When I first heard that Double Dragon 4 was making a comeback, I felt ecstatic. Double Dragon II: The Revenge was one of my favorite NES games as a kid, and after seeing that the artwork being used for Double Dragon 4 was indeed a nod to Double Dragon II I felt even more optimistic about the return of Billy and Jimmy Lee. When I got a chance to dive into the game, what I felt was a combination of nostalgic overload and stale combat. Confused? I’d be surprised if you weren’t. Read on and I’ll explain what I mean.
Double Dragon 4 follows up as a direct sequel of the events of Double Dragon II following the defeat of the Black Warriors. The twin masters face a new threat from a new gang who call themselves the Renegades who have created the ultimate staple with the Black Warriors to destroy the Double Dragons.
In addition to the story mode, there is a two player dueling mode as well as a tower mode. Players can use the characters they encounter in story mode in the dueling and tower mode. I thought these modes were a really cool nod to the original Double Dragon as that game had a dueling mode as well. It was nice to see Arc System Works include this in the game.
Double Dragon Battle Mode From The NES
Tower Mode puts you against multiple enemies in a room. Fight through as many enemies as you can, in order to move on to the next level of the tower. The more enemies you are able to defeat, the more will be available to play in other modes throughout the course of the game.
The graphics for Double Dragon IV are based on their Double Dragon II counterpart which utilized an 8-bit system. It’s a nice throwback and while we are so used to playing games that have smooth layers, with realistic textures, I must admit that it was quite nice to throw it back a bit.
The music in the game is great too. Composer Kazunaka Yamane did a fantastic job of mixing in the classic soundtrack with some new mixes that flowed with Double Dragon 4 quite well. One of the awesome features in the game allows you to adjust the music track to chiptune to fit in with the artwork the game encompasses. I thought this was a nice touch and when I play now, I make sure that I use the chiptune version for the music.
Double Dragon 4 is a classic beat ’em up game and for the current generation that may not stand well. Gameplay can get stale after a short time of only being able to use a certain amount of moves. Weapons can be used along the way, but there is no inventory system to keep them as you play. However where the gameplay excels is what it was built for – which is a direct sequel to Double Dragon II. If you were born in or before 1982, you will already know what to expect out of this game. The game plays and feels exactly like it was created for the Nintendo Entertainment System and for that, I applaud ASW. In fact, they are able to take it one step further as multiple enemies can be a part of the fighting experience – which makes the game somewhat more difficult, but it is also a nice surprise to see so many 8-bit sprites on the screen trying to kick my ass at once. It took me a second to get used to it but I realized and quickly remembered that this is 2017 and I’m playing on a PlayStation 4 which can easily handle these kind of graphics and gameplay simultaneously.
Double Dragon 4 is a solid game to play alone or with friends. Sure, the gameplay can get stale after awhile but it serves as one of those types of games that you can always pick up and play and have a fun time. While it may not stand up well with certain age brackets with the jerky controls, the older crowd may come to appreciate a type of game like this to come along and remind us how challenging, entertaining, and fun this series can be. The game is available now on Steam and PlayStation 4 for $6.99. For all things Double Dragon 4 and classic beat ’em ups – keep it locked to Mammoth Gamers!
+ Nostalgic value from the sound to the graphics
+ Familiar characters such as Linda, Abobo, and Williams waiting to get their asses kicked
+ A game that you can pick up at anytime
+ Multiple game modes including Tower, Battle, and Story Mode
– The game gets somewhat difficult in later levels
– Depending on the age bracket, this game will either bore or annoy you with the jerky controls
– Overall story is pretty bland