Friday, September 14, 2012

Double Dragon: Neon Review 80's Overload of Good

Double Dragon: Neon! I wish I could put a sound tag of me yelling that, but I don't know hot to do that. Out of the gate and out of the 80's I didn't expect to be loving this game so much, but it bashed it's way into my heart. Nostalgia for the 80's, silly writing and overall fun side-scrolling beat-em up action makes this a game to get right now. For only ten stinkin' bucks on both the 360 and PS3, gotta mention that, because everything is so overpriced and Majesco's being totally smart to put it at that easy price point.

Red and blue are my colors and not just because their used in the sites logo or the American flag. Their my colors, because two radical brothers wear them! The Double Dragons!You can play as one or two brothers after your girlfriend Marian. Hmm, I don't know whose girlfriend she is, maybe your vying for her. In any case she'd rather be with you or your brother than a magical skeleton dark master of evil.

Double Dragon is a beloved 80's series of games that spawned a cartoon and toys and a bad movie taking place in LA. Double Dragon: Neon sorts through that past and brings only the good elements into this game. One element other than the great design is the writing and simple story.

The game begins easily enough with the premise of saving the girl. You start through the classic grungy back alley city-scape you find in all class beat-em ups. That changes when a mix tape drops. You see when bad guys drop mix tapes you gain abilities from them, both abilities and special attacks. So suddenly, in my first run through I gained fireball power to barbecue my opponents. After that I unlocked multiple abilities like Magic Gambit where my magic meter would increase faster, so I could do more special attacks like Bro Dozer and Knee Drop or Spin Kick that really tore into my enemies. As I laughed, knocking them down and smirking over their mangled, beaten buddies, I cried for more blood lust. I was drowned in an ocean of fresh meat to to take down with my fists. My enemies who were walking stereotypes of 80's bad guys got acquainted with my fists often.

Got to say the bad girl dominatrix looking enemies get a little bit dirt when fighting or being beaten and I like it.If it's a girl in this game, she's hot.Spend some time in the gallery to take a better look. As the simple story of rescuing the princess or in this case girlfriend goes you find yourself from being in the grungy city to suddenly outer space. Instead of normal punks you'll start fighting robots, ninjas and jet pack cuties, hopping vampires and everything else that reminds. me of why the 80's rocked.

In fights you can both run to pull of attacks and dodge. You'll dodge often to get "Gleam Time" where you more powerful and gleam red for a short period of time. You gleam for a very few seconds and you aren't invincible, just have more power behind your punch. It's a good way to keep you more involved in the game with multiple Williams's after you. Constantly moving around the screen  makes you more aware of the fight and looking for the right opportunity to strike.
random thought
A friend told me about how his little cousin had never seen a flashing enemy before. It was kind of sad, because he's old enough to have kids and he talks about his little cousins, nieces and nephews as if they were his own, they aren't and people who talk about children that aren't theirs sicken me. Stop adopting them as yours in your mind.Same goes for animal lovers. Anyway, in brought to my attention that a new generation of gamers don't know how enemies die in old school games. Some even think it's a glitch now, before it's explained to them that the boss is getting weaker as indicated by flashing.

If it isn't fun enough killing Williams, red-haired enemy, hundreds of times over, it might be seeing the new Abobo, which has had some press on his own with Abobo's Big Adventure. There are nods to older fighting games like River City Ransom and Final Fight and a dozen others.

Skullmageddeon is a perfect villain with a nasally voice and constant in you face jabs both physical and mental. Skully insults you every chance he gets or complains about what you're doing throughout the game. He really reminds me of The Monarch from the Venture Bros in attitude and voice. He isn't a push over either as it took me some tries to beat him. You really learn to love hating him, like any classic villain.

The little extras like the ability to high five which shares health and combo movies with a friend was something I didn't expect and it really makes co-op a must. A patch is in the works for online play, I'll have a reminder when it's out.

Some of my favorite parts are


From space to monsters there's too many good moments in the game.

-The space level utilized some great level design as you'd be stuck in chamber with the door opening to space and sucking you and your enemies into a grim death. You don't have to die, if you play right you can time the opening and distance from the door opening to take care of your enemies fast. The game even jokes about holding your breath in space to explain how you just aren't died the second you battle in space."I'll do what I want" is spouted by a manborg boss.

- A genetically altered plant monster with a T- Rex head that shoot fire out of it's mouth and a shark head that shoots missiles eyes at you, just to good of a boss design. Once this monster/ boss is dead you'll be sliding down a mountain on a part of it's corpse while still battling bad guys.

-A helicopter attacks you upside down with Skullmageddeon explaining, it's perfectly possible.

-Then there's just an expensive( while chuckling) it's really called expensive tank.

End of Spoilers

WayForward has made it clear they can bring back the feel of old games for a new generation. Where Backbone Entertainment just updates graphics or does rebuilds in 3D, WayForward brings that extras that make their games stand out. Since, A Boy and His Blob, they've been putting out multiple games to get lost in. I was a bit afraid with early pictures of the Adventure Time game for the 3DS, but after playing this my fears are gone.

Make a sequel! Just start making a sequel to this and make this a new franchise. I want a new cartoon. I want toys. I want Halloween costumes.

The music was catchy and makes the game stand out for having some killer tracks. You can download it here

for any price (including free) from game composer Jake Kaufman. Having a song for every attack and ability, now that screams better, well-put together game. On the selections screens for your abilities and special attacks the music changes for every different one, and with vocals. Skullmageddeon's end song simple rocked my world.

Why IGN's Mitch Dyer hated it is of some concern. I can only speculate that Mitch was having a bad day or just sucks at playing the game. He might have also downloaded a bad copy as it apparently froze after a boss fight, which has not happened to me. In a sea of good reviews his is the only massive negative one and the IGN scoring system is a bit ridiculous with it receiving high marks in all categories, but having an overall terrible score. The comments on his page are all swimmingly positive of the game and against Mr. Dyer. I wonder if the game designers catch wind and have an enemy named Mr. Dyer in the sequel as I want a sequel. Possibly, his name might just end up graffiti on the wall with a negative comment in the possible sequel.

I will say I did find the game hard a little in the start until I unlocked the ability Absorb, which would give me back health from every punch or hit I made. This could be increased over time, allowing more health to come back to me.