Rage of the Dragons
 

 
ABOUT:  Evoga originally envisioned Rage of the Dragons as a sequel to the NeoGeo fighting game incarnation of Double Dragon released back in 1995. However, Evoga were unable to use the intellectual rights for the characters, and thus, Rage of the Dragons was turned into a "homage" to the Double Dragon series instead of an official sequel.

 

Rage of the Dragons character select screen.

  
REVIEWRage of the Dragons is an interesting and unorthodox homage to the classic and influential arcade beat-em-up series, Double Dragon. Rage of the Dragons (ROTD for short) reintroduces several veteran characters from the Double Dragon series, including: Jimmy, Billy, and Abobo... but the majority of the roster filled with entirely new character designs to the franchise.


Rage of the Dragons
features standard 2D fighting game mechanics, Tag-Team gameplay, 16 playable fighters in total, and nice-looking hand-drawn stages. The game shares a similar artistic visual style to SNK's Garou: Mark of the Wolves, boasting smooth character animations and screen-filling, hard-hitting super moves. In my opinion, something about ROTD's visuals seem "unfinished" or perhaps slightly rushed. In particular, some of the projectile sprites & effects look generic (and lack animations) compared to some of the top 2D sprite-based fighting games of the era. This isn't the case with all characters, however, as special move effects for protagonists Billy and Jimmy look impressive. It just seems like certain characters were given more polish than others.

 

I feel like I've seen this background before.

 

The Tag-Team gameplay mechanics are intuitive and straight-forward, with some easy combo possibilities for pretty much any team combination. Players can switch out characters at will, and the character who is not being controlled will recover life while their partner is fighting. Characters have a decent amount of priority attacks, special moves, and super moves. Some of the "Team Duplex" combos can be pretty flashy, and are easily the best-looking moves in the game. On the downside, there are some very cheap exploits and infinite combos that definitely "break the game" in high-level (or even mid-level) play.

 

Pupa and Pepe with the Tag-Team combo.

 

While the 2D fighting game fundamentals are accounted for in Rage of the Dragons and do offer some enjoyable "traditional" 2D gameplay... the incredibly cheap juggles and infinites kind of ruin the game (especially since they're so easy to perform). While similar cheap combos can be overlooked in other 2D fighters (due to a higher execution required), the same can't really be said about ROTD's broken combos. In theory, if you "ban" these infinite combos... the game can be more fun and might add to its replayability. At the end of the day, Rage of the Dragons features an interesting cast based on a beloved retro beat-em-up series, and it's one of the more compelling SNK fighting games of the era.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Page Updated: May 19th, 2024
Developer(s): BrezzaSoft, Noise Factory, Evoga Entertainment
Publisher(s): SNK Playmore
Designer(s): Evoga Entertainment
Platform(s): Arcade, NeoGeo
Release Date(s): September 20th, 2002
Characters Billy, Jimmy, Abubo, Lynn, Alice, Annie, Cassandra, Radel, Oni, Pepe, Pupa, Elias, Mr. Jones, Kang, Sonia, Johan

Featured Video:

Related Games: Double Dragon, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Power Instinct: Matrimelee, Power Instinct, Guilty Gear XX, Soul Calibur 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper, Capcom Vs. SNK 2, Breakers Revenge, The King of Fighters 2002
  

Gameplay Engine  6.5 / 10
Story / Theme  6.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  7.5 / 10
Animation  7.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  5.0 / 10
Innovation  5.5 / 10
Art Direction  8.5 / 10
Customization  6.0 / 10
Options / Extras  5.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  7.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  5.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  6.0 / 10
Characters  6.5 / 10
BOTTOM LINE

 6.8 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version    

 

Final Words: As a huge fan of Garou: Mark of The Wolves... I had high hopes for Rage of The Dragons when it was first announced, especially since the graphics style and animation is fairly similar. In my opinion, ROTD didn't quite live up to the hype and does suffer from some major gameplay flaws such as infinite combos. Unfortunately, there was never a patched version or sequel released to remedy these gameplay flaws.

In casual play, the straight-forward 2D mechanics and Tag-Team system is fairly enjoyable and fun. However,
ROTD has some very broken infinite combos (which aren't difficult to perform at all). In comparable 2D fighting games, infinite combos in those games actually require very precise inputs and are fairly difficult to pull off for most players. In ROTD's case, the game can become completely unfair and broken once a player learns the exploits.

Even so, many of ROTD's character designs are compelling and charming. I had the most fun with the game simply exploring the moveset designs and Tag-Team combo possibilities. While many characters have cool animations and special moves, others seem a bit uninspired and slightly underdeveloped. In any case, ROTD is a unique and innovative SNK fighting game for its time, both visually and technically. For that reason, Rage of the Dragons is worth
a look for any 2D fighting game fan.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen
 
   

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