A Bro-tal mess!
Wooooooah Double Dragon, Bro! That was our initial reaction upon first opening Double Dragon Neon. The game was developed by WayForward, the award-winning team responsible for DuckTales: Remastered. Double Dragon Neon (DDN) was originally released for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 where it received mostly favourable reviews. The Steam adaptation and online bro-op was developed by Abstraction Games. Now we know where to go with our demands to get back the precious hours we spent playing this horrible mess.
We don’t know about you, but when we play a Double Dragon game, we play it because it something we can play with the bros. Something that is brotaclar and blows us away with high-fiving awesomeness we know and love. What DDN gives us in terms of gameplay is exactly the opposite.
So, what is a Double Dragon game? Double Dragon was originally an arcade side-scrolling beat ’em up you could play with a total bro (Or Lady-Bro) It was a game we put quarter after quarter into an arcade machine just to continue alongside our stalwart bro and defeat the evil of lameness and save our girlfriend, onto which the broship was broken because Marian is a total babe.
DDN brings that back, but, sadly, into an age where classic arcade, quarter-swallowing games are ten-a-penny on PC. Double Dragon Neon has all the flair and broness of the original Double Dragon, but doesn’t really add that much aside from newer graphics and a better soundtrack. The game is a re-imagining of the first, Marian kidnapped, Shadow Warriors, Abobo and Linda are back to cause trouble once again. If you’ve played Double Dragon before, the story won’t surprise you. If you haven’t, prepare to assault some citizens unlucky enough to get in your way as you go to find your maybe girlfriend.
‘But CIG, you said it yourself, you play Double Dragon with your bros!’ Thank you random citizen, and yes we did. The only problem is, we can’t connect to our bro and he can’t bro-nect to us either. We came across this bug almost immediately, it’s a double dragon game, it’s obviously supposed to be designed around co-op. That’s what DDN advertises and makes it so brotacular! Within seconds we hear from our bro “Uh…I can’t move.” It was fine on our end, but by the end of the level it was unplayable for our bro and he had to leave.
We pondered and asked if he would host and we would join, the game was fine for us so it must be our internet, right? Wrong! As soon as we connected, the opening scene freezes and Marian is suddenly floating mid-air in what we think is a ghostnapping. We are then stuck in the spawn area of the game while our bro runs ahead of us. We attempted every possible thing we could until we sighed, defeated and told our bro we would play singleplayer. Our broship was sundered, broken forever.
Okay, so we had to play alone, it’s no big deal, how hard could it be? We learned by the end of the first level exactly how hard. There is a flaw with singleplayer Double Dragon; It shouldn’t happen. Absolutely no one plays Double Dragon games for their amazing singleplayer narrative. Those words should never even be associated with any Double Dragon.
The only redeeming qualities of DDN are the design of the characters and landscapes, the music composed by the award-winning Jake Kaufman, and that local bro-op exists to at least let you play the game with your physical bros. The graphics look good, they are crisp and flow along with the game. The local bro-op is okay and, at least, allows you to complete the game. The music is the shining star of DDN, it’s catchy and will loop in your head for hours at a time.
All the great music in the world can’t make this game good,however. And with a $9.99 pricetag it needs all the help it can get. This review was held back for two weeks in the hopes that the multiplayer bugs would be recognized and fixed. The broken online bro-op has been in the Steam support forums since the day of release and is still unattended to by the developers at Abstraction Games. We cannot recommend DDN to any of our Bros or Lady-Bros. Avoid this game if you want to play online with friends. If you are willing to shell out some cash to play with a few friends at a house-party it’s worth a shot, but only for everyone to laugh as each bro tries and fails in brotacular fashion.