Double Dragon 4 brings throwback beatdowns

“They don’t make ’em like they used to!” croaks some dreadful sketch show character. Perhaps their name is Harold, or Maude. Each episode, they visit a shop – a china shop, a car showroom, an ironmonger, etc. – and forcefully ‘test’ products in ways that ultimately trash the whole place. Shelves fall, cabinets collapse, windows break, and the teapots/cars/hammers lie in pieces. After Maude (or Harold) is shoved out the door, they sigh to the camera and croak: “They don’t make ’em like they used to!” This awful joke dies over eighteen episodes.

The Double Dragon gang very much do make ’em like they used to. Double Dragon 4 [official site] launched yesterday and the beat ’em up looks oh so very 1988.

This is the first new Double Dragon since Arc System Works bought the series up along with the Kunio-kun games in the catalogue of now-dead developer Technos. Arc have gotten the band back together, though, recruiting the original game’s director, its animator, and its musicman for the small team making Double Dragon 4.

The end result looks an awful lot like the old games, for good and bad. Perhaps that’s exactly what you want. If so, you can pick it up on Steam for £5.54/6,99€/$6.99.

The last Double Dragon round our way was Double Dragon Neon, a radtacular faux-eighties glowfest. That was made by WayForward rather than Arc, who hadn’t yet gobbled it up. I quite liked how silly and colourful Neon was but retro beat ’em ups don’t hold my attention as much as when I was a kiddywinkle.


  1. Harlander says:

    Well, I’m going to have the theme music for the original’s Atari ST port stuck in my head for the rest of the afternoon now.

  2. Gothnak says:

    And yet that comedy sketch sounds better than Citizen Khan, Count Arthur Strong and Mrs Brown’s Boys combined.

  3. MisterFurious says:

    Bow down before your lord and master, the mighty Nostalgia! Give unto him all of your money and your time! Watch awful movies time and time again because they are called Star Wars! Play video games that are intentionally made to be ugly and difficult to play to remind you of the games you played as a child! Buy t-shirts with Thundercats and Masters of the Universe even though you are in your thirties and those cartoons were awful! Never grow up! Give us all of your money to remain a prepubescent little snot forever!

    • cardboardcity says:

      How does people doing that affect you?

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        Quite badly, apparently.

      • Machocruz says:

        Yeah, seems like people around here getting triggered by the thought of other people enjoying hard and/or older games, lately. Inferiority complex?

    • Ralsto says:

      Or be an unbearable, hyper-edgy little shit that likes to act like they’ve never bought a sequel to any form of media ever and as if they’re above childish things despite being a fan of video games and naming themselves after a shitty 90s comic book comedy movie character, because that has a free trial until your balls drop.

    • Jalan says:

      Take a breather, Roy. This comment section isn’t Champion City after all.

    • BB Shockwave says:

      I have to agree with MrFurious. I grew up on such games, and I am such a nerd I still collect Transformers and D&D miniatures. But I want to see EVOLUTION. I don’t want to get a Transformers toy that has 1984 level articulation in the era of ball joints. Similarly, I love Heroes of Might & Magic and the NES Mega Man games… but I don’t want to see a new Mega Man game using 16-bit pixels. The unfortunately cancelled arcade-MMO Mega Man would have been 100% what I wanted, because it used the old character designs but put them into 3D CGI while keeping the levels 2.5D (like Duke Nukem:The Manhattan Project). Evolution is needed. I never understand people who give high praises to a game that has graphics that even my ZX Spectrum games can outshine. It’s 2017. Make a side-scrolling Double Dragon using the old style, but in CGI, with proper animated cutscenes. Old fans would love it as something new, and new people would probably enjoy it and seek out the old games.

      • Machocruz says:

        Nah, proper evolution would be super high res 2D, or 3D with 2D-esque shaders/2.5D like Guilty Gear Xrd, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia and Wario Shake It. Most of these revivals and spiritual successors with straight 3D renders are either ugly or lifeless, e.g. Mighty No. 9, Bionic Command Rearmed, Strider, Double Dragon Neon, Bloodstained, Dracula X Chronicles. Hand drawn appearance is the way to go.

  4. fuggles says:

    Sadly as per misterfurious, I am that person, I own that t-shirt and am the target audience.

    That said, I had an Amiga fory double dragons, I love me some scrolling brawlers and I adore neon.

    Having watched an LP for this, then it leaves me very cold. Nes graphics (no need), awful platforming with instant death and stun locking enemies and the campaign is about an hour twenty long. Also no internet coop (I know but these days local isn’t happening).

    The steam reviews appear accurate. Buy neon!

  5. Dale Winton says:

    39 here I bought it last night for nostalgia reasons . Played it for 33 minutes , it’s unlikely that I’ll ever play it again tbh

  6. syllopsium says:

    That looks like utter crap with no discernible humour. The peak of pixel art wasn’t 8 bit, it was the 16 bit consoles. The 8 bits looked like that because that was the best they could do, not for stylistic reasons.

    It looks nothing like the original arcade release, which should be the minimum standard in new ‘retro’ games.

    At the time I loved the 8 bits because they were the best available, but let it go. The 16 bit era was better in practically every way.

    If someone wants to do retro properly, bring back Jazz Jackrabbit or Commander Keen, with modern graphics, sound, and gameplay. Written properly it’d sell well.

  7. Det. Bullock says:

    I do wonder why people are so fixated with the NES games, beat ’em ups and platforming don’t mix.
    I like Double Dragon Neon and I do sincerely wonder why some people despise it that much, the only problem was that it was a tiny bit too slow but other than that it was satisfying and hilarious.

    • Jalan says:

      The controls weren’t great in Neon and (apparently) some people love to hate throwback humor, but you’re right – it was a decent game.

  8. sege says:

    wow what a shame, it looks like the laziest of efforts. Double Dragon coin-op is one of the most formative games of my life, second only to Outrun.
    I picked up the Double Dragon Trilogy from GOG and found it very hard to get into.
    Even a mild update in gameplay would would have been so much more welcome!