Developed by:WayForward Technologies Published by:Majesco Genre(s):
  • Beat’em Up
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$9.99 ESRB Rating:TEEN Players:1-2 Release date:September 12, 2012 Reviewed on:XBox 360

    Double Dragon: Neon

    There are a few things in gaming that never get old for me. They include: getting a headshot in competitive multiplayer matches, jumping on turtle shells, killing zombies, and punching girlfriend stealing thugs in the face. And when it comes to that last one, no one does it better than Jimmy and Billy Lee; they’ve been doing it for over twenty five years now. So I had no issue when I heard that WayForward was remaking Double Dragon. After spending some time with their title, I’m pleased to say that it’s still fun to punch bad guys in the face!

    Before I get into the review I’d like to note that if you aren’t a fan of this genre, then you’re probably not going to like Double Dragon: Neon. There are no fancy combos, stylized action packed cutscenes, nor is there an enthralling story. Instead, Neon follows the original’ setup, featuring twin brothers Bill and Jimmy Lee as they battle what seems like an army of poorly dressed goons in order to rescue their love interest, Marion. The brothers will go from random town to random city to track down her kidnapper, a new villain named Skullmageddon. Silly as it sounds, this is a tried and true Beat’em up formula. Still interested? Good, because this game rocks!

    Like I said before, Neon is a fun game to play. Though I have to admit, I didn’t think it would be when I first saw its gameplay trailers. You see, the action seemed slower than the older DD titles (which is saying a lot). When I got my hands on the controls and started punching baddies, that feeling of dread started to fade away. While I still feel that the action could be a bit faster, it doesn’t hurt the gameplay. On a basic level, there is something about walking from one side of the screen to the other and “kung fu-ing” enemies that’s really entertaining. The entertainment value is doubled when a second player is added. Just like in the classic game, two players can punch baddies together via co-op play. Spin kicking a foe that was just knocked into the air by a friend is the definition of a good time during any Double Dragon session.

    My only real concern when it came to battles was that I couldn’t do the classic grab and pummel moves from before. In Neon, you can only throw you’re opponents when grabbed. As bad as this may sound, I really enjoyed kneeing enemies in the face and/or elbowing them in the back of the skull. Considering that this was something you could do in the first arcade game, one would think that it wouldn’t be  hard to emulate in a modern title. Another thing to note was the lack of online gaming. Unfortunately, as of this writing there isn’t a way to play cooperatively with friends over Xbox Live; a patch is supposed to be released that fixes that problem. Though I felt that these things were important to note, they in no way should keep you from playing Neon. Having couch co-op is just as fun as playing online and I still enjoyed my time even with certain, classic moves omitted. That’s how fun the game is!

    WayForward has outdone themselves when it comes to Neon’s overall style. Everything from the pastel colored menus and option screens to the rocking sound track and character’s clothing are all inspired by 80’s culture. These aesthetics make for humorous encounters and silly dialogue.  Even the newer mechanics have an 80’s feel to them. Take the ability to revive a partner. By standing over them and pressing B will cause a cassette tape with a pencil stuck in one of its rollers (spools) to appear. Reviving the fallen Dragon, requires you to rewind the tape using the pencil; Genius! Speaking of tapes, another new mechanics has you collecting tapes from enemies to unlock new moves, stat buffs and additional audio tracks. Though these RPG elements are on the light side of things, they do well to make things more interesting; one of them allows you clear a room by summoning a dragon made of fire, Golden Axe style.

    All and all, Double Dragon: Neon is a good remake. Though not perfect, there is a lot to love here. One thing I forgot to mention was the level of difficulty gamers will face. The game can be difficult to complete but not in a cheap type of way. Enemies, especially the bosses, can be tough to take down in groups. Also, the levels themselves are long, meaning you’ll have plenty opportunities to die along the way. If you lose all of your lives, you’ll have to restart that current level from the beginning. This isn’t too harsh a punishment seeing as how, back in the day, losing all of your men meant game over. I appreciate the difficulty as most remade/rereleased titles are really easy nowadays (X-Men and TMNT, I’m looking at you). In those cases you don’t really care about losing because you are given unlimited continues. At least with Neon, it actually means something when you  make it through a level with lives intact.

    I also appreciated WayForward’s referencing to older games; one memorable Mega Man inspired boss fight comes to mind. The little things this developer did for nostalgia’s sake while implementing classic gameplay that somehow feels fresh go a long way to make this game worth your time. It’s fun, funny, and free…ok it isn’t free. But it is only $10 and for what I got (hours of enjoyment) that’s definitely a deal!



    Double Dragon: Neon is loads of fun, even without online play.



    The visuals are great. Somehow they feel more “80’s” then the original game!



    The music is great. The voice acting is bad, but in a cheesy B film type of way. That said, Billy and Jimmy shouldn’t talk…ever.

    What's New:


    Even though there isn’t much new here (in the Beat’em up genre) Neon marks the biggest departure from the norm in the DD franchise since Billy and Jimmy teamed up with the Battletoads (those awful fighing game spinoffs aren't included).

    Replay Value:


    Like I said before, punching bad guys in the face never gets old.

    Final Score:


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