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Halo 2 Midnight Launch

Halo 2 blasted onto the Australian game scene last night with two huge launches in Sydney and Melbourne.

Halo 2 frenzy
Halo 2 blasted onto the Australian game scene last night with two huge launches in Sydney and Melbourne.

Hundreds of eager fans lined the streets in anticipation of playing the second installment of one of the most successful video games of all time.

As the crowd size increased, Microsoft kept them entertained with a team of break-dancers, free donuts, and of course Master Chief himself.

Within seconds of the doors opening at Sydney's Myer store, gamers flooded the halls and ran to the counter clutching their copy of the game - all while leading Australian rock acts Regurgitator, 28 Days, Eran James and Evermore played to the gathered crowds.

Already more than 2 million people around the world have pre-ordered the game, but the lucky fans from New Zealand and Australia were the first around the globe to take home copies of the game.

There has been a veil of secrecy surrounding the game to ensure that gamers entered Halo 2 without any knowledge of the storyline, so Australian gamers, who no doubt stayed up all night, will discover the game's secrets and narrative twists before anyone else in the world. Indeed, one of the first to buy the game in the country could be seen in the distance running for his car only seconds after leaving the Myer counter.

But enough about the event - what can we say about the game Halo 2 itself? Well, as I sit at my desk bleary eyed from a lack of sleep after playing the game for most of the night and eventually falling asleep curled up on the floor with the controllers wrapped snugly in my arms, all I can say is that Bungie has managed to give us a faster-paced version of Halo.

In addition to the twisting storyline, they have added in a new layer of strategy with the ability to use two weapons at the same time. The creators have also allowed gamers to carry the Covenant Plasma Sword - a lethal close range killing weapon.

I'm not going to go into the single player mode or co-op mode, but what I will say is that the additional weapons, dual-wielding, vehicle destruction, and the overall speed will delight fans across the globe.

Update November 10: Click here to read CNET's in-depth Halo 2 review and view Halo 2 screenshots