Double Dragon: Neon is the latest installment in the long-running Double Dragon series. DD: Neon feels like a total reboot of the entire Double Dragon series, starting things over from scratch + then also taking it completely into its own direction. Paying homage to 1980's & 1990's culture in video games, movies, music, and so forth - DD:N succeeds in being an outlandish, ridiculous, funny, fun & often challenging brawler in the DD universe that especially fans of that era of brawlers should take on.
To begin with the basic DD premise, here's the story: Marion gets kidnapped by someone, so the Lee Brothers, Billy & Jimmy, head off & adventure out to find who took her, kick butt & go rescue her. That is just the start of things, as the game that feels grounded as it begins and then eventually adventures into outlandish + ridiculous over-the-top territory, not feeling like many of the older Double Dragon games. Neon is constantly tossing out 80's + 90's references and paying homage to the classic games, movies, music & things from that culture + era. This game is definitely not to be taken seriously - and thankfully, it fits b/c the game's just often really fun to actually play.
But, oh - can it also be challenging + frustrating, too. Multiple run-throughs of a level b/c of no auto-save placed in an entire level can be annoying + frustrating, feeling like a trip back to the 80's + 90's of difficult games from the Nintendo era. The game will save itself once you finish a level, though. So, you won't have to always restart from Level 1, if you need to leave the game + shut it off for a bit. And this all here was on its Normal difficulty (which is what you start with; you have to finish the game to unlock the others)!
Gameplay feels like your typical side-scrolling 2D-style brawler, for the most part. Of course, the game isn't without its own twists - by basically combining many classics brawlers + throwing some RPG upgrading-elements on top. If you've played classic fighters such as Streets of Rage series, Final Fight (some moves are just plain unrealistic + combat is faster than old Double Dragon) and especially Double Dragon (since it's still a bit methodical with its combat) - you basically know what you're getting into. Combat here just feels great with the X360 gamepad. While Neon is mostly a linear affair, like River City Ransom (NES), you may run into shops in-game where you can purchase upgrades for your skills + abilities. Constantly, you are defeating enemies + picking up power-ups for your skills (which are mixtapes + even have their own songs in the Inventory menu!).
If this all sounds good to you with gameplay + combat - well, you're in for a treat. Combat here is a lot of fun + a joy here to take part in, for the most part. Playing with the X360 controller, the controls felt very smooth + the game also ran very well, normally ranging from 55-60 frames per second on my PC (i7 950; 1 GB VRAM of GF GTX 560 Ti; 16 GB RAM; Win 7 64-bit) when set in a 1920x1080 resolution (1080p). The game sports a very nice artistic direction that just oozes cool for its 2D environments, while its 3D character models look also good. Don't expect a technical masterpiece here, this isn't Crysis - this game's all about its sweet art direction.
The music absolutely stands out here + sounds great, having that 80's & 90's vibe. Whether it's an actual song they made + performed with lyrics, or a piece that sounds like it could've been in an 80's movie, or a complete remix of a classic tune from Double Dragon games - the music always fits the bill and sounds great. No doubt about it, the soundtrack here is just always fantastic.
The game is not long, by any means per playthrough. For my first run-through, playing solo, it took around 4-5 hours approximately. There are Leaderboards, so you can compare your run-throughs & compete with other players online & even your Friends. Also, you can go through the Co-Op locally or on the Internet via Steam, so you can play with your Friends. Also, once unlocked - there are multiple difficulties, so if you want more of a Challenge and want to compete on the Leaderboards, it's certainly there. This all certainly could help the replay value, if you actually like the game & want to give it multiple run-throughs.
When it all comes down to it: DD:N is just a lot of fun, for the most part. It plays lots of homage to 80's + 90's culture, runs well, plays well, looks cool artistically, has a fantastic soundtrack & delivers a really solid experience. While auto-saves locations are placed after each level, some might like this challenge & feel that is reminiscant of games from an older era (Nintendo era). DD: Neon is quite good. Neon is often funny, outlandish, ridiculous, over-the-top & a flat-out fun brawler that gamers, especially fans of this genre (of brawlers), just should not miss.
Final Grade = B-.