Developed By: Wayforward Technologies Published By: Majesco Entertainment Categories: Beatemup Release Date: 12.21.20 Composer: Jake "Virt" Kaufman
It’s hard to believe that Double Dragon Neon came out almost ten years ago. Like many reboots to older Japanese franchises released that generation, it almost seemed like Neon would live and die where it launched. However, eight years after it got that dreaded IGN review it’s finally finding a new home. On the Nintendo Switch.
Lets get the most glaring negative the game has out of the way. Much like the original game on Xbox 360 and PS3, there is no online multiplayer. It was a shame it was never implemented in the original release, and it’s even more of a shame nowadays especially considering the PC port had online.
Double Dragon Neon starts as any other game in the series would start, Marion gets kidnapped right outside your garage. Controlling Billy and Jimmy, it’s up to you to rescue her from the “Menacing” Skullmageddon. Neon was released when 80’s nostalgia was at a fever pitch, so it’s oh so incredibly 80’s in feel. From neon lights, the sexy clothing, getting topped off with the game’s incredible soundtrack. 2012 was a year full of great soundtracks, but Jake “Virt” Kaufman’s work on DDN was top of the list, I even had one of the songs as my ringtone at the time. Maybe I’m a sucker for game music that has lyrics in it though.
You’re playing a beatemup, so you’re gonna beat-em-up. Light attacks, strong attacks. When they’re stunned you can grab them. When grounded, you can do an attack to them on the floor for extra damage. The game has a duck and roll mechanic, when timed right Gleam is acheived, you glow and get powered up, which when mixed with a special attack can be devastating. Last but not least, when playing with a friend, you can high five.
Another big mechanic for Double Dragon Neon is it’s tape system. Buying them at shops or defeat enemies and you’ll occasionally get a tape out of it. Tapes are both your special attacks and stat boosters. Sosetsitsu, the abilities, let you do move such as a one inch punch, a fireball, tornado kicks, the power to heal a friend or do great damage to the undead. These take from your magic bar as opposed to taking health and can be refilled by collecting batteries. Stances, the stat boosters are more typical, just equip these tapes to your play style. I personally enjoy the tape that lets you heal when you hit enemies. The tapes require more tapes to get more effective, but then require mythril, earned from bosses to level up. This can take a bit of grinding, which is always a bit unfortunate in beatemups.
Double Dragon Neon seldom takes itself seriously, with references to Green Abobo, a boss being two mutated monstrosities resembling Billy and Jimmy named after a typo from the third game, and a lot of goofy dialog such as a dominatrix enemy asking for things with please at the end. Pause during Skullmagedon boss fights too. Thankfully, the game doesn’t go for the irony factor in it’s silliness.
The Nintendo Switch has a respectable port of Double Dragon Neon. I wish it had online multiplayer like the PC port, but at the end of the day, it’s still a fantastic beatemup and fans of the series or genre should definitely give it a chance if they haven’t already.
Buy Now: $14.99
*Game Download Code supplied for review purposes