Ripped men, scantily clad women, martial arts, with a large heaping of 80s nostalgia, you get all that and more in Nintendo Switch’s Double Dragon: Neon.
I was provided a free version of Double Dragon: Neon on the Nintendo Switch for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.
Originally released In 2012, Double Dragon: Neon serves as a (kind of) reboot to the Double Dragon series. The game was developed by WayForward Technologies and published by Majesco Entertainment. It follows the over the top shenanigans of two twin martial artists Billy and Jimmy Lee as they go from location to location to beat up a gathering of ne’er do wells bent on trying to take down the super buffed fighters.
Let me preface by saying the only beat ’em up style title I’ve played is the X-Men arcade game at my favorite Roller rink growing up as a kid. (You know the one!). With that being said I’m a very, very casual beat ’em up gamer. A “noob”, if you will.
With Double Dragon: Neon you basically port the arcade into your switch. The plot is relatively 80s. A cute girl who is the love interest of the main protagonist gets kidnapped by some Skeleton Warlord “Skullmageddon” for, really no apparent reason other than to just be a nuisance to our cool guys Jimmy and Billy Lee. From there we go from shady city streets to an outer space dojo to a science facility, to a graveyard, to ultimately the palace of Skullmageddon. What a wild ride!
The gameplay is relatively simple. You have punches, kicks, jumps, ducking, and running, as well as weapons and abilities to activate during combat like shooting a fireball or increasing the damage of your kung fu moves, etc. There’s a mechanic in which perfectly dodging gives you a “Gleam” that makes you glow and enhances the power of your attacks.
Another mechanic that makes Double Dragon: Neon quite unique is multiplayer. You can do a special high-five to share health with your couch co-op buddy. Or psych to mess around with them. There’s also a revive mechanic. With these implemented it puts the focus of teamwork on the forefront while roundhouse kicking your way to the 80s style synth arcade music flooded into the game.
The game is relatively easy to adapt to, but by God, I could not dodge to save my life! And the enemies are relentless. Take, for instance, the seductress with her Catwoman-like whip, who just consistently combo whipped me around, dealing a burst of damage and ending my gaming sessions, rather quickly.
To be completely honest, I sucked at playing Double Dragon: Neon. It could be due to my disinterest in a genre I find to be quite lackluster and hasn’t been improved over the decades.
However, reviewing this game on the merits of what it is, I think Double Dragon: Neon is a solid port of an all too familiar nostalgic factor associated with arcade gaming. It’s clearly targeting a niche audience. I say this because for those who have spent their entire lives playing first-person shooters, open-world games, and fighting titles with next-gen graphics, it’ll be a really hard case to persuade anyone to put down those shiny new Triple-A offerings for an old relic from the age of the arcade.
But, if you love the 80s, the feeling of arcades, the physical weight of tokens in your pocket, the dirty joystick that can’t quite get you that full rotation, and kung fu street fighters kicking butt and taking names, you should try your hand at Double Dragon: Neon.
Released in NA on December 21, 2020, for the Nintendo Switch, you can purchase this game for $14.99.
It’s also available on Steam.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Author: Micah Carrillo
Micah is studying English and Digital Design. His love of geek culture spans across diverse mediums and genres. Comics, anime, films, you name it! He enjoys video games on the Nintendo Switch and Xbox.
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