OK, so it's not quite dead yet. I left it to cool down for a while, hoping that would help. And it did - it rebooted ok.
However, it's now crashed again.
At least I took the opportunity of it being booted to backup the code I was working on. I wish I'd backed up more. Maybe after I get it back again I'll do just that.
And once it's back properly, I think maybe it's time to try Mandrake 8.1 with XFS, or maybe Ext3... Advise welcome.