Double Dragon is an iconic beat’em up series. Would remaking it pixel for pixel evoke nostalgia for a replay? Would rebooting it piss off fans of the original? WayForward avoids the answers to those questions by re-imagining it by both catering to fans of the old games and creating something new with the existing characters in a refreshing, yet retro way.
With what seems to be a faithful recreation of the first game’s introductory level, is merely a red herring for what’s to come as you meet the main villain of the game, Skullmageddon. Who actually sounds like a rip-off of Skeletor from He-Man. The original game’s first boss, Abobo, is reduced to a mid-level tough character, and is mostly nonthreatening once you come up to the game’s end-level boss fights. There’s even a funny reference to Bimmy and Jammy later in the game you’ve played the series.
Passive and active abilities can be picked up via cassette tapes. You can mix ‘n’ match them on-the-fly as you go that cater to different play-styles and also play different songs from the soundtrack as a result. These abilities radically change the game and refresh the combat in exciting ways.
The game’s difficulty is ever-present in solo games, and can get rough. Though it is nothing compared to what gets unlocked after you beat the game for a real challenge. But only experienced players will benefits from replaying these levels on higher difficulties, many will only give the game a first pass.
As far as PC ports go, there’s nothing here that surpasses the XBLA or PSN versions graphically, other than framerate. Which is rock-solid all the way through. The game works with keyboard, Xbox 360 controller and even a DualShock 4 controller using external software.
What’s new to this version, is the inclusion of online co-op, which, in my experience was laggy and mostly unplayable across many attempts with different and even the same player. But locally, this game is nostalgic to the bone.
Want another take on the game? Read Ed Acosta’s review of the XBLA and PSN version from 2012: http://savingcontent.com/2012/09/14/double-dragon-neon-review/
It’s a pretty simple purchase for fans of the old series or those wanting a new challenge. The online co-op was a bit of a drag and hopefully will be patched. However, if you haven’t played the game back in 2012 on XBLA or PSN, now is the time. Double Dragon: Neon is drenched in nostalgia without ever having rely heavily on references. Neon’s soundtrack is like the 80s movie that never was.
A Steam code for the game was provided by the publisher, Midnight City for review purposes