Double Dragon Neon Review

The Best Bad Game Ever

May 28, 2015
dd logo

double dragon neon cover art Double Dragon Neon

Developer: WayForward Technologies
Publisher: Majesco Entertainment
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Price: $9.99
Release Date: Sept. 11, 2012

The 80's called. They want their game back.

Too bad, it's mine and they can't have it! How else am I going to have so much fun and groan at terrible jokes at the same time?

Double Dragon Neon is, as you might have gathered, a throwback to the old Double Dragon series from the glory days of the NES. For those not familiar with the series, it's a side scrolling beat-em-up that follows twin brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee as they use their mastery of Sosetsuken, a fictional martial art, to take revenge against the Black Warriors gang for... various things, depending on the game. Neon goes back to the plot of the very first Double Dragon. The Black Warriors (now called the Shadow Warriors, for some obvious reasons) attack and kidnap Marian, girlfriend to Billy, or Jimmy, or possibly both of them... the game doesn't really decide to make sense of this plot point. With a weary complaint of, "Aw man, not this again!" the Lee brothers spring into action to save her.

double dragon neon screenshot

Jimmy pounds Williams into the ground while Billy uses his spin kick to take out Williams and Williams. No, enemies don't need more than one name, they're enemies.

What follows is a delightfully bad and hilariously self-aware jaunt through neon-lit streets, a rocket-powered space dojo, an experimental genetic laboratory, and a haunted graveyard, to name a few. The Lees beat down legions of identical bad guys - spiced up with the occasional android or gigantic tank, of course - heal themselves using soda and high-fives, and collect cassette tapes to power up their abilities.

This game is very much an ode to the 80's and 90's beat-em-up arcade games, and that's not always a bad thing. Combat is fun and fast, with many players finding what works for them and sticking with it. Of course, that means that some enemies are going to have unblockable attacks that are frustrating as hell to deal with, but again, this game isn't so much trying to re-invent the genre, as just relive an experience. The cassettes do help though, letting you change up things to get a new special attack, or change around the statistics of your characters enough to give you some control over your progress in the game that wasn't there in the original. The game feels authentic, while also a bit more playable than just going back to the first game.

Assuming that you are playing in bro-op mode (and if you aren't then you're not playing it right), the Lees spice up the adventure with near-constant witty banter. Their one-liners include such gems as "Hurry up, Buttlord!" and, upon crash-landing back on Earth after a space level, "Yeah, man! Terra-firmative!"

But, if you think that Billy and Jimmy have top-notch writing, just wait until you meet their nemesis:


The big bad of Double Dragon Neon is a discount Skeletor who speaks almost exclusively in puns.

The entire game is a bit over an hour long, and it's an hour that I did not regret spending. Or spending again, and again, with different people and on various difficulties. Double Dragon Neon has become my go-to game when I have a friend over and need to kill a little time. It's silly, cringe-inducing, cheesy enough to make a fondue pot jealous, and one of my favorite games ever. This isn't going to win any awards, but it doesn't have to: it's just a good way to spend a few minutes to liven up your day, just like the old arcade games used to.

Have fun with this time-capsule of the game! Be happy, it'll remind you how far we've come since then.

What's your favorite god-awful game? Hit us up in the comments section or follow me on Twitter @Eric_P_Henn and let us know what game makes you simultaneously love and hate everything about it. Finally, if you want to be totally brodacious, please consider contributing to Sprites and Dice's Patreon. Even a dollar a month would be totally tubular.

Eric Henn

Head Writer