Although that elusive release date has yet to be revealed (and is currently up in the air over ongoing legal proceedings between Valve and Vivendi), Valve head Gabe Newell has at last announced details of the five options available to gamers eager to play their latest labour of love, the wildly anticipated, and much-delayed Half-Life 2.

There will be two options for those who wish to buy the game at retail, and three for gamers who would prefer to download and play it through Valve's groundbreaking online distribution system, Steam.

The two retail options are as follows:

Standard: Six CDs, which will contain both Half-Life 2, and Counter-Strike: Source.

Collector's Edition Box: A DVD, which will feature Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source, along with the eagerly awaited Half-Life: Source. The box will also contain a T-Shirt and a Prima strategy guide.

The three online options are:

Bronze: Half-Life 2, and Counter-Strike: Source.

Silver: Same as Bronze, but also Half-Life: Source, Day of Defeat: Source, and access to Valve's back catalogue over Steam, including such titles as Ricochet and Deathmatch Classic.

Gold: Same as Silver, but with the added bonuses of a Prima strategy guide, a hat, a postcard, three posters, a CD soundtrack, stickers, as well as entering anyone who splashes out on the Gold version into a draw to win a trip to Valve's HQ in Seattle.

Pre-orders through Steam will be made available soon, and anyone who does so will be given access to Counter-Strike: Source from next week, which should help tide over those repeated-delay blues until the big day arrives, and Half-Life 2 is at last unveiled to the world.

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