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Conker: Live and Reloaded

A game with a gigantic, opera-singing boss-turd called the Great Mighty Poo? That you defeat by lobbing bog roll into its peanut-studded gob? While playing as a foul-mouthed, toilet-obsessed squirrel? Welcome back, Conker...

Live And Reloaded is a complete reworking of 2001's 18-rated Conker's Bad Fur Day for the N64, featuring the original one-player mode revamped with snazzy Xbox graphics and, yes, even more potty-mouthed language.

It's full of movie parodies (there are scenes nicked from Aliens and The Matrix, among others), drinking, puking and all that, but now featuring the nifty fur effects from Starfox Adventures and some seriously impressive backdrops. At first glance, you wouldn't think it had anything to do with the N64 version.

LIVE KICKING
But all that, excellent as it may be, is billed as a mere bonus mode in what is going to be an absolutely blinding online shoot-'em-up. Squad-based multiplayer mayhem is what it's all about, with 16 players going at it on Xbox Live or via a LAN link-up.

Choose a character class - Skyjockey, Long Ranger, Grunt, Demolisher, Thermophile or Sneaker - and join the campaign to defeat the enemy Squirrels or Tediz. It's like a furry version of Halo, but don't be fooled by the cute looks - it packs quite a punch, and when a cuddly animal cops a sniper bullet in the head, the stuffing really does fly.

There are five types of vehicle to drive, plus a huge arsenal of weaponry. Success in a mission means you'll win medals and earn downloadable extras, so a battle-hardened Tediz veteran will be distinguishable by appearance as well as the ability to vaporise you from a great distance using a Squirrel-seeking rocket.

This is going to be fantastic. If you're not hooked up to broadband yet, you've got less than a year before Conker makes Live an essential piece of kit for every Xbox owner.

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