Wednesday, 10 April 2013

REVIEW - DOUBLE DRAGON 2 : The Wander of Dragons (XBLA)

Kicking Ass... Nope, just Ass!

You know a game is going to be bad when you see or hear very little about it during the run up to its release. The recent The Walking Dead : Survival Instinct is proof of this. So I was quite surprised to see a remake of Double Dragon 2 on XBLA this morning, I had heard rumours about one being produced but had not seen any videos or previews of the title. I was still excited to try it out, though. After all, the arcade original, and the excellent NES version were, and still are, great fun to play.

Initial doubts started to creep in when I saw the horrible, pre-PS2 era cover, with horrible CG characters and miserable colours. The second thing that filled me with dread was the description on the Xbox live website, which has to be read to be believed. The Engrish description contains such gems as:

"The story line takes same as original game story. However, the graphic, character, action, system etc. are change"

"Also, characters are undressed from 80’s style, and recreated with modern sexy and beautiful style that amaze you and feel never been experienced world before."

Good lord. Did anyone make even the slightest effort with this? Maybe they were trying to outdo classic lines such as, "All your base are belong to us" and "congraturation, a winner is you", but I doubt it. This is completely unacceptable for a retail product in this day and age, especially when releasing on a worldwide platform such as Xbox Live Arcade.

It doesn't get any better from here on. Upon starting the game you are 'treated' to a cutscene that appears to show your girlfriend Miriam getting shot or something. It is extremely amateurish, featuring extremely poor voice-acting and badly drawn characters. After you have sat through this (or skipped it) it is straight into the game, and you immediately wish for a meteorite to crash through the roof of your house and land on you, just to put you out of your misery.

The graphics are incredibly ugly and are absolutely devoid of any character or charm whatsoever. It resembles a badly made PS2 game, with a twitchy frame rate and exceptionally bland backgrounds. Every time you punch or kick the screen jerks forwards slightly, making the appalling visuals even worse to cope with. In fact, it actually looks more like a ropey fan-made effort that you might find online for free (and that would disappear without trace).

The game plays like a 3D brawler, such as the awful Fighting Force, rather than a 2D one like the originals and excellent 2012 reboot, Double Dragon Neon. This means you can not only attack forwards and behind you, but also up or down. This results in messy scraps with multiple identikit enemies – you hammer the kick or punch button, and hope for the best – but often you just get bashed around from all sides. Without a decent special attack – you possess a few but they are next to useless and seem to only work half of the time – you often end up unable to break free and just get hit until you die. There are weapons to use but they break after 2 hits, and often fall into the background and cannot be picked up, while boss encounters can be beaten by using the same move over and over again. It is an utterly miserable and soul destroying experience with not one single redeeming quality.

Further descriptions of the levels, bosses, and additional play modes are utterly irrelevant as the game is an absolute atrocity, the sort of thing that should be removed from existence by any means necessary, lest intelligent alien lifeforms see it and judge the entire human race on its merits - resulting in our immediate, and well deserved, annihilation. This is not only one of the worst XBLA games I have ever seen, but an absolute insult to the franchise. Worst of all, it turns out that the reason that the original (and excellent)  HD remake of Double Dragon was removed from XBLA was due to these useless bastards securing the rights to the Double Dragon name and insisting it be removed. So not only have they taken a huge steaming dump all over the franchise, but they have made sure to remove any trace of quality remakes from the download service. Everyone involved in the making of this detritus should be utterly ashamed of themselves. A pox on every member of Gravity games. A fucking disgrace.

The Good

  • You don't have to play it

The Bad

  • Awful presentation
  • Hideous visuals
  • Poor framerate
  • Atrocious gameplay
  • It pays absolutly no respect to the game it attempts to remake
  • It's absolute shit

Developer : Gravity
System Reviewed : XBLA
Price : 800 points