Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Night Fights : Double Dragon Neo Geo

Somehow, the "you win the prize" caption seems suitable here.....
Note: Friday Night Fights is a fighting game review and guide segment that is posted every third friday of the month.. Be sure to check back for more exciting fighting games from yesteryear and beyond. 

So I'm throwing out some new segments, just to test the waters and decided that it's high time i should cover my obsession with a bit more depth. Yes, that's right. Fighting Games. With the changing times we're often hit with so many games that we're often overlooking alot. this segment is aimed at covering fighting games that people might want to check out or just flew under the radar...Hell, even the ones that flat out were avoided due to whatever. Hopefully you, the reader will seek them out and give them a playthrough if you're in need of something to get you through a dry spell.

I have lots to cover, and plenty of time to cover them at the moment. so here we go...

Double Dragon (Movie)
Publisher: Technos
System: Neo Geo / Arc

Year: 1995

When the Double Dragon movie was announced as being in planing, people were excited. Back then it was a different time, and people expected that video game movies would of been awesome. Now we're a little more cynical and smarter about it, thanks to Uwe Boll. However, one of the good things that came out of that horrible train wreck of a film was the arcade tie-in fighting game.Okay, so the game was no Super Street Fighter or KOF 95 at the time, but it had it's own sense of charm, and an interesing system. Let's get more into that...

 Shuko: "I went from T-1000 to this? FML" 

Devil in the details.. 

The first and most important thing you need to know is that The controls are quite unconventional from your standard fighter. Where the punches and kicks are tethered to invidudal buttons, this game actually allows you to have punches and kicks on the same button depending on the joystick. If you want light attacks use the A button, Mid-range attacks are B and C and D is for Hard (yet slower) attacks.

Much like later games like Guilty Gear, you can double jump to avoid certain attacks. This comes in handy when dealing with characters like Rebecca, Amon or Dulton who seem to be projectile happy. Additionally, you can block while in mid-air which makes it easier to defend against 'dragon punch- ish' moves. This saves your rear, but it also lowers the possibility of countering jump-in attacks. You can dash left or right by double tapping the diretion you want to move in,A feature Which has became a staple in 2D fighters since the glory days.

Billy and Marian - solving lover's quarrels through domestic violence since 1995

The engine seems to be fairly solid from what I'm noticing on the playthrough. Super bars are charged in a "tug-of-war" like fashion. The super bar is overlayed on top of the player and enemy lifebars, and the person who gives out the most damage slowly gains more of the super bar until the character names are replaced by a flashing "charge" graphic. Once that starts going you can either perform super combos, and if you're playing as the Lee twins you can morph into your "Dragon" forms (by pressing all four buttons at once) which amp up your special moves (kind of a longer version of Sol Badguy's Dragon Install).

Large amounts of damage can dizzy your opponent and leave them either standing in place or on the ground in a daze. if they're on the ground you can attack for additional damage by holding the joystick down and towards your opponent and hitting an attack button. this is also another staple which has been featured in other SNK fighters like the Samural Spirits (shodown) series. From what i've seen it's easy to get a good dizzy in if you plant a couple three or four hit combos. kicking them when they're down is kind of like putting the dot on the exclamation point if you catch my drift. If you find yourself dizzied just wiggle the joystick left to right and tap one of the four buttons repeatedly to shake yourself out of it.

Well placed counters can net you some pretty big damage, as well as a generous amount of points. Points aren't really that important in fighters unless you're trying to net yourself the top ten ranking spot, but it's something interesting of note.

Amon: Eff you and your valley girl gang signs

Who wants some? 

There are ten fighters total, Most of the characters are from the series proper. Billy, Jimmy and Marion, and Abobo are all there, albeit with thier slightly altered movie makovers intact (for good reason. unlike Scott Wolf and Mark Dacascos these Lee Twins actually look like they could be related and Abobo only gets 'roided out when he powers up for his super). Other characters range from returning series characters like Burnov (who was the first boss from Double Dragon II: The Revenge), and subboss Duke (Super Double Dragon's final boss)  While other characters like Eddie, Dulton, Rebecca and Amon (who if wikipedia is to be believed is based on Double Dragon III boss/Ally, Yagyu Ranzou's design) seem to be there to round out the roster.

The character types go as followed


- Billy and Jimmy Lee = Standard shotoclone moveset, fairly balanced attacks (Jimmy has slightly different animations).

- Marion = Speed based character closer to Chun Li than anything. she has an array of kicks and air grabs.

- Eddie = Boxer type with some deadly counters. High priority.

- Burnov = mid-range grappler with projectiles.

- Abobo = Grappler with high powered attacks but low speed. Similar to Zangief.

- Amon = Ninja character with upper range speed and arial attacks. Similar to Samsho's Hattori Hanzo

- Rebecca = Fire based projectiles and decent anti air and basic attacks

- Dulton = Brawler character. projectile user with high emphasis on power

- Cheng fu = Drunken Kung fu master. Unconventional attacks similar to Chen from King Of Fighters.

 Boss characters

- Duke = Sub Boss. Cheap as hell. Uses heavy cornering techniques to gain advantage. special happy.

- Koga Shuko = Boss. Boss syndrome may apply here. Projectile happy, teleport happy, ect.

She runs good but how does she look? 

The graphics are pretty standard for late 90s fighters. I don't mind them that much, personally, but to most they are very dated. Each character has their own introduction animation which shows something getting broken or blown up.The characters themselves are pretty stiff in terms of animation as well, but this is long before the high quality visuals of Guilty Gear, Third Strike or MOTW. Amon's super seems to be the most interesting of the characters, where he stands on your head and calls out varying jutsus before causing his victim to explode.

Hogwarts has an important message for Marian

That's as awesome as the stage you fight him on, which is on the wings of a bi-plane flying through what looks to be the grand canyon (The winner is treated to an animation of the loser flying off into the background as he screams in fail ridden terror). Other stages like Marion's resistance hideout mimic the movie set, maintaining arcade games, destructable amusement rides, and A large screen that shows stills from the film itself. The other stages range from the burning wastelands,  a submerged hollywood, (California suffered from a catostrophic earthquake in the film which serves for it's post apocolyptic backdrop ) Chinatown, The sewers of San Francisco, and other interesting (but not really that interesting) locales.

Any surprises? 

As far as i know there really aren't any hidden characters. With most arcade games you could play as the boss characters if you fiddled around with the dipswitches, but I don't really think shadow boss was that much worth playing.

Update: Actually the Neo Geo version has Duke and Shuko playable, but they are still not even worth playing considering their high priority and unbelievable cheapness. 

Player Result...

If you're in the middle of a lazy saturday or sunday afternoon and need a quick fighting game fix, Double Dragon will suffice. It's not a top tier fighter by any means, but it serves it's purpose and can be very entertaining. As i said before, this is probably one of the only good things to come out of that trainwreck of a film, and if you've seen the film in question, you know that's saying a great deal of a lot.

Next Month: We'll be dealing with something a little bizarre...

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