Double Dragon Neon PS3 Review

October 7, 2012 by  
Filed under PlayStation 3, Features, Reviews

Publisher – Majesco Entertainment – Developer – WayForward Technologies – Genre – Action – Players – 1-2 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – Xbox 360

In its genre, Double Dragon is one of the most influential games. As one of the earliest examples, it was one of the pioneers of co-op games, and the first game in its genre to have such a feature. With all the latter said, Double Dragon’s legend is one that deserves to live on for years to come, and it was certainly welcome to play a new installment in the series with Double Dragon Neon.

Double Dragon Neon shares the same storyline as the original, in which Marian, the shared love interest of the two main characters (brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee), is captured, and your job is to rescue her. Neon has a ridiculous and over the top sense of humour, with voice acting that is very likely intentionally bad, and there’s also an ostentatious skeleton bad guy that many will want to punch the lights out of. As for the ending, well it’s one of the most amusing I’ve seen in quite some time. Mark my words, the credits in this game are definitely well worth sitting through.

The way Double Dragon Neon plays is exactly the way in which you’d expect a Double Dragon game to play. Yes, you head from the left to the right of the screen. Yes, you are given lots of opponents to give a good thrashing. Yes, you’ll come across weapons in which you can clobber your enemies over the head with. And, yes, the game can be played cooperatively.

There’s two attack buttons (one for punches and one for kicks) as well as a grab button. Also in there is a dodge button, and if dodges are timed precisely, the character will glow, or gleam as the game likes to call it. Gleaming allows you to deal out twice the damage for a short while, which is sure to get you through some of the tougher sections of the game.

Another thing that will aid your quest to save Marian are the cassette tapes. These tapes are dropped quite frequently by defeated foes, and they have various boosting effects. With some tapes equipped you can unleash special moves, while others give various perks such as recouping energy with each enemy you hit, or healing your partner. Tapes can be upgraded, too, by finding others of the same type or through a shop, and, on the whole, they prove to be a successful addition to the series.

Sadly, cooperative play is currently limited to local play, although developer WayForward have promised that online cooperative will be patched in at a later date. The game is definitely best enjoyed cooperatively, and certainly makes for an easier time. If one of the players loses all their energy, then there’s the chance for the other player to quickly get to him/her and revive them before a life is lost – done so by bashing a button. If you lose all your lives, it’s also possible to get back into the game by stealing a life from your partner.

Then there’s the high five ability, in which both players can clap their hands together and this can result in both players gleaming as well as to share energy. The high fives are another thing that makes this a cooperative game that is all about helping each other out beyond just taking out your own fair share of enemies, or, if you’re in the mood, it also allows you to be devious by stealing some of your partner’s energy.

Double Dragon Neon has a total of 10 stages to play through, although there’s little more than two to three hours of gameplay here for your first run through. Stages don’t have any checkpoints, which does increase the challenge, and those who fall in love with the game will surely be back for more, replaying through on the two unlockable difficulty levels, of which are a lot steeper in difficulty and really will force you to mix your tapes up.

Visually, Double Dragon Neon is a delight. Bringing to mind Street Fighter IV, the OTT cartoon styling certainly fits the game, and it introduces 3D character models to the series for the very first time. The animations are also very nice, and the visuals on the whole just makes the package look all the more wonderfully presented.

Double Dragon Neon marks the return of one of gaming’s legends – a successful return it is as well. The mix tapes add a little something extra to the old formula and the enhanced cooperative play is sure to be a lot of fun for many, and is undoubtedly the best manner in which to play the game. More negatively, the game can be completed rather quickly, although it’s the kind of game that many will want to play again and again. It’s good to see both the genre and the Double Dragon name live on through this game, and long may they both continue.