A surefire way to build buzz for your retro-tinged throwback game is to announce that it’ll be playable on the PAX show floor just a few hours before the doors open. It worked for Duke Nukem Forever at PAX Prime 2010 and it worked for Double Dragon: Neon, which made its debut at this year’s PAX East.
After getting some hands-on time with the game, we were able to sit down with Pete Rosky, an Assistant Product Manager at Majesco, the game’s publisher. During our short chat, we talked about the genesis of the game, weapons, enemies, and a certain actress who everyone agrees is the boss.
John Scalzo, Warp Zoned Editor-In-Chief: Pretend it’s 1990. I’m nine years old. I’ve just finished Double Dragon II for the NES. Sell me on Double Dragon: Neon.
Pete Rosky: So you love Double Dragon? You had a great time. You want more. So we’re going to give you a similar experience with the same intro, the same basic plotline. And then we’re going to throw a whole bunch of new enemies in. We’re going to give you a slight twist on the story. We’re going to give you the mixtape upgrading your abilities thing, which is brand new combat that gets added to it. Drop-in/drop-out, on-the-fly co-op… both online and local multiplayer. A really cool soundtrack by Jake Kaufman from WayForward. It’s the same music, but redone. Umm, what else can I sell you on?
I don’t know, new enemies. A big, new bad. I mean, just tons and tons of content added on to a game you already love.
WZ – John: What kinds of new enemies?
Rosky: We’re taking you to outer space. So there will be some weird… both robotic and alien enemies. There’s a guy called the Mega Biker, who’s going to show up in space. I recommend looking out for him.
Let’s see… We’ve got those geisha girls that disappeared. They’re going to pop up later. A bunch of really cool looking enemies. Keep an eye out online. We’ll be posting screenshots of them real soon actually.
WZ – John: I noticed there was a lot of new weapons in the first level like grenades and… apparently a hair pick…
Nicole Kline, Warp Zoned Senior Editor: Afro pick!
WZ – John: Afro pick, yeah. Anything else we’ll see?
Rosky: You know what, there will be a few more little things. But they’re going to be in later levels and tied to the enemies you’ll be fighting. You’ll definitely see some more fun stuff like that.
WZ – John: Can you be specific?
Rosky: Um, no. No, not yet.
WZ – John: How many levels are there going to be?
Rosky: There are seven unique areas. I believe there’s going to be either 16 or 17 actual levels.
WZ – John: Do you have any idea on the price yet?
Rosky: Not yet, but very soon we’ll be announcing it. So keep an eye out for that.
WZ – Nicole: What made you guys pick Double Dragon?
Rosky: WayForward came to us and said, “We think we can do a great job with this franchise.” We’ve already seen them do it twice for us. And the answer was an easy yes. Those guys are great. They did BloodRayne: Betrayal and we loved it. They did A Boy and His Blob for Wii a couple years ago and we loved it. So how do you say no to a team that’s proven time and time again that they’re the best at it?
WZ – John: They did Contra 4 too. That was fantastic.
Rosky: Those guys know what they’re doing. They come to us and say we’re excited and we get excited and all of a sudden we’re making a game.
Anthony Amato, Warp Zoned Contributor: One of my favorite parts of old beat ’em ups like this was enemies with lifebars and goofy names. Will there be any naming of these enemies?
Rosky: The enemies have names. But no health bars because it just gets in the way in a current game. All the classics… the Lindas… the Williams… Abobo… they’re all here.
WZ – Anthony: That’s what I was going to say, where’s Abobo?
Rosky: Abobo’s here. He’s big, he’s mean, he jumps out of a building like Kool Aid Man.
WZ – Anthony: What about that logo with the sweet blue and red dragons?
Rosky: That’s the great Genzoman. Very awesome artist. Look him up online. His Deviant Art page is sick.
WZ – John: What about the high fives? How many different high fives are there going to be?
Rosky: There are four, one for each direction you press the [D-Pad], and they actually serve a purpose. One will give health to your friend. One will take health away from them. The other one will give them some energy for their abilities. And the other one is a chest bump… and I’m pretty sure that clears some enemies off screen. I gotta be honest, I gotta figure out what that last one does myself. But bottom line, they’re awesome, and serve a purpose.
Also, we’re saying co-op, but we’re really trying to spread the buzzword “bro-op.”
WZ – Nicole: Oh… my… god…
Rosky: That is what this game is all about.
WZ – John: One last question. My favorite part of Double Dragon II is the level where you’re in a helicopter and you can get sucked out if you get too close to the door. Are we going to see anything like that?
Rosky: You have a frightening knowledge of Double Dragon II. I’m impressed. But, no comment. You are the first person to raise that question and the first to make me do this. [looks around shiftily]
We’ve got a ton of direct things from Double Dragon One. There are so many elements of the franchise in here. You can’t pick out which game everything’s coming from but you’ll recognize a lot.
WZ – Anthony: Any reference to the movie?
Rosky: You know we’re talking to Alyssa Milano… no. No! Definitely not!
WZ – Anthony: Was she in that?
WZ – John: Yeah, she was Marian.
Rosky: Yeah, she was Marian. A very short-haired Marian. Oh, Scott Wolf! The Chairman from Iron Chef America! He was the lead brother! Come on guys. Anyway, no, this is not a movie license. That happened, but not here. Not in this world. This is a love letter to the franchise of the game, pure and simple.
WZ – Anthony: So… is it bodacious or radical?
Rosky: I would go with radical.
WZ – Anthony: I figured as much. Anything else to add?
Rosky: Get ready for some awesome sidescrolling bro-op brawler coming Summer 2012 on PSN and XBLA… Double Dragon: Neon!
WZ: Thanks Pete.