Publisher: Arc System Works
Developer: Arc System Works
Release Date: September 7th, 2017
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Back in the days of the NES, one of my favorite series had been Double Dragon. It’s always held a special place in my heart since then. Several years ago we were given Double Dragon Neon which gave the series an updated style and soundtrack that brought the series to the modern age. If Neon was one step forward, Double Dragon IV is purposefully two steps back. It has been faithfully recreated like the originals, even taking sprites from the original NES titles. Unfortunately, the two steps back show that things haven’t aged so well.
Since the original’s released, the beat ’em up genre has seen an abundance of other series improve on the formula, from Final Fight to Streets of Rage, including even Double Dragon Neon. Trying to recreate the magic of the originals has worked with other series in the past, but the original Double Dragons are not very good by today’s standards. The combat is system is slow and feels outdated. The level designs and backgrounds are uninspired, falling flat. If they wanted to use the base of the original games, they should have at least tried to add something new to the series to keep attempt to keep it relevant. Instead the game is just full of missed opportunity, especially when we had a much better entry into the series just a few years ago.
For fans of the series, it at least brings back warm and fuzzy memories of playing the games on the NES. Too bad we’re only left with those memories. It might sound a little harsh because there are certainly worse beat ’em up games out there. This just fails to live up to the promise of what they could have done to bring the series back on top to a genre it helped create. Instead it just reminds us that sometimes our memories are much better than the reality.