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This version already includes the counter-strike mod, you will still need to download patches and updates to bring the game up-to date. As of 10/01/02 the out of the box retail version is v1.0, currently you will need to update to v1.5 which will require a hefty patch of about 105MB's, This patch can be downloaded by clicking Here
What are the benefits of the retail version? with the retail version you get many more mods (games) already built-in. Currently the retail version features 8 additional mods with a total of 9 (including CS). This version does not contain the original Half-Life game.
Both these titles contain Counter-Strike retail:
The retail version contains the following Mods:
This version doesn't have as many mods (games) as the retail version, although they can be obtain separately by downloading them. This version also requires that you download two different patches opposed to the retail version which only requires one. you will need these updates to be able to play counter-strike, install them in the order they appear:
The Half-Life Mod version contains the following Mods:
That is the difference between the two. Does that tell you which version you should purchase?, Probably not. The only real difference between the two is Half-Life CS (Retail) Doesn't have the Original Half-Life Game, So if you purchase the retail version then you're getting one less game, But it doesn't require you download Multiple patches opposed to the Half-Life (Mod) version that requires two additional patches. The Retail version cost about $5 - $10 more but it's worth it if you're a Dial-up user (You won't have to spend 4 - 6 hours Downloading the patches), and you also get many more mods included that the Mod version doesn't have. I myself use the Retail version which I am happy with.