All of the Fights.
When I was little, two-player co-op games were a dime-a-dozen. This was the golden age of local multiplayer, the NES era. There were gems like Contra, Battletoads, and Double Dragon (even a godly mash-up of the latter two). They just don’t make ‘em like they used to anymore. Except…
Now they do.
Wayforward, who most recently rebooted and retooled BloodRayne with Betrayal, are now taking a shot at reworking the retro magic of Billy Lee and Jimmy with Double Dragon Neon. Just like they did with BloodRayne, Double Dragon Neon has an updated artstyle but still remains a throwback to the original. The game sports a bright, cel-shaded effect for some extra pop, but for the most part, that’s all that’s been changed.
The movement and fighting techniques feel just like the games of yore, as do all of the enemies you come across. Some enemies carry weapons, such as whips, chains, and other things that get my motor-running (I kid). Knocking the weapon out of an enemy’s hands grants you the opportunity to pick it up yourself and give them a taste of their own medicine. Breaking barrels reveals cans of soda or other goodies that boost health. You know, typical Double Dragon stuff. Everything is here, even the opening with the hot chick getting punched in the stomach and being carried away; even a big, jacked-up Bolo.
Walking is slow, borderline clunky. I know they’re trying to stick to the original formula, and that’s great, but it’s really too slow and will be frustrating for anyone playing the series for the first time. That’s something they're working on, though; the rep at the booth assured me.
In one way that the game has been modernized is when one of the brothers dies. Instead of using a spare “life”, the still-living brother must revive the other by standing over them to make a cassette tape appear, which they then have to rewind using analog sticks. Cassette. Tapes. Talk about nostalgia.
The demo I played was only about five minutes long, but that was enough for me to see that Double Dragon Neon will be worthy of the franchise name. It sticks to what made the originals great, but it’s almost too close. Still, for those wanting a hefty dose of nostalgia and an overall fun to play game, Neon is going to hit the spot. For anyone wanting a complete reboot of the series, truly updated for new consoles with new experiences, we’ll have to wait for whatever comes next this Summer.