Billy & Jimmy Lee resume their ass kicking duties to save Marion from Skullmageddon . Armed with new attacks and HD graphics, Majesco and WayForward have injected some life into the side-scrolling beat'em up genre with their interpretation of a classic.
The shining point in DDN in my opinion is the great HD graphics that were vibrant and, while an homage to the old Double Dragon, had a fresh feel to them. The levels were detailed and more interactive than I remember them to have been.
Billy & Jimmy, while similar looking, had ample subtle touches that made them distinguishable from one another. Obviously not as different as they looked in the Double Dragon cartoon or the atrocious film, but enough to tell them apart which was again a nice touch. Most of the enemies were the typical generic bad guys we’ve come to expect including Abobo, who was a hulking colossus and was drawn with amazing detail.
The controls for this game were revamped to expand on the various actions added to Billy and Jimmy. The familiar punch, kick and jump buttons were there but now were joined by a throw, run and special attack buttons which broke up the monotony of punching and kicking. The addition of the tapes is the high point as the two tapes can add various attacks and stances to your arsenal that level up your player and alter the play style significantly. Besides the trademark hurricane kick, you’ll also be able to fire off fireballs, use lightening strikes and most importantly summon a dragon. I personally liked the fireball and hurricane kick. The addition of the high-five was so over the top that it felt natural given the style of the game and if you’ve seen Scott Pilgrim then you’ll understand the epic nature of the high five.
The high-five when performed with Player Two allows you to share your health, special move meter or just add a boost to your offense. These enhancements add some strategy to two-player campaigns and encourage teamwork.
As of launch, there is no online co-op but honestly I like being able to throw this on with some buddies at the house and have a few laughs. Of course, online would be awesome but I have a feeling Wayforward will add that in a later update to extend the games' shelf life. Here is some co-op play with Slick and I .
Double Dragon Neon is an homage to the many brawlers I played throughout my childhood. If you come in expecting revolutionary gameplay, frankly this is the wrong game for you. I will admit that if you are younger you may miss the 80’s references strewn throughout the game, but that doesn’t take away from it in the least. I do have to say that were instances where the hit detection made me shout F*ck you at the screen, but that’s something that plagued the old Double Dragon games too and even yielded the same results from me back then. If you embrace the nostalgia of this game you will find it extremely enjoyable. I’d love to see Streets of Rage get a similar treatment, not only for selfish reasons but because the side-scrolling beat'em up genre needs a shot in the arm.
How about doing something with the Battletoads Wayforward? DLC perhaps?