This was one of those games where you immediately realize, based on long and hard-won knowledge, that you should quit right afterwards. Because that's as good as you're gonna get all night, and if you play even ONE MORE ROUND, you'll be there for hours trying to replicate the experience, and ultimately you'll go to bed disappointed and bleary-eyed, instead of endlessly reliving your moment of perfect gaming nirvana.

To set the scene: a large-teams multi-flag pickup game on Waterworks, the massive underground cavern map. I grab the rocket launcher at the start and wander off through the tunnels to see who I can pulverize. No-one stops me, so eventually I end up at their base. After seeing our assault team go round the back of the base, I waltz in the front, figuring that everyone else will be busy. There follows a particularly nice (and for me, very rare) triple-kill, and then I'm all alone, unless you count the small pieces of enemy splattered over the walls. What the heck, I pick up their flag and run out the back door.

Or more correctly stagger, since the flag slows you down. I hit the voice button and tell my team what I'm doing, expecting to be shot in the back at any moment. I veer towards the tunnels, still staggering, and plasma bolts start hitting the ground ahead of me. Shit shit shit, I'm gonna die. I even hear an enemy team-member calling out to his friends "I'm following him, he's right here!" Gotta love that proximity voice, but I'm SO dead. No, wait, wait, I've reached the tunnels, and the firing's stopped. What gives? I turn around, and he's flying a Banshee, and he's STUCK because it won't fit in the tunnels. Hahaha. I stagger on.

I'm still asking my team for support, but no-one else is talking. Out through the middle and into the open ground, the big scary and very EXPOSED open ground. Stagger stagger stagger. I start taking some distant machine-gun fire, and suddenly a big red splotch on my radar starts gaining on me rapidly from behind. I've now stopped asking my team for help, and I'm swearing at them instead. I hear a motor being gunned, make a big jump, and time it PERFECTLY. A Warthog on a collision course zooms beneath me and careers off, out of control and in search of other victims. Stagger stagger stagger. I've almost made it to the front door of my own base, walking the entire way! And there's a tank standing guard there! I'm saved! I'll be a hero!

BLAM.

I'm dead. They've parked THEIR freakin' tank outside our base. While waiting to respawn, I watch one of my worthless, non-talking teammates calmly walk under the nose of that tank, pick up the flag that I just brought back across the entire freakin' map with NO backup, and take it in to our base to score a point.

GAH.

Frustrated, I decide to give up on team play and just have some tankin' fun. Their tank is dead by this time, so I hop in ours and shoot up anyone and anything that approaches our base. The score remains at 1-0, until they bring their tank up again, kill me, steal our flag (using actual TEAMWORK), and tie the game. I hop back in the tank and play more defense, but now it's getting personal. One minute to go and I shoot BOTH approaching Banshees out of the air - yes, they'd stolen ours, but they both end up in little piles of wreckage in front of our base. I'm so in the zone that I decide to head off to their base to rampage a bit more. While I'm halfway across the map, both teams simultaneously grab the other team's flag, stopping the clock with a few seconds left. Damn!

So I park my tank outside THEIR base and wreak horrible revenge. Reduce THEIR nice line of parked vehicles to scrap metal. Blow up the poor slob on THEIR team who was trying to bring back our flag with no support. The flag flies through the air and lands just a little way outside their front door.

You can see what's coming next. I hose down the area with constant fire. Their entire team starts respawning, sprinting for the flag, and being blown away by my guns. The commentator who calls out "notable" kill levels runs out of new phrases after reaching "running RIOT!", and just start repeating that after every 5 kills. But things are getting frantic, they're learning to come out at different angles, I can't slew the turret fast enough, and they're getting closer and closer before I can nail them. Things don't look good for our hero. And then, after what seems like an eon of terrible carnage and no-one touching our flag, it teleports back to our base. Where our waiting flag-capturer promptly scores, winning the game for us 2-1. And I get the high-kill score. By a lot.

God, I rocked.