Also available on Xbox 360 and Windows
After my evidently less-than-common opinion of Gone Home, let's see if I'm more aligned with the masses on Double Dragon Neon. This is a game that I've had downloaded on my Playstation 3 for several years, but I was turned off to it early on by the 2.5D perspective. Having a couple of friends over today, however, made me think "Hey, it's a decent co-op game. Let's give it another whirl." We ended up plowing through all 10 levels in one sitting (which, admittedly, only took about three hours).
So Double Dragon Neon was WayForward's shot at rebooting the Double Dragon IP, and all things considered (given how hit or miss the series has historically been), I'd say that they did a pretty good job, but it's not quite the rebirth I think long time Double Dragon fans like me had hoped for. First and foremost, as I mentioned, I don't think the 2.5D perspective was perhaps the best design choice. I get that, in the 21st Century, 2D games tend to look a bit odd unless it's a straight platformer (or one of the intentionally "retro" styled games I've bitched about in other threads), but throughout the game, all three of us (we passed the controllers around) frequently had difficulty gauging just where on the Z axis we were. We'd either miss attacks or get hit by enemy attacks because we were a little to far up or a little too far down. By no means does it ruin the game, but it is a constant aggravation and worth mentioning.
One thing that this game does EXCEPTIONALLY right is the style; it absolutely DRIPS with 1980s stereotypes. The music, the dialogue, the aesthetic style of the characters - everything screams homage to the 80s. For some people, the tropes are going to get old fast; for me, however, it felt like a beat-em-up version of Far Cry Blood Dragon, and NOTHING about that is a bad thing in my book.
Now being a punk ass bitch, I thought the difficulty could have used a bitch mode. The default difficulty (and the only one unlocked initially) kicked my ass by level 4. Granted, I got through it, but that was mostly because one of the two guys playing with me is better at video games than I am. The other was fine until it came to anything remotely resembling platforming; he was rather helpless with spike traps. The one big gripe that I do have is that extra lives bought in the shop do NOT carry over to the next level. If you buy 8 extra lives with your hard earned cash anticipating a tough boss battle and end up not dying a single time, you start the next level with the default 2, not 10. You also don't get back the $4000 you blew on those extra lives. I wouldn't expect to see that money again, but I would expect my lives to carry over to the next level.
All in all, hardcore Double Dragon fans will probably still prefer the arcade original or NES port - I do - but it's a competent game and certainly better than the abysmal fighting games that got released on Genesis and NeoGeo. One last thing to mention, though - as a white Southerner with Confederate ancestors (I'm thoroughly ashamed of my heritage), I felt extremely uncomfortable using the whip weapon that Poison drops to defeat black enemies with FANTASTIC 70s/80s afros, especially since the two friends playing with me were both black gentlemen. It was one of those awkward I-don't-know-what-to-do-but-laugh-nervously moments. They, however, cracked up at my discomfort.
My Rating - 3 Neps
I'm Mr. Deck
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach history at a high school in central North Carolina; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.