While at E3, I nearly got to publicly embarrass myself by playing NBA Baller Beats. As my common sense got the best of me, a guy approached me and asked if I wanted to play his game. Curious as to what game this guy was going to show me, I agreed and we went over to a small booth hidden in the Majesco press area that had the name DOUBLE DRAGON NEON on it. I had to look like an idiot to this guy, I had of been rocking a cheesy grin in my joy of seeing an updated version of an antiquated game from my childhood. We chatted for a minute, talking about the old Double Dragon games and what made them so great (answer: every damn thing), then he asked me what my favorite thing about the Double Dragon series has been. My answer? The kick ass sound tracks of course! The guy handed me the headset and immediately informed me to ‘Put these on”. I knew where this was going so I quickly tossed them on (backwards I think) and was greeted with a glorious 8o’s hair metal rendition of one of my most beloved title songs.
Great music was just the introduction into this game. Specifically billed as a “remix” of the old game and not just a HD remake, Neon adds all sorts of goodies and nostalgia into it’s repertoire. One of the most immediate deviations from the original setup is the introduction of the “mixtape”. As you are pummeling in the faces of your enemies, they may drop power-ups that can be added to your mixtape. These power-ups can be things like fireballs or special buffs and can be used to quickly turn around a fight. Another simple but enjoyable addition is the ability to juggle enemies, if nothing else it adds a few laughs into any brawler.
The most interesting change is the high-five system, as the game is meant to be played with a friend, this feature becomes key. High-fives are controlled by the right thumb stick and can do one of four different things. I saw a high-five which allowed my partner to share health with me, a down-low too slow high five which took some of my health and gave it to him and a high five that increased our damage. You don’t seem to have many options these days to directly interact with friends in too many games like you used to in the NES and SNES eras, this feature brings back some of that fun.
I played through a few levels and got to see some familiar faces, like Abobo. Overall, the gameplay seemed smooth and the 80′s themed characters elicited a few chuckles, there are guys with hair picks drop them when they die, allowing you to throw them at enemies and fro their hair out. The game lacked any actual sound effects when I played, so even though it was thoroughly enjoyable, combat felt a little hollow. Obviously that will change by release but it is still worth note.