Sep 25, 2012Imagine, if you will, an 8 year old little boy sitting on the floor of his brown carpeted room surrounded by GI Joes and Ninja Turtles in front of a 300 pound, 24 inch television. He inserts his neighbor's copy of "Double Dragon" into his NES and presses the "on" switch. The screen blinks green and black repeatedly. So, he takes the game out of the system, blows on it and puts it back in. He hits the power button and it works!
After getting through the title screen and its kickin rad intro music, he marches his in game sprite to the right, punching and kicking his way through street thugs. Then, he loses a life. Then another. Then another. Then he gets a "game over" screen and has to start over from the beginning.
4 hours later, this 8 year old has had one of the best times of his short life, even though he barely made it past the 2nd stage.
I have a lot of fond memories of wasting away hours playing really hard, really bad videogames. The nostalgia is wonderful and it fills me with joy to remember the innocence of my early days as a gamer.
However, those memories are just that: memories. My gaming palette has evolved. In 2012, I expect a game to have responsive, smooth controls. I expect collision detection to make sense. I expect QA to eliminate game breaking bugs.
Double Dragon Neon fulfills none of these expectations.
2D beat em' ups died sometime around the end of the Super Nintendo's life cycle. Games like Final Fight, Streets of Rage, and Turtles in Time had pretty much evolved the genre as far as it would go. Somehow, this game takes the innovations of the 16-bit era and discarded them entirely and decides to be a neon colored, clunky mess.
Take the controls, for example. While the button layout is pretty natural and fits with the style of the game, the execution of the button presses feel like sludgy trash. This, coupled with the awkward collision detection, make the game a frustrating nightmare. You end up taking a bunch of damage from enemies because of delayed reactions from your character. You miss hitting guys because you are outside of their hit box even when you are right in their faces. You miss hitting guys because they were immune to your swings, even though they didn't give you any kind of visual cue. Even Mike Tyson blinked before he beat you up in "Punchout"! Bad controls are 1988 jank that have no business in a 2012 release.
Even with the control issues, I was able to finish the game in 2 hours. For a 10 dollar price tag, this is entirely too short. They try to encourage multiple playthroughs by adding in powerups, co-op and unlockable difficulty settings, but none of these things make the game not play like hot garbage.
I ran into a few game breaking bugs, including one where an enemy would get stuck on the environment and would not allow me to advance in the level.
To deviate from the original game, they added unlockable power ups and stores to buy things within the levels themselves. I bought a bunch of extra lives. When I continued my save the next day, all of the lives I purchased were gone.
I get that nostalgia is all the rage, but putting out bad titles and slapping familiar names on them is insulting to our intelligence as gamers, and I hope that people will stop encouraging these lazy cash grabs by putting their wallets back in their pockets.… Expand
Nov 29, 2012Double Dragon Neon can be very frustrating, because it's unforgiving, fighting mechanics are a bit clumsy and the main character is sluggish. That's how you played games back in the day. Fortunately you don't have to anymore. [CD-Action 13/2012, p.79]