It’s been 25 years since Double Dragon, one of the most sucessful coin-operated games made its debut. The game gained legendary status and home versions of the game were released for the NES, Sega Master System, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari ST, Amiga, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Genesis/Mega Drive and Atari Lynx, among other platforms during the series’s height of popularity.
A remake titled Double Dragon Advance was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003, while the NES version was re-released for the Wii on April 28, 2008. Nintendo also released the Game Boy version on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in 2011. As Double Dragon became a franchise, however, with many sequels over the next 10 years, it had trouble staying ahead of its competition..
The latest developer to enter the Double Dragon wagon was made by WayForward (Silent Hill: Book of Memories, BloodRayne: Betrayal, Contra 4, Justice League Heroes). In order to revive the franchise in the best possible way, WayForward and publisher Majesco approached Double Doragon’s priginal designer Yoshihisa Kishimoto who supplied WayForward with graph paper reference sketches, gave approvals on designs, played builds, and sent feedback.
“It was difficult in the beginning stages because [Million, the current copyrights holder of the Double Dragon series and Kishimotoare very proud of their IP and it’s difficult to trust someone to ‘update’ their game to a more current design,” says Taiki Homma, a Majesco producer who funneled all communication to Kishimoto.
“It was important to emphasize to Kishimoto-san how solid WayForward’s track record was because he’s had experiences where he’s been burned due to developers that weren’t able to deliver the quality that he was promised,” says Homma. “However, once we were able to show the solid artwork and fluid gameplay delivered by WayForward, the approval process became a mere formality.””Overall, I feel it’s a very western adaptation of Double Dragon,” Kishimoto says. “It feels like a new take on the series; the general mood and feel remind me of the original arcade game, but the mechanics cherry-picked the good parts of Double Dragon 2 and 3, and the visual style is very American.”
If you grew up on beat em ups and Double Dragon was always your personal favorite and you are wondering if after some hit and miss attempts of a remake Neon is the ultimate Double Dragon resurrection, read on to find out.
Sound & Vision
Where Double Dragon Neon really shines in the technical field is in the sound area. There are some exceptional musical themes, inspired from the 80’s era, that stand a good chance of sticking with you even when you are done witrh the game. This is a game you will want to turn the volume up for and you’re going to be smiling the whole time. As a bonus, the guy behind the game’s soundtrack has made the Double Dragon Neon tunes available for download for a reasonable price of whatever you want to pay.
Voice acting on the other hand, is intentionally y(we guess) messy trying to mock not only the original game, but also all these games of its generation. Graphically, Neon is well polished with amazing detail on the characters and very fluid animation. Everything is wrapped up in an 80′s splash of glossy neon. Some characters have a defining 80s characteristic such as Jimmy and Billy’s mullet action, another dude’s huge afro with afropick sticking out, or one of the Linda’s biker get-up. hey really draw upon the level design and aesthetics of the original games.