Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise Of The Dragons – Life Is Good In Pairs

REVIEW – The Double Dragons franchise has been around since 1987, and since then, the IP created by Technōs Japan has been under the hands of several developers. Billy and Jimmy’s story can be split into several generations (e.g., Double Dragon Neon would be the previous one from someteen years ago), but this time, it’s a side story that’s not worth playing alone.



The Double Dragon brothers return in this fresh addition to the iconic beat ’em up franchise. With rogue-lite elements, every playthrough is a chance at new action. Tag in with 2 of 4 starter characters or unlock nine additional characters, each with their special moves and unique playstyles.





The game isn’t that complex (a beat’em up isn’t designed for that purpose by default), as the characters have several basic combos and three special attacks. These are what you have to fight your way through the four stages. As you’d expect, the opponents have different attacks, and not everyone can be defeated with the same one or two moves. So you can’t just keep repeating the same attacks (mashing the buttons) because the game will kick you in the face, and as the stages get progressively harder (boss fights make it even more challenging). You also need to time your special moves because if you knock out more than one opponent at a time with them, you get an HP bonus. You’ll need them because how you can defend against attacks varies depending on the opponent you’re fighting. While DDGROTD (it will only be fully named at the end for character-saving purposes) has been portrayed as relatively complex so far, the positive side is that you can scale how much HP they or we have, how much damage is dealt, how many lives we have (you can notice the IP’s arcade origins), how aggressive our opponent should be, and a few other factors. So you can turn the odds in your favor (or against you).

If you make things more challenging and play on harder levels, you get more tokens for it, and that’s where the roguelite factor comes in, as they can be used to unlock collectibles and other characters, but the greater difficulty means you have to pay more for lives. You can find money scattered on the stages. Thus, this structure pushes players to “be brave” and play on harder difficulties, forcing them to evolve and develop strategies to apply their offensive and defensive moves correctly. The problem comes in when they have to replay the game frequently. On the one hand, it is good because we saw something like this in Returnal, but there, a loop (or cycle, or whatever it was called) took longer. Coming back to the four stages, more playthroughs make them longer. A stage can consist of up to three sections, but the length remains questionable when thinking longer term.





You can only play the first segment of the first stage, then the first two, then all three, and the last level is where the boss gets a harder version, so you have to play DDGROTD several times to get the proper bosses. Still, again, if you can get through the game in about two hours, it doesn’t make for a long experience. It is not an easy game, as the invincibility period (I-frames) didn’t seem to exist, and starting some moves is a bit time-consuming. The game takes over and beats you at about the first opportunity (or even frame) on higher difficulty levels. But that’s part of the game, and with multiple characters, it’s worth persevering because they can add variety to the gameplay, accompanied by a primarily enjoyable soundtrack and a good atmosphere.

Each character has its positive and negative aspects, and the game is lucky that the retro approach (which can be considered risky in many cases) has been successfully implemented, as the design does not seem too “out of place” in the franchise world. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that, due to the beginnings, you have to get used to how to play the game. Still, the initial difficulties can be balanced because the game can be scaled nicely. For this reason, it should be said that Secret Base provides an example many other franchises could follow because that is how beginners should be helped.





Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise Of The Dragons is a 7/10 when played alone but an 8/10 when played co-operatively with someone else. Therefore, taking an average and giving the game a 7.5 is better. Modus Games’ (and Joystick’s…?) product is adequate, worthy of the Double Dragon franchise (back in the day, the second game surfaced around here on a Famiclone), and provides a sufficiently stylish and atmospheric experience. It is highly recommended for franchise fans, and anyone who likes the beat’em up genre should also check it out. It can be considered somewhat risky that Secret Base has tried its hand at roguelike elements, but that’s why it can be good too. For example, play a run after work in the evening… as long as it doesn’t feel forced on us.



+ Fits well with the franchise’s history
+ More characters, more variety
+ Can be played multiple times


– …but maybe too short?
– It won’t be easy at first
– Alone is not the best

Publisher: Modus Games, Joystick

Developer: Secret Base

Style: beat’em up

Release: July 27, 2023.

Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise Of The Dragons

Gameplay - 6.8
Graphics - 8.2
Story - 7.1
Music/Audio - 8.4
Ambience - 8



Worthy of the franchise's name

User Rating: Be the first one !

Spread the love
Avatar photo
Grabbing controllers since the middle of the nineties. Mostly he has no idea what he does - and he loves Diablo III. (Not.)

No comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

theGeek TV