Published on September 14th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Double Dragon: Neon Review
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Platform: Xbox 360
Release Date: Sept. 12, 2012
MSRP: 800 Microsoft Points ($10)
Review Notes: A game token was received for review purposes.
I’ve been playing video games since the age of two. Most people I try and explain that to think it’s impossible to remember back that far. On the contrary. I can recall sitting in front of my box TV, Nintendo Entertainment System controller in hand, brother by my side.
As we grew older, sure we’d get plenty of games as presents, but we spent most of our time at our local video store renting them. Some of those games, like Double Dragon and Battletoads & Double Dragon, were constantly being checked out by us. The ‘80s might have been a simpler time of console gaming where there were only a few buttons to learn, but to be honest; those games were tough as an old boot.
Double Dragon:Neon brings gamers back to the lives of Billy and Jimmy Lee, the Twin Dragons. These two are out to crash Skullmageddon’s party after he steals away your fair maiden, Marian.
So, what do you do when an evil Skeletor-looking dude steals your babe? You kick his coccyx.
The gameplay pays respect to beat’em ups of its time. There are simple moves such as the punch and kick, but WayForward has also introduced an evasive button to counter attacks. Time this evade just right, and it could mean the difference between starting the level over. Moves such as the kick or punch can be used while dashing, which is done by holding the ‘RT,’ and can be effective with multiple enemies on screen. The jump kick and flying knee also make their appearance. If you become too overrun by enemies, then the next plan of attack can be found in the Sosetsitsu songs.
The Sosetsitsu songs are moves that can be activated with the ‘RB.’ These are special moves that are coupled with the Stance songs to perform various attacks. From creating a giant dragon which appears on the screen, taking out enemies, to dropping knee smashes, these Glam time moves are enough to aid your combat tool chest. The electric looking bar below the health powers your special attacks. Picking up additional batteries will leave you charged and ready for battle. The Stances help these and your basic combat out by providing extra powerups. These come in the form of stat increases in Attack Power or things like Magic Power. Now, those moves you were struggling to use to defeat enemies can be accessed for massive power.
I’ll be the first person to admit that I’m stubborn. Sometimes, I just like to do things my way, and when it comes to games, I like to skip the instructions and dive right in. If you choose to do this with Double Drgaon: Neon, you’ll be in a world of frustration.
I knew about the special moves of the game and was able to use these. Not paying attention to the Stances of the game left me underpowered and stuck on Mission 7. After venting, I began to think something was missing. After scrolling through the menus I found that I wasn’t using all of the tapes that I picked up. Utilizing Stances, like the Power Gambit, gave more attack power and turns the staggering sludge of enemy fights into a more enjoyable experience. These can be picked up throughout the game as enemies drop them.
Players can also increase the levels for tapes by collecting Mythril. This is a space looking rock that is dropped by a boss at the end of a boss battle. Players can go back and play previous levels and collect more tapes and Mythril and pay the Tapesmith for those upgrades.
Having the right mixtape will save you some heartache and time. However, I would have liked them to be more available and accessible rather than going to the menu to sift through the instructions. Equally, the unused ‘LB’ could have been mapped to cycle through the list of special moves instead of using the back button, which interrupts the gameplay.
The music of the game is nothing short of a radical adventure back to the ‘80s. The flash dance bops and hair metal scores are fun to listen to and get my dragon blood pumping. The music is done by Jake (virt) Kaufman, who just so happens to be doing some of the music for my long anticipated title Retro City Rampage, which is another throwback to the age of nostalgia.
Something else that I liked about the game was the use of the destructive environments and interactive items throughout each stage. There are barrels, Geisha fans and other destructible hidden items to find and are at your disposal. This makes the environment great to look at with the impressive art style being up to date, but it also adds to the fun factor and presentation.
Double Dragon: Neon is yet another success by developer WayForward Technologies. It pays tribute to the difficulty levels found in former beat’em up titles of before and brings back ‘80s nostalgia in an exceptional format.
The only gripe I have about the game is its shortness. The levels offer some replayability being that you can head through them on higher difficulties once the game is completed. Other than that, if you go back through and pick up more tapes and Mythril, the difficulty drops significantly.
Double Dragon: Neon is well worth the 800 MS Points and doesn’t necessarily suffer from the lack of online co-op, which will be patched in at a future date. The couch co-op is only a slight road bump in this musical comedic endeavor into a time of hair metal and glam jam.
+ Art Style
– Day one Online Multiplayer