Double Dragon Neon
Spawning from the original Double Dragon
that hit the arcades back in 1987 comes Double Dragon Neon smashing its
way on to Xbox Live and serving up a fresh helping of tasty knuckle
Double Dragon’s plot is as simple as it gets; Thugs kidnap Marian the
love interest of twins Jimmy and Billy Lee and nothing is going to stand
in their way to get her back; punching their way through hordes of goons
to the girl of their dreams. Though the story line is basic, you don’t
pick up any of the Double Dragon titles for the plot, you get them for
their beat em up, thug bashing, and high fiving action.
Having played the original and some of its many sequels I was quite
excited to grab this on Xbox Live and take a swing so to speak.
Instantly the game throws you back a couple of decades with its hair
metal opening track and arcade feel. Playing through the single player,
some of the major changes you’ll notice from its original are the
obvious updated graphics. Cell shaded characters and a bright eighties
palette help revive the look and feel of the days when gaming was
simple, jump in jump out, no need to spend hours upon hours in just one
game, you can just master the basics and become a martial arts guru.
if spending those hours is what tickles your fancy the game offers an
extensive upgrades system to power up the brothers when in need. The
upgrades alone make the replayability of Double Dragon Neon quite good,
but clocking the game on normal will unlock much harder difficulties,
throwing many more enemies on screen and pumping up their stats quite a
lot. The eighties theme that has been placed all over the game really
helps bring it to life from its soundtrack, to the colours to the little
things like when finishing a level makes Jimmy or Billy jumped into a
Bill and Teds inspired air guitar solo.
Double Dragon Neon is a single player game but it truly shines playing
with a friend in co-op, not only is it just more fun but the brothers
can double team on enemies, transfer life from one another and double
their stats all by high fiving.
Double Dragon does have its flaws, for those not familiar with Brawlers
they can become quite repetitive, the same 5 thugs appear throughout the
entire game hardly changing except the colour of their outfit. The
enemies AI can also at times be difficult to defend and even impossible
at others to attack because the lack of targeting.
Sometimes attacking enemies that are right in front of you will cause no
damage as are you slightly off their lane so to speak; it doesn’t happen
often enough to make the game impossible to play but when it does it can
be quite infuriating especially when you’re down to your last strand of
life. Speaking of life, Double Dragon Neon plays like an arcade game
when you run out of lives you go all the way back to the start of the
level, which I know some people have hated on the game for, but what do
you expect from a title that is trying so hard to stick to its roots.
heart of this game is its roots, it doesn’t try to be anything but a
brawler, and it doesn’t try to make any big changes to the genre nor to
the franchise. It just is what it is, and while maybe some of the
newer/younger gamers won’t enjoy that, I don’t think that they are the
demographic for Double Dragon Neon. Developer “WayForward” could have
made this new game a third person shooter or fighter and made it for the
masses but I am for one glad they didn’t.
Double Dragon Neon won’t be for everyone but for those that grew up on
the brawler genre and love the throw back titles, you will not be
disappointed. Double Dragon Neon is a great example of rebooting a
franchise and doing it right and for a measly 800 Microsoft points you
can’t really go wrong.