Saying I had high hopes for this is an understatement. The NES series of Double Dragon games is like an old friend. Double Dragon II in particular remains one of my favorite games of all time. Seeing the familiar aesthetic in the preview screenshots filled me with an old sense of joy. Double Dragon II has returned!
I was never particularly taken by the arcade series for a number ofSaying I had high hopes for this is an understatement. The NES series of Double Dragon games is like an old friend. Double Dragon II in particular remains one of my favorite games of all time. Seeing the familiar aesthetic in the preview screenshots filled me with an old sense of joy. Double Dragon II has returned!
I was never particularly taken by the arcade series for a number of reasons. I always felt the controls were loose, the collision detection was inconsistent at best, and brutal at worst. The AI was cheap and reactive and combat felt "one-for-one". I knock you down. You get up and knock me down. Repeat.
In contrast, Double Dragon II felt natural. The controls were tight. The enemies seemed to have distinct personalities (all 5 or 6 of them... this was NES after all.) Billy and Jimmy had a simplistic move set that was easy to get the hang of, but deadly when mastered. (Flying knee! KERPOW!)
Combine this with memorable setpieces, an eerie atmosphere and combat that was just plain fun and you instantly have everything that Double Dragon IV is not.
Sad, but true.
Playing Double Dragon IV instantly evokes the frustration I felt playing the arcade versions of the game.
Despite having a similar moveset (albeit with a few added extras) the brothers feel clumsy and lumbering.
Enemies hover just outside the "hitbox" when you attack them and then manage to slip a few attacks between your flurry of punches. Hi Billy... this is floor. You'll be spending a lot of time together.
The reactive AI from the arcades is in full force in this game. At one point I was surrounded by 7 enemies... who were standing dead still. Why were they doing this? They were watching me stand dead still. Tap the control two steps forward. Lo and behold, we all moved two steps together and then stopped dead. Two steps back? Guess what happened. It was like watching an 8-bit line dance where you knew as soon as someone throws a punch all hell was about to break loose. Eventually i did throw a punch which floated through the air like without connecting with so much as a pixel. What did connect was every single attack that was thrown my way. The line dance was over. Hmph. Everyone is a critic.
After playing the game for 10 minutes I was already spamming the "rising" special attacks to clear through the enemies. In fact, this easiest way to play the game is to wait for an enemy to knock you over and then thin the crowd using a super uppercut or flying knee. Effective? Very. Fun? Not so much.
Is it worth playing? Definitely, if you are a fan of the game.
The retro aesthetic and feel is not the problem here. The mechanics feel broken. The storytelling is weak, and the memorable moments just aren't there.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll fire up Double Dragon II and take my frustrations out on some goons who don't mind a fair fight!… Expand