by JoWooD Productions
Developed by JoWooD Vienna
Platform: PC CD-ROM
Released - Out Now
Price : £19.99
of all the great PC titles out there, what's missing? One ingredient
that sometimes graces a console game but hardly every, in recent
times anyway, graces a PC game? The answer of course is humour.
Not since some of the early LucasArts adventure games have I been
able to have a good laugh at a PC title. Out of the blue comes JoWooD
with Neighbours from Hell and provides one of the most humorous
titles to date.
from Hell is a game that everyone can enjoy. You control Woody;
the super trickster who loves to put one over on his bad tempered
neighbour Joe. The game is basically a TV show and the idea is to
impress the audience by playing devious, and humorous, tricks on
Joe. Impress the audience enough and achieve the passing percentage
in each episode and you'll unlock an extra season of the show. There
are three seasons in all in Neighbours from Hell and a total of
of the game's appeal is its ease of use. The house where you perform
all your tricks, Joe's house, is shown from a side on view. All
actions are performed with the mouse. This point 'n' click control
method is a doddle to use. Left clicking will make Woody walk to
a certain location or interact with an object. The mouse pointer
will change to indicate if you are able to perform other actions
such as looking at an object or opening a cupboard or drawers to
take something out. Right clicking the mouse will make Woody sneak
instead of walk.
house is the scene for all of the episodes. Initially you'll only
have access to two floors. By the end of the game though you'll
also have access to the attic and the basement. Watching what Joe
does is the key to success in Neighbours from Hell. Of course it's
not always possible to watch everything that Joe does but if you
keep an eye on his thoughts, which are displayed on the bottom left
of the screen, then you will have a good idea of what he is about
to do. Whatever happens you must not let Joe see Woody in his house
otherwise he'll go over to Woody and give him a good thrashing and
the episode will end. Each episode is time limited and there are
a certain number of tricks to be performed. What determines if you
pass the episode is the viewer rating that you receive. You do not
need to perform all of the tricks to pass though and this helps
to avoid any frustration with the game. Even the latter episodes
only demand a viewer rating of around 75% to complete the episode.
If you do complete all the tricks in every episode for a season,
Woody will win an award for that season.
tricks that Woody has to perform are, for the most part, very funny
and the developers deserve high praise. Of course the tricks that
need to be carried out are not given to you, as you have to work
them out for yourself. You have to search around different places
in Joe's house to find items that you can use to perform tricks
with. These might be laxatives from the medical cabinet, marbles
from the chest of drawers or simply pinching the toilet roll from
the bathroom. Of course once you have these items you have to work
out what to do with them. Some tricks can be played in a multitude
of episodes. Putting an egg in the microwave and scribbling over
Joe's paintings are tricks that occur quite often.
the beginning of the game all is quite simple. You only have a few
tricks to perform in early episodes and it's simply a case of watching
where Joe goes and carrying out the tricks in the relevant room
while he isn't there. As the game progresses it becomes more difficult
and you have to perform tricks to throw Joe out of his pattern of
movement to enable you to carry out more tricks. The following is
an example of what I mean. The episode begins and Woody takes a
saw from the chest of drawers. It's obvious that watching how Joe
is moving that there simply won't be time to be able to nip upstairs
and cut the legs on his chair. On going into the bathroom I find
the laxative in the medical cupboard. Joe is simply moving from
his chair in front of the TV to the kitchen to collect a bottle
of beer from off the counter in the kitchen. I eventually decide
to put the laxative into the beer. Joe collects his beer (now with
added laxative) and goes to sit down. The laxative takes effect
and Joe comically makes a dash to perform a pebbledash in the toilet
(if you know what I mean). Seizing the opportunity Woody goes to
the chair and saws the legs whilst Joe relieves his bowels. This
is only a small sample of what needs to be done in Neighbours from
Hell and there are even funnier things to do.
has an anger gauge that is displayed on the lower left of the screen.
When a trick is played on him this gauge fills. The higher a gauge
is when a trick is played on him the more bonus points there will
be attributed to the viewer rating. If there is a significant gap
between tricks the anger rating will fall and the following trick
will not yield as many bonus points. This is a good reason why it
is advisable to attempt to string as many tricks together as possible.
Of course this is only a consideration when you're on the lookout
for the maximum viewer ratings and isn't really that important to
simply pass an episode.
game isn't going to need a stellar PC to run well. That's not to
say it doesn't look good though, far from it. If you remember the
animated adventures of Wallace & Gromit by Aardman Animations
you'll have a very good idea of what the game looks and animates
like. It's a wonderful graphical style for this kind of game because
it helps to make the tricks more humorous in visual terms. There
are no camera issues either because as we mentioned earlier the
game uses a side-on view of the house and everything is very clear
to see. You can even enable a trick camera that focuses on Joe succumbing
to the tricks if you want to.
game is completely deaf gamer friendly. The deaf gamer will be unaware
of the audience's laughter but this doesn't matter. The tutorials,
hints and episode objectives are given solely in text that is very
easy to read. The manual is something that's often been criticised
in recent times, particularly with the advent of DVD style cases.
However the manual for Neighbours from Hell is absolutely top notch.
Everything you could wish to know is explained in detail and it
will leave you in absolutely no doubt as to what to do or what anything
means. In fact the manual is just as polished as the game and you
don't get to say that with every PC title.
a game! Neighbours from Hell is like a breath of fresh air from
all the usual stuff that roles into Deaf Gamers. The game will have
you completely engrossed until you have done all of the episodes
with a perfect score. The only comment I can make against the game
is that most people will probably have completed it all in around
10 hours. This will be a highly entertaining 10 hours though and
well worth the £19.99 that the game will cost when it's released
on the 30th May. Now come on JoWooD and get us a sequel double quick!
Game Rating: 9.2/10
refreshing and highly entertaining. It's the game you can enjoy
between other serious games without ruining your appetite.
No problems at all for deaf gamers which is brilliant news as it's
one of the most original games we've seen in a long while.