Hostage rescue mode is a game mode where the round winning conditions for the two teams are:
- Rescue at least half of the hostages and there are no remaining living or un-rescued hostages (Excluding Global Offensive)
- Rescue any of the hostages (Global Offensive only)
- Eliminate all Terrorists
- Run down the round timer without the Counter-Terrorists rescuing more than half of the hostages and there are no remaining living or un-rescued hostages (Excluding Global Offensive)
- Run down the round timer without the Counter-Terrorists rescuing any hostages (Global Offensive only)
- Eliminate all Counter-Terrorists
Hostage rescue maps are prefixed with cs_.
Generally, the hostages are placed near the Terrorist spawn. To rescue the hostages, the Counter-Terrorists must interact with them (by walking up to a hostage and pressing the use key) and lead them to the hostage rescue zone, usually located near the Counter-Terrorist spawn. The secondary objective, which also secures a victory for either team, is to eliminate all members of the opposing team. If the round time expires, the Terrorists win by default.
If all the surviving hostages have been rescued, and that number is at least half of the initial hostage count, the Counter-Terrorists will win, and each Counter-Terrorist is given a monetary reward. The game mode may effectively become a 'terrorist hunt' if all hostages are killed. Killing a hostage by either side usually incurs a large amount of stiff penalty in cash, and will sometimes garner a slaying, kick, or ban from the server.
When a Counter-Terrorist begins interacting with the hostages, they will be rewarded a small sum of cash. Upon successfully escorting a hostage to a rescue point, a much greater sum is awarded to the individual Counter-Terrorist.
In Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, there was another way for the Counter-Terrorists to win. In this situation, hostages are given the ability to escape on their own and reach the hostage rescue zone, if they do not sense the presence of a Terrorist and they do not encounter a Counter-Terrorist. If all the hostages are able to reach the rescue zone by themselves, the game will announce "Hostages have escaped" instead of announcing the usual statement "Hostages have been rescued". (Online mode only)
In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive the gamemode was revamped on the March 21, 2013 update. Now only having two hostages instead of four, the Counter-Terrorists have to pick up the Hostages and carry them to the escape zone. Although only one needs to be rescued, it's possible to bring both hostages to the rescue zone. While carrying a hostage the Counter-Terrorist is slowed but an extra minute is added to the clock to compensate for this. Hostages are also invulnerable to all damage, although a penalty will still be incurred for both sides when shooting one.
| Cowboy Diplomacy|
Rescue 100 hostages.
| Dead Shepherd|
Kill an enemy player who is leading the hostages without injuring any hostages.
| Freed With Speed|
Rescue all hostages within 90 seconds.
| Good Shepherd|
Rescue all hostages in a single round.
| SAR Czar|
Rescue 500 hostages.