Double Dragon Needs a Reboot

Numerous classic franchises have been given a rebirth of sorts with this generation of consoles. Digital distribution and advancing gaming technologies have allowed old stories to be retold, and discovered by a new generation, and remembered by the last.

Originally released as an arcade game, and then on the NES in 1987, Double Dragon was an instant classic. For the first time, 2 players could team up in co-op side scrolling action. The game also introduced the ability to disarm the enemy and use their own weapon against them. The combat was fun and the ability to grab and throw your enemies into each other never got old. The Double Dragon games went on to see life on numerous home console versions, while the franchise found popularity through various media outlets, such as comics, books, movies, and TV shows. The latest game was released in 2007 on Xbox Live Arcade. It displayed the same game play as the 80’s cult classic and continued to sell until it’s publisher closed shop in 2009.

It’s about time Double Dragon gets remade. While the 2D side scrolling was fun, this game could easily break into the 3rd dimension and offer a whole new level of exciting combat. The beat’em up action genre does not have to remain in 2D anymore, and one game in particular has proven that already.

Watchmen: The End is Nigh was released in 2009 to coincide with the release of the motion picture based on the popular comic book. While in some circles it scored favorable ratings, it was generally met with poor-to-average reviews. Most of the reiews, however, did note an exciting combat system and fantastic visuals. The common thought amongst the reviews was that while the game looked great and the combat was fun, the lack of variety in enemies made it very tedious. This gives us terrific insight on how to proceed with a Double Dragon remake.

A Double Dragon game in the style of Watchmen would require a number of enhancements, the least of which would be the addition of different types of enemies in order to change things up. Simply swapping out Rorscach and Nite Owl for Jimmy and Billy Lee would not quite cut it, however there is a lot offered by Watchmen that Double Dragon could utilize.

Watchmen takes place in a dark, grim world and, as noted, the graphics for this game portray this quite well. Giving the Double Dragon franchise a gritty reboot would allow the story to be told in an environment that displays the seedy underworld as the unforgiving setting you would expect. Perhaps it was the 8-bit limitations of the past, but Double Dragon was never set in a setting appropriate to the story being told. It never had to be, it was simple, fun, beat’em up game. Those days are gone however and today’s games need to be setup and executed properly. The combat system and duo driven plot found in Watchmen could absolutely be applied with a Double Dragon theme.

The Double Dragon franchise deserves to be re-introduced to a new generation of gamers. In the past, Double Dragon paved the way for other side scrolling beat’em ups such as Final Fight, Streets of Rage, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among others. It would be naive to think that it will happen again. However, with this style of game becoming less common these days, a proper updated version of Double Dragon could re-invent the genre all over again, more than 20 years after the original.
Besides, who doesn’t miss Abobo?

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