Articles tagged with double dragon

Dragon IV
Posted by Ben at 10:42

There is something to be said for absolutely nailing you inspiration, capturing everything about the original source. Done right you evoke all the fond memories and nostalgia for the original, but there is every chance youíll take things too far. There was that Psycho remake a decade or so back that was essentially a scene for scene remake. It was fine, well acted, well shot, but it was the same as the original, no one needed it. Double Dragon IV kind of shares the same problem, it feels every inch a lost NES Double Dragon game, but thatís not entirely a good thing

Itís difficult to know where to start critiquing Double Dragon IV, so much of it overlaps, you need certain bits to make the good things good, but they also make the bad things bad. So Iíll start with a word about the PC version in the hope that before we publish this these issues are resolved. In game the PC port runs fine, certainly I canít say I noticed any glaring problems, but getting to the point where you can actually play the game is where Double Dragon IV stumbles. Despite Steam recognising the Playstation 4ís DualShock 4 controller natively, the game throws a fit when you try to use it. Itís an easy enough fix on the consumerís end, if you run a controller emulator to mimic a 360 controller youíll be able to use something with a d-pad worth the name, but you shouldnít have to.

Screen size is another problem. Double Dragon IV boots to a windowed mode, you can press F2 to increase the size of the screen, and you can press Ďalt enterí to force full screen mode, but again you shouldnít have to, and itís an issue that still occurs when playing in steamís big picture mode. Finally, closing the game. Thereís no way to do this with a controller, thereís no option on the game menu, you need to force the shut down yourself. Hopefully all this is an easy fix, but it should have been sorted for launch.

There is some things to like about Double Dragon IV, particularly if you have an affection for the originals. Thereís a plot that might as well not exist for most of us, but it does fit with games from that time, bouncing around all over the place, trying to explain the level designers locations. The backgrounds and characters look suitably 8bit, crisper and a higher resolution certainly, but they definitely look the part. The music too is, to my memory at least, spot on, it feels like it belongs in an old brawler

The problem is that the same can be said for the gameplay. Even compared to the 16-bit era of Streets of Rage 2 and Final Fight Double Dragon IV feels limited. There are a number of moves at your disposal, beyond the basic punches and kicks thereís a headbut, a roundhouse kick and a barwards punch, but theyíre so inneffective that itís hard to see why youíd choose to use them over standard attacks that have more reach and allow you to combo. Thereís no art to it, youíll soon learn to use the more powerful rising attacks when youíve been knocked down, but largely because youíll spend a lot of the game being knocked down. Enemies will break your combo for no reason, and youíll find that the progressive rise in difficulty is really more a case of enemies doing more damage and becoming cheaper, attacking you as you stand up. Which to be fair will have been your tactic throughout the game, so I guess itís only fair. Then thereís the platforming, thereís not loads of it, but none of it is good, itís probably the right thing to break up the gameplay in some way, but not with something worse.

Itís again a callback to those old NES games, back then games were unfair, they were cheap, and you did have to cheese your way through them. I did have some fun with Double Dragon IV, nostalgic fun sure, but that doesnít necessarily invalidate it. You can never shake the feeling though that Arc System Works should have used those old games as a springboard, that sticking so close to them actually hurts this game. Itís not awful, but nowadays it really doesnít hold up
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Double Dragon IV
Video Review
Posted by Ben at 16:47

Our full review of Double Dragon IV will follow tomorrow. It's half way written, and I know more or less what I think of the game, I'm just a little torn as to where Double Dragon IV s on a scale

It's certainly not a bad game, and it is a faithful sequel. It feels like an old game in a way most retro games don, I'm just not so sure that's a good thing.

As things stand, some of my criticisms of the PC port of Double Dragon IV are accurate, things like controller problems and not being able to close the game from inside the game, but there's every chance that by the time you watch it these things have been patched and fixed. I'll try to remember to annotate the video if it ever happens

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Posted by Ben at 13:45
I'd say the "eagerly awaited Double Dragon IV" but truth is, that there was a Double Dragon IV coming out was a surprise for most people. Kind of cool that there wasn't a huge wait from announcement to release

Double Dragon IV, the sequel / prequel / missing piece of the Double Dragon series is out today on Steam and Playstation 4, priced at $6.99 (£5.54 on pc and for some reason £9.49 on PS4)
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Posted by Ben at 15:53
Quick turnaround this. Only announced a week or so, Arc System Works have announced that Double Dragon IV will arrive on PS4 and Steam this month

We're looking at a US release on the 29th of January on PSN, and the 30th January for PC. I've asked if those dates will be the same for Europe, as I think Japan gets Double Dragon IV a couple of days later, I'll let you know

If you're wondering why you should care, Double Dragon IV takes it's cue from the old NES games, looking slightly better admittedly, and boasts a dev team that includes key members from the original games

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Posted by Ben at 14:37
Technos might not be a household name, but some of their games are. Technos were responsible for the legendary Double Dragon, a genuine classic from my childhood Now it's in the hands of Arc System Works, and an Arc Double Dragon is something I'd like to see

The deal also includes the classic River City Ransom, Super Dodgeball, Kunio-kun, and everything else Technos' owned

It will be interesting to see what comes of this, a Double Dragon game that looks like Guilty Gear would be amazing, or it could be more a business decision to have some titles ready to go for mobile
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Posted by Ben at 15:12

Double Dragon is at once nothing like a video game film, and the archetypal video game film. Thereís absolutely no reason for it to take the game as inspiration, other than to try to find an audience, really this could be absolutely any kids film from the early 90ís.

The plot centres around the Double Dragon, a pendant formed by a dead king, split in two and kept separate, lest its full power fall into the wrong hands. The pendant is the property of the unknowing Lee brothers, however the nefarious Guisman (Robert Patrick of T2 and X-Files fame) seeks to get his hands on it so he can take over New Angeles. New Angeles because Los Angeles was destroyed by a massive earthquake (this was topical in the 90ís), leaving an ĎEscape from L.A.í style gangland paradise.

The Leeís are both well versed in martial arts, entering tournaments and the like. Which actually points to one of the more peculiar aspects of Double Dragon, itís supposed to be a lawless wasteland, at least at night, yet thereís suburbs and karate tournaments, business men and a bustling press core. It dilutes the threat established in the early parts of the film, when the only reason the gangs control the streets at night is because the police didnít bother stopping them.

While Iím complaining about the minor plot stuff, the Double Dragon pendant itself is rubbish. Separately itís quite good, the half that Guisman steals allows him to turn into a shadow and take over peopleís bodies. Not bad, and he also canít be hurt in this form, which comes in handy a few times. In fact Iíd go as far as to say that this half of the pendent alone is enough to take over L.A.. The other half, which ends up in the possession of the brothers, makes the wearer invulnerable, again pretty handy. If you put both parts together though, you turn into a ninja with a sword, who seemingly isnít invulnerable, and could certainly be stopped from taking over the city by the police.

So itís ludicrous and stupid, but then itís a kid film from the 90ís so it was never going to be anything else. There are a few positives to take from the film though. As easy as it is to hate Billy Lee (the main Lee, and the whitest Lee, which Iím sure was purely incidental) generally the actors play their characters perfectly, with Jimmy and Marian (the police chiefs daughter) are both likable, where as Patrickís Guisman is comic book evil.

Thereís lots going on, with speed boat chases, burning warehouses, genetic experimentation, and lotís of fighting. I donít know Mark Damascusí (who playís Jimmy) martial arts heritage, but he seems convincing here, not that the others really embarrass themselves. Not that itís high quality stuff, but considering some of the films itís up against, itís not too bad.

The only other positive comments Iíve got are that Alyssa Milano (Marian) is stunning in this, and that Billy and Guisman share one of the best lines in cinema history. ďYouíre weak like your father!Ē ďYouíre ugly like your mother!Ē

Elsewhere thereís some horrendous special effects, including, but not limited to some of the worst 3D graphics Iíve ever seen. The Leeís and Guisman come into contact far too many times, in fact he track them down within about 10 minutes of the films starting. And one other thing, the Ďuniqueí way the Leeís give each other a high 5 is cringe worthy.

Double Dragon is a terrible film by just about any measure, but itís an easier and less painful watch than the likes of Mario, Alone in the Dark and Bloodrayne. Remember itís a kids film and I dare say thereís even a chance youíll get some enjoyment out of it. Not that thatís a recommendation, just to be clear.
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