Review: Double Dragon IV

Posted on by Ryan

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Double Dragon is known as one of the best beat em’ ups and NES games of all time. Ark System Works caught many off guard when they announced Double Dragon IV as many consider Super Double Dragon the fourth game in the series, but that doesn’t mean that fans weren’t open-minded. I was interested as I always thought that the first two Double Dragon games were very good. It was also interesting that this was going to release on PC and not in the layout as an emulator.

The game starts off with Billy and Jimmy on their way to San Francisco to visit a new dojo when someone rams your car off the road, while also kidnapping Marion at a different location. Billy and Jimmy travel from the desert to Japan to rescue her once again.

To start, the game is still in its classic 8-bit style that instantly reminds you of the glory days and the combat is still delivers on the combat. You still have all the grapples, punches, and kicks that makes the battles glorious as always. The levels are ok, but I need to discuss the negatives because it has its share of problems.

I need to note that I purchased the game on Steam and not for a console. While playing it on PC you can clearly tell that the game was clearly not designed for use with a keyboard. The controls are not simple at all and are very confusing to figure out. In total the controls use 14 buttons. EXSD are used for left, right, up, and down on default while WZCR are used to go at angles. If they were going to copy the control setups from an NES emulator this would be it, and just makes the controls beyond confusing. Especially since you actually use E and X to scroll and not the up and down buttons. The controls by far are my biggest complaint, but luckily they are changeable.

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The other big problem I have is that while there are a ton of levels, they really feel out-of-place and in some cases unfinished. Some levels require you to go on two different screens and the level ends. What makes it even more odd is that the music for the boss battles do not change and you never really know if you are at the end of the level or not. They’ll just throw Abobo and some other stronger characters in at once and that’s your boss battles. It really just makes the levels come across as unfinished and rushed. Also the game overall feels like the development team played it way to safe and didn’t really through anything new at us. I realize that many Double Dragon fans would be upset if they changed to much, but you could still at least make some small changes.

The game only costs $6.99 and if you are looking for a beat em’ up game to pass the time or just a Double Dragon fan it will satisfy you especially given that the beat em’ up action itself is very enjoyable. The game takes about an hour to complete if you are good at these kinds of games, which does seem a little short, but I can live with it since it’s under the $7 price range. Overall it just didn’t leave me satisfied. The control scheme for PC, lackluster and seemingly out-of-place levels, and not taking much of a risk leaves the game feeling average overall.

If I had to give it a score I would give it a 7 out of 10.