Five Easter Eggs on Dust II Map
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Dust II is a location where every angle, every viewpoint, and every possible position has already been ranged on and explored in every way imaginable. So, even the smallest changes on this map are pored over and analyzed again and again, and then become subjects of dedicated YouTube channels. But CS:GO is an esports title, and focusing on the new tactical features, reviewers often look right past the aesthetics of such changes. And as odd as it may sound, the aesthetic is well and truly there.
The days when textures in CS were merely utilitarian are long gone. Today, each map in Valve's shooter showcases not just a carefully elaborated level design but also a variety of environments. Terrorists no longer just try to blow up a few boxes in the middle of the desert — locations now have their own meaningful history, memorial graffiti (feel free to check out their stories in my colleague's feature here), as well as Easter Eggs and references to other games.
As you may well have guessed from the title, we will be focusing on the latter, and the first thing to be dissected will be the well-known Dust II. We'll start with the Egg migrating from one CS version to another. The Egg laid by a goose.
Minh "Gooseman" Le is one of the creators of Counter-Strike, so it would be a crime to start the list with someone other than him. From the days of CS 1.6, you can see a tag near site A, left there as a memento of the man who gave the world the most popular shooter on Steam.
This Easter Egg was removed in Counter-Strike: Source, so it migrating across versions is probably a bit of an exaggeration on my part. The ascent to site A was called "goose" for old times' sake, but there were no geese — or any other tags, for that matter — all that was left was a blank wall. So, it came as no surprise that CSS did not become a people's game, and became history immediately following the release of CS:GO!
In the latest Counter-Strike installment, the reference was returned, and following the map remake, it was even updated, with the lettering turning into a drawing. The proud black-and-white bird on the new graffiti has found a voice — in the form of a speech bubble where you can read the word "geese" in Arabic. That's correct — "geese,” in plural. And this is not the only reference left by the designers for the players in Arabic script, by the way. And in the next paragraph, we will go over this in more detail.
"Gordon Freeman?! In person?!"
The next Easter Egg is located in the terrorists' spawn zone. More precisely, it was located there, as it was cut out after the map remake. It was as easy to find as fish in a barrel — even if you aren't facing it as you appear on the map, all you need to do is find a large maroon "A" with an arrow. Next to it will be the inscription «!فریمن اینجا بود» in Persian. This text literally translates as "Freeman was here!" which is an explicit reference to the Half-Life series, whose engines gave life (and still do!) to all versions of Counter-Strike.
An excerpt from someone else's journey
There is another intriguing detail in T spawn, but, unlike the previous one, it is still there to this day. If you turn to face the construction site and come up to the roller shutter to the left of the fence, you can hear oriental music playing softly. Some players say it's beautiful, some call it creepy, but for Valve it is first and foremost free of charge, since it is distributed royalty-free.
The author, Samuel Corwin, has published a three-part album full of Oriental motifs in the public domain. The song we hear on the map is called "Santoor and Tabla at Assi Ghat, Varanasi", and it conveys the author's experience traveling in Nepal and South India. According to Corwin, this track expresses the temperament of those places and is intended to bring together those celebrating holidays or conducting rituals together. An interesting symbolism for a game where the key to winning is a close cooperation and team spirit!
If you find the piece interesting, you can check it out in its entirety — the link is located right below this paragraph. And besides, you can download it as you please — the album is royalty-free, remember?
Nothing can escape Reddit data miners. Even small, barely noticeable inscriptions scattered in different parts of the second Dust. At first glance, this is a random collection of phrases that do not fit together well.
But in fact, all four inscriptions are references to the 1989 game Baseball Stars, released for the NES, that went on to become the best-selling baseball simulator for the platform. The game was very advanced for its year: it allowed you to save progress and stats, modify the player and team names, create your own character, and do other things that today would only evoke a condescending smile. However, there was one curious secret to the game.
First, you had to go to the Create Team menu and press down, right, left, down, down, right, up, up, down, up, down, up, A. Then, the game would send you to the Select Name menu.
Next, instead of the words "WHAT IS A WREN?" that appeared, you had to enter "A BIRD." Yes, the period at the end is required.
Finally, the question "WHEN ISN'T IT?" prompted the answer, "WHEN IT IS." The period at the end is still required.
After all these shamanic rituals with the controller, the game let you enter the Manage Team menu, where you would feel like Charlie with his angels, because now the gamer had a female-only team in their power — the game would replace all the portraits. Sure, they could be switched back to men, but why reveal secrets if you don't use them, right?
A secret door in the tunnel
I have saved for last the most imba, most inexplicable, and most important secret that explains all the wallbanging that would not let you defend site B in peace. If you stab the walls several times in certain places, a secret passage will open up on the vent next to the boxes, allowing you to shoot through the entire plant site, from the dead end to the window. This secret requires you to be accurate to the pixel, so instead of text, I will just leave this video here by way of an explanation.
But before you open CS:GO and run to check the tunnel, a disclaimer: just joking. No level designer would leave such a blatant abuse on the map, and the video is just a custom map from the Steam Workshop. Sorry I tricked you ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This article was intended as a standalone feature, but searching and taking screenshots turned out to be so much fun that I could now put together several more Easter Egg compilations. If this list just did it for you, let me know. And then a single text may well become a series.