Double Dragon here, Double Dragon thereÖ seems Double Dragon has gone just about everywhere. Yep, itís come home to the iOS and Android platforms. All of us geeks with the new, shiny, high-tech phones have another platform to play this on. Itís not original though. This is yet another rehash of the series. There are cutsceenes galore, higher-resolution graphics, spiffed up audioÖ you get the idea. Does it live up to the original or the great remakes out there (like the GBA version)? Read on.
This is a bit of a mixed bag. While on first impressions, this looks great, some issues pop up. Yes, the graphics are gorgeous on the small screen of your phone (and look pretty good on tablets, too), the artwork is certainly nice, and all of the character sprites look great, but itís a bit of a mishmash. Some of the backgrounds are ported pretty much directly from the arcade and donít really mix too well with the new 21st century graphics. Also, speaking of 21st century, everyone has had a post-2000 facelift. Iím not sure what the issue is, but some of the charm of the original seems lost here. Itís all very pretty, though. My biggest complaint is in the HUD at the bottom of the screen. No matter how you configure the controls (more on that later), the bottom THIRD of the screen canít be used for the in-game graphics. Itís a waste of space; a cop out for filling the screen, and sometimes, enemies actually are hiding behind your controls. Thatís just sloppy programming, folks. That said, itís got pretty top-notch graphics for the platforms (though Iíd like to have seen better use of the iOS retina displays).
Again, something seems lost here. The tunes are certainly retro enough, the music thumps, and the sound effects are well doneÖ but it doesnít feel quite like a Double Dragon game. Brizo Interactive, the folks that made the Zeebo port of DD, built this one as well. If you played the Zeebo game (pretty damn decent, by the way), you'll notice the same quirky differences in audio and graphics here. DD iPhone definitely has high-quality music and sound, but it's just not perfect for the franchise. Maybe Iím just getting old and miss my í80s mullet-worthy sounds from my local bowling alley, but this game only just misses the mark as a whole here. Much better effort than the graphics, though. Really. Those on-screen controls hinder the game enough to be an issue.
They actually nailed this part down. Lots of different enemies to fight, all very authentic (though many are new or very modernized). The really nice thing here? Twenty four of them are unlockable. Yep, beat the game multiple times and you can play through as different (though in my opinion, weaker) characters. Nice job, and a nice extra feature that really reminds me of the NES portís vs. mode. I'm very happy here.
Again, what can I say? Itís all here, and then some. Play itÖ love itÖ retro goodnessÖ mmmmmmm.
Controls and Moves: C-
And hereís the part that makes Cloudmann want to Hulk out. I hate crappy controls. Really, thatís a bit unfair. The controls arenít really crappy, just inconsistent. Sometimes (most of the time, in fact) the pad and buttons work fine, but every once in a while, a virtual press is delayed, missed, glitched-out to another command, or some other random garbage. Not enough quality control went into this particular facet of the game. Sure, I can choose options in the game menus to change my control scheme to an easier (but limited) three button setup, but if the buttons donít work 100 percent of the time, I canít play accurately 100 percent of the time, even with simplified controls. Poopy. Speaking of the menus, theyíre pretty damn clunky. Since that ultimately doesnít affect gameplay, it's no big deal. But sloppy controls do not make me happy. Boo!
Okay. You have Dragon mode (single player, clock running), Double Dragon mode (two player via Bluetooth, clock running), and a Time Attack mode (complete the level as fast as possible). One big miss here: no Wi-Fi multiplayer. Ouch. The unlockable characters are nice, the achievements are all well and good, and there are the two control schemes. Heck, there are even two extra levels. But, Double Dragon should be two player and easily accessible as a two player game. Bluetooth is nice, but playing with (or against) some stranger in a Westbekistan sweatshop (provided the sweatshop has internet and Wi-Fi) would be a nice option to have. Otherwise, nice job, but thatís a pretty big hit.
I really wanted this game to land an A on my rating scale, but itís not gonna happen. So much was done right, but two things (one huge) hurt this game. The onscreen HUD needs to be trimmed, made transparent, replaced with floating controlsÖ something. The fact that enemies are hiding under my thumbs infuriates me (donít make me angryÖ you wouldnít like me when Iím angry). But what hurts the game worse is the infuriating controls. In a brawler game, controls should never occasionally glitch, miss, or get lost. Itís horrible to die simply because your virtual pad or buttons donít respond. If more work had been done here, then this game would have rated an A or better. That said, I still recommend it. Itís not quite as retro as I would have liked, but itís still a fitting entry in the series. Thereís a lot of stuff to unlock, lots of achievements, and the game is generally jut lots of fun to play, even if itís a bit maddening at times.