Double Dragon, this series was a favorite of mine growing up, so when the opportunity to review this one came up I jumped at the chance. (aka I didn’t even tell anyone we had the code until I redeemed it) But before I get ahead of myself let’s go into the plot and a little bit of history on this title.
The story is as follows: “After the defeat of the Black Warriors in Double Dragon II, Bill and Jimmy Lee look to spread their Sosetsuken martial art by stabling dojos around the country. However, they soon face a new threat in a gang called the Renegades, who have teamed up with the Black Warriors to put an end to the Lee brothers once and for all.
Unlike the other games in the series, this sequel is developed by Arc System Works, who bought the series rights back in 2015. But many of the original developers continued to work on this title including the original director, character designer, composer and programmer. Many people were expecting when this title was first announced for it to be an updated version much like Double Dragon Neon, BUT instead we are treated to an 8-bit version which MANY character sprites being ripped directly from the NES ports of the Double Dragon Series.
So with that being said, I was on board for this title despite not being upgraded because as we all know, I’m a sucker for old school games, especially when most of the work was being done by the same team and not someone else trying to mimic what they’ve done. I was able to beat the game VERY quickly, a think total 45 min to an hour tops. That’s not to say the game is easy, it’s every bit as hard as the old ones if not a tad harder. Some of the games levels were rage inducing with traps that would one hit kill you. If you remember the older games it was a very fine line between you hitting something and it hitting you and they did not change it for this one at all. For one reason or another two there was a few stages that added some platforming aspects…now, if you’ve played Double Dragon you know how horrible the jumping is, once again…they did not change this at all so I did take a couple flying leaps off of platforms to fall to my doom. Bosses are still just as tough and some levels are even featuring primarily boss characters non-stop so it can be tough.
The graphics as mentioned above are literally the same as they were in Double Dragon II, they did switch up some colors here and there but this game very easily could be played by someone not realizing it didn’t come out in the 80’s or 90’s. In fact the scene where Billy’s GF gets kidnapped (again….) was the exact same as it was in Double Dragon II, literally. Music is good, nostalgic and complimentary to it’s roots.
Where this game falters for me is the repetition, this is typical for this type of game don’t get me wrong, however games like Final Fight and Streets or Rage do it a better way or at least more entertaining that Double Dragon which hasn’t aged gracefully.
Now the tough part here is scoring this game, it is a 100% faithful sequel to the series. So if I had played this game back then I would give it like an 80-85%. So as a retro nostalgic romp it is fantastic for fans who still play their old games. If you don’t however, you will probably hate this game. There are a lot of little things they could have done to make it more enjoyable to a more broad audience but instead are catering to the retro fans exclusively. So for me I had fun with it while it lasted but trying to think big picture…it’s definitely not for everyone.
If you are a fan and still play retro: worth your time, it’s very faithful to the series, almost too much
If you are not: probably pass on this one, you’ll just be angry.