A screenshot from "Half-Life 2," which was also named top game in the PC and Action categories, as well as a special commendation for its graphics.
The Associated Press
updated 6/10/2003 3:09:24 PM ET 2003-06-10T19:09:24

As much as Hollywood critics tend to spurn movies involving exploding zombies, video game critics appear to love them. A game centered on the adventures of a scientist who blasts an invading army of zombies has bested a field of rival offerings — including a driving adventure and a game first developed as a U.S. Army training tool — to win a coveted award from game commentators in results released Tuesday.

“HALF-LIFE 2,” the sequel to one of the best-selling PC games of all time, won top honors in the “Game Critics Awards: Best of E3 2003,” voted on by 35 judges from both mainstream and industry newspapers, magazines, and Web sites following the industry’s biggest trade show in mid-May.

The game, a graphically intense first-person shooter, has been hotly anticipated by gamers who still play 1998’s original and the various modifications, or “mods,” that it spawned in the years since.

Developed by privately held Valve and set to be published by Vivendi Universal Games, a unit of Vivendi Universal , “Half-Life 2” is slated to come out later this year. Game companies often preview new offerings at the show and then prominently promote any awards they win on the front of their game boxes.

“Half-Life 2” beat out the military adventure “Full Spectrum Warrior,” the racing game “Gran Turismo 4,” the space-based military title “Halo 2,” and tales of Arab royalty in “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” for top honors.

The game won a total of four honors, including Best PC Game, Best Action Game and a special commendation for its graphics.

‘HALO 2’ WINS BEST CONSOLE GAMEThe annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, is the game industry’s premier showcase, drawing more than 60,000 people to Los Angeles. Game publishers and developers usually show their biggest and best titles at the convention, with special emphasis on their holiday lineups.

The best console game of the show, according to the critics, was “Halo 2” from Bungie Studios for Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox. The original “Halo” is the best-selling game ever for the Xbox.

(MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

Of the 15 categories devoted specifically to games, 10 honored games that are either direct sequels or the latest game in a long-running series.

Honors for Best Original Game went to “Full Spectrum Warrior,” a military action title under development by Pandemic Studios for publisher THQ Inc. It also won “Best Simulation Game” honors.

The commercial version of the game is a spin-off from a version developed for the U.S. Army as a way to train squad leaders in urban warfare.

Gameplay: 250-word reviews
Gameplay: 250-word reviews
Sony Corp.’s “EyeToy,” a camera that attaches to a USB port on the company’s PlayStation 2 console and allows players to interact with games through body movements, won an award for Best Peripheral. The mini-games that will come with the EyeToy won honors in the trivia and parlor games category.

Conspicuously absent from the list were Electronic Arts Inc. , the industry’s largest publisher, and Nintendo Co. Ltd. , which publishes games for its GameCube console and Game Boy handheld.

Both EA and Nintendo topped a number of “Best of 2002” lists with their titles “Battlefield 1942” and “Metroid Prime,” respectively.

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