Game of the Month: Double Dragon Neon
Release Date: 09/11/2012
System: PC/PlayStation 3/Xbox 360
Rating: Graphics: 3.0 out of 4.0
Game Play: 3.0 out of 4.0
Personal: 2.0 out of 2.0
Total Score: 8.0 out of 10.0
Player’s Page: Double Dragon Neon
Pop in a cassette tape and travel back in time to the 1980’s. Visit a world of neon, leather, hair picks, and violence. This place, and story are not unfamiliar to long time video game fans, but it has been a long time since anyone has visited this bleak and depressing city. This place is home to the martial artists Billy and Jimmy Lee and Billy’s girlfriend Marian. As in any city, the inhabitants try their best to live their lives in peace but that is not always possible especially in a city riddled with crime.
In the past Marian has been kidnapped on numerous occasions requiring Billy and Jimmy to come to her rescue.
Flash forward to the current day and nothing much has changed since the world was originally introduced to the beat‘em up style of the Lee Brothers. One can easily see the dominance of 80’s music has been maintained, the cassette tape is still the most popular media format, and everyone is still hell bent for leather. Unfortunately for Marian, the various gangs in the city continue to want to kidnap her and keep her for themselves. This case is proven in a recent encounter on the streets of the city. Marian was standing on the sidewalk when she was approached by members of the Shadow Warriors gang who attacked and kidnapped her, and now it is up to Billy and Jimmy to rescue her once again, from the clutches of an evil gang with an unknown purpose.
Double Dragon Neon is a relaunch of the classic side scrolling beat‘em up series Double Dragon. Maintaining the basic actions of punch, kick, and jump players will need to fight through multiple waves of enemies to reach the end of a stage and confront the boss. Players will not have to rely on their brawn alone to overcome the forces of the Shadow Warriors because they will be able to use various weapons such as knifes, whips, bats, and hair picks found lying on the ground or taken from enemies. The game can be tackled solo, but it is meant to be played cooperatively and is easier and more fun when two friends are sitting on a couch filling the shoes of the Lee Brothers.
WayForward has tried to replicate the original game play style of Double Dragon while trying to add new elements which have been developed and accepted by the industry since the release of the original. The game improved upon the original games by adding a stage select menu, super moves, and in stage shops. The player will be able to acquire new super moves and passive stat improvements by obtaining cassette tapes which are dropped by enemies or purchased in shops. These moves and stat improvements can be leveled up by collecting multiple copies of the same cassette tape and by collecting ore which can be used to increase the number of each cassette tape which can be held.
Although many game play elements have been improved from the originals the game maintains some of downsides of the genre. The movement of the characters tends to be a bit sluggish and jumping can be tricky if the player does not take a running start. Playing through the game solo will be a bit difficult due to the number of enemies, but this is offset by the cassette tape leveling system introduced by the developers. Due to the 2D layout of the game fighting enemies can be difficult due to the need to line up attacks with the enemy’s location, but this can be easily overcome with a bit of practice.
Double Dragon Neon immerses the player in the world of the 1980’s with a nice mix of graphics and music. Rich and vibrant colors help to recreate the distinctive color patterns of the 80’s, but at the same time the colors are slightly muted to help simulate the atmosphere of a dreary city. The soundtrack remixes a number of songs from the original games while adding new and upbeat characteristics. This helps to create a bridge between the old and new while helping to remind players of the sounds of classic arcades.
Double Dragon Neon is a fun experience which brings back the game play style from the early days of video games while blending it with more modern graphics and sound. The game can be purchased through the PlayStation Store, the Xbox network, or one of the many PC gaming clients. The digital nature of the game allows for one to use the co–op feature with a friend on the same system or with a friend who is online. One will be amazed how fast the hours fly by while playing this modern take on a video game classic.
Remember, like all games if you play them just to have fun there will never be a bad game.