Since the announcement of Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons, I knew I needed to play it. Not because of the "nice try" of Double Dragon IV (Yeah, that's a thing), but more because of the dopeness that was Double Dragon Neon. Double Dragon 1 and 2 in the arcades were unforgivable. The NES version of 1 was just as insane. I just find it amazing that different companies have had their own spin on the franchise. Technos, WayForward, SNK (Neo Geo), Arc System Works all got a turn, and now Modus and Secret Base gets their shot. And I must say, the latest iteration is not bad at all. At all. It's just right.
Without getting too much into it, the game states that this is an alternate take on Billy and Jimmy. It gives a false sense of Marian is in trouble again, but it turns out, that she is a playable character. You have your pick from her, Billy, Jimmy and a new character named Uncle Matin. Billy and Jimmy are your melee fighters, with lots of quick strikes, while Marian is is a range fighter with a gun. Matin is your slow but powerful character. All have their own strengths and weaknesses. Marian and Matin can't pick up items, but Marian has an invincible roll through in it's place, while Matin can pick up people and throw them. These are the first 4 characters you start with, with the ability to unlock 8 more.
You can also get a special ability, that only happens if the meter allows it. This can extend a combo, or be used to get you out of a jam. The coolest feature in the game is that you choose two characters, and tag in between them. In the middle of a combo, you hit a button, and your other character can come in with a special, or a regular attack. There's a downside to this, that you lose control of the character you tagged out, and they are still susceptible to being hit. The game plays a little under the speed you're probably used to with side scrolling fighting games, but the enemies you plow through will make you forget that real quick.
With local co-op, a promise for online co-op in the future, a system where you can buy temporary buffs every half stage, and a nostalgic soundtrack, this game has some really fun parts. There were some moments where I ooh'd and ahh'd, and the game play wasn't overwhelming. There are sliders you can toggle before you start the campaign for more or less rewards, and replay value comes via unlockables. As this heads into review territory, I will say that you should definitely give DDG:ROTD (I just wanted to type that) a shot, especially if you're a fan of the series. Don't watch that movie though. You'll hate yourself. Instead, watch my Billy/Marian playthrough preview below! It comes out July 27th for pretty much every current system.