by Tibe (2012)
Double Dragon, just like games as Legend of Success Joe or Fight Fever, is further evidence that the Neo Geo has not only received masterpieces... After a pretty insignificant introduction - it must be admitted - during which we see Robert Patrick coasting along, with some beautiful artworks of fighters on a black void background, we hasten to press start at the title screen (let's end up with this shit!). Please excuse me of instantly killing the highest hopes of the few who don't yet know the game, but Neo Geo's Double Dragon is NOT a Beat them Up. Technos has chosen a different, original way to port their hit on the system: since the machine did not received new softs of this kind since 1993, let's not try to make a powerful adaptation of one of the most legendary titles in this very genre. No, we Technos guys have a better idea: why not to make a new DD in a genre never seen before on the console, and in which competition is not too hard with SNK? The Versus Fighting, of course!
In 1995, when Techno's "hit" is released, it's also the year of release of The King of Fighters 95, for example. While the dream of every Neo Geo owner would tumble down to see a REAL Double Dragon inflated with hormones coming on their machine, the editor instead provides a damn serious competitor for SNK's latest KOF: a ten characters roster, with an ultra-basic gameplay, a simplistic realization, charismatic fighters - worthy of a mussel beds - all with the backdrop of the magnificent Double Dragon movie, released a few months before (a notorious big budget nanar). How lucky we are! You got it, DD is far from being able to compete with Kof 95, nor with any of the other VS fighting games released that year. Anyway, let's stop being hard on the game, as it still packs some qualities. The first that comes to mind is its animation. Without being fantastic, it's better than average, the programmers having had the good idea to include zooms during battles, like in a Samurai Spirits or an Art Of Fighting game.
Among the few good features present in this Double Dragon, we note that many of the background objects can be destroyed, which is a fun content, seen before in games such as Street Fighter II, Samurai Spirits or Karnov's Revenge. Plus, the backgrounds are for the most pretty dynamic (fight on an airplane, in a river, etc) and the interaction with the scenery is a nice idea that makes the game more attractive. Less good now, the graphics. Some scenes are good-looking, but overall the style is too basic, and even if it's colorful and sometimes original, the drawings show no talent and some details even shock (the water in Dulton's stage is ridiculous). The best surprises are the burning house in Rebecca's stage or the nice waterfalls at Eddie's. Another chapter to be criticized, the soundtrack: it's borked. The melodies (if you can call that "melodies") deserve a red card, while the sound effects are unworthy of a Neo Geo. The theme really have nothing to do in a fighting game! Try to close your eyes while listening to it, and you'll feel like watching the Price is Right or Family Feud. The game really didn't need this!
I don't need to argue anymore to have you understand that the realization is not convincing at all, to say the least. Speaking about replay value, it's not doing much better. The game packs only ten characters - even twelve with a TIP- who are not really interesting, which is far from making the game a replay value monster. If only the available fighters were charismatic and full of techniques... but don't even dream about that! For sure, fans might be pleased to find back the heroes of the old DD games, but they'll quickly turn heads and go away: few combos, few special moves, all this being surrounded by a desperately basic gameplay with weird, lazy sensations. As always, it's better just to do what you can do best than venturing on unknown fields where the competition is fierce. Technos decided to develop a versus fighting game for the Neo Geo, and the least we can say is that they shouldn't have. Even if the game was released two years earlier, it still would have been far from rivaling with productions such as Fatal Fury Special, Samurai Spirits or World Heroes 2. You got it, Double Dragon is a mediocre fighting game that deserves our disdain!
|There are a few good ideas for the backgrounds, but it's inhomogeneous and weakly designed, especially for the characters.|
|Not too decomposed, the animation is still decent, with lively backgrounds and great zooms.|
|Sound effects are almost acceptable, varied and good quality, but the musics are terrible...|
|Twelve characters total, not really interesting and botched for the most. Playing two is fun in the beginning... but quickly gets boring.|
|Weak, simplistic, approximate... So many adjectives come in mind for this boring gameplay!|
|A below-average fighting game pretty unattractive. Even more if you think about what's available on the Neo Geo!|
VALUE FOR MONEY (2012)
A very funny joke! If it's about 150 € for a japanese AES, it's more than 1,000 for a US/Euro version! A true masterpiece in a collection for sure, but a terrible investment for a pure player! Especially if you like good fighting games!