Far Cry Vengeance - first look

The thing was bigger than a house, it was uglier than a pitbull and its performance in Japan couldn't have been more of a disaster if it had launched with a game based on Hiroshima. But one thing the original Xbox was pretty much untouchable at was first-person shooters, and right at the top of the tree, just behind the powerhouse Halo twosome, was Ubisoft's fantastic Far Cry Instincts.

Instincts was magnificent for two reasons. Firstly, it flipped the FPS template on its head by setting the run-and-gunning on the wide open spaces of a sun-kissed tropical island, rather than the dingy genero-corridors of Doom, Quake and the like.

Secondly, it took the PC original - one of the most acclaimed games on a graphics card-heavy system - and inexplicably, made it even better. Unsurprisingly, it flew. So much so that Ubisoft dealt Xbox gamers a second game called Far Cry Instincts: Evolution, comprising eight new levels, new multiplayer maps and an improved Map Editor.

And here's where we arrive back in the present day: Instincts is coming to Wii and it's going to be the best version of the game yet. Like the look of Red Steel? It's time to take it to the next level. The newly renamed Far Cry Vengeance will be the definitive Wii FPS. With a promised 20+ hours of single-player missions, a split-screen multiplayer and (possibly) online play, it's clear that Vengeance isn't just a retread.

It takes Evolution's basic blueprint, including the stellar visuals (swaying jungles, copious lens flare, the best water effects ever), direction-shifting vehicles (jeeps, boats and hang-gliders) and game-changing feral powers (allowing you to pick up enemy scents and punch foes literally miles into the air), and fuses them to the Wii controller. Far Cry's hero isn't tough-guy Jack Carver, it's you and your Nunchuk.

There were two criticisms of the Evolution update on Xbox. The first was that it lasted about six hours. Over three times as much gameplay on Wii sees to that complaint - with three new maps comprising a tourist resort (with luxury hotel), an oil refinery and an abandoned WWII base.