PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
September 11, 2012
Billy Lee and Jimmy Lee take it to the streets yet again and they brought the 80's with them. Double Dragon Neon is a return to the classic franchise and adds a few little changes which doesn't say much for what the previous titles had to offer.
Maria gets kidnapped and it's up to Billy and Jimmy to save her. The evil but quirky Skullmageddon is the main villain behind the game and wants Maria to be his girlfriend. Yeah it seems pretty simple and stupid, that's because it is but that's the whole point. You traverse through 10 levels in an ultimate gnarly quest to save your girlfriend.
When starting the game you can choose from one difficulty and the rest unlock upon completions of the story. You can also choose to play the game through single player or co-op with your buddy Jimmy. There's some leader boards here too for those who really want to see how they fare against other double dragonites. The map of the game is a linear over-world where you can go back and forth between levels that have already been beaten and replay if necessary. There is not much in terms of extra content, it's pretty much your standard pick up and play beat em' up.
The game is a 2D side-scroller beat em' up with some 3D models. The game is very colorful and vibrant and looks like an old 80's cartoon. It's safe to say this game is really going for as much 80's representation as possible. Enemies and bosses are somewhat generic and not all too exciting to look at. The same can go for the levels, but this is a classic beat em' up and levels do repeat and are fairly simple like always so it's pretty normal. Not to toss around "80's" too much but it looks like an animated cartoon brought back from that year and touched up for modern day. It doesn't look bad by any means it is just at times the 3D models for the characters and background give the game less of a retro personality.
Oh man, if Double Dragon Neon does anything superb it has to be the music. Here are some quality 80's tunes that are just fantastic. Each skill or power-up has it's own theme to it and levels have some quality songs as well. The game features a full OST that is just catchy and makes it a goal to let you know this game has never left the 80's.
Voice acting is just flat out cheesy but it seems as if this was intentional. Think of one of those B movies with some horrible acting but you can't help but sit back and laugh and have a good time. It is obvious WayForward had a blast with the audio in this game and it shows. The music and voice overs are just so much fun to listen to it really makes the experience that much easier.
Double Dragon Neon, like most beat' em ups is a straight mashing of the buttons. There aren't really any combos in this game other than a 3-punch attack a kick attack throwing. You travel across a 2D plane up and down making sure you are lined up with the bad guys so you can properly hit them. It is hard to determine sometimes if you are directly in front of an enemy or boss or if they are behind you and you need to move out of the way. You are given 3 lives and a health bar with the start of each level and you have to use that wisely. There are of course health items that pop out occassionally so that does help.
Combat is very very basic you have your punch, kick, throw and of course jump. You can perform basic attacks and very limited combos and even jump and attack mid air with a kick. There is a way you can avoid attacks by rolling out of the way, if you time this just right something nice may happen. Much like health items you will find weapons that lie around that you can pick up and throw or use the same way the enemies use on you, they vary in strength, range and method of use so it does change it up quite a bit.
The nice added feature to the game is the ability to level up your powers. You can add a status effect and a special attack by collection cassettes. When a duplicate cassette of a power is found it levels up that specific ability. Bad guys also drop some money to purchase these level ups, items or any abilities you may be missing. It's a good way to replay the levels sometimes to get that little bit of extra powering up to make the game just a little bit easier on you. There are some rare stones that also drop that allow you to raise the cap of level of an ability. Overall the game is very basic beat em' up with some personality and some nice little extras to keep you playing just a bit longer.
The core game is very short, with ten levels that aren't too long you will be finished with this in no time. Sure you can play through the game on harder difficulties and level up. Problem is the game gets repetitive after awhile you might not want to. There is some cool artwork to unlock all the way and some really great music to listen to. Aside from that this is a very short and very shallow experience. It's a short burst of fun but it feels like there is more to be had.
Double Dragon Neon is very basic and very short, sure it's fun but at times it just feels....old. Don't get me wrong it's a very enjoyable game while it lasts, and it's even better with a second player but beyond that initial play through there really isn't much else the game has to offer. It's a fantastic entry to fans of the series just does not do much to stand out from the originals.