Neighbours From Hell (also known as How to Annoy Your Neighbor) has made many players fall in love with it. The story of the charismatic dirty trickster Woody, who takes revenge on the impudent Mr. Rottweiler, they liked so much that even now various fan modifications continue to come out. Recent two-part re-release Neighbours back From Hellwhich improved graphics and combined two games into one, made me pay attention to the game again and revive interest in it.
Fan team from Social Media Live Productionknown for modifications to this series of games, in particular for modifications How to get a neighbor: Woody is backglobal modification with new content, and How to Annoy Your Neighbor: Hardcore, in which the game turned into a violent horror, was also interested in developing a remaster, and he began work in 2019, before the release of Neighbors back From Hell became known. The release of the official re-release not only did not change the plans of SML Production, but also filled them with determination, and now the team is hard at work on such a remaster, which, perhaps, will surpass the official one – Neighbors From Hell: Remastered.
We are waiting for new mini-games and new content
Neighbors From Hell: Remastered, like the official re-release, not only improves the graphics of the project, but also combines two games (Neighbors From Hell: Revenge is Sweet and Neighbors From Hell: On Vacation) into one.
One of the most important changes is the addition of console content to the remaster, which significantly affects the mechanics of the game. So, for example, if Woody catches a neighbor’s eyes, the hero will not just tremble with fear, but he will also be able to try run away from neighbor. Fleeing is punishable by a rating penalty per episode.
But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the remaster is the new content that has not appeared before in either the original or console version. Players are waiting for new dirty tricks, new gameplay elements and even several new modes. One of these innovations is opportunity to play as a neighbor in a mode tentatively titled “Unsuccessful episode”, in which the player must catch Woody while he is playing dirty tricks on the owner of the house.
If the player does not want to strain constantly hiding from a neighbor or chasing Woody, he can try the free game mode, in which, as Mr. Rottweiler, he will be able to explore any location in the game and interact with objects on it, for example, go to the kitchen and take a bottle of beer, and then lie back in your chair and watch TV calmly, knowing that no Woody will disturb you. What is not analog The Sims?
Fans of the classic How to Annoy Your Neighbor formula may like Classic with one life (as in the first part) and Hell Holidays with three lives (as in the second). And for those who want something more difficult, the “hardcore” mode is suitable, which, however, will not have bloody horror elements, as it was in the SML Production modification of the same name.
Ironically, SML Production, which is responsible for the bloody hardcore version, will remove inappropriate scenes of violence from the game that were present in the console version and the official re-release. The console version contained rather brutal images of Woody’s bloody face when the protagonist’s lives are reduced, and his skeleton when the game fails. Neighbors back From Hell reduced the amount of blood on the hero’s face and changed the skeleton on the fail screen to be less intimidating, but these changes still didn’t fit the tone of the game’s cartoonish violence.
Scary images from the console version (left) and the official re-release (right) that won’t appear in the Social Media Live Production remaster.
Continuing to talk about the new interesting things of the remaster, it should be noted that Olga, the heroine of the second game in the series, is now not just an NPC who does not react to Woody in any way and is only engaged in beating her neighbor because of Woody’s setup. Sloppy Woody himself can be beaten by her if he somehow offends his son, but this will not be a failure of the game – the girl will simply take away the thing belonging to her son from Woody, which will lead to a drop in the viewer rating of the episode. You can hide from an angry woman in the same way as from a neighbor – in shelters or in the shade (remaster innovation).
The player can enable a new interface option based on the image from the canceled Playstation 2 version
Especially for Playground.ru, Alexander Kobzar (one of the main developers of the project) shared exclusive screenshots and details of the remaster.
Now you can’t fool your neighbor just like that.
The authors decided to make the neighbor “smarter” – Mr. Rottweiler, who has suffered jokes, will now easily notice a piece of soap lying on the floor and pick it up. In order for the mischief to succeed, Woody must come up with something so that the neighbor does not notice the trap.
The neighbor laughs at the negligent Woody, who has fallen into his own trap.
But since the neighbor is looking both ways, Woody now also needs to be careful not to fall into his own trap. So, for example, a bare wire lying on the floor must be bypassed, otherwise the hero will be shocked and the game will end in failure.
Concept art of the main menu. Each time you enter the main menu again, the character will change.
Alexander Kobzar also shared the team’s opinion about the official re-release of Neighbors back from Hell:
When we first learned about the sudden release of the re-release in 2020, we were a little upset, because at that time we were already working on our remaster for the second year … But at the same time, we became very interested in what it was like, because we are big fans of the original game series. To be honest, at first, little was clear from the short trailer. We thought it would be a direct port of the console version that came out in 2005. For us, the original console version is a benchmark in terms of gameplay and exclusive features not found in other editions such as PC, Nintendo DS, macOS, iOS and Android. To be honest, we have a lot of complaints about Neighbors Back From Hell, especially all these problems were very noticeable in 2020, right after the release of the game, namely:
1. We didn’t like the “improved animation” and the increased frame rate at all, because here it just doesn’t make sense – the old charm of the game is lost. Let me remind you that the time of the original game is 1989 (according to the newspapers from the trailer for the xbox version of 2005). By the way, all this was done using neural networks (not manually!), Because of which many textures were stretched and displayed incorrectly (for example, initially Chile had no pupils in some animation sprites, there were just empty eyeballs like Herobrine! ).
2. There is not a single new dirty trick! (the original 2005 console version had tons of new nasty stuff in every episode).
3. Some of the episodes were missing during the release. Needless to say, they were in such a hurry to release this reissue that they did not have enough time to finish some levels.
4. Unresponsive controls – Woody sometimes just canceled the action that you told him, because of which you could easily be caught by a nasty neighbor, and in this edition there is no way to escape (in our remaster, by the way, you can run away from Mr. Rottweiler, and so there will be an opportunity to choose and customize the control to your taste).
5. The inventory and interface of the reissue look very poor. In our remaster we use an improved version of the inventory of the first part of the game + there will be an option to choose a different interface (it was carefully restored by us from the unreleased PS2 version).
6. Disgusting font and errors in Russian localization at the start of sales (it seems they fixed it … but it’s already 2023 in the yard)
©Alexander Kobzar, one of the main authors of the project
Chile parrot with missing pupils from Neighbors back From Hell
In 2020, SML Production released a demo version of the project. It does not contain many of the elements described in this article, but in it you can already run away from a neighbor or evaluate the combined dirty tricks. You can download a demo here.
SML Production is working hard to ensure that How to Get Your Neighbor Remaster is the way players would like to see it – with new features, dirty tricks and the ability to play as a neighbor. Unfortunately, the authors are not yet ready to announce the release date of the remaster or the new demo, but we will be waiting hard for the project to be released.