Real Talk By: KJ
This New Double Dragon is from WayForward games. This company is one of the biggest names in modern 2d gaming. Can they bring more life into this beloved franchise? The premise is simple. Marian is kidnapped by a villain named Skullmageddon, and its up to our old friends Billy and Jimmy to rescue her. The new villain is a mixture of Skeletor and Shredder, yet incredibly cheesy to say the least. Which leads to my next thought. Double Dragon Neon knows how to have a good time. From the foolish things the villains say, to even the games original soundtrack inspired by songs from the 80′s, its one big party. The music alone will win over a lot of folks. It’s on a “Soundtrack of The Year” level. Real talk.
With each song unlocked, it’s also giving the player new moves. The player will unlock tapes. Each tape includes a song along with a move. It’s a 1-2 punch. These tapes can continue to rack up. For example one tape pays tribute to Bruce Lee’s Famous punching technique. The more tapes you collect for the “punch” or any other move, the stronger the ability will become. Not only will the player continue to improve their skills (Defense, Magic, attack, power, exc.), more cassettes will become available ensuring the game stays on your system longer. I really don’t want to spoil the abilities because they are really well thought out. Your can access shops to speed up your character growth, or even visit a “Tapesmith”. This guy will bump your level cap up even higher, so more tapes can be collected for a particular discipline. More moves are available for two player coop.
The coop is really the way to play it. Two player “Bro-op” as the developers like to say. Your able to interact with a buddy way more than you ever could in a double dragon title. Bro moves include high-fiving. Depending on the hand slap, you can both give each other a charge of power, or split up life bars, helping out a buddy that may be knocking on death’s door. Just for fun, one can beat-box, and the other can bust a move. Good times indeed. Those concerned about the lack of online, its okay. That portion of the game is still coming. It will be released in a future patch.
The game isn’t super long, but as far as this genre goes, its acceptable. Know that most players can complete this in 2 hours. The ten stages will get harder, but the challenge doesn’t always feel balanced. We have the famous double dragon death traps, but enemies and bosses really start to frustrate even more so. There’s a fine line between challenging and cheap, and neon really pushes it later on. Also you can only beat up the same Afro thug so much. The regular grunt enemies could have been more varied. Maybe not necessarily characters with a bunch of different fighting styles, but different looks would have been nice, outside of street fighter-style color swaps.
Double Dragon Neon is 10 dollars on PSN and XBLA. This game is most certainly a throwback, but its fresh moves help keep it relevant in this day and age. The 80′s presentation is refreshing, and just seeing the boys back at it again reminds us there’s still plenty of life in the beat-em-up genre. Be aware of its flaws, but also its charm.
Double Dragon Neon Gets
Out of five
+Music is impressive
+Slick fighting moves
-A Bigger Variety of Enemies would have been nice.
-Too Many Cheap Enemies and Death Traps (its 2012!).
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Review Copy Provided By Reverb Communications*