OK, so I said this wouldn't happen again, and it did, but it's still all ETF's fault. After a member of the team suggested that my download might be corrupted I downloaded the full 1.3 version of Enemy Territory Fortress, and it still didn't work. I did finally get it to work by installing it in the stock ET directory, instead of my home directory like I'd been doing all along. So, yeah, my bad - but keep that in mind if you're having problems with the game.
Perhaps because it took so long to get the game working, when I finally did log on to a server and start to play, I was overwhelmingly underwhelmed. I've heard a few people complain about the graphics, and they're not really that bad. The characters look kind of cartoony, which I think is a nice touch, but where things start to fall apart graphics wise is the maps. It could be that a lot of them are redone versions of maps of historical significance among the Team Fortress community, but I've seen much better looking maps in Cube, not that I meant that in a bad way toward either game. Intermittent lack of prettiness aside, the maps included with Enemy Territory Fortress seem to be well-balanced and fun.
Gameplay in ETF if much faster and generally more Quake-like than stock Enemy Territory or Total Combat: Elite. This and the class mechanism, I'm sure, are part of the reasons that Team Fortress mods have remained popular for so long. Anybody who's been reading this site since back in the day knows I'm a huge CTF fan and, luckily for me, most any game I jumped into involved flags and the capturing thereof. That's one huge edge over both ET and TC:E in my book.
Since this is a roundup of sorts, I'm going to go ahead and do something I've always thought previous roundups were missing: I'm going to pick a winner. I'll tell you right away, it's not ETF. Sure it's fun, but it just doesn't stand up to True Combat: Elite. Enemy Territory on it's own is a blast, but there's something about True Combat: Elite that just... does it for me. So, there's your winner. That being said, both mods and the stock game itself are as fun as they are free, so if you've got a fast enough connection(you could try dialup, but I wouldn't) go ahead and try them all anyway. By the way, stuff should be back to normal now so expect weekly posting to resume.