WayForward Technologies is responsible for a glut of some of the best reboots available over the past few years, including the excellent A Boy and His Blob and BloodRayne: Betrayal. Revitalizing classic franchises is a lucrative operation, and WayForward seems to have pioneered a fantastic formula for them. Double Dragon is the latest to receive this treatment, in the form of Double Dragon Neon. The classic brawler is brought back to life with some decidedly different energy, a facelift, and new reasons to kick some more butt with Billy and Jimmy. Trust us -- it looks gaudy, loud, and silly, but there's tons of fun to be had here.
Double Dragon Neon (PS3)
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Publisher: Majesco Entertainment
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Perhaps it's better to call Double Dragon Neon more of an homage to the side-scrolling beat-'em-ups of our childhood, as everything is improved in ways that normally wouldn't accompany a straight remake. For one thing, this bro-tastic adventure exudes an extremely playful, wink-wink nudge-nudge aura that you just can't help but laugh with and not at.
When Marian, the babe that brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee have their eyes on, is kidnapped by a gang of thugs, it's time for the dynamic duo to bust up radical groups of riff-raff. Like Peach's plight, except Bowser doesn't go around punching the princess to incapacitate her. And for the most part, at least for the first few rounds of the game, things feel like the Double Dragon of yesteryear. After you settle in for a nostalgia trip, things turn decidedly weird, but in the most radical way possible. Soon, Billy and Jimmy transcend vanilla punchfests between biker dudes and tough bros with fros to traveling to outer space. It's baffling to be sure, but insanely fun. From these seemingly out of place scenery changes to the over-the-top Kool-Aid colored aesthetics, there's tons of action teeming from this update.
Wrecking the baddies' business is just like it was in the original Double Dragon, and controls are largely unchanged. There are plenty of ways to mess with the thugs who stole Marian away: baseball bats, knives, tasers, some well-timed kicked and punches, hair picks...you name it. Each enemy packs a specific set of moves and combos as well, so whether you're dispatching a robot or a plain old ne'er-do-well, you'll need to learn to react accordingly.
Downed enemies drop cassette tapes (presumable Blondie or Tears for Fears mixtapes) that may be in turn used to upgrade stats or augment Billy and Jimmy's special moves. The sosetsitsu tapes even allow for healing abilities and unlock the power of the whirlwind kick among other attacks. You can upgrade tapes by collecting additional ones or by heading over to a Tapesmith to grab a boost, (though Tapesmith upgrades require Mithril) and choosing to collect only needs ten of the same tape to up your level. It's a system that brings the brilliant Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game to mind, and one that provides depth for what could have been a less robust brawler.
Aside from the obvious visual cues that made me long for my trusty Wayfarers and electric blue eyeshadow, the over-the-top soundtrack was the main attraction. It's riddled with ridiculosity (especially the accompanying tunes for each tape) and clever touches that go a long way to cement the feeling that you're really getting an '80s revival here -- plus, Billy and Jimmy toss out some hilarious one-liners here and there.
Double Dragon Neon is a brilliant throwback to classic brawlers and a decidedly different feel for the series, and it knows how to please fans willing to travel that road, but gameplay aside its hammy nature may put some players off. With a raucous good time for single-player mode and couch co-op (with online support coming soon) this is a jewel from WayForward that should be examined despite any preconceived notions of quality or content. Let your rockstar hair down, grab some stirrup pants, and strap in for a tubular quest to save Marian. Like, this game is totally bad. In a good way.
8 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)
With Memorial Day weekend upon us, the North American summer con circuit officially begins. This year Anime Boston makes an unusual move joining the other three major anime cons--Anime North, Animazement and Fanime--overloadi...
*ding, ding, ding*
It looks like I made a grave mistake in pitting Dix-Neuf against Ideon. Even with Dix-Neuf's ability to slam planets into Ideon, there was no way for the machine to dodge Ideon's Black Hole Canno...
It looks like I have uncovered an important piece of news. Remember that new system that Microsoft revealed to the public? Well, that new system isn't the Xbox One. It turns out that the system and features shown during the s...
How about that new Xbox, eh? In case you've been hiding under a rock for the past three days, Microsoft announced its next home console, dubbed the "Xbox One". Equipped with a brand-new Kinect, a new controller, and a heavy l...
When AnimeSols and Daisuki launched last week, the North American landscape for streaming anime has changed. Sure, at this early point, both services are nascent, offering only some basic services rather than the full range o...
"Hello there, and welcome to the seventh installment of Annotated Anime, Japanator's weekly Japanese cartoon roundup," writes Josh, fingers clacking over the keyboard.
"We have a healthy lineup of new shows and insightful com...
Hello and welcome to another week of Shonen Showdown, the regular battle anime and manga roundup that's--uh-oh, guys, it's making that face again! Clear the area!
Oh right, Hunter x Hunter, Fairy Tail, Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece recaps are below. Take cover there as well!
You might of heard that there is a new streaming site that has just launched out of Japan. It is being backed by some big names in the anime world like Aniplex, Sunrise, and Toei.
What could that exactly mean for you, you ask? Well, let me let Eri Maruyama (International Business Development) at DAISUKI answer that as well as many more burning questions that I had about the new service.
Like a lot of folk who buy anime, I have a bad habit of purchasing shows and not watching them. At this moment, I can turn around, look at my shelf and find at least two dozen shows that I haven't completed. Hell, some of th...
Jumping into this season a little late, I agreed to tackle My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu, which Josh called "the highlight romantic comedy of the season," and "the show where all the main characters are assholes."
He only sai...