Flash Friday: Deadly Neighbours

Last week, I reviewed one of Nerdook’s most famous games: Monster Slayers. While Monster Slayers was, and still is, popular in its own right, there was another game that shared just as much popularity back in Nerdook’s golden days. This game would rise to an esteemed, almost godly status among Kongregate’s vast game library. Blending unique, creative gameplay with a memorable graphical style; topping it off with another awesome ending. Such was the game’s positive reception that it even warranted a sequel, something Nerdook very rarely does. But even the most shiny and glorious relics fall into disrepair over time. Nothing can last forever. So, let’s take a look and see if Deadly Neighbours still holds up today in the seven years since its release!

Unlike most of Nerdook’s other games, the gameplay isn’t that simple and seems a bit confusing and hard to get to grips with at first. To put it in simple terms, you have three members of your family. You equip each of them with their own weapons and swap them out for new, better ones as you obtain more throughout the course of the game. Using weapons uses up action points which you slowly regain every turn. Using more powerful weapons uses up more action points and moving your family members costs no action points. There are loads of small effects that you can combine to reach victory but most weapons fall into two distinctive types: Throwing and melee weapons. Throwing weapons are weak in terms of raw power but often have more utility than melee weapons and don’t require you to come into contact with the enemy neighbours. Although melee weapons deal comparatively larger damage, you’ll also take damage from the enemy neighbour while attacking putting your family member at greater risk.

The game, like Monster Legions and Monster Slayers provides you with extensive customisation so you can build your own strategy to take down your asshole neighbours. Weapons can also sometimes have extra effects, for example, the LCD TV deals lot’s of damage but breaks on use so it has to be equipped again. The dead fish deals minor damage, but leaves behind a smelly stain that damages anyone who stands on it. As well as equipping your neighbours with these weapons, you can also store others for later use. Unfortunately, these weapons can not be carried over to other saves like I originally thought so I didn’t get much use out of it. On top of this, when you reach certain money thresholds, one of your family members can receive a perk a la Fallout. These range from granting resistance to certain floor hazards to making your family member more of a tank to granting certain bonuses such as money on death.

Speaking of your family, their appearance is also fully customizable though it is somewhat limited. You can change their hair, skin, eyes and clothes as well as the colours of all these parts. Nerdook’s unique graphical style is particularly impressive, standing out and attracting the attention of your eyes while you are doing this. Gameplay is occasionally broken up by a car driving minigame where you attempt to run over as many neighbours as possible in the time limit while avoiding road cones. It’s brief and not particularly fun by the second time. Also, why the hell did Nerdook decide to set the minigame as being mouse-controlled? Several times I moved my mouse out of the game screen by accident, causing me to ram into a cone and lose precious time. This was mildly frustrating and I don’t understand why the controls couldn’t be simple arrow keys or WASD.

Like most of Nerdook’s games, Deadly Neighbours is pretty short(under one hour) yet you don’t feel like you have wasted your time because of the humorous ending to the game. Again, the multiplayer feature adds a bit of replayability but it’s not all that fun as the AI seems to be very bad, almost braindead, when controlling other players’ families. The story is nothing special but it’s passable. You buy a house by taking a loan from Loan Shark Stevie and have to murder your neighbours in cold blood to get enough money to pay him back. Sadly, as is the case with most old Flash games, the music is just a bunch of dull five-second loops that quickly drove me insane. Fortunately, there is a mute button so I could play my own music while playing the game.

Overall, Deadly Neighbours is a staple Nerdook game, one of his most popular. While the game is quite short and the music and story are not anything to be admired, the game stands out from the crowd enough that you won’t feel dissatisfied by the end. Deadly Neighbours has a certain flair to it that no other game developer can really pull off. It isn’t the pinnacle of comedy but it’s enough to get you in laughing fits. It doesn’t have revolutionary gameplay, but it’s fun enough that you’ll enjoy every second of hacking your neighbours to bits. Just remember these words: Don’t try this at home.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Unique gameplay
  • Massive customisation
  • Multiplayer feature
  • Nerdook Graphical style
  • Awesome ending

Cons:

  • Dull  music
  • No way to cancel an attack if you misclick a weapon
  • Game is too easy(except on hard)
  • Multiplayer AI is really bad

Verdict: 7.5/10

Play the game here: http://www.kongregate.com/games/nerdook/deadly-neighbours?acomplete=deadl

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