Double Dragon

Neo Geo

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9.5

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


doubledragongeo3.gif (26649 bytes)It's bad enough the atrocious Double Dragon cartoon received a video game translation. It's even harder to swallow that the movie, for all of its awfulness, was translated into the game. However, the reliance on the source material is loose at best. That leaves us with a standard, above average fighter with fantastic visuals.

Using all four buttons for attacks, this oddball in the Double Dragon line is easy to play for beginners, and as a result lacks some of the depth hardcore fans will want. Special moves can be done with any of the four buttons, and there's no distinction between kicking and punching. Some characters do one or the other.

The roster is a mix of new and old. Bosses from the first two games, Abobo and Burnov, make an appearance. Billy Lee's constantly kidnapped girlfriend Marian is here (finally able to fend for herself), and so is Jimmy Lee. Their styles are varied, making each character a relatively new experience. Drunken Boxer Cheng-Fu is a real departure, and it's a great experience to learn his quirks.

Double jumping is something that could easily turn off traditional fighting game fans, yet it adds a bit to defensive side. You can also quickstep to maneuver away from the fastest projectiles. It's easy to pull these moves off, and this is easier to get into unlike the deep, involving King of Fighters series. It's obviously aiming for a different crowd.

doubledragongeo1.gif (26498 bytes)The graphics engine here is the biggest highlight. Sprites are enormous, tremendously detailed, and the shading is amongst the best on the console. Backgrounds are hit or miss, and this is one of the few areas where the movie comes into play (still pictures from the film cycle in the arcade). None of these character sprites even remotely resembles the actors, and the game is better for it.

Animation is limited in parts, but the impact is still felt. Special moves, activated during a charge period (determined by the remaining amount of life), are awe-inspiring. These also add a layer of tension to the brawls, especially when both characters have one ready to let go.

There's nothing here that's revolutionary though. It's a basic fighter that seems stuck in a rut. A few years before its release, it might have made some noise. Everything about it screams quality, yet it's hard to ignore how generic it is. There's enough here for a brief, light fighting game session, but nothing to become excited over.

It's also not for fans of the series, and that's where the biggest shock will come from. After the previous years Double Dragon V, it's understandable that fans would be apprehensive. That leaves this Neo Geo exclusive easy to miss, and while it's not something necessary to track down, there is a mildly fun game here, despite its generic qualities.


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Last updated: Thursday, September 22, 2005 07:06 PM