WayForward Technologies has developed numerous games including the downloadables, such as BloodRayne: Betrayal and Mighty Switch Force. And it continues to develop such influential and entertaining work with its latest Double Dragon Neon available in the Playstation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace. This time around, we get to see our beloved 80’s arcade game come back to life with a little make-up called high definition incorporated. Furthermore, WayForward has implemented some new mechanics to the gameplay system. As a result, players who seek to reminisce the 80’s will get to enjoy this game. But how about those who never grew up in this era? Will Double Dragon Neon give the same amount of impact?
The game will have players taking control of either Billy or Jimmy (who are both brothers). Just like the original Double Dragon, the gang, known as the Skullmageddon, has kidnapped the girlfriend Marian and it is up to the brothers to save her. Controls are fairly straight forward with the buttons corresponding to punches and kicks. You can even perform the spin or whirlwind kicks to knock out your surrounding enemies from both sides. Double Dragon Neon also gives you the ability to roll, duck, and run, giving you more autonomy on how you want your character to fight as well as move.
In terms of the combat system, you start off with basic moves and progress to get additional abilities when you encounter tapes. To clarify, at the start of Double Dragon Neon, you have a blank tape, thereby signifying that you have limited moves. As you acquire different songs after knocking out your enemies, you end up with new abilities. The tapes can either affect Billy and Jimmy’s health, magic points, attack and defense or they can offer a variety of special moves. For instance, you can go as far as throw fireballs at enemies or heal your partner with a simple touch. You can even summon the spirit of the dragon! And if you wish to make further upgrades, there is an in-game character where you can purchase the needed tapes.
The first couple levels of Double Dragon Neon are a nostalgic trip as you run into familiar elements. You’ll encounter recognizable enemies as they come out to exchange some damage to you. To name a couple, there’s Linda with her whip waiting to lash at you as well as Abobo whose massive body will take some time to be taken down. Once you enter the gang’s headquarters, the entire building you’re in ends up traveling to space. In addition, you get new enemy types introduced complete with their own set of attack patterns. This added variety in combat and gameplay allows Double Dragon Neon to get a blend of the classics and the new age style.
Looking in the department of graphics and sound, there’s upgrades incorporated into the Double Dragon presentation. The characters are slightly bigger with improvements made in the animation. Also the overall color scheme and graphics design look attractive enough to lure players over. As for the music, you get the nice feel of the 80s with the rock tunes playing in the background. Some players may be turned off if they don’t have an appreciation of this type of music. But if you include sound effects of the punches and kicks, the game never fails to maintain its excitement levels.
At the end of the day, Double Dragon Neon is a button-mashing affair that can be tedious but also enjoyable if you can appreciate this classic that doesn’t require much thought. On top of that, there is enough content and diversity with all the enemies providing new challenges and the mix tape system, thereby allowing you to add improvements to your special attacks and character stats. If you are longing for a beat-em-up session, pick Double Dragon Neon up for $9.99 or 800 Microsoft points. You’ll get a kick out of this one!