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PAX East 2012: Double Dragon Neon preview, gameplay and interview
by Andrew Whipple III

Few games can compare to the outright classics, and you can bet Double Dragon is on that list. Years ago, it received an HD remake which afflicted digital hallways with its putrid structure and all was thought to be lost. Fast-forward to the present and enter Double Dragon: Neon, a re-imagining - not an HD remake, of one of the very best NES games ever conceived. Spoilers: it's not trash!

Before PAX East I wasn't even thinking about Neon, but after getting some hands-on time with the game, I came away from it majorly impressed. In most cases, keeping a property like Double Dragon largely the same is important. People, like myself, want to experience the feel of the original game without compromising what made it great. However, Pete Rosky representing Majesco and Way Forward was quick to remind me that the game is a re-imagining of the original, a love letter to what we experienced in the past.

Double Dragon: Neon interview and gameplay

What that means is Way Forward has augmented the mechanics behind the game but hasn't lost sight of what Double Dragon is. While it isn't a direct remake, Neon is still a side-scrolling action game with all the locations, enemies, punches, hair-grabs and kicks you can't live without - they just made them better. For instance, the visual style alone is remarkable and you can jump with a press of a button now instead of pressing two and hoping it works. Big baddies like Abobo are still present, and most importantly, the introduction to the game remains untouched.

Some of the big things that are different are the ability to juggle enemies with your attacks, item shops and being able to revive your downed teammate. Pete also mentioned that you'll venture into familiar zones but also into brand new exaggerated locales with new enemies. We walked into a building that blasted off into space at the end of our demo and a bad guy named Skullmaggedon was waiting for us inside. I don't know about you, but any bad guy named Skullmageddon has my undivided respect.

Perhaps just by reading these changes you're turned off by the game, but I'm telling you - don't be. If anything, these changes have made the game even more fantastic and addictive than ever before. I wasn't so sure I liked the approach Way Forward was taking either, but then I remembered that bastardized remake and my thought process changed. I'm totally fine with Neon and it's a complete blast to play. No it isn't the original, but I'll be damned if I can't say it's that much better.

Double Dragon: Neon should be released later this summer for around 1200 Microsoft Astral Pennies or $15.

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- Andrew Whipple III

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