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Conker: Live and Reloaded

A lot of people are scoffing at Rare's meagre output for the Xbox to date, but it's hard to see Conker: Live And Reloaded as anything but a win/win situation. Are you a fan of the N64 original, with its balls-out approach to humour at the expense of producing a 'normal' videogame? Then you'll be gagging to see the whole thing decked out in its funky new Xbox strides. This is the Conker of old, pimped up to heavenly new visual levels.

But what if you're new to the whole swearing squirrel thing? You have the perfect chance to sample Conker's unique brew - knob gags, well-observed movie satires and unashamed violence - with virgin eyes. But if you're one of the many who played Conker's Bad Fur Day, and found it to be too weird an experience for your tastes, don't worry. Perhaps you'll be tempted back by Conker Live and Reloaded's incredible Live aspect. It's an ambitious mix of vehicle combat and vicious gunplay, making it the only Live title on the horizon to challenge Halo 2's current online brilliance.

So what has Rare been up to for the past few years? It's been fussing over Conker's stunning looks with all the love of a bionic watchdog. Really, little comes close to them: it's a lightshow of magnificent effects, with cuddly characters coated in the most beautiful fur this side of Britney's pants.

Unfortunately, Conker is still a slave to his settings, meaning the style of play is determined by what he's doing. One moment you'll be gliding through a slightly warped platforming world, then battling a giant turd in a boss fight the next, before finding yourself in the middle of a third-person shooter. It's a strange way to pace things, and adds little to the gameplay as a whole. But trust us - it's looking amazing, and refreshingly offensive with it. Don't like that kind of thing in a game? Then you can fuzz off, nut breath.

Conker: Live and Reloaded will be released for Xbox in March