One of the first games I have reviewed since the creation of this site is Double Dragon IV. It was a faithful recreation of the Double Dragon games of the 8-bit era, with all their flaws such as short duration, slow motion and collision detection problems. After playing this game, and a collection of Double Dragon and Kunio-kun games from ARC System Works, I began to wonder if Double Dragon was that good. I had to play a few more games to come to a conclusion. I was impressed with the release of the Switch version of Double Dragon Neon, a remake of the original 2012 game, and wanted to give it a try. Maybe this would be the game that would convince Double Dragon to have his moments? Or might it be the other way around?

A classic introductory scene, this time with state-of-the-art graphics for 2012.

One thing gave me hope when I first downloaded the game: seeing the WayForward logo. Of course, I’ve played one or two mediocre titles of these guys in the past, like Troll Hunters: Arcadia Defender, but I know the team can find big thugs if you give them enough time and resources. They proved they could beat the retro style with River City Girls last year. I’ve always wanted to try this old remake because I’ve heard good things about it in the past. Of course, especially hitting their fanboys who watched this game through pink glasses…., but I was still curious.

Double Dragon Neon is, just like Double Dragon Advance, a remake of the original arcade game from 1987. Here you will find everything you know about these classics: Marianne gets kidnapped, you fight hordes of Shadow Warrior gang members, you have to take care of Abobo, and so on. The only difference is that there is a brand new head villain in the house: Skullmageddon with a skull and crossed bones (big name of a death metal band, by the way). You can only fight, which makes the game almost impossible, or with a friend. Except for a few new sections that extend the total length moderately, it’s still the same old song and dance.

Hit him good.

The graphics have certainly been updated, but that does not mean that Double Dragon Neon is a visually stunning title….. Not at all. The eight-year-old XBLA game wasn’t even that impressive back then. Clearly, she’s not so gracefully aged. The animations of the characters are rather weird, and their models have been simplified. And the past isn’t so surprising. The only saving grace is the excellent cadence: The game runs at 60 frames per second all the time, whether you play in portable or dock mode, with one or two players.

Unfortunately, despite the good pace, the overall gameplay is as slow as that of the original Double Dragon. Although Billy and Jimmy have more attacks than before and some nice combos, the battle is slow and full of technical problems. Collision detection is an activity in itself, because you never know when you’re recording a collision or not. Sometimes you can even hit an enemy with one of your punches, just to make the actual attack count for nothing, because the enemy was in the middle of the attack animation, making him simply invincible for a long time. Of course, that doesn’t apply to any of your attacks. All in all, the fight is as boring as any retro Double Dragon I’ve played over the years.

It wouldn’t be a Double Dragon game without Abobo.

But there is a redeeming grace. Because it is an older game developed by WayForward, this means that the soundtrack was managed by none other than Jake Kaufman, the man responsible for most of Shantae and Shovel Knight’s soundtrack. The Double Dragon Neon soundtrack remains as true to its origins as it is to the title, presenting a collection of high-ohmic synth melodies that don’t look out of place in Kung Fury.

Fighting isn’t so much fun… or so sophisticated.

Like the other Double Dragon games released over the years, Double Dragon Neon isn’t so bad, but it’s so mediocre that it’s hard to find anything praiseworthy in it except a great synth soundtrack. The graphics are boring and the gameplay is slow and mediocre. There are tons of better arcade fighters for the Switch, so don’t bother. Maybe that’s what I needed to confirm the hard truth: Maybe Double Dragon was never that good to start with ……

Double Dragon Neon wasn’t even that impressive in 2012, so you can assume it isn’t as gracefully outdated as expected in the graphics department. Still, everything’s going well. Despite the good framework and responsiveness, the fight is generally slow and suffers from unnecessary reconnaissance confrontations with one’s own mind.
As expected, Jake Kaufman’s high-octane synthesizer soundtrack is the best Double Dragon Neon there is. It can appeal to fans of the franchise, but generally speaking, Double Dragon Neon is a painfully difficult playing experience for them.
Last block: 6.0

Double Dragon Neon is now available for PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Switch.

Appears when the power is turned on.

A copy of Double Dragon Neon was made available by the publisher.


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