Half-Life 2 - it's rare these days that we get to fire up a word processor to actually write something about the game, and not just the circumstances surrounding its ongoing development. However, amidst speculation that it might not even hit until 2005, and apparent confirmation that the adjusted "summer 2004" shipping target is more to do with development delays than the source code leak, we do finally have some new screenshots to digest, and it continues to paint a pretty picture, even if it's starting to look a bit more like a real game and not some sort of magical voodoo concoction as it did when we first slobbered over it at the start of 2003.
Here we have lots of shots of dodgy looking chaps in eerie white gas masks, who clearly have issues with Gordon's continued presence in City 17, some industrial locations, and a bit that, er, genuinely does remind us of the northern approach to Harrow-on-the-Hill station - a reference so obscure and pointless that we'll probably be fired by the time you read this. So long.
Perhaps more interesting (well, not perhaps; certainly more interesting) than the various industrial areas is a new shot of what looks like a graveyard with a green mist and some form of nasty creature hurtling through the air towards the camera - a zombie revived by a headcrab would be our guess, but at the very least something to jump out and make your heart pound. Then there's a helicopter-looking machine which Gordon's taking a pop at, somewhat reminiscent of a hovering wasp...
With Half-Life 2 returning to E3 this year, we're really hoping to get a go on it. If it's still not playable, that could be a bigger indictment of the developer than a hundred and one rounds of release date speculation for some people. We, however, remain hopeful.