Retro-Like Review – “Double Dragon IV”


The original Double Dragon on NES was one of the greatest side-scrolling beat ’em up games of all time. Though very challenging, the mechanics had a feel that kept you coming back to challenge the same levels over again.

The original was very well received, and spawned a series that still is producing games to this day. If your a fan of the series, or have just followed its history, you know that every game has gotten progressively worse over the years.

Double Dragon Neon was the last game former developer Technōs Japan released. Ark System Works purchased the right to the series in late 2015.

I recently picked up Neon on Steam. After trying it out I understand why Technōs Japan finally washed their hands of the series. Neon looks cool on the surface, but is a total stinker.

The Double Dragon series has been around for so long. It would have been a shame to let the series end with Neon as its last game. Though it seemed the Double Dragon Empire was coming to its end, Ark System works still has faith in it apparently.

With DD IV Ark System Works could have chose to go in many directions. They decided to take it back to the old-school, and design game with the 8-bit feel everyone originally fell in love with.

DD IV picks up after the elimination of the Black Warriors in Double Dragon II. It may look like classic DD, but they’ve added many new elements to the game like playable enemy characters, VS Mode, Tower Mode, and more.

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When DD IV released on Jan 30, 2017 I was really excited. I love a new take on a classic game. The original was one of the first games I owned on the NES.

On Steam DD IV got mixed reviews. In gamer geek language that translates to pretty bad. I don’t always trust Steams user reviews. I thought there might be a chance the newer generation just doesn’t understand the old-school style. So I decided I needed to put this one to the test myself.

Usually when creating a gaming video I do a dry run of the game just to see how it fairs. On my first dry run I only played a few stages. At first I didn’t see what the problem with the game really was.

On my first attempt at recording the gameplay my computer crashed on about the 6th level. Very annoying when that happens. My above video was the third round of playing story mode.

So this is how my emotions played out. On the first run I thought it seemed pretty cool. By around stage 3 of the second round I was becoming bored with it fast. By round 3 I was completely tired of the game.

Initially I thought it was so cool they took it back to the classic style, even though I know how hard the originals were. I couldn’t understand how it got the mixed review.

One of my problems is the attack button layout. The spinning jump kick is kind of nice, but its hard to get it right every time. The extra moves like the corkscrew attack would be cool if they were easier to perform.

So besides the moves being hard to get on point, I felt like I was taking to many cheap shots. You get plenty of lives and continues, but it just pisses you off when your constantly missing your moves and getting beat down.

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I also ended up dying several times because of stage layouts. This was a problem in the earlier games I hopped they would correct. Instead it seemed to get worse then ever.

If you made it through my full video, you see it ended on a glitch. I guess the game didn’t notice the guy who needlessly committed suicide and wasn’t ready to move on.

I was actually relieved that the game glitched and I could end the recording. Before it got stuck I was thinking to myself, I hope I die soon.

I was just gonna scrap the video. I don’t have it in me to play a 4th time. I wanted to add the tower mode after the story, but I’m not feeling that now. I ended up deciding to upload the vid because it may help others when thinking about picking the game up.

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Now I obviously am not an expert play on very hard mode gamer. I actually kind of suck at most games. I like to do gameplay videos because I think the average gamer can relate more to my gameplay then hardcore game masters.

I had hoped the Steam Mixed User Reviews were wrong. I am going to have to agree that this game isn’t that great. If your a fan of the originals it might be worth $7 for you to check it out. If your just going for nostalgia your better off dusting off the original games in the series.

I would say this game has no replay value. Simply because I will not be playing it again.

Now I understand why the game launched with a $7 dollar price tag. Still I applaud Ark System Works for not letting DD die. This game is at least better then Neon. I’m still not giving up on the series. If they make another game I’ll still try it with high hopes.

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