Console: XBLA 
Review: Richard

Pros

*Has the same feeling of the original Double Dragon
*New cel shaded graphics give a very nice, clean look
*A lot of catchy 80’s style music

Cons

*Cheesy at times
*Anime-style may turn off some
*Some of the voice acting is a bit cringe worthy

I’m going to be honest, I think I may have played Double Dragon a couple of times when I was a kid. So, I really don’t remember much of it. But, I decided to pick this one up anyways and it was an interesting experience to say the least.

Presentation : B

Neon gets a pretty big upgrade in the graphics department compared to the 1987 version with the cel-shaded, anime like style. These factors may be deterring to some (personally, I’m not a fan of cel-shade), but, strangely, it feels right. Especially the neon. I mean, it’s in the title for a reason. I dare say it enhances the 80’s retro feeling and makes you believe that you are in an old arcade with music blaring in the background as people watch you play.

Speaking of music, Majesco has done a very commendable job creating new tracks that sound like they should have existed 30 years ago. In fact, I highly recommend going over to their site and checking it out.

Voices ranged anywhere from “acceptable” to “hilariously bad”. For example, the main heroes sound like a couple of “surfer dudes”, which is fine. But some of the voices of the opponents could get very distracting. One of which is, for a lack of a SFW term, “female warrior” (not the geisha). While her voice may fit the part, I would say the voice is just a bit below the tolerable range.

Single Player : B

On the surface, Neon is a fairly traditional beat ’em up much like the original games with the standard punches, kicks, grabs, etc. Plus, you have a variety of weapons that you can take from opponents such as bats, knives, grenades, and whips which, I believe, are pretty much staples in the franchise. But, on top of this they have a “Sosetsitsu” and “Stance” features which give you access to various powers that you can use in battle. Sosetsitsu powers are special moves that have a limited use. These can include things like the spin kick and fire-ball. Stances, on the other hand, are static abilities that can boost your stats as well as give you boost to damage, defense, etc.

Another feature they included is Gleam which is essentially double damage for a limited time. This can be activated by either successfully dodging enemy attacks or by using the appropriate High-Five (see multiplayer). For single player, attaining Gleam can be a bit challenging, especially at first. But, once you get the timing down, it is a very useful tool that can help you beat down enemies that much faster. Because, the whole idea is take the minimum amount of damage and deal out a whole lot more, right?

I’ve only played on the Normal difficulty, but I still found plenty of challenge in trying to fight my way through hordes of various enemies. Then again, I could be saying this simply due to inexperience. Still though, I believe fans and new comers alike will enjoy its just the same.  But, I believe players will find that they will get more out of the game in its multiplayer.

Multiplayer : B

Multiplayer seems to be the heart of this game. The addition of the extra player provides a unique aspect to the game that you are missing from normal play. And, because it is so easy for your buddy to jump in, there really isn’t any excuse to take advantage of it (unless you’re forever alone). There does not seem to be any Xbox live support at this time, so you will have to play on the same console.

Much like any arcade game, by simply pressing start and logging in if necessary, your friend can jump in at any point in the game. In doing so will give you access to the “high-fives” which can allow you to go into gleam mode, share life, or take life if either of you feel like being a douche. There is also the obvious advantage to having two versus the army of bad guys rather than one. I did find coordination to be slightly difficult. Say, for example, jumping from platform to platform, I found myself falling more times than if I were playing by myself. In time, though, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Replay Value : C

Let me be honest here. Did I have fun playing this game? Yeah, sure. But do I see myself playing this game on a regular basis a week from now? A month? A year? Probably not. Especially when then fall and winter season coming up and with a plethora of newer game titles. And, since it is an arcade title, the chances of any sort of DLC are pretty slim. But, I can that I can definitely see myself coming back to this game when I just want a break from the mundane shooter or RPG.

—————-

 I have to say the folks over at Mejesco have done a fine job in not only capturing the spirit of Double Dragon, but also of the 1980’s while giving a newer, fresher feeling.

Overall B

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