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E3 2012: Double Dragon Neon hands-on

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Posted by: David Sanchez

The Double Dragon series is close to a lot of gamers' hearts, and the nostalgia it exudes is rife with 1980s badassery and heavy punches. An iconic beat 'em up franchise, Double Dragon has cemented itself as a classic arcade and console series. While at Majesco's booth at E3, I got the chance to check out the WayForward-developed Double Dragon Neon, and I was very happy to see that the game isn't just some lame cash-in on a classic series, but rather a completely new game that's true to the spirit of Double Dragon, all the while throwing in pleasant modern refinements.

Like its predecessors, Double Dragon Neon is a tried and true 2D brawler. The gameplay is slick, with combos and grappling moves adding a variety of ways for players to destroy their enemies. You can finish off a combo with a cool spin kick that attacks multiple enemies, slam two bad guys' heads together, and even pick up a number of weapons. Knives and bats can be used to dismantle baddies, and if you're feeling sadistic, you can toss these lethal objects right at their stupid faces!

You're going to want to bring the fight, because enemies can be pretty damn strong; and I was told that the bosses in Double Dragon Neon would be really tough, as well. Luckily, you don't have to go it alone. You can team up with another player locally or online. The game will feature drop-in/drop-out co-op, and I was told by Majesco, "If you're playing this alone, you're doing it wrong." Considering the blast I had while playing alongside another Double Dragon Neon ruffian, I can certainly attest to that. Plus, there are some great double team moves that are triggered after you perform a high five move with your co-op buddy, and you won't want to miss watching as the two protagonists bump chests and deliver fake-out hand slaps.

I would be remiss (or just an idiot) if I didn't mention how awesome the game looked when I played it. The visual style of the series has been revamped, and Double Dragon Neon sports a vibrant cel-shaded look to it. Character models are big and muscular, and there's even some jiggling for the female baddies. You know, because why not? The sound design of Double Dragon Neon is also pretty killer. Everything has a nice 1980s sound to it that just screams Karate Kid.

The nostalgia that bleeds through Double Dragon Neon isn't just found in its presentation. It wasn't even five seconds after my session with the game, and I found myself with a goofy grin. If you've played Double Dragon in the past, you'll see exactly what I mean upon watching that opening scene at the start of the first level. I really don't want to ruin anything, but just know that you need to see it for yourself, and when you do, like me, you'll be sporting a perpetual stupid grin.

Double Dragon Neon definitely looks like a game to watch out for. If you're a fan of beat 'em ups and retro games, or you just want to have fun playing an action game with a buddy, this one should really be on your list of games to watch this summer, as Majesco's shooting for an August launch. You'll get the chance to download Double Dragon Neon on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Watch out for it! Or else!

For a bunch of nonsensical gibberish, follow @thesanchezdavid on Twitter.

Tags: Double Dragon Neon, E3 2012, XBLA, PSN, WayForward, Majesco

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