Microsoft unveils Live Arcade trump cards

South Park, GeoWars 2, Galaga, more.

Xbox Live executive John Schappert lifted the lid on Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, Galaga Legions, UNO Rush and South Park for Xbox Live Arcade during Microsoft's E3 press conference.

There's also an Xbox Live Arcade-exclusive Portal release featuring new challenges, as well as the original single-player campaign from The Orange Box, to look forward to.

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 is due out next month and promises a "remixed version" of the original Xbox Live Arcade game along with five new gameplay modes.

Waves (an unlockable game in Project Gotham Racing 4) returns "supercharged and tweaked", while the original game's famous "Pacifism" achievement has been extrapolated into an entire gameplay mode, and newcomers King, Deadline and Sequence will also vy for attention. As well as solo modes for each, GWRE2 offers four-player co-op and competitive options on a single console, and there's also something called "Co-Pilots", where one person moves while the other shoots.

Graphics are in full 1080p and there's a new soundtrack, 12 unlockable Achievements "designed to encourage players to see the game from a different angle" and full XBLA leaderboard support. Check out our Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 screenshot gallery to see what it all looks like.

Galaga Legions is also due out next month as well, and is being made by the team behind the excellent Pac-Man Championship Edition. It looked bonkers during its demo reel, with enemies swarming in from all sides and weird patterns of baddies - such as conga lines - swooping in for the kill.

There's also a South Park game planned for Live Arcade in 2009 as well, although we saw little more than the potty-mouthed quartet waving at us in a trailer.

UNO Rush is due out this year and builds on the original Live Arcade instalment with more of the same; more multiplayer options, more rule customisation, more variants.

It also has camera and avatar support. Microsoft unveiled a Mii-like avatar system that will launch alongside a redesigned Xbox Live dashboard this autumn and UNO Rush was the game chosen to show how "Live Parties" can be taken into multiplayer games at will.

Finally, the publisher said to expect the first Xbox Live Community games to launch in the autumn along with the dashboard update, and these will include Hot Potato Online, Word Soup and Colosseum according to the on-screen video reel.

Head over to our live text coverage of the conference to see how it all unfolded.

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