PAX East 2012: Double Dragon Neon is a totally radical blast from the past

Posted on Apr 7 2012 - 12:56pm by Jeffrey L. Wilson

double dragon screen 2 PAX East 2012: Double Dragon Neon is a totally radical blast from the past

Billy and Jimmy Lee made an unexpected return to hardcore street fighting with the Majesco-published Double Dragon Neon, a modern remake of the brothers’ original outing.

WayForward is on the development duties, but in a surprise twist, the game isn’t sprite-based. With a rich history that includes A Boy and His Blob, Aliens Infestation, and Contra 4, one wouldn’t expect a polygonal WayForward brawler. Fear not, as this is not Final Fight Streetwise.

The two-player co-operative “bro-op” opens with a faithful recreation of the classic Double Dragon opener: the scantily clad Marion, who just happens to lollygag in the worst part of town, receives a gut punch from a hoodlum and is hauled away for god knows what reasons. The result? Billy and Jimmy Lee are thrust into full-on street justice mode.

As Double Dragon Neon is a remake, the beat-em-up tropes that were once fresh in the mid-to-late ’80s come off as familiar at best, and simplistic at worst — there are knives to toss and bats to swing. New here, however, is a combo-friendly combat system that makes stringing attacks together easier —  a hit count meter would do well here and I’d love to see one included. There’s also an evasive roll, specials, and manually-controlled congratulatory high-five. Yes, a congratulatory high-five.

Curious about the “Neon” aspect? WayForward, instead of updating Double Dragon with contemporary sensibilities, decided to apply an ’80s filter and up the cheese factor. When one of the Lee brothers bites it, a cassette tape appears over his corpse and it’s up to you to rewind it by spinning the analog stick. The energy and special meters crackle with totally radical neon, and WayForward includes a “Mixtape” feature that lets you level up attacks.

The redrawn gang members look fantastic. Abobo is a huge beast of a man wearing Birdie-like spikes on his person, and the whip-toting Linda is certain to rank up there with Street Fighter X Tekken‘s Poison and Dragon’s Curse‘s Sorceress as sexually charged video game vixens who can also kick your ass. Combat (comprised of punches, kicks, weapons, throws, and ground attacks) was a bit slower than I would’ve liked, but  this is something that will hopefully be tweaked before the game’s “Summer 2012″ release.

 

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Jeffrey L. Wilson is the former Big Boss of 2D-X.com. Now retired, he spends his days as a man of leisure. Kinda.

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