Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Double Dragon Neon (Lots of systems, 2012)


Another retro revival of the series, though more in the vein of Streets of Rage IV in that it's modernized and all the better for it. Modernized or not, it's also 80's (and metal) AF, and a MUCH better usage of your time than Double Dragon 4, despite this launching years earlier. Let's go.

The game starts with Marian standing around in the street. She should probably stop doing this.

She gets SLUGGED IN THE ABS (as is tradition) and the game begins.

The game begins and we've got some pretty nice PS2-level graphics here. Which makes this, by a mile, the most advanced-looking Double Dragon game!


Overworld map looks pretty nice and gives us a rough idea of where we are and where we're going.

In the next stage, our hero beats down goons with a tire iron!

The apocalyptic future of these games has blimps, yet Danhausen can't get one?

The second-eldest brother? Is that like being the third-strongest mole?

At shops you can restore health, get extra lives, or upgrade your special attacks. It's good to find a couple of effective special attacks and keep upgrading those. Also, you can equip a cassette tape (I don't get it either) to increase your stats, and those can ALSO be leveled up. Need to choose the best tape before you invest too much into it, like the special attacks.

And yeah, leveling these things up DOES become a requirement towards the end. It isn't the gate-keeper grindfest that Scott Pilgrim vs The World was though.

Behold! The Shadow Warriors hideout! Wait, already?

Marian is tied-up on some sort of demonic symbol.

"Maybe I don't want to be rescued!" she yells over. "This is pretty hot!"

The boss, and the leader of the bad guys in this game, is SKULLMAGEDDON. This is sort of like Turtles in Time in that you're fighting the bad guy early on and then again later.

Oh yeah, the Shadow Fortress also BLASTED OFF INTO SPACE.

This next section is super-annoying, with waves of enemies attacking while a door intermittently opens and pulls everyone near it out into the vacuum of space. Also, was this built by the Death Star planners?

Next up is some Platforming Action, but it isn't anywhere near as bad as in the stiff-controlling NES games. The controls in this are much looser than the rest of the series.

The next boss is this mechrider guy who looks very, very 80's, which is probably the point.

Next up, the Shadow HQ crashes back to Earth. It's weird because you never go back into space, and that whole foray felt like something that'd be at the end of one of these games, not near the beginning. So in a way they sorta turned the usual retro game motif on its head.

We survived the crash of the space-building only to face a new nightmare: Killacopter.


Win and things segue into a battle with a giant tank. This thing has appeared before in the series, and requires platforming to reach the top.

Stage 7 is the lab, Shadow Clan's dark secret. Funded by American taxpayers!

We see wireframe images of the Brothers Lee on the walls. They're being studied so the bad guys can create something capable of defeating them.

...maybe just start using guns?

Instead we go to SILHOUETTE-MODE as our hero beats up more weaponless hooligans.

The first boss here is a pair of mutants based on our heroes.

I...don't even. I have no evens for this.

After that is a giant piranha plant. Wait, why is it called Marian? WHAT IS HAPPENING?

It has a shark for a hand!

This was easily the hardest fight in the game for me, no joke. Only, maybe, the final boss is on this level. This thing unleashes DEATH.

After the fight, you use the piranha plant's severed jaw as a board to surf down a mountain. Surfing is rad to the max!

It needs to be mentioned that when you finish a stage, the hero air-guitars. This can't get much radder, it is already at critical levels of rad.

This is it, the final stage. Can I get this done?

Check out the Skullmageddon action figures.

Big Trouble in Little China vibes here. I've noticed that enemies have become total damage-sponges and my overall DPS hasn't improved in a while. This is a bad sign, and means my special attacks / cassette haven't been leveled-up enough.

At the end is Skullmageddon and Apparently Nude? Marian, in the boss battle of the century!


In any case, beat up Skullmageddon enough, and...

...we go to a final section where our hero gets super power armor.

This lets him one-shot everything, even Abobo. It's pretty awesome. I just wish I could take it back into the rest of the game as a reward for getting this far.

Egad! Skullmageddon now has a Super Shredder form!

He looks like he's been huffing his supply. And rule #1 of being a crime lord: Don't huff your supply.

I game over on this fight, and it isn't even close. Giga Skullmageddon is WAY higher level than everything leading up to him.

At this point I had to halt my progression and go grind some levels for special attacks and the equipped cassette. Basically had to figure things out. It took a couple hours of banging out earlier levels for currency, etc. At least the grindfest happened late in this one, rather than Stage 3 like Scott Pilgrim. Or maybe a late grindfest is worse because you think you're almost done...I don't know.

The rematch with Giga Skullmageddon goes a lot better now that I brought a bunch of extra lives and have more powerful attacks to throw at him.


And that's it for that guy, as the credits give us karaoke. A truly rad to the max game. But what of Mari-

-oh, there she is, catching Skullmageddon Recoome-style. THE MAN'S BEEN BROKEN IN HALF!

Our hero then scoops her up and they waltz off to do whatever it is that they do between kidnappings. However, she still isn't playable and that's unfortunate. She could have that Recoome uppercut as a super move or something.

Very good game here, probably the best the DD series has to offer. That may be sacrilegious in some quarters but it improves over the others in all the right departments.

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