While the console gaming market has suffered setbacks and unsure prospects in recent years, the renewed appreciation of vintage “retro-gaming” has become an increasingly mainstream phenomenon; with Nintendo scoring a major holiday hit with the NES Classic (and their own long in-development Universal theme park), along with a surprise movie and TV deal for fellow old school gaming icon Sega.
Now, a newly-unleashed trailer reveals that the retro-game revival movement will continue with Double Dragon IV. Originally released by Japanese developer Technos in 1987, Double Dragon was an arcade side-scrolling beat-em-up in which 1-2 players simultaneously (hence the title) led Billy and Jimmy Lee as they used martial-arts and melee weapons to battle through waves of enemies on a quest to rescue their kidnapped love-interest Marian from a rival gang, in a gritty urban setting that contrasted sharply with the more stylized action and aesthetics of other Japanese action games of the time. Its success inspired a series of sequels, an animated series and an infamous live-action movie starring Scott Wolff and Marc Dacascos.
While popular in arcades, the series is arguably best known for the 8-bit adaptation released for the Nintendo Entertainment System home console; which was one of the most popular titles released for the system but also had to make significant changes to the gameplay and even story of the game: As simultaneous play could not be easily managed, players controlled only Billy Lee with Jimmy appearing as the final boss in order to mirror the arcade version’s conceit where a two-player victory climaxed with both players fighting over a post-rescue Marian’s affections.
It’s that version that Double Dragon IV is looking to emulate; with the original game’s creators Takaomi Kaneko, character designer Koji Ogata and music composer Kazuo Yamane onboard. The art design reflects a “cleaned-up” version of sprites and background style utilized in the first NES version, as opposed to the slightly more detailed and/or “busy” designs used for the ports of the second and third games to the same console; along the return of enemies like the 8-bit version of Abobo.
The curious numbering likely reflects the unusual development history of the games sequels: The third installment in the series (on both arcade and NES consoles) continued the storyline but was developed by a different studio, while a fourth installment titled Super Double Dragon for the SNES featured no storyline and was followed by a one-on-one fighting game released as Double Dragon V, but based on the short-lived animated TV show rather than the games. While no plot details are yet available, the new title is believed to be a continuation of the NES version of the series set after the events of Double Dragon III.
Double Dragon IV is due for release on Playstation 4 and Steam platforms on January 30, 2017.
Source: Arc System Works