"I want to end up sort of unforgettable" - Ringo Starr. Luckily, The Beatles also produced some rather more sensible quotes, such as "I get by with a little help from my friends...", which is particularly apt when it comes to XBox gaming. A frenetic four-player thrash on Fuzion Frenzy (the classic MS party game) is a total riot, but single player it's pretty dull. However, you don't always have your mates round (or in our case, we just don't have any mates).

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And that's where XBox Live comes in. Using the Live Starter Kit you can go up against a multitude of other gamers from around the world (but mostly Europe) with up to 16-player games on some Live-enabled titles. It's online gaming by any other name, and you need a broadband connection to hook up to XBox Live; a modem is just too sluggish.

We tested the system on our 512Kbps ADSL line and setting it up was a cinch, a mere matter of plugging the console into our USB router, although an ethernet cable isn't supplied. What you do get in the Starter Kit is a setup disc and a headset microphone that plugs into a controller's memory slot. The headset is well built and the mic is a quality affair too.