S.T.A.L.K.E.R. scheduled for March 22

Despite multiple delays and an appearance in Wired's 2006 Vaporware Awards, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl is finally close to release. The game's publisher, THQ, has put up a page with a countdown timer that links back to the main S.T.A.L.K.E.R. page on the company's site. This timer shows roughly 66 days to go, which places the game's release date on March 22. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was first announced in November 2001, but its release schedule was pushed back multiple times.

The game will take place in Ukraine after a second explosion hits the Chernobyl power plant, causing mysterious changes to the surrounding area (dubbed "The Zone" in the game.) Players will assume the role of a "stalker," an explorer whose job is to explore the Zone, collect artifacts, and survive among hordes of mutants, soldiers, and other rival stalkers. The latest trailer showing the game can be downloaded here, and scores of screenshots are available from most gaming sites out there. Thanks to Blue's News for the tip.

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