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DD II Shrine




Rage of the Dragons
Console: Neo Geo AES/MVS
Developer: Evoga/Noise Factory
Publisher: Playmore
Number of Players: 2
Release Date: September 26, 2002

Story | Codes | Characters | Moves Sticker | Insert


By Cloudmann
Contributing Writer


Everyone likes Double Dragon, right?  Everyone like versus fighters, right?  Well SNK released a conglomeration of the two game types in the original Neo-Geo Double Dragon and actually pulled off a decent fighter.  Unfortunately, it was lost in the plethora of fighters already out, and SNK decided not to follow up.  Fast forward to 2002: Evoga, an independent game manufacturer, decides to go out on a ledge and release a "sequel" that technically is a game not of the DD world (licensing rights, you know).  The effort was great, these guys took their time, and the end product shows just how much work was put into it.  Awesome game!

Graphics: A+

This is standard Neo-Geo fare, but that's not a bad thing.  The Neo-Geo has a powerful graphics processor, even by today's standards.  This machine was designed to do one thing: play 2D games, and play them well.  Lighting is used well in this game, everything is colorful, and all the artwork is nicely done.  This looks like something you'd see in anime versus the Saturday morning cartoony art that was in the first Neo Geo game. Top quality stuff!

Sound: A

The Neo Geo was no slacker in the audio department, either.  The music is great, the tunes are clean and have a good tempo, the sound effects are great, and nothing is really overused.  My only complaint is that the announcer sounds a bit tinny, but that's not a major thing.

Enemies: A-

I'm kind of mixed on this.  This is definitely a Neo-Geo fighter.  All the characters are pretty-well inspired, and every fighter is unique and really no more powerful than anyone else.  But the only returning characters are Jimmy, Billy, Abubo (Abobo), and Kang (Burnov in some sort of wrestling mask).  In the same way that the first game disappointed me a bit, this one doesn't use characters like Willy, Chin, Linda, Roper, Williams, Abore, Oharra, and the like.

Weapons: N/A

Only a handful of characters in the game have weapons, and they're integral parts of their arsenal. No one can pick any weapons up or lose them, so this doesn't apply to this game.

Controls and Moves: A+

What can I say?  The Neo Geo was designed for this kind of game and SNK has shown us that even a decade after its release, the Neo Geo can churn out VS fighter with the best of 'em.  Controls are smooth and fluid.  Nothing is really too funky to be able to be pulled off, and it seems to flow a bit easier than the first Neo Geo game.  Pure Neo Geo goodness!

Modes: A-

The only ways the AES and Arcade versions differ is that you have unlimited credits in the arcade port (with unlimited quarters), and the AES had five credits per player.  The AES version has a versus mode that works the same as popping a quarter into the second-player side in the arcade cabinet and hitting start.  It also has a practice mode and the standard fare of useless extras. Really very, very little difference in the two games.  That said, this is a standard versus fighter along the lines of Marvel vs. Capcom.  There's one round, and each person has two characters.  Once both energy bars are depleted, that's it.  That part works really well, but the versus mode is the same.  I'd really like to have seen a one on one mode.  Also, when hit, a bit of the energy you lost can be regained if you switch out.  When doing this, the energy recharges too quickly.  Why is this a problem?  If you choose a character with high ground superiority and one with high air superiority, this quick recharge lets you switch off between them like mad if you want, leaving the possibility of cheapness.  Really no other gripes here.

Conclusion/Overall: A

I like me some Double Dragon.  I like me some versus fighters.  This seems to be a perfect mix.  That said, this game just flat out rocks and was designed on the right system.  I only wish that the Double Dragon copyright holders would get off of their collective tuckus and re-release DD in its original incarnation: a 2D side-scrolling beat 'em up.  A lot of new-gen gamers snub their nose at the DD series because of its age and may snub their nose at this as just another versus fighter.  If someone took advantage of the power of new hardware and made a hand-drawn art based game running at 640 x 480 resolution or better (like Guilty Gear X) and made sure to keep the original game play intact with a few modifications, the game would rock.