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Deadly 30

Score: 71%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Meridian4
Developer: Headup Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Shooter/ Survival Horror/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

Don't expect anything mind-blowing with Deadly 30, as this game looks like something from the 90's. They are going for a retro look, however, as the game is a side-scrolling shooter a la Contra. You'll begin the game in the Black Forest, then depending on whether you venture to the left or the right, you'll work through the Corn Fields and Mountains or the Snow World and Castle. Nothing is super detailed, so expect a white background for the Snow World and a yellow corn looking background for the Corn Fields and so on. You will begin the game as the American, stranded in the dark forest with gruesome creatures all around, but as you progress, you'll find a male Russian straggler and a female German soldier. All three have silly quips that they say from time to time and they tend to get old. What's worse is when you manage to find the other two and swap to play as a different character, then the other two characters get killed off, you may still hear their one-liners even though they are dead. Wheee!

The background music is menacing and effective, but nothing you'll want to listen to after you turn the game off. The sound effects are okay - the gun reports are pretty convincing and the enemies grunt and bang against your "fortress" in an attempt to tear it down. Certain enemies have a visual effect when you kill them. There's a monstrously huge green blobby enemy that, when killed, explodes all over the screen and turns your view of everything into a wobbly, green-tinted mess such that you are stumbling about with no visual acuity, being attacked by whatever comes your way. This doesn't last very long, but can be a pain.


You'll begin Deadly 30 in your meager fortress containing a generator to keep the lights going, a bed to sleep on if you want to hurry on to the deadly fall of night, a door to get to the second level of your fortress and finally a shop where you can upgrade your weapons, buy armor, upgrade your fence, etc. Your goal is to last 30 nights (a freakin' impossibility), so to facilitate this, you can venture out during the day and scavenge for metal, which can be used to buy upgrades back at your fort. You won't find any health packs lying around, but you may find broken vehicles which you can dismantle for lots of spare parts and you can find the other survivors as well. The most irritating part of this is that when you find someone, you can't skip the cutscene where they banter back and forth and I would have liked to be able to skip it.

So you begin the game and each subsequent day at dawn and you have a short time limit to move about the areas gathering parts before nightfall again and the onslaught commences. As you progress in the number days you survive, the enemies get harder and they seem to be more active during the day. Consequently, you'll want to gather as much as you can in the early levels so you can upgrade your guns because things like turrets can be destroyed and then you have to buy them once again, which is not cool.

I found that in the earlier levels, it was pretty easy to venture out and get all the way through the Corn Fields / Mountains or Snow World / Castle and back again in just the right amount of time. If you make it all the way to the end, there is usually a box that you have to shoot (you can't melee it) and it yields a bunch of goodies. The game will autosave after each night you survive, but the predicament I found myself in was playing as the Russian, who has a sweet rifle, and picking up the German girl, only to have my Russian get killed. Then I was stuck with the German girl and the levels had become so impossibly difficult that I couldn't ever last long enough to save another survivor and get through another night.


I found Deadly 30 to ramp up in difficulty relentlessly, making it impossible for me to get any further than Night 14. Basically, since you need spare parts to repair the fences destroyed by the ghoulies at night and you need spare parts to buy health packs and weapons upgrades, you may rapidly find yourself at a point that all you can do is buy a handful of health packs and hope you can make it through the night. Unfortunately, when you have another survivor with you, they will shoot in the same direction as you, so there's no way to tell them to guard the right side while you guard the left, for example. When you have a horde of evil creatures coming through your barb-wire fence like it was made of cotton candy and you can't even rely on your "partner" to protect the opposite side that you are fighting on, Deadly 30 quickly devolves into an exercise in frustration.

Game Mechanics:

Ahh, the controls in Deadly 30, now we get to the really fun part. Not really. I was okay with retro graphics, but the controls were so backwards to me that once I got to the higher levels of difficulty, they really helped to make things impossible for me. You'll shoot using the Left Click, which is fine, but then you'll move your character using WASD, with F to take a health pack, R to reload and E to enter a door or to rebuild your fence. F and D are next to one another, so it is very easy to accidentally take one of your precious health packs as you are merely attempting to go to the right. Argh! God help you if you need to look at the keyboard to find the E key in a firefight when you come across a vehicle to be dismantled.

There's a HUD with an animation indicating what time of day or night it is, but it's simply a graphic representation and you really can't tell how much time you have left in the day based on that. Because of this, I would always start heading back to the fort just a short while after it switched to "day" because you certainly don't want to be stranded in the pitch dark with only your light on the end of your gun to guide you. You will be overwhelmed.

Each survivor has their own weapon, with the American coming stock with a machine gun, the Russian with a rifle and the German with a shotgun. You can buy better weapons, but they are costly and there's not a huge amount of scrap metal to be found in your travels. There are turrets that you can purchase, which are absolutely awesome for defending the opposite side of the fort that you station yourself at, well at least until they are destroyed. They then need to be repurchased, which doesn't make much sense since your upgraded fences are always back in place when you start the game up, but your turrets are gone if they got destroyed mid-game. You can also purchase armor and boots, but I found that the choices I made early on, like spending my dough on destroyable turrets, really put the final nail in my proverbial coffin, since I wound up being a little German soldier girl with a so-so shotgun and very few spare parts to help me out and little chance of making it back if I ventured out to find more parts.

Overall, I have a hard time recommending Deadly 30, because of the wonky controls and the insane difficulty. I must admit that, until I got into the desperate spot I now find myself in (Night 14 and no money to buy upgrades), I kept coming back to the game night after night... no pun intended. While I didn't love the game, it was addictive in a self-torturing way and there was a huge sense of accomplishment when I would make it just one more night. If you can find a demo, I recommend you checking it out before making a purchase.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7; Processor: 2.5 GHz; Memory: 1 GB; Hard Disk Space: 50 MB; Video Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible card; DirectX(r): 9.0c

Test System:

Windows Vista, 2 GHz AMD Phenom 9500 Quad-Core Processor, 8GB RAM, Realtek High Definition Audio On-Board Sound, NVIDIA GeForce 8300

Related Links:

Windows Confrontation Microsoft Xbox 360 Warriors Orochi 3

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated