Double Dragon: Wander of the Dragons
Some of my favourite games growing up were classic beat-em-ups like Double Dragon, Golden Axe and Final Fight. Last year’s Double Dragon Neon was an absolute treat to beat-em-up fans, as Way Forward not only made a fantastic tribute to the original Double Dragon but also expanded upon the original game. It contained a healthy mix of humour, gameplay and 80s music. For someone like myself, it was a must-have title.
Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons is not made by Way Forward, and it has almost nothing to do with Double Dragon II. I would argue Double Dragon Neon is the best way to reboot a classic franchise, and that Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons is possibly the worst game I have ever played. I would rather play Duke Nukem Forever, well forever, than spend one more second playing Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragon.
The gameplay (if you can call it that) is truly awful. There is almost no story, but that is probably for the better. The game opens with a bizarre mission involving Marion (at least I assume its meant to be Marion) running around a dojo, beating up random thugs. Her cleavage is on display, and her torso oddly turns and gyrates as she runs, making her breasts bounce constantly. It really didn’t need to be included in the game. Her running animation is ridiculous; it’s as though someone has broken her spine, then has forced her to run from a wild animal. Now, picture this strange woman somehow running around with a broken spine and now imagine that the character can only run in eight directions, like a very old Playstation 1 era game. Its unbearable.
The camera in Double Dragon II: WoTD has never met you, but it hates you. It frequently zooms right up on the characters, and it often causes you to change direction suddenly, leaving you open to an enemy who will punch you in the back of the head, making even the game’s opening tutorial a chore.
No matter how many enemies you defeat as Marion, she is shot dead at the end of the tutorial, which oddly enough, seems like an act of mercy. Given her unfortunate breast and spinal condition which causes her to run in multiple directions flailing her limbs, I would have shot her too.
After playing as Marion you play as either Billy or Jimmy Lee, though there really isn’t any point. During my first encounter with enemies as Billy, one enemy decided the best tactic was to run into a streetlight repeatedly, while the other two guys beat the tar out of me. The blocking mechanic in the game is broken, and therefore you block one or two hits, then get your ass handed to you over and over again.
To be honest, I managed to complete two levels of this awful game before I nearly threw my controller through my gaming room wall. There is so much wrong with this game that it doesn’t qualify as a finished product. Perhaps someone at Microsoft insulted the people who developed this game, and this game is their revenge. Maybe the game was meant to be marketed under a different name, and Microsoft traded the developer some “magic beans” for their awful creation. Either way, no one deserved this punishment. Please do not play this game, not even the demo.
The graphics in Double Dragon: Wander of the Dragons (what the hell does that mean, anyway?) range from horribly-dated to absolutely deplorable. Not only that, several of the backgrounds repeat themselves many, many times. During a level that took place on a dockyard, I saw the same helicopter on the same helipad about 10 times, with the same dumpster at the base of it’s stairs, and the same enemies guarding the exit. Its almost as though I was losing lives, and I wasn’t aware of it (and with this game that could very much be a possibility), or I was experiencing “Déjà vu” like in the Matrix. If only this game was an elaborate façade, and that by beating up the same person 20 times, I would unravel it’s mysteries. All I got in the end was a migraine.
The original description on Xbox.com states that “Characters are undressed from 80s style, and recreated with modern sexy and beautiful style that amaze you and feel never been experienced world before”. I can honestly say, this game feels like every other crappy beat-em-up that tried to clone others back in the 90s. The characters look identical to the ones from Double Dragon II, and I really, really didn’t find anyone sexy.
The sound in this game is unsurprisingly sub-par. The music is awful, and the sound effects garbage. The sound may have improved, but I wouldn’t have been able to hear it over my constant swearing at the game. It really is that frustrating.
- There can no longer be an argument for “the worst game on current consoles”, as this game is it.
- Dated graphics met with awful art direction.
- Infuriating gameplay, such as 8-directional movement.
- Broken game mechanics.
Its unfortunate that this game somehow found a release on Xbox Live Arcade, as that often means another game gets rejected. With so many promising beat-em-ups being released lately, there really is no reason at all why this game should exist. If this game was released on disc, it would have been buried as landfill next to the E.T game from Atari, which is almost certainly more fun than Double Dragon: Wander of the Dragons.
Score – 0/10