Valve is full of surprises, and thanks to the theft of Half-Life 2 source code, not all of them are of its own making. However it was certainly a surprise to hear that the original Half Life, probably now past its third million in sales thanks to the Generation releases, is to be remade using the Source graphics engine and re-released commercially once more.

Commonsense would suggest that the official add-ons should be bundled in the box with the single-player game but details beyond the relaunches are still sketchy. Counter-Strike is also to be given a makeover too and the classic Aztech map was the demo shown at E3. That's not all- Team Fortress Classic will also be given the beauty treatment and some would argue that out of all of them, this is the part of the package most in need of a graphical overhaul now. At present there's no word about the total conversion offshoot, Gunman.

The scaleability of the engine is a question we won't be able to answer until the remakes arrive and there's still no detail about whether voices will be re-recorded, new sections added or whether the way to solve any part of the game will remain the same, so even Prima might be able to get in on the act by republishing a strategy guide with screenshots from the newer engine.

One thing's for sure; new PC users sceptical about the quality of this classic, can no longer cite ageing graphics as a criticism. Some may think of it as colourizing a black and white movie, or the Special Edition treatment George Lucas administered to the original Star Wars trilogy. Just as long as retail boxed editions have equal visibility to the STEAM downloads, we're sure gamers will give them a chance.

Half Life 2 Official Homepage:

Valve's homepage