As an old-school twitch gamer, one of my better memories was consistently beating the original Double Dragon in arcades on a single quarter. It was one of the first arcade beat-em-ups and arguably one of the best of its time. Now WayForward has finally brought their reimagining of the franchise to PC after a console release in late 2012.
- Neon introduces a few new concepts to the genre such as Gleam, which doubles your attack power for a short time after successfully dodging an attack and an upgrade system for magic attacks and passive bonuses in the form of mixtapes. The more of a mixtape you have, the more powerful that attack or bonus is. Enemies drop them, but you can also buy them from shops. Tapesmiths allow you to pick up more tapes in exchange for mythril, which you get from defeating bosses.
- (Note: I played with an XBox 360 controller) While there are more button commands to get used to than the original, the controls feel very solid. Nothing seems janky or off. I suggest a quick glance at the Help screen to see all your available standard moves.
- There is a good variety of enemies, some requiring a specific way to finish them off quicker than just mashing your punch button. Abobos are freakin' huge now!
- Effects and voice acting are passable, but what really stands out is the soundtrack. Virt has done an amazing job making original songs for the game that have that definite 80's vibe and the remixing of the original game's tracks are very well done.
- ONLINE CO-OP. It took the PC port of this game to get what console owners were promised over a year ago and never received, online co-op. Beat-em-ups are always 10x more fun with a friend, and with team powerups like sharing health that you can activate almost anytime by high-fiving your partner, it makes traversing the game easier as well.
- Unlike the dark, gritty visuals of the original, this game goes for a brighter, cartoony aesthetic. This game knows its audience and opted for a campy, offbeat feel, almost making fun of the era it wants to copy, and it mostly works.
- All these attacks at my command and NO BACK ELBOW? Anyone who played the original Double Dragon knows that move is your bread and butter for making progress in the game.
- Graphics are alright and the game has a cartoony vibe, but nothing really stands out. Also, apart from resolutions and windowed/full screen mode, there's no graphical tweaking. I'm not saying a game like this really needs those options, but when you see them in nearly every PC game, it's noticeable when they're missing.
I feel this is one of WayForwards best games to date. Much like with DuckTales Remastered, they have honoured the source material while adding a modern flair. Join up with a friend and go save Marion!
Posted: February 6th, 2014