Game That Tune

Double Dragon Neon

Panic At The Disco

Double Dragon Neon’s soundtrack evokes the best of ’80s megapop.

By Derrick Sanskrit • October 18, 2012

Game music has the power to earworm its way into your heart long after you put the controller down. Each week in Game That Tune, we highlight a great tune from a great game (or a great tune from a just-okay game).

Double Dragon Neon surprised many with its style and humor, but the breakout hit of the game was Jake “virt” Kaufman’s original soundtrack, featuring a leopard-print synth-metal orchestra with every musician’s tongue planted firmly in cheek. At its lowest moments, the soundtrack is just awesome hairspray-infused remixes of past Double Dragon scores. At its high points, though, the music transcends the time and space of a 2012 home video game, evoking arena-ready megapop circa 1987. “City Streets 2 (Mango Tango—Neon Jungle)” is one of those high points.

This cowbell-heavy dance floor sensation spins a fantastical epic romance out of happy hour at the blacklight disco. Its lyrics liken the woman to a lioness and her suitor to a sorcerer, because that’s totally an apt analogy that no one should ever question, lest they be both cursed and/or mauled. The post-chorus repetition of “your true nature” carries the sexed-up swagger of Madonna’s “Dress You Up” or New Young Pony Club’s first album. It’s hard to believe that retro-sultry swank is lilting from the vocal cords of one of the game’s designers (Jessie Seely) and not a washed-up teeny-bop starlet. Songs like this cast Double Dragon Neon as an alternate reality version of Drive, where Ryan Gosling delivers Velveeta-thick one-liners, Bryan Cranston and Ron Perlman settle their differences by doing The Hustle in their polyester bell bottoms, and Carey Mulligan uses high-tech earrings to project a full-body hologram of herself to hilarious consequences. Actually, that sounds more like Miami Connection, which might just be the most Double Dragon movie ever.

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532 Responses to “Panic At The Disco”

  1. Ryan Smith says:

    It’s Double Dragon Day at Gameological! If I would have know, I would have interviewed Scott Wolf and asked him about his role in the movie.

  2. Bad Horse says:

    I love how Miami Connection is the most Double Dragon movie ever, and not, you know, Double Dragon: The Movie.

  3. Kaufman is an amazing composer. Also highly recommended are the soundtracks to Shantae (and the DSiWare sequel Risky’s Revenge), Mighty Switch Force, and Contra 4. Though “Crystal Flash”, a 22-minute Super Metroid medley from well before his professional career took off, might be his enduring magnum opus:

  4. caspiancomic says:

    As long as we’re talking about beat-em-ups and righteous 80’s tuneskies, I figured I’d drop a bit of Streets of Rage 2 into the conversation.

  5. Zach Adams says:

    Did anyone else get a strong Vince DiCola (synthesizer madman responsible for the scores to ROCKY I’VE and the 80s Transformers movie) vibe from the title screen and stage 1 themes? Because that was the first thing I thought of when I heard them.