 2009, The Specialists' official website is down.
The Specialists is intended to resemble a generic action movie and is often compared to the film Face/Off, though several of the default player models, maps, and some of the game-play elements appear to be references to The Matrix.[original research?] It contains over 29 weapons, many power-ups, and 5 official game-types (although the game has a sixth, unofficial game-type, Role-Playing). Weapons and attacks are highly lethal while accuracy is unaffected by movement, leading to a frenetic pace of gameplay.
One of the features that The Specialists is known for is Bullet Time; the ability to manipulate time to pass in slow motion. Bullet Time has been implemented in other titles such as Max Payne, but is typically found only in single-player titles, whereas The Specialists is mainly a multi-player modification. The game also makes heavy use of stunts, even rewarding players with scoring bonuses for stunt combinations, and also has a simple, yet powerful, kung fu system for melee attacks. Although it is far from being the first shooter to include stunts and kung fu (notable spiritual predecessors include The Opera and Action Half Life), The Specialists is the first to combine them with multi-player slow motion game-play and to integrate the various types of combat (shooting, stunting, melee) into a fluid experience.
The various stunts that can be performed are all dependent on the direction that the player is looking in. Weight is a very important part of The Specialists, as it determines a large part of how the game can be played. Carrying vast amounts of firepower will limit the number of stunts able to be performed and the speed at which the player can move, whereas players armed with only knives or a pistol will be able to move very quickly and perform more stunts. The Specialists contains a variety of power-ups which can be separated into two categories: Passive and active power-ups. Passive power-ups do not require activation; they last until the character is killed and their effect is maintained for the entire time. All can be found on the map but most of these are awarded after reaching a certain status. Active power-ups must be activated to have an effect. Active power-ups last for three or five seconds depending on which power-up is used. Active power-ups can be particularly devastating when used with an appropriate weapon. The player may only carry one active power-up at a time.
Other Notable Features
- Ability to dual wield some weapons
- True recoil
- Environmental interactions like wall climbing, diving, and flipping
- Thrown knives ricochet off surfaces at certain angles
- Destructible objects/environments
- Visible bullets/bullet trails in slow motion
- Weapon customization