Double Dragon for the Neo-Geo is the only Double Dragon game Technos Japan made since Super Double Dragon. This was also Technos' first game for the Neo-Geo. Instead of a side-scrolling fighting game like the original, this one is a one-on-one fighting game that's loosely based on 1994's Double Dragon film, meaning that it's nothing like that digitized mess of a Street Fighter: The Movie game. However, it does borrow elements and characters from the first four Double Dragon games (I, II, III and Super). There doesn't seem to be a general storyline, but it seems to revolve around Koga Shuko and his search for the Double Dragon medals.
By Neo-Geo standards, I guess the graphics are good. The characters are well animated and colorful. The endings could have been better though. Each background is interactive, featuring breakable objects and walls. In Billy's stage, you can completely destroy his car. My real gripe is the grainy FMV taken from the movie and used during the intro. The character designs are not bad; in fact, they're quite decent. At least Billy and Jimmy don't have mullets in this game. Also, each character has his or her own unique intro in the beginning of each battle.
Typical fighting game sounds, which mostly consist of characters yelling the names of their moves. The music itself is not bad and fits quite nicely with the game. The announcer is the most annoying voice I've ever heard in a fighting game.
You choose from one of ten characters. Some of the characters are from either the movie or the previous games. Billy and Jimmy are the main characters and they have the usual assortment of Ryu and Ken-style moves. They can change into their super-powered counterparts from the movie by doing a charge move which involves hitting all the fire buttons at once. Marian is a gang leader and street fighter like in the movie (instead of the damsel in distress in the first two games). Thankfully, she doesn't look anything like her movie counterpart. She has wide variety of figure skating moves. Abobo and Burnov (from Double Dragon I and II respectively) fill the role of the big guys in the game. Amon is the ninja of the group and he looks very similar to Yagyu Ranzou (the ninja from Double Dragon III). Eddie is a patriotic kick boxer from Venezuela. Cheng Fu is a master of the drunken fist. Rebecca is the other female character in the game, who fights with two tonfas. And finally we have two bosses (who are only playable in the home versions with a secret code): Duke and Koga Shuko. Duke was the main villain in Super Double Dragon; in this game he is Shuko's bodyguard. Shuko is the main villain from the movie, who is more sinister-looking in this game. He's quite easy in the first round, but becomes extremely cheap in the second. Overall, a decent lineup. It could have used a few more characters and more original ones too.
Controls and Moves: A
The game has everything most Neo-Geo fighting games have. It has air blocks, dashes, special and super moves. What separates this from other fighting games are the buttons and the charge meter. There are no specific punch or kick buttons. The four buttons are determined by their strengths (quick, medium, strong and fierce). This might be confusing to some players, but I found no problem whatsoever. The charge meter is a super meter within the life meter that allows you to execute one of your character's charge moves (which are usually done like special moves, but with two fire buttons at the end instead of one). The special moves themselves are easy to execute, even on a D-pad. You can also stomp on fallen opponents, something that's missing from most Street Fighter-clones.
In the beginning of the game you can adjust the difficulty level, the charge meter, numbers of rounds, time limit and the handicap. You can also choose your opponent or let the computer pick at random.
Double Dragon for Neo-Geo is an underrated fighting game. While it should
had been a side-scrolling beatemup like the original, as far
as Street Fighter-clones goes, it's not as bad as critics claimed. I found
it more enjoyable than Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer (Technos' other fighting game
for the Neo-Geo) and a thousand times better than Tradewest's Double Dragon V. There are better fighting games for the Neo-Geo, but if you're new to the genre,
Double Dragon for Neo-Geo is an excellent choice. The moves are simple and easy