Swainy: I have to agree with you on some points. While I was hoping that Double Dragon Neon would attract people to Double Dragon, I don’t think it will attract too many fans outside of the people who grew up with it. I just don’t know if it was a good time to use a retro 80’s style when you are trying to attract a new generation. I’m not saying that the 80’s wasn’t a great era, but at the same time, I don’t know if this will push it in a new direction. I think the game will be okay, but I don’t know if it will be amazing. I hope I am wrong.
I also agree with you on the arcade. It was semi-realistic and you pretty much had to battle your way through without a recharging element such as food as you mentioned, each level flowed into each other smoothly as well. As far as music, I think DD2 on the NES had the best music out of all the games.
As far as the NES vs. Arcade version. I played both when I was a kid starting with the arcade first actually. I loved the elements of both games. I loved the variety of martial arts moves you could display on the arcade, but I also enjoyed the various platform challenges of the NES because it brought depth to the beat em up.
As far as DD Forever, I loved that game and it brought back a lot of memories.
As far as my ideal version of a new Double Dragon game for the new generation, I feel it needs the following.
-For the setting, because the game is set a few years after the nuclear war and due to drug lords and rival gangs taking over, it needs to have a kind of darker setting in most areas similar to Batman Arkham City or as you mentioned the city slums. Most of the game should take place in a slum- like setting, but for bigger villains, their settings can look a little nicer because their wealth. Final Fantasy VII actually pulled the setting off well when it came to going from the slums in the beginning and then when you went after Shinra, some of the areas got nicer due to the mass wealth of the corrupted leaders. At the same time, if they do a new series, it needs to stay a majority slums. Willy’s base should be a high rise in the slums similar to the movie The Raid Redemption or they could keep it classic and have a base hidden deep within the woods. I point this out because Willy should be a small piece and a starting point to finding out about the shadow organization. In later games, they should create bigger and more powerful villains in the organization that Billy and Jimmy must take down.
-Building onto the environment, if the game became more open world I would like to see areas with a lot of character interaction from the people who live in the slums. Nowadays, the story is just as important as the game play and you can build a story out of Double Dragon. Seeing Billy and Jimmy interacting with different characters in the slums will add a lot of appeal. Those characters could set up various mission for the Dragons and slowly build onto the story as a whole. Also, I would like to see the villains with a lot of character and depth as well. Some turn chicken after seeing the Dragons lay out a bunch of their friends in front of their eyes. Others give you that crazy last ditched attack knowing that they are about to get knocked out. No I don’t want to it be like GTA where you can just mindlessly attack people in an open world game, rather, I would prefer for it to slowly open up so each area becomes more impactful. Once you complete all tasks, more areas become available. Also, it only adds to the list of memorable characters.
-As far as gameplay, after playing games such as Batman Arkham Asylum/City, Jade Empire, Shenmue, and True Crimes/Sleeping Dogs (When it comes out), I feel if done correctly a full 3D (Or a nice unique cell shading like Jet Grind Radio) game can be ideal for a new Double Dragon. Don’t let that DD Wander of the Dragon game scare you away from the idea (I only say this because of all the negative reviews I have read), if you make a sophisticated system, it can work and work well. I will always love the 2D beat em up games of DD, but with that you can only go so far as far as potential go. Trust me they are fun, but you can only get so much depth out of them.
-Also with the game play, I kind of want a combination of old mixed with new. I liked where Super/Return Double Dragon was going with depth. I feel the new game should have punch, kick, block, counter, crouch, and jump only revolved more in a 3D format. I think throughout the game, they should gain new techniques or even a new fighting style like in Jade Empire. Also, at some point like in DD3, you could gain a few new characters to help in your cause. This really depends on the length of the game. If the game is longer than 10 hours, then this would be awesome. The environment should also be another element added to the game. You’re fighting a lot of gangs and criminals and if you want to keep that faced-paced, exciting feel to it you have to add everything you can for multiple attackers. I would love to see Billy repeatedly bash someone’s head against a tile wall as he falls to the ground or kick someone through a door. To add onto it, if some of the bottom edge of the door is still intact, they could use that piece to slam a weakened enemy’s throat on it to kill them (I saw it in a martial arts movie once. I felt that was an amazing survival tactic.). The environment could definitely add an aspect to their challenge and survival. I would also love to see the booby traps from some of the older games return to add even more challenge to the game. Moving platforms, trap doors, and things like this adds so much to the game.
-As far as the health system, instead of doing like Streets of Rage of Final Fight where you pick up food to recharge, I would love to see a new element of health similar to the cross over games such as Marvel vs. Capcom. I call this a life and stamina bar. The life bar is a long bar where small solid chunks fall off after each major attack. Your stamina bar is more of a liquid-like meter that loses a little more after each attack. After each battle; depending your character’s stamina, the bar recharges to the end of the life bar. As you get attacked more, the life bar breaks off more making it shorter. Once it completely breaks, you’re dead. The stamina section is different. If your stamina is depleted, your character is only knocked out and another player can save you, or after a few seconds, you can struggle to recover and get up, crawl away, or perform a desperate attack to buy time. However, if an enemy stands over your fallen player when he is knocked out, he can deliver a fatal blow and kill you (Only sub-bosses or bosses can kill you if you are knocked out). I feel this way is good and realistic because it shows how the Dragons struggle to regain their strength after a long battle. The life meter doesn’t fully recharge until the mission is over.
-As far as character development, I would love to see our iconic characters such as Billy, Jimmy, Marion, Abobo, etc. return, but with slightly different changes. As far as Marion, the damsel in distress days are long gone so I would like to see her portrayed in a policeman’s role like she was starting to do in Super DD and the cartoon. Obviously, because of the setting of the game, the cops are either overran, killed or paid off. Marion is probably one of the few good ones remaining. This opens up a lot of windows for her. Maybe she becomes a playable character as well. Maybe she can be kidnapped later in the story. As far as her relationship with Billy, they could either stick with the classic story where they were already together or maybe in one of the missions, the Double Dragons actually save her (Making her playable) and throughout the game her relationship with Billy builds. Like I said, it adds variety. And if they wanted to go with a Mass Effect/Heavy Rain route with a deeper romance, that would be a nice edition as well. Willy should be a cruel and ruthless Kingpin. You can find scenes where he ruthless kills someone for attempting to screw him over as a display of fearful dominance. Willy also sends his warriors to kidnap people from the slums in order to do various cruel acts or experiments. Abobo could be a leading lieutenant with the black warriors who control most of the illegal weapon shipments that you have to take down. As far as Billy and Jimmy, Billy could be more straight edge where as Jimmy is more unorthodox.
-Maybe as a bonus, throughout the game you can unlock all of the old Double Dragon games and both the NES and Arcade versions. I think a lot of old and new fans would enjoy it.
Like I said, Double Dragon is my all-time favorite game and I hope that one day we will see a major game come out on the new generation systems. In the meantime, I will continue to play the old games, buy any new game that comes out like Double Dragon Neon (It's Double Dragon. I want it to be better, but I will take what i can get.), and play any fan made games that I can download such as Double Dragon Forever. Still, I would love to hear everyone’s idea on what would make a great new Double Dragon game.