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Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons

  • Couch Co-Op: 2 Players
  • + Co-Op Campaign

Double Dragon II Launches on XBLA This Friday. Check Out Our Exclusive Preview! - Page 2

Double Dragon II Wander of the Dragons XBLA Just Like Old Times
Reach the tree of Memories to get the 'Just Like Old Times' Achievement.

Double Dragon II has always had a slightly steep learning curve because it replaced the traditional punch and kick buttons with buttons for left and right-directional attacks. Gravity has completely overhauled the fighting system in Wander though, doing away with the directional attacks. On top of the basic punch, kick, grab, and jump buttons, this version introduces buttons for elbowing enemies, blocking, and performing super moves.

The Left trigger can be used to block or roll away from attacks, while pressing it at the exact moment an enemy attacks will perform a counter attack. The right trigger in combination with face buttons pulls off various power and special attacks, including the Tornado Kick (Cyclone Spin Kick in other versions) and a couple of dragon-shaped projectile pitches. These attacks cost energy acquired from attacking foes. Throw in a new combo system, ranged and melee weapons, and Billy and Jimmy will have a lot of ways to hurt people they disagree with.

Or maybe you’ll use those techniques with other characters. The new Survival and Versus modes allow players to select from at least four characters: Billy, Jimmy, Marian (who is totally not a zombie) and one of the game’s minibosses (possibly Jeff). All four characters are accessible right from the beginning, so no need to unlock them. The goal of Survival is to defeat as many as possible on a single life, and you can probably figure out what to do in Versus mode.

Both Story Mode and Survival support two-player co-op, which will likely make for some great cooperative face-punching. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Wander of the Dragons will only support local co-op at launch. Gravity would like to add online co-op in a future patch though, assuming the game sells well enough. Wander of the Dragons was probably made on a lower budget than Double Dragon: Neon, a game which also supports local co-op only (for now), so the lack of online multiplayer shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons launches on Xbox Live Arcade this Friday, April 5th. It will cost 800 Microsoft Points, a bit less than the price announced back in 2011. Let’s hope it will have been worth the wait.

We'll have an exclusive look at the characters of Wander of the Dragons later this week. While you wait, why not check out my Co-Op International column that looks at two classic Double Dragon II console versions that appeared only in Japan?