Welcome to 1989… er I mean 2017. Arc System Works has released a blast from the past in the form of Double Dragon IV. Now don’t get this mixed up with Double Dragon Neon from 2012, which gave us a more updated version of the classic beat-em up game; Double Dragon IV takes the series back to its roots.
How is it? Well, the game is definitely well made when it comes to delivering fond memories of yesteryear when we jammed out on our NES controllers and sent Billy and Jimmy Lee into battle against street gangs galore. Arc System Works does a good job at replicating the graphics and characters of the old games along with adding a few new features. New to the game is DUEL mode where you can take on a friend mano y mano playing as the protagonists or even the baddies you unlock in story-mode. This gives the game some decent replay value as each character has their own sets of moves. Another neat mode that opens up once you beat the game, is TOWER mode that has you take on an endless stream of baddies.
While I can appreciate this homage to the classic series I can see where younger gamers will have their issues with it. I am a little annoyed by the complaints of game “not holding up to today’s standards” when everyone is running out to buy the NES Classic. It’s not like people aren’t all in when it comes to classic/retro gaming, can you find a NES Classic at retail anywhere? No, no you can’t. The battles are sometimes plagued with the “cheat-like” tactics of the villains but new counter moves have been added to DD4 to alleviate some of these problems. The soundtrack is stellar and I love the fact that you can switch it up to either the old chiptune version or a more modern one. I found myself drawn to it and immersed every time I picked up the controller because I am a big fan of the old DD games. I have a great appreciation for the era of side-scrolling beat-em ups and Double Dragon is one of the originals. One the best parts of the modernization of this game is the ability to select levels once you lose making it easier to get to the end without having to restart every time. Do I recommend it? Yes, at the price-point of $6.99 you can’t go wrong and with the extra modes it does offer up some decent replayability. Double Dragon IV is available now for Steam and PSN.