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Double Dragon IV
  opened by paleface at 11:28:05 05/05/19  
  last modified by paleface at 12:27:18 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=PS4; cat=Beat_em_up; reg=NA]
Made by Arc System Works, Double Dragon IV, which goes for a retro NES-ish look, only in widescreen, has some surprising technical problems: lots of screen tearing during forced scrolling segments of the game, the occasional crash, and nearly impossible button combination timing which effectively requires you to use six buttons instead of the base 3 (punch, kick, jump) if you want to have access to all the moves. There are no difficulty settings, and there is no (apparent) way to reset controls to default. Continuing is awkward: you get five continues, but if you run through all those, you have to find the rather hidden (you press select on the main menu or something) way to continue--or start a new game, technically--from the start of the previous stage.
And the sound effects sound like *bad* NES-era sounds--really bad.
But there's a lot to like. You get a relatively lengthy main adventure through varied stages, with quite a few different enemy types to face. Once you've completed that, you get Tower Mode, where you face smallish, randomish groups of thugs in successive "floors"--in effect, a single large, empty room, repeated over and over--of a "tower"; the lack of a change in environment makes this feel repetitive, but it's the closest thing I've seen to a procedural beat 'em up--and we really should have one of those by now.
Clearing certain amounts of floors in Tower Mode unlocks enemy characters for play both in Tower Mode and in the regular adventure mode; some of them have pretty quirky move sets, but still, this opens up a huge additional amount of replay value.
DDIV is easily the most content-rich true beat 'em up (ie, just combat, no RPG stuff) I know of. If they could carry this forward into a DDV that corrects the technical shortcomings of IV (in particular, please make the controls as responsive as the original arcade Double Dragon's), they'd really have a game for the ages.
  paleface 19:06:17 05/05/19
Wikipedia says Yoshihisa Kishimoto, creator of both the Kunio and Double Dragon series for old Technos Japan, is the Director of this latest installment. Also, the original Double Dragon "character designer, composer, and programmer" were on board with him.
  paleface 00:06:41 05/06/19
Playing through Story Mode for the first time in a while reminded me of some of the technical drawbacks--they're bad. The game's sprites mostly run at 30 fps, but the game tries to scroll at 60 fps, resulting in horrible, uneven tearing when scrolling in any direction. Tower Mode, with its fixed, non-scrolling room, sort of alleviates that, but even watching sprites move across the screen is kind of a horror show.
And I got the crash during the triple-elevator section of mission 10 again. : P
The combat system revolves a lot around the "get up" portion; many of the six attack buttons you have will do a special, super-powered attack if you press them as you stand up after having been knocked down; bad guys tend to hover over you, just waiting to pummel you as soon as you stand, so that can be handy...but it all seems a bit much as large fights just devolve into knockdown, get-up attack, knockdown, get-up attack... It would have been better to avoid most of that altogether, I think. : P
Although it did work in my favor against the last boss fight in this latest run-through: I happened to knock down the whole clump of four or five of the big baddies against the right side of the screen, then just sprayed punches; oddly, none of them had a get-up attack that was fast enough to beat the punches, so they were trapped and that was that.
Think I'm gonna have to hang up my boots for this one, though; that scrolling business is *not* easy on the eyes, and anyway if feels kind of silly to be playing a 30 fps Double Dragon game. : P
  paleface 11:21:09 05/11/19
  paleface 12:22:22 05/11/19
Okay I'm a hypocrite for that last 30 fps Double Dragon game crack, since the NES Double Dragon games appear to run at just 30 fps (at least in their Kunio-kun renditions on PS4), and I will still willingly play the first two of those. ; )
· Double Dragon Advance (GBA)
· Kunio-kun: The World Classics Collection (PS4)

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