Playing Double Dragon Neon is like taking a time capsule and going back to the 80s. From the very cool tunes, to the bright and vivid colors, the neon lights, and down to the very rock and roll style and attitude of the characters, Majesco Entertainment and Way Forward have managed to successfully take us back in time. As the music kicks in and nostalgia begin to take its toll, I find myself wanting to check my pockets for coins, for my TV set has been transformed into an arcade machine.
The Lee Brothers mission is to first kick ass, then find their mutual love interest, Marian. She’s been kidnapped from the very beginning of the game, and you’re hot on the pursuit. The Story mode is not very long, and character development is not really a focus of this arcade beat ’em up. But what you don’t get in character development and story, is made up for with some serious air guitar rifts, and multitude of Mix Tapes that allows you to gain different perks and power ups, and a lot of butts to kick, punch, throw, stab and smash them against each other.
The gameplay is quite simple. You move around using either the D-Pad or the left analogue stick. You press square to punch, triangle to kick, X button is for jumping and the circle button is for grabbing opponents or objects, and throw. The game allows a little bit of interaction with your environment in the sense that you can punch or kick garbage can, light poles, mail boxes etc, to get goodies from them, ranging from money, to batteries. When you kill an enemy they often leave behind goodies (mostly Mix Tapes or money) as well. With the money you can buy upgrades (Mix Tapes) which gives you different magic powers that can increase damaged done when your health is below 50% for example.
L2 allows you to crouch, and if flicking left or right with the directional button while crouching, will allow you to roll and dodge enemy attacks (very useful) as sometimes you get crowded. R2 is the ‘run’ button, and the right stick is the “High Five” button. It’s intended use is for “Bro-op” (the game calls it that), when you flick the right stick your character will ask for a “high five”. One should note that even in single player your character will still ask for “high five” if you flick the right analogue stick , which not really a bad thing, but it does make you drop any weapon you are carrying. Double Dragon Neon does offer a combo system, it’s not really deep by any stretch, but the variety of the opponents, especially in the latter stages, help keeps it the combat fresh as you’re constantly changing your tactics, as well as your Mix Tapes in order to survive. It is important to know that this game sticks to it’s old school roots, and if you die before completing a level, then you’re starting again from the beginning, meaning no checkpoints unless you beat the level, you’ve been warned!
There’s a “Leader Boards” with 3 different filters allowing you to choose between viewing just your own stats, or only those of people on your friends’ list, or everyone who’ve played the game. The game has 3 different difficulty settings; Normal, Dragon, and Double Dragon, you have to unlock the latter two.
Overall, the game does a good job of staying very much a Double Dragon game, and remaining challenging all throughout. Dying means a lot more when you know that you’ll have to start the level again, heightening the tension during the boss battles. The graphics are fun and pleasing to look at and the music is gold. The implementation of the Mix Tapes adds a bit of depth to the game and works well, you’re allowed to go back to previous stages to level up if you want. Single player is fun, but Bro-Op is where all the fun is.
- Great music and Atmosphere
- Decent Graphics
- Variety of enemies keep combat fresh
- Funny characters and dialgogues
- The game is quite short
- No Story to speak of
- Low replay value
I give this game a very solid 7 out of 10 for it did what it set out do and offers a challenge all throughout. The game is on XBox 360 and the PS3, available for download from the PlayStation Store for $9.99, and if you’re as PlayStation Plus member you get it free of charge.