Thursday, April 14, 2022

Double Dragon IV (Switch, 2017)


Super Double Dragon was always regarded by fans as the fourth game in the series but I guess it was never official. I mean, we got a Double Dragon 5 on the SNES. Regardless, they decided to go back to the well and finally fill in this maybe-blank in the series that didn't really need to be filled in. This game is very retro and very hard, and quite frankly wasn't on my radar until recently. Let's give it a run.

We've returned to the series roots, where nuclear war has left the world in ruins and criminals are running wild. Why is it always nuclear war? Why not an ice age, or a volcano? Maybe a meteor? IDK.

There were two brothers...and that's about it, everyone else pretty much decided to be a violent shitbag.

Our heroes are headed for San Francisco, which really fell apart after they legalized crime. Man, I'm glad this series is so different from the real world in 2021 and we'd never see such insanity actually playing out.

::San Francisco looks at the camera awkwardly::

The only time I want to see insanity in the real world is when it's Linsanity. JEREMY LIN WILL RETURN.

This is your basic Double Dragon game, same controls and everything as the NES games. Obviously the visuals are better, though, and more in line with a 16-bit game. Most importantly, you can now choose to play as Jimmy instead of Billy. The only difference is that he wears red, however. So basically it's like choosing between establishment politicians.

They made this so similar to the NES games in the series that it's actually to the detriment of this game. Controls are stiff and awkward, the whole nine yards. They also cranked the difficulty up, but we have a weird way to get around that.

This game contains ::thunder crashes:: platforming. It was ill-advised in the earlier games and it's ill-advised now. Despite all the complaints, they went ahead and went all-in with platform sections in this one.

First boss! Is this Abobo? Nope. Looks more like Shao Khan... if he just stopped trying.

Defeat stages and you unlock characters to use in two-player fighting mode. Usually enemies, like this Guile-looking guy.

Between stages you get these cutscenes. However, a mystery-filled narrative like the Ninja Gaiden games, this ain't. Everyone pretty much just directs you to the next boss. With all the snitches in this organization, how do they not run out of stitches?

HERE is Abobo, with a bunch of other goons leaping out of a helicopter. Everyone is hella buff in this game, which doesn't make much sense in a post-apocalyptic world of scarcity. Where do they get chicken and rice and protein shakes?

It's tough not to read this as Bimmy and Jimmy all the time. Both names are way better than how Highlander The Series fans refer to evil immortals as "Kimmies". Stop, just stop. Get some help.

DOUBLE ABOBOS. Plus some other guy! "He will be our Hollywood Hogan" they say.

Dun dun DUNNNN. Willy is no more. I'm surprised a rival gang took him down and not his chain-smoking habit.

The next level takes us to a casino. There are ten levels in all, and most of them are pretty shirt. This really does feel like a game from 1990 or do, where there isn't much content but you have limited lives and have to start over if you die (making it seem like there's more to the game than there actually is).

The bad guys are going after Marian?? Damn, I thought we'd go one episode without her getting kidnapped. I want to play a DD game AS her where you have to rescue the Lee Bros instead. She'd ideally resemble Blaze in looks and attire.

The next stage begins with Marian being punched in the gut and kidnapped, as is tradition. Usually this is the first scene in the game, interesting that they waited this long.

The domain of Jake's gang contains palm trees and stone columns, so you know they have funding behind them.

After getting completely swamped with enemies here, lives and continues are starting to become endangered.

The next boss snitches on the Okada Sisters, Japan's most feared crime bosses. I don't know of snitching on them is the best idea. Has he SEEN any Yakuza movies?

They also control Japan! So this organzation is the real Big Bad of the game.

MORE PLATFORMING. Why, guys? Just why?

In this TV control room, we discover that Abobo has returned from the dead as the deadly scourge of Green Abobo.

The Okada Sisters are diabolical, and want to lure the Lee Bros in to dispatch them so they have no competition when they take over the US. Or something

Neon Night Riders! 3 AM.

An elevator follows, where you're trapped with Abobo. A brutal slap-fight follows as both guys try to mark the elevator as their territory.

Here's the single worst section in the game, where I lost a ton of lives. These spinning block-platforms are the only way to cross the pits, and they throw in some disappearing blocks for good measure. As these games aren't real platformers, this suuuuux. I'd have omitted this section entirely.

The next level takes us to Tokyo and it's supremely awesome. Like Kamurocho all over again.

In Pub Linka, our hero battles a SEMI-NUDE SUMO.

"Fear me!" he says as he thrusts his midsection menacingly.

I thought that was bad, the next section has a SUMO ARMY.

Next up, a swarm of female ninjas beset Jimmy.

Get past them, and we're at the offices of the Okada Sisters. They're both sassy and fashionable with their Rinoa-esque outfits.

Instead of a fight, they activate a pit trap that makes our heroes plummet into the basement.

One thing is for sure, the Okada Sisters sure know how to make a guy go down.

MORE GEAR PLATFORMING. Seriously who on the dev team thought they should drop these sections in the middle of a brawler?

After a Megamanesque ladder section full of death traps...

...Marian is saved, but our villains are still on the loose.

I reach the last stage, but run out of lives and continues for the second time. Not starting from the beginning, and I don't have to. So what's the secret to this game?

TITLE SCREEN CODE. There's a mission select you can pull up. Unfortunately it only goes up to your last completed mission (meaning you have to do it over again). Having to repeat a stage when you game over isn't the worst thing when it only happens twice all game, and getting your continues back at a point close to where you were instead of starting back at level 1 is amazing.

The final battle with the Okada Sisters transpires on a beach and all their goons show up.

I think this fight is designed with two-player in mind. I'm alone here, so the Okada Sisters continue to just absolutely tag-team the hell out of Jimmy Lee.

Once one is defeated, the fight gets MUCH easier. It's one of the harder final boss fights in the series, but I've got plenty of lives due to refreshing them all by restarting at the second to last level.

They still take a ton of lives to beat, but eventually, Jimmy slugs it out and we win.

Next up is this weird cutscene where the Okada Sisters say a bunch of positive affirmations to each other because they're good enough and smart enough. Does this mean they meant well-a the whole time?

Everyone's having a heart to heart talk!

I don't even know you, lady!

After beating the game, you get some side content where you can play as any of the characters you've unlocked, meaning tons of enemy types.

Final thoughts on this game? Pretty much in line with everyone else, don't think it's that good and I'm not sure why it was really necessary to even make. If they're gonna do a retro revival of this series I'd rather see them innovate with it. And luckily for me, there's another recent Double Dragon that does do that, which I'm gonna look at next.


  1. Yeah, I bet there was a lot of outrage over how buff post apocalyptic Abobo was.

    Onward to Neon!

  2. Everyone is buff in the post apocalypse because the whole series is a big Hokuto no Ken homage, it's only natural.