Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

[Review] Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons

By Elly Oak Aug9,2023
Developed By: Secret Base
Published By: Modus
Categories: Beatemup
Release Date: 07.27.23

Hoowee it’s been a minute since we’ve had a new Double Dragon game, hasn’t it? In 2017 we got the retro throwback; Double Dragon IV, and even further back in 2012 we got the 2.5D, 80’s styled Double Dragon Neon. Now, in 2023, we have the next in new, original Double Dragon games, Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect at first when I saw the announcement for Rise of the Dragons. It had some really nice, colorful sprites, which immediately made my mind jump to Shredder’s Revenge, but outside of looking great and being beatemups, these games are nothing alike. In fact, Rise of the Dragons isn’t exactly a traditional beatemup. You could say there’s a bit of roguelike DNA in it.

At the start, you have a choice in four stages. The four gangs in town that are doing what evil gangs do. You know, evil stuff like violence and graffiti and theft! Once you go into a gang’s territory, you’ll fight through them, eventually finding and defeating the leader. Once that happens however, the other gangs will become stronger. And with this, the stages will get longer, add more bosses, and even completely change how previous bosses work and fight. This is where you’ll want to plan out your playthrough. Got a boss that gave you a lot of trouble you fought late in a run? Do that boss first and get them out of the way immediately. Another way you’ll be needing to strategize your run is something you are greeted with after every segment of a stage. With the money you collect, you can buy upgrades like making those special crowd clearing attacks stronger, your special meter recover faster, more health, and even have enhancements to a feature mentioned briefly. You can even buy tokens with your money.

If you don’t want to spend the money though, don’t. If you need to continue, this is how you’ll do it. The price keeps going up too. The game might be too hard for you too, and that’s ok. The game knows it’s difficult, so you can fiddle with settings like health, damage, money, and all of that before you begin a run. Play it how you want. Hell, even make it harder, the payout is better.

This doesn’t happen often, but you aren’t just playing as the Lee brothers. In fact, you’re able to play as a lot of characters. Thirteen, nine of which can be purchased with those tokens you collect. If you ever wanted to play as the bosses in the series or even just some of those noteworthy enemies like Linda are playable, even the bosses in this game are unlockable. Everyone has their own combos and special moves, so all of the characters are gonna feel a bit different. Especially Marian, who just shoots everything.

What good beatemup would exist without co-op? You could either do it with a friend or you can control two characters and tag in with eachother. Those powerups you can buy in a run can make healing when tagged out or even enhance stats if a partner dies. It’s something to think about if you know you’ll switch around or potentially lose a character. This is also something that can be changed when starting a run to change payout and difficulty.

If you can handle long load times, Double Dragon Gaiden is totally worth your time. Its not too long so it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and it feels so good to use those special attacks to just clear rooms. Lots of unlockables means you’ll have plenty of replay value too. It’s nice for the series to be back.

4.5/5

Buy Now: $24.99

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*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review

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