I’m not even sure what’s the best way to describe this game other than bromance. Double Dragon Neon (DDN), developed by WayForward, is a reboot of the long franchise (dead to me anyway). It is a side-scrolling beat-em-up that borrows heavily from the 80′s aesthetic in gameplay and designed to deliver one of the best experiences I’ve had this entire year.
The 80’s is a period in which I’m unfamiliar with gaming first hand. Completely not my generation but the remnants of the past could be seen in the early 90’s in the games I played. I usually spent my time at the arcades playing Ninja Turtles, Golden Axe, and similar games. Some of these franchises have gone off to produce titles that have strayed greatly strayed from roots. As to why this is, I would have never understood until now. Double Dragon does something that very few reboots try to do and that’s sticking to what made it good.
With the classic style of play, WayForward managed to infuse it with a few new things to keep it fresh. Adding on to the punch and kicks to the face, they added a dedicated run and dodge button. Dodging is probably the most technical thing you’ll experience here while playing the game. Not the least bit necessary but it will take practice to learn how to dodge the attacks of your enemies. As a bonus, perfect dodging grants you a gleam bonus that increases your damage. This is particularly useful in making quick work on the bosses of the game who can at times feel like total pushovers.
Double Dragon, with the music being one of the main focal points, introduces a mixtape upgrade system that you use to power up your character. Players are given the option of mixing a Side A (Stance) and Side B (Sosetsu) to there mixtapes which allows you to increase your main attributes of HP, Attack, Defense, and Magic. The Sosetsu are special moves that allow you the ability to do a tornado kick, pull out bombs, a full screen special attack, etc. It allows you to play more to your own style while still having you focus on the basics of gameplay.
Another great feature is the multiplayer. Of course, this is Double Dragon so what would Billy be without Jimmy? Well, I don’t have an answer for that and I hope I never will [Mog’s Note: In the NES version of Double Dragon (which lacked 2P support) Billy ends up fighting Jimmy at the end of the game. In the arcade version, if the game was completed with two players, Billy and Jimmy fight in a PvP match to win the chick.]. When paired up with a bro, there are a few things that can happen here that you won’t see going in solo. There is a revive option that allows you to pick up your other without losing a life. There are also High Fives! High Fives allow you to activate the damage bonus from a perfect dodge (GLEAM!), be an ass and steal health, or split health between bros. The idea of the high five is great in its utility in multiplayer and gives teams of two a greater edge against groups of enemies or healing up before the next batch of thugs.
The Final Verdict:
Overall, I can’t say much negative about DDN. I can praise this game for a while and I still wouldn’t feel like I’d be selling it short. It is a game that deserves to be experienced by all who love this genre or looking for a great time killer with a friend. Just do your inner child a favor and play it, love it, and beat down every Linda, Williams, and Abobo you see. Unfortunately there is just but one blemish to grace the face of an otherwise perfect experience, no online co-op (or bro-op as they put it.) However, this is only for the time being as they have stated the feature will be patched in at a later date. Double Dragon is definitely back and I wouldn’t personally mind seeing more of it as long as they bring more to the beat-em-up genre.