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Double Dragon Neon is very quick to remind you that this is a spiritual remake of the original games, featuring remixes of classic Double Dragon songs and massive nods to some of the levels from the franchises best games. While this is enough to make me smile as an old school gamer, there is also a massive amount of 80′s pop culture and old school video game references. A great example of this is the main villain, Skullmageddon, who is an obvious parody of the He-Man villain Skeletor. I also saw an obvious Mega Man clone in the game as well, everything reference is it’s own love letter to the golden ages of gaming and pop culture. Now the thing I liked most about this is the fact that even though the nostalgia is over the top, it doesn’t take anything away from the game.
With gameplay, there are 2 major things to note with Double Dragon Neon. First off, I really don’t think that the game is ever really meant to be played as a single player game. There are so many features that are just not available to you when you play by yourself. Currently, co-op is only available while playing in a traditional same-screen format but there is an upcoming patch to allow online co-op as well. Now the second thing about playing the game is all the amazing co-op abilities that you can use. The new ‘High Five’ system allows you to share life, steal life and buff each other to supplement the combat experience. You can also juggle your opponents with well placed combos and revive a downed Bro when your health reaches zero. Playing single player removes these elements from the game altogether.
Combat is typical of a brawler, featuring waves of the same enemy time and time again with different skins but the same combat AI. While there is a plethora of different attacks that are available at your disposal, I found myself using the typical punch/kick combos to get the job done. There are a collection of special abilities that you can use as trump cards while brawling but I never really found myself absolutely relying on it either. These new combat features came off as great additions to the game, but really didn’t end up being anything that added to or revolutionized gameplay.
Ultimately, I had a great time playing Double Dragon Neon and was even able to sit down and play alongside my 4 year old son. With the Shadow Bro mode, he was able to autocopy my abilities and not have set his own skills as well. This was nice and allows a new player to play with another player with a pre-leveled character. I did still need to play through some of the more brutal platforming sequences but it was something that he could still play the majority of. I feel this is a huge benefit of this Double Dragon game, it appeals to not only the veteran fans but also to the inexperienced newcomers as well. This should be noted, as this is really the first decent Double Dragon entry in over 20 years. The first for many gamers out there now.
All in all, Double Dragon Neon may not be the best game ever, or have the most original mechanics, it is still absolutely rad!
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