Review - Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls
Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:07 pm
I’ve fond memories of playing Double Dragon, both in the arcades and later on the NES. It is a classic game (and series). This particular title however, is not!
Despite sharing the Double Dragon name, this game is far removed from the popular side scrolling 2d brawlers. What you have here is a poor Street Fighter clone, lazily ported to the Atari Jaguar. The game pretty much ignores the earlier titles completely, instead drawing inspiration from the short lived Double Dragon cartoon. And this was barely relevant, because by the time this port landed (many months after the 16 bit originals) the show wasn’t even running any more (which I guess would explain why the packaging failed to mention this, even though it was promoted with the 16-bit versions)
What ticks me off about Double Dragon on the Jaguar, is that it is an absolutely awful port. Earlier I said it was lazy, but that is being to kind. This port is outright shameful! When a game gets ported after it originally appeared, you would think (or in the Jag’s case, hope) that it has enhancements. This game barely does. It still looks 16-bit to me. True, the backgrounds are cleaner and have more color. But they are also missing details found in the 16 bit games! The character models also appear smaller. It might be fine for 16 bit, but the Jag can certainly do better. Seems that little effort was made though to take advantage of newer hardware. Not uncommon (sadly) but no less disappointing.
Even worse though, this Jaguar port actually removes things that the game originally had ... It has missing characters, less locations, and even the entire quest mode has been taken away. When a game is ported this late they need to be adding things, not removing them! Oh wait, perhaps they did add load times.
Control in this game isn’t good, and the Jaguar controller doesn't help it. The keypad might be handy for a few games, but certainly not fighting games! Of course the Jag has the fine Pro controller, but I don't think it had been released when this game came out.
What moves you can manage to do, seem to barely produce any damage. As a result, fights will often end with both characters still standing. That being the case, I set the time limit to 30 sec, and using a combo of special moves, jumping, and quick corner attacks and retreats I managed to beat the game (without even losing once) And the end boss was much too easy.
Despite being bad on multiple levels, I spent a fair amount of time with this game, beating it with every character. This speaks only to the collector in me though, not to the quality of this game, and especially this port!
If you want some Double Dragon V experience, check out the cartoon on Netflix. It is a cheesy time waster. The video game just isn’t good, and the Jaguar port is far too limited (not to mention expensive) to be worth anything except to collectors of the console.
Between this game, Kasumi Ninja, Fight for Life … arrghh! All I can say is thank goodness the Jag has Ultra Vortek.