Initially launched in 1987, Double Dragon is one of the most essential belt-scrolling brawlers in the historical past of the style. Whereas it wasn’t the first, and most of its mechanics have been achieved beforehand by Technos’ personal Renegade in 1986, Double Dragon’s reputation each in arcades and thru its dwelling ports established the success of the system. It has been cemented in the annals of sport historical past (or nonetheless that saying is meant to go).

As a result of of this, the collection has by no means actually died, even after the unique builders, Technos, went bust. Nonetheless, since 1995, it’s largely been remakes…or worse. In 2012, there was WayForward’s wonderful Double Dragon Neon, however that sort of stands aside from lesser makes an attempt to revive the collection.

Now, we’ve got Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons, which is a recent try by Secret Base, the creators of Streets of Crimson. Is it time for this duo of dragons to really rise?

Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons (PC [Reviewed], PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Collection X|S, Swap)Developer: Secret BasePublisher: Modus Video games, JoystickReleased: July 27, 2023MSRP: $24.99

Our heroes, “Bimmy” and Jimmy, are coaching of their post-apocalyptic dojo in the rotting stays of New York Metropolis after they get a go to from the mayor. He’s bought Marian, who could or could not nonetheless be Bimmy’s boyfriend and who would possibly or won’t have died beforehand. I’m undecided if Double Dragon Gaiden is a prequel or a brand new continuity. I’m undecided that’s essential.

What’s essential is the place it takes its affect from, and it’s a equally complicated scenario. I’m tempted to say that Double Dragon Gaiden is a one-button brawler, nevertheless it’s just a little extra nuanced than that. You technically have your default assault button, the “motion” button, and the particular button, which all do assaults. Nonetheless, the particular button requires you to construct up a gauge (which typically occurs shortly), and the motion button is about as helpful as a can opener on a jar.

With each character I’d attempt, they might invariably sprint or roll previous the enemies in entrance of them after which swipe at the air. The air was by no means impressed. To make use of the motion button, you could have a extremely stable really feel of the place your character goes to land after their sprint. Even when you do handle to get this system down, the motion button is way much less helpful than simply touchdown a combo or particular assault.


The fight system generally irks me. There isn’t any actual grapple mechanic, and leap assaults aren’t significantly helpful, both. You’re largely whittled all the way down to spamming your combo and particular assaults. To be honest, the enemies are brilliantly animated, and the fight a minimum of has a way of affect behind it, however that solely goes to date. That luster is essential to the style, nevertheless it wears off shortly.

That’s to not say there’s no technique current right here, however loads of it boils down to creating good use of particular assaults. As I stated beforehand, your particular gauge refills shortly, and there are issues you are able to do to expedite it additional. Quite a bit of your success is to know the best way to make the finest use of your characters’ three particular assaults and pull them off continuously.

It technically works. Double Dragon Gaiden escapes the threshold of being a naked minimal brawler, nevertheless it additionally pales compared to some of the video games which were pushing the beat-’em-up in direction of a brand new normal. In comparison with video games like Battle’N Rage, Streets of Rage 4, and even the comparatively mundane Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge, Double Dragon Gaiden doesn’t stack up.

To make issues worse, it feels horrible on an arcade stick. It’s all that motion button’s fault. That and the incontrovertible fact that the run is sure to a button and may’t be executed by double-pressing a course. At the least you’ll be able to rebind buttons, which wasn’t an choice on an earlier construct I performed.

Dragon scales

I really feel like most of the effort in Double Dragon Gaiden was spent on the artwork. It’s humorous, as a result of when the sport was introduced, the gripe I heard individuals echo the most was that they didn’t like the artwork type. I adore it! It’s colourful, clear, and well-animated. However whether or not you assume it’s interesting or not, it’s the place the place the love of the property is most evident.

The aesthetic is supported by the sound design. The music is respectable, however the method that Double Dragon Gaiden screams at you in help of what job you’re doing is essential. It feels very arcade-y, and provides to the impactfulness of the fight. On that notice, I do assume it’s type of unusual that there isn’t a CRT filter choice, however I is perhaps one of the few individuals who care about that kind of factor.

And for as missing as the fight is, you a minimum of get some selection from all the characters. Past Jimmy, Bimmy, Marian, and Uncle Matin, it’s also possible to unlock all the bosses and sub-bosses. Which means that, sure, you’ll be able to play as Abobo. The one-player portion of the sport additionally makes use of a tag system, which signifies that you’ll all the time have double dragons that you would be able to swap between. You may solely commerce out when your particular gauge is full, and there aren’t actually any tag combo alternatives, however, at the very least, it really works as a good life system. When your major fight-person goes down, you’ve your second option to again you up.

Thanks, suggestions

One of the extra distinctive mechanics that Double Dragon Gaiden implements is its development system. There are 4 levels to pick from at the starting, and so they change in size relying on the order you full them. Your first alternative is all the time going to be the shortest and best, with each following rising tougher and longer as you proceed (there’s an apparent dick joke there, however I’m not reaching for it). Past including some much-needed replay worth, it’s an effective way of permitting you to personalize your journey. Received a boss you hate? Take them on first to verify they’re out of your method.

On the different hand, there’s loads of give attention to gaining cash that you simply change at the finish of every run for tokens. These tokens can be utilized in a retailer to purchase numerous issues. You would possibly assume this is able to add a roguelite aspect the place you buff your favourite characters between runs, nevertheless it completely isn’t. You might have 4 sorts of issues you should purchase: characters, hints, artwork, and music. I solely discovered worth in a single of these issues. I’m not the kind to take heed to music or view artwork inside a sport, and the hints are stuff you most likely already know or may determine in a single playthrough. It’s issues like “prioritize this dude first” or “attempt to group enemies collectively so that you don’t get overwhelmed.” C’mon, man. This isn’t my first rodeo.

I believe that kind of outlines what a small manufacturing Double Dragon Gaiden is. It doesn’t actually really feel prefer it’s making an attempt to be revolutionary in any method, nor does it appear to be it needs to current you with a glut of content material. It serves extra as a tribute to the Double Dragon collection however extra in an aesthetic sense, as the fight system is in contrast to any of the earlier video games. You may inform that loads of love went into making the sport, however that doesn’t essentially lead to one thing indisposable or memorable.

It’s much less an increase and extra of a bow.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
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