Sunday, April 8, 2012

Double Dragon Neon: Hands-On First Impressions

For the better part of the past ten years, WayForward Technologies has become the developer of choice for publishers looking to reboot classic 2D franchises. A Boy and His Blob, Thor, BloodRayne, and Aliens have all been worked on by WayForward, and have usually received critical and commercial success. It is little surprise then, that WayForward has been called upon to reboot the Double Dragon games for the new generation of games. We recently had the chance to play the first public build of Double Dragon Neon, and were pleasantly pleased with what we saw.

Graphically, Double Dragon Neon is very...neon.

Double Dragon Neon is billed as a "reimagining" of the original Double Dragon, which most will probably remember from the NES. To that end, it starts off exactly how you remember, with some street toughs rolling up on a helpless young lady, who promptly gets punched in the stomach. That's some good old fashioned family fun, right there. If you remember that scene from the original Double Dragon, it's likely you will be delighted by what follows.

The gameplay feels true to the classic, with just the tiniest amount of lag when switching directions or targets. The running animation felt clunky, and difficult to control although we were assured several times that this was a very early build. We played the demo in co-op, and the action felt smooth the whole way through. The graphics are a shining example of WayForward's dedication to capturing the feel of the classics. All the enemies are appropriately silly, with afro'd punks whose hair picks can become weapons, if knocked loose from their voluminous hair.

The are some modern updates coming to Double Dragon Neon, but unfortunately , these were not available to us in the demo we were given. Defeated enemies will sometimes explode into piles of money, which are then used to purchase upgrades for attacks, weapons, etc. This will provide some level of customization for the player, as they will be able to build their characters in whichever manner they choose.

Every game at PAX East: Coming this Summer

From the limited amount of playtime we were given, Double Dragon Neon feels as though it will be a welcome update to the classic formula players are familiar with. DDN will be available for purchase this summer on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Fans of the original should keep an eye out, and newcomers may be brought in by the bright visuals and energetic soundtrack. It seems as though WayForward has a good grasp on what they're trying to accomplish, and Double Dragon Neon may end up being a sleeper hit this summer.

Christopher Linendoll and Zack Keyes are videogame masters. Also, very photogenic. Ladies.

1 comment:

  1. Wayforward has an amazing in-house composer these days, too. Jake "Virt" Kaufman makes some great vidya games tunes.