WayForward’s Double Dragon: Neon manages to strike a balance between homage and parody while delivering a modern take on a brawler that remains true to the original. With few exceptions, the result is a brilliant remake full of character and wit. From the game’s brilliant soundtrack to the intentionally corny dialogue, Neon screams 1980′s Saturday-morning cartoon, and that’s a very good thing.
Brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee set off on a familiar quest to rescue their girlfriend Marian. The Lee Brothers’ kung-fu prowess feels sluggish and dated, though the addition of special abilities and stat-altering stances which can be leveled up through collectibles and through in-game storefronts adds a modern touch. A variety of enemy types and environmental hazards add a modicum of strategy to the mix, but Neon‘s combat is anything but deep. The game’s pace and style help the experience avoid becoming an unbearable grind, and a flawless presentation keeps the game interesting.
If you’re not playing air-guitar along with the “stage complete” music, there’s something incredibly wrong with you.
While spoken lines of dialogue are few and far between, a self-aware sense of humor permeates the over-acted, ham-fisted voicing. The main villain Skullmageddon takes the cake with his whiny, cartoony delivery. Together with an exaggerated re-imaging of the original 80′s visual flair, the game really captures what the Eighties were all about.
Like the original, Neon offers local cooperative support. With the option to toggle “friendly fire” off or on, the experience can be as amicable or adversarial as you’d like it to be. Regardless of how you play, games like this are always better with a friend.
It’s rare to say that a game’s presentation is the highlight of the experience, but with Double Dragon: Neon that is clearly the case. This may sound like a back-handed compliment, but it’s not. It’s a testament to the team’s awareness of what a remake can be when it is done correctly. Homage, parody, throw-back, modernization . . . it’s a delicate balance that Neon hits in almost every way.Posted in Reviews by Steve R Gibson on September 26, 2012