There are some games I take a look at and think, ‘that has got to be horrible.’ Then there are games where I wonder, ‘how can they mess this up?’ Double Dragon IV definitely falls into the latter category. I grew up playing Double Dragon, both in arcades and when I was fortunate enough to have my mother wait in line to get the coveted home edition on NES. I have saved Marian more times than I can count, and loved every minute of it, so when this retro-inspired sequel was announced, I was definitely on-board.
Double Dragon IV borrows its inspiration from the much-less-impressive NES version, but this wasn’t a deal breaker for me. The visuals are on-par except of course they now are presented in widescreen. The developers even attempted to recreate screen flicker and all the lovely classic video game issues, but they end up marring an otherwise faithful interpretation.
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), PC
Price I’d Pay: $3.99
I could get past all of that if the game wasn’t so dull and somehow broken. There are glitches and weird hit boxes all over the place. Sometimes enemies would take a hit from a ridiculous amount of pixels away, while other times being directly in their face I would miss.
Even with these issues DDIV poses little challenge throughout the game. Enemies will fall for the same spam techniques over and over, and the newly added moves are so overpowered (and out of place) that they remove any difficulty for those that want to abuse them. It just isn’t fun.
There is a two player mode, which is local only. Various versions of the main path and a versus mode are also present, but after completing the game, I had little interest in coming back. It’s also worth noting that I had to finish the game in one sitting, which was painful enough. The game drags on and on and adds platforming segments that, like the weird new moves, simply feel out of place in a game like this.
Double Dragon IV sounds like a surefire winner on paper. Craft a sequel to one of the most beloved arcade games of all-time, keep it retro in spirit, profit. However, seeing as the game was announced and released in just over a month it feels like about that much effort went into crafting this game. Will we ever get a solid follow-up to one of the greatest arcade games of all-time? Things are not looking promising for Billy and Jimmy.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.