(PlayStation Network)

Double Dragon: Neon (PlayStation Network)

Game Review

Double Dragon: Neon Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ken Barnes

Hurry Up, Broseph!

It isn’t often that you get to use the words “franchise”, “80s”, and “reboot” in the same sentence these days, without feeling a little bit like you’re constructing a joke and that the developer of the title in question is going to provide the punchline. In an era where popstars are turning up on Blu-ray and DVD in financially successful big-budget movie adaptations of board games, the market is clearly open to solid reworkings of beloved properties, so that clearly shouldn’t be the case.

Another set of people that seem to feel this way are WayForward Technologies, a development team that has in the past repaid the faith put in them to oversee updates of classics such as A Boy and His Blob and Contra. This time, they’ve tackled the much-beloved 1987 arcade classic Double Dragon and have – in no uncertain terms – absolutely nailed it.

From the very outset, Double Dragon Neon is crisp, loud, and uncompromisingly right in your face. Super-bright colours, a wonderfully vibrant visual performance, and a soundtrack that seemingly contains the essence of the 80s in every note makes for an aesthetically appealing package. But the game doesn’t try to get by on looks alone. Instead, it takes a massive helping of that old-school tough-as-nails gameplay, and pretty much tells the player to stop crying and deal with it. Only one difficulty level is on offer at the first load, with two others waiting in the wings to beat you down if you can tough it out to the end credits in order to unlock them.

The aim of the game is to save Marian, the girlfriend of (apparently both) Jimmy and Billy Lee. She’s been kidnapped by the evil Skullmageddon. To save her, you’ll need to punch and kick your way through ten levels of street toughs, baseball-bat wielding thugs, wrestlers, ninjas and all manner of other opponents, in order to reach your final showdown with the skeletal one himself. Along the way, you’ll stumble across cassette tapes which provide new combat abilities and skills, such as the ability to throw lightning, or collect energy every time your character is hit. In a very limited bit of RPG-style management, these abilities can be powered up further by visiting the “tapesmith” and combining them with quartz chunks which are generally rewarded for defeating an end-of-level character.

The fact that each of these 20 different types of cassette each come with their own full-length backing track – complete with super-cheesy lyrics – is nothing but a boon.

Control-wise, things are beautifully simple, with no complex multiple-button attacks coming into play to dilute things. Buttons for punching, kicking, jumping, and grabbing opponents rest on the face buttons, with ducking and throwing magical attacks resting on the shoulders. In terms of gameplay, this is as close as anybody has come to perfectly replicating the side-scrolling beat-‘em-ups that were so wildly popular back in the day. Super-responsive controls, a challenge that will have you tearing your hair out in frustration and yet coming back to have another go just a few minutes later, and some beautiful bits of comedy, mean that this is the real deal.

Conclusion

This is a game that is massively enhanced by drop-in/drop-out co-operative play offline, with a future patch promising to bring the same experience to online players as well. Average players will probably complete the first difficulty level in 2-3 hours and disappointingly, the only real replayability here involves beating the game again on a harder difficulty setting. But even with that in mind, Double Dragon Neon is easily one of the most polished PSN titles available to date, and if you don’t at least give it a spin (kick), then the joke is on you.

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User Comments (15)

shonenjump86

#1

shonenjump86 said:

Played the demo on 360. It was alright, I may get it someday, but not in a hurry to get it now.

rjejr

#2

rjejr said:

Is this built on the same engine as/or by the same guys who did TMNT:Reshelled? Even my 7 year old thought so. The 2 of us are having a blast. Rewinding a cassette with a pencil is probably the greatest revive potion ever conceived.

get2sammybAdmin

#3

get2sammyb said:

@rjejr Spoilers! That sounds absolutely amazing. I haven't got chance to play this yet, but I honestly can't wait.

Samholy

#4

Samholy said:

loved that game ! i played it for 2 hours with my girlfriend, and we made it halfway thru.
We really enjoyed the simplicity of the whole thing, and the level up system. the soundtrack is rather funny too. that tricycle song especially, hahahaha

good old fun like in the SNES era, with hd graphics :-)

people who liked it should definitely try the Scott Pilgrim game too.

hydeks

#5

hydeks said:

I've been playing this cause of Playstation Plus and i absolutely love the game! Everything about it is great, Skullmageddeon is a great villian! :)

Splat

#6

Splat said:

Finally a good review for this game! Do not miss the end credits they amazing...

Gemuarto

#7

Gemuarto said:

But when and where is BRO_OP?????? I have no gilfriend to play with T___T... Want to play with some old fat ugly guy on-line. Djast joking. But seriously.... Hate internet. Consoles have become as ugly as PC was. I mean, it so hard nowdays tu buy something complete...

But all in all the game is great and a lot of fun. Beat it on DD difficulty and was angry as hell and was about to throw PS3 out of the window. But that's where the real fun comes, isn't it?

Splat

#8

Splat said:

I'm glad to see some other people liking this game. I was starting to feel like I was the only one. :)

ThreadShadow

#10

ThreadShadow said:

From the demo, I'd say, they did an excellent job. Two complaints so far though. 1. the control is a little too stiff. It doesn't feel as fast and 1to1 as the old 8bit games.
2. While Neon Linda is very uh voluptuous, I don't think Linda's were supposed to be pain/pleasure freaks. Linda was just a punk girl who used a whip sometimes. Imo.

WayForward really knows it though, they kept the battles facing left and right, none of this up and down stuff. It just doesn't seem to work for Double Dragon games.
A new continue screen to rival the old Ninja Gaiden arcade continue screen too!

Overall, really good job WayForward!

Rawk_Hawk

#11

Rawk_Hawk said:

If you just played the demo then let me just say the game gets better and more over the top. The soundtrack, controls, graphics are all fantastic with some funny video game humor thrown in. Wayforward has outdone themselves.

Slapshot

#12

Slapshot said:

I'm a big fan of Wayforward, but this genre was better off left in the past, in my opinion.

Chunky_Droid

#14

Chunky_Droid said:

Ha! I love that the only negative review was from IGN. Since that one I've heard nothing but great things about it.

But I do have one gripe, almost 2 gigs for a brawler?! C'mon!!

Ristar42

#15

Ristar42 said:

Tried the trial and then got the full game, I played the arcade original back in the 80s, and have a lot of nostalgia for games like Streets of Rage. So far, I've found this game a lot of fun, a nice alternative to Double Dragon Advance.

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