So it turns out reinstalling Snow Leopard from the install dvd does have a hidden ‘archive and install’ and it goes one better, literally returning your mac to the exact working condition it was in prior to the reinstall. This is of course a massive relief and worth mentioning for anyone else having the same problem. Therefore, my answer to anyone suffering a seemingly incurable Kernel Panic is:
Boot from the install DVD (hold ‘alt’ as the computer starts up and select the disc drive to boot from) For the record, I was actually using the upgrade Snow Leopard disc – the £25 version.
Follow through all steps without changing settings on the ‘customisation’ tab.
Wait about an hour while it installs etc.
Restart and it should automatically boot from the hard drive now. With a bit of luck your computer will be restored to it’s working state. This was my solution, I hope it works for you if you are unfortunate enough to suffer a similar experience. If it doesn’t and you lose everything – I can’t take any responsibility! Have fun with your macs.