Growing up in the 80s my favorite cartoon was The Real Ghostbusters, my favorite movie was Return of the Jedi, and one of my favorite video games was Double Dragon for the NES.
I have very fond memories of that era and can appreciate movies like Hot Tub Time Machine and games like Double Dragon: Neon because they wear their nostalgia like a badge of honor.
Unfortunately, as with the case of Double Dragon: Neon, sometimes nostalgia isn’t enough.
Double Dragon: Neon
Systems: Playstation Network [Reviewed], Xbox Live Arcade.
Developers: WayForward Technologies
Released: September 12, 2012
I get what WayForward was trying to do with Double Dragon: Neon – they wanted to make a true 80s inspired beat-’em-up and unfortunately they succeeded. Back in the day when brawlers, like the original Double Dragon, were all the rage in the arcades, it behooved the developers to make the games hard so kids would keep dropping quarters in the machine. Even the NES version was pretty difficult. In creating Double Dragon: Neon, WayForward kept the arcade level of difficulty and archaic hit detection from the 80s, but unfortunately it’s 2012 and I expect more.
Not only is Double Dragon: Neon frustratingly hard but there are no check points. So if you have problems at the beginning of a level and run out of extra lives right at the very end, be prepared to do it all over again. There are shops littered throughout the various stages where you can buy health, cassette tapes to upgrade your stats, and extra lives, but you have to find their location first.
I know I’ve been shitting on Double Dragon: Neon for the past couple paragraphs but there’s actually a lot to like about the game. For one, WayForward absolutely nailed the soundtrack. Every song has a wonderful 80s vibe to it and I even found myself singing some of them when I wasn’t playing the game. Double Dragon: Neon has a great sense of humor too. It never takes itself too seriously and some of the phrases the enemies say are truly funny.
The character designs and levels are fun and vibrant and it was always a treat to see what new enemies I would be fighting on the next stage. Of course Abobo makes an appearance but the real star of the rogue’s gallery is Skullmageddon. Seriously, that name says it all.
I wanted to like Double Dragon: Neon, I really did. The music is perfect, the humor is spot-on, all the females in the game are hot, but when I look back on my experience I realize Double Dragon: Neon lacks one key ingredient – fun. As a fan of WayForward’s previous games it pains me to say that they should have spent more time making the game enjoyable and a little less time trying to make Double Dragon: Neon feel like it was made in the 80s.
One aspect of Double Dragon: Neon that I fucking loved was the female character designs. Every chick in the game is hot! I really didn’t expect to be beating up scantily clad dominatrices and sexy ninjas while trying to rescue my busty girlfriend, but sure enough I was.
Honestly it’s worth checking out Double Dragon: Neon just to see all the different females in the game. WayForward does a great job of swapping color palettes, hair styles, and minor costume tweaks within an enemy set (the dominatrix character for example) so it never feels like you are just beating up the same girl over and over again. There’s no nudity but Double Dragon: Neon definitely doesn’t shy away from showing as much skin as possible.
Double Dragon: Neon’s female characters where hands-down my favorite aspect of the game. If you can find a collection of pics online, like the one above, then I say there’s no need to play the game, but if you are dying to see them in action make sure you have a partner to play co-op with.