Harking back to a time when you could go to an arcade and spend countless hours and coin on impossible games, Way Forward is brings an HD remake of a popular side-scrolling beat em up, in Double Dragon: Neon. Taking the original story and infusing new levels and features, does Double Dragon: Neon have what it takes to save the girl, and earn your money like it used to?
From the start, there is no doubt that Way Forward has put in some serious care in reflecting the source material in this remake, with a modern take on the marquee theme from the original Double Dragon, and the opening cut scene done in HD. For those new to the Double Dragon universe, the story revolve in rescuing Marian, the love interest of both playable characters, from a gang that has kidnapped her under the direction of their mysterious leader. What follows is a few hours of old school beat-em up action, and while at times can be filled with frustration, can also be a great way to just play a game with a buddy.
Unlike the mistake the original NES version made with not including 2 player modes, Double Dragon: Neon almost has to be played with a pal, as it can be very difficult, and almost seem as if you are being punished for not having a friend to play with. Simply put, if you die, you will start the current level over! While some can say this makes it a challenge, the argument could also be made that this is just a cheap way to increase the length of the game. While it wasn’t super hard on the normal default difficulty, I did have to check my controller a few times to make sure it still worked after being thrown because i died on a level boss and had to restart at the beginning of the level.
One of the places that Double Dragon: Neon really shines is in the sound. There are a bunch on tracks that have been made for this game, all linked to the unlockable super moves and fighting styles. If there was ever a arcade game that had a musical score that fit the game, this is it. Just as how a game in the Halo series had music in the background that always fit what was happening on the screen, Double Dragon: Neon has music that fits the 80′s, including guitar riffs and electronic sounds galore.
The only major changes to the game from the original besides the graphical update, are the super moves, and the combat forms. Both the super moves and the forms are earned by cassette tapes that drop from enemies, and increase in power by the more times you collect the same song. At the start, you can only collect 10 of the same tape, but by collecting a drop from certain bosses, you can upgrade your tape you allow you to collect more and increase you power even further.
So, while adding a few updates to a much loved classic, Double Dragon: Neon just feels priced a little too high for all but the biggest of fans of the original arcade game. With gameplay that can punish you at times, and the almost need to have a friend to play with, Double Dragon: Neon may be too intimidating for the casual gamer, looking for a escape from their usual gaming habits.
Audio/Visual – (4/5): Double Dragon: Neon is a beautiful update graphically, and has one of the best scores in a side scrolling fighting game.
Gameplay – (2.5/5): While it can be fun to beat the crap out of everything on the screen, feeling forced to have a friend to play with can be a little frustrating at times. Repeating a level over after dying at the end is could lead to broken controllers by some.
Value – (2/5): Unless you have a buddy, this game just doesn’t have the legs to warrant a purchase by any but the most hardcore of fans.
Innovation – (2/5):The only saving grace in Double Dragon: Neon is that super moves were added to the mix, other than that, this is your regular run of the mill side scrolling brawler.
Final Score: 2.5/5