XBLA

Published on April 14th, 2013 | by PJ Douglas

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Review: Double Dragon II – Wander of The Dragons

“I hate this game”
– PJ

There is a downside to writing for Honest Games Reviews.

Most of the time we engage in banter on twitter, Tony hands out games like a year round technological Father Christmas and gets a crysis onesie to wear, then we all play gears of war, pledge our undying loyalty to the site and go to bed happy.

But what of the bad games? The lazy, pointless, downright nasty games that we have to review for you, so you don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because this has a beloved series name in it’s title it will be any good.

It wont and it isn’t.

And let me be clear, I am a huge fan of the underdogs, I loved WET, Risen 2 Dark Waters, Divinity 2, I give extra time to the games that most dismiss because they’re not COD, FIFA or Final Fantasy. So that voice at the back of my head thought, “Hey! Why are you all being mean to poor Double Dragon II! Leave it alone, I played that at my Nan’s on her original NES! It was awesome…”

I have since murdered him with a claw hammer for putting me through this.

Last night, jacked up on life and cherry coke, I took the bullet, and used 800ms points (£6.80!) to download this abomination and after playing through the first level I paused, added much, much rum to my coke (Kraken if they want to give me a sponsorship) and finished it within the next hour, watched avenger’s assemble then fell asleep.

I woke up this morning, angry, hungry and hungover. This game is appalling.

So lets start by looking at some definitions, firstly DD2’s description on the marketplace:

“This is a remake “Double Dragon II” a 80’s game. The story line takes same as original game story. However, the graphic, character, action, system etc. are change. Also we are including new stage and enemy in the game. The player will be addicted to new version of Double Dragon II. Also, characters are undressed from 80’s style, and recreated with modern sexy and beautiful style that amaze you and feel never been experienced world before.”

What.

This shambolic degredation of the English language should be your first warning that nobody cares about this game enough to proof read, or at least ask for the advice of a passer by and say, “Hey, is ‘wander of the dragons’ actually a thing?” “Well technically a dragon can wander but… “GOOD ENOUGH, SHIP THAT SHIT!”

This does not get any better as you go into the menus…

Under the ‘Synopsis’ section we have:

“Master…
you have taught us never to use our skills on personal purpose.
But Marian is gone.

The Black Warriors..
They’ve funned down my girl Marian, Master.
We’ll avenge for her death, no matter what.”

Personal Purpose? Avenge for her death? Jolly good. Lets look at the Hero description:

Billy Lee
“Billy is wearing a dark blue clothing.”

Ah, that’ll help me figure out who he is then. Then there is the enemies:

Roper
“The same Roper from the first game. He now looks like a pirate”

WHAT’S A ROPER?!

Abobo
“He is powerful enough to kick a large wooden box away”

A LARGE wooden box? Well fuck it we might as well give up now.

Although I think my favourite is of Big Boss Willy…

“He hasn’t changed much, but now he shoots faster than before and he is more capable of killing you instantly. But don’t let that intimidate you.”

Instant death? Intimidate me? Hahaha! I love instant death, it spurs me on to fight forever, or it would, if my death wasn’t, you know, instant.

Hangover
“A bad head is inside PJ! Hangover bad times. He had to drink to survive game, used big glass!”

Ok I made that last one up but at least it’s honest.

So if you can make it through the babbling nonsense of the menus and start up the game you are treated to the lovely graphical style of the game which is a left to right scrolling fighting game in which you can move into the foreground and background (I wouldn’t bother, it just complicates matters) and play as a huge roided up beast (In blue or red, thank goodness for the above description) with a really tiny head compared to his constantly clenched fists. Who fights his way through fifteen levels to avenge his girlfriend Marian’s Death which happens after walking forward four screens in the prologue and hearing a lot of nonsense about ‘Virtue’ and ‘Vice’ in the sort of backwards nonsense that would annoy even Yoda.

When I say fight I mean press X, that’s it. You can kick with B but you only seem to be able to do two kicks as oppose to a four punch combo. And the kicks will either knock the enemy down and you have to wait for them to get back up and do it over and over again or just hit them twice and they clobber you to the floor. The punches work a bit better as after four attacks if you hold right trigger you do a powerful uppercut which floors just about anything.

You do have a guard button with left trigger which, if triggered just as an enemy attacks you should allow you a counterattack on them, this worked around 30% of the time for me, with some enemies taking the hit but most others following it up with a second attack that destroys you. You can pick up weapons from the floor with Y and use them for around two hits but the animation of stopping to pick them up usually allows the enemy to get a three hit combo in, draining a good third of your life bar.

Finally there are coloured dragon statues littering the stages which you can hit as they switch between four colours to get a magic power:

Red: A 17 Hit Combo that kills more or less anything.
Blue: A Whirlwind Kick (tatsumaki senpuu kyaku, Ryu wants his move back…)
Yellow: THE SAME WHIRLWIND KICK JUST MOVING FOWARD!
Pink: You can shoot pink dragons in the direction you are facing.

According to the in game menu these are charged by doing combo attacks of four or more, however the bar doesn’t work in game so it really seems to be trial and error when the game gifts you the power to use these attacks, the pink one seems to infinitely recharge and several boss fights resulted in me running laps of the screen until it charged then using this attack to chip away at their health. This would be annoying enough but your character doesn’t always chose to fire in the direction you are facing so to add to this already repetitive charade you are looking at a one in three success rate. And yet the game still only took me an hour to finish.

You may be asking why not just fight the bosses? That would be because you cannot guard against them, they knock you down, wait till just as you get up then knock you down again, in fact on the hardest difficulty the only way to seemingly beat the last levels string of bosses is to let them kill you then hurt them when you respawn with your one invulnerable hit.

This also applies to the conveyor belt levels, the tetris style block levels and several other sections where you seemingly HAVE to just get battered to death. Even worse at the end of the game after your tireless efforts you are given a confusing scene where you die anyway because you used your ‘mad kung foo skillz’ which you should never have used in the first place, so what a waste of time it was learning them. (Unless this is a reflection on the waste of time playing this game was, in which case someone in the development team is a genius).

The music is dull, there are cutscenes, but in a shocking twist the action carries on when they are playing so if there is an enemy on screen he’ll punch your health down while you watch the on screen action unable to fight back. The game gives you 90/400G for playing through the campaign and believe me once is more than enough.

There is an offline co-op, Vs and survival mode, all of which make me feel a little bit ill at the prospect of asking my girlfriend (a phenomenal woman who already puts up with my videogame madness) to play this absolute nightmare, even more so if she asks how much it costs.

Overall I have taken this hit so you don’t have to, a downside of the job, but I would feel awful if we didn’t get this review out in time to warn people, if you are still curious, PLEASE get the trial first so you can see i’m telling the truth, better yet buy double dragon neon which is cheesy but at least fun. Or buy it in a sale sarcastically so you can use it as a reference point for how bad games can actually be.

Review: Double Dragon II – Wander of The Dragons PJ Douglas

Double Dragon II - Wander of The Dragons

Graphics
Gameplay
Presentation
Story
Challenge
Replay value

Summary: Avoid this game, it serves as a reminder that even in today's world of high profile games, some people just don't give a shit and will put out anything to make a quick buck.

0.2

Abomination


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About the Author

Raised in the late 80s on a steady diet of Sonic the Hedgehog and Cherry Coke /// World traveller, Rum baron, Situation Defuser and All Round Good Guy /// “A lot of things that happened [in the past] would have broken anybody else. I was able to survive. That's all that really matters.”



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