There hasn’t been a Double Dragon title in well over five years: the last, developed by Arc System Works, was Double Dragon IV in early 2017. It didn’t review that well, with Brad scoring it 2.5/5 stars. That’s… not good. Well, the torch has been passed new a new developer – Secret Base – and a new title in the franchise has been announced. Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons will be released for PC and consoles (all of them) later this year.
It’s an alternate 1990s New York City, and the city has been devastated by nuclear war. Riots, crime, and general chaos flood the streets while the city’s citizens fight for survival. Whatever remains is terrorized by criminal gangs. Billy and Jimmy Lee are reasonably fed up, and take it upon themselves to reclaim their city. They are joined by ranged fighter Marian and newcomer powerhouse Uncle Matin. There are 13 playable characters total.
The game promises seamless tag team abilities with multiple available strategies that will result in devastating combos, defensive, and offensive moves. It has a “dynamic” mission select function, and the order in which the missions are chosen will affect mission length, number of enemies, and overall difficulty. Choose between missions housed within city sectors and pursue the leaders of four deadly gangs across stages filled with melee weapons, dangerously devoted members, and varied environments.
Players earn cash by using a Special KO on opponents, and health boosts are earned by using Crowd Control moves. Cash can be spent at the end of each stage to unlock powerful upgrades, or can be saved for later use. The goal here is to pursue alternate builds for the fighters, and change the order in which the challenge gang leaders.
Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons combines the series’ original aesthetic with refreshed pixel art visuals. Returning heroes and villains should be recognizable. There are optional settings available, like permadeath. At launch there will be no online co-op (which seems like a bad move) but it will be available later on as a post-launch update. Releasing a co-op game without online multiplayer is a… choice.
Developed by Secret Base and published by Modus Games, Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons will be released for PC via Steam, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series, and Xbox One in Q3 2023. (Okay, the press release says “this summer,” so I did the turning a season to a quarter thing again.)