Set in a post-apocalyptic New York, Double Dragon is the story of Billy and Jimmy Lee, twin brothers trained in the fighting style of Sou-Setsu-Ken. Together, they manage a small martial arts training school, teaching their students in self-defense. One day, Billy's girlfriend, Marian, is kidnapped off the street by the "Black Warriors", a savage street gang led by a man named Willy. The Black Warriors demand the Lee brothers disclose their martial arts secrets in exchange for Marian's freedom. The Lee brothers set out on a rescue mission to crush the Black Warriors and save Marian.Using whatever techniques they have at their disposal, from the basic punches and kicks to the invulnerable elbow strike, as well any weapon that comes into their hands, the Lee brothers must pursue the gang through the city slum, industrial area and the forest before reaching their hideout to confront the big boss, Willy.The NES version of this game also has an additional VS. fighting mode for one or two players. Players choose from a field of six different characters (Billy and 5 of the enemy characters) and enter into a one-on-one fighting match. Players have to punch, kick, jumpkick, and even use a weapon against their opponents until someone's health bar is fully drained. The winner is the last one standing.
Back in the old days…
Little Wormpaul was sitting behind his 386, and for the first time ever he started Double Dragon up. And there it was...
Before I even noticed that the game had started, the “bad” guy had already beaten the hell out of me - but it didn't matter. This game was so great, I didn't even notice that I had played the first level over and over again.
The graphics were so awesome, every time I smacked an enemy down I started to scream, especially when I saw the big giant for the first time. Nothing could get between me and the game, and life was just so great...
Two weeks later my “big” brother decided to help me with the game. He had already finished it a few times, and together we were unstoppable. We didn't care about our enemies or our own lives - we were fighting together and that was all that mattered.
We made it to the final boss, and with extremely good teamwork, we got him! At last I could see the princess I was dreaming about all the time. But she didn't want to come to both of us, she only wanted me. Then I decided to place my fist in my brother's face, and he died. Life was just so good with me and my little princess...
I started DD1 with great memories in my mind, but from the first moment the game was really disappointing. The graphics are very boring and they used far too many similar colours. There was almost no sound; only when you hit an enemy do you hear a sample - the same one over and over - I decided to turn the sound off and run Winamp while playing.
Another problem is the movement of the players. It is really frustrating to see yourself standing next to an enemy and no matter what you are trying, you just can't hit him because he is standing too close or something. The enemy A.I. is really boring and once you know the right tricks you can beat almost all the enemies down with the same method of fighting.
I could keep on talking about all the weak points in the game (the length of the game, the enemies who all look the same, the stupid princess hanging on the wall...) But before I scare everyone off, those who have good memories of this game should give it a try. It will you take less than 30 minutes to finish the game.
For all who never heard of it before, try it once and see where Golden Axe (a great game in my opinion) got its ideas from. But don't expect too much from it.
Part of the Double Dragon Series
It's an arguable point that Double Dragon started the whole beat-em-up genre. You know, the type where you control some character who has to wander through a town and beat the crap out of every bad guy nearby. It's even more startling when you learn that the game that started it all really isn't all that impressive.
As the opening screen states, Marian is standing in the middle of the street when a big bad dude comes up, slugs her in the stomach, slings her over his shoulder and takes her off. This evil gang (supposedly being led by the hero's brother Jimmy), for whatever reason, decided to capture her. Well, as Billy Lee, you're off to rescue your girlfriend.
The game's a simple walk forward and smash the crud out of any bad guys. However, this is Tradewest's version of the arcade hit. The most glaring omission is the lack of a two player mode. Yep, this is a one player only affair, so don't expect to plow through the bad guys with a friend. To compensate, a tournament mode is included that allows you to pick one of the game's characters and pit them together in a small enclosed arena. These scenes can be played in two player, although the game simply ends once one persons dies...there's no continuity in this mode, just quick bursts of fun. They also play a bit differently, with different sets of moves and the ability to run. It's nice to play as the enemy characters, and everyone is drawn quite a bit bigger and better looking than in the actual game.
Another interesting twist is that Billy Lee gains more techniques as the game goes on. Each time you hit an enemy, you get some heart points. Once that number reaches 1000, you gain another technique. Although this is an interesting way to introduce new techniques, it's kinda stupid to start the game without the ability to jump kick. Some of the moves are rather cool though, like punching enemies in the face when they're lying on the ground. If that wasn't enough, Tradewest added a couple areas in the game that weren't in the arcade version (like the cave in level 3.)
The biggest gripe I have about this game is the way it's controlled. In many beat-em-ups, once you landed a hit on an enemy, he/she remains stunned until you deliver another hit. Not so here. Punches barely seem to stun bad guys and they often return the favor before you can dodge. Similarly, two people can punch each other at the same time inflicting damage. Since you're limited to three lives, simply punching and kicking enemies (especially bosses) will get you killed before far, so the next viable move is the jump kick. But too many enemies duck your attacks and hit you from the back. Since you'll get hit so often, you'll spend more time on the ground than you really want to. Additionally, weapons disappear very quickly in this game (and some don't give heart points) so you don't have much of an opportunity to take advantage of them.
Graphically the game is a bit cartoonish, except as mentioned above in the tournament mode. The opening title and first level tune are quite good, but everything takes a real big nose dive at level 3. There's one spot that sounds like a radio tranceiver gone haywire for about ten seconds. I just have to wonder what the hell the composer was thinking when he put this section in. The sound effects are the generic punches and thuds, nothing special really.
Double Dragon isn't necessarily a bad game...it just gets boring constantly using two moves against enemies, most of which they dodge and counterattack anyway. There's no continuing either, so once you lose all of your lives, it's Game Over for good. All in all, Double Dragon is good played in a 15 minute time periods. Otherwise the action will become too repetetive to really tolerate for a long amount of time. You probably won't survive much longer than that anyway.
Double Dragon is a disappointing PC version of Technos' classic beat'em up series that were very successful in the arcades and on console systems. The plot, if you haven't heard of this blockbuster before, goes as follows: Billy and Jimmy Lee must rescue Billy's girlfriend after she is captured by Mr. Big and his gang. One or two players can play as Billy, Jimmy, or both rowdy lads as they fight hordes of gangsters who get in their way.
Okay, let's just ignore the graphics: nobody should expect a 1988 EGA game to rival the arcade original anyway in that department. But what's really disappointing about this PC conversion is that the smooth, addictive gameplay of the original is left far behind. Sure, you can still do a wide range of moves that made the game an arcade sensation, including elbow attack, face-in-your-knee slams, jumping kicks, various weapon throws, and the standard punch and kick. The range of weapons is similarly impressive: you can use baseball bats, whips, crates, and trashcans to name a few. But the actual gameplay elements such as enemy intelligence and user controls leave a lot to be desired.
Although the game has all these cool attacks, you'll be frustrated if you try to pull them all off. It's just not intuitive at all. Worse, supposedly powerful attacks like the jumping kicks don't seem to do much damage to the enemies, and they are hardly needed in the game because all you need to do is keep the punch key (or joystick button) pressed - enemies will fall like leaves right in front of your auto-fire punches. Character animations are also very choppy, and this can't be excused by citing "hardware limitation" because many 1988 and older games - most notably Quicksilver's excellent PC versions of Data East's classics like Karnov and Guerrilla War - boast smooth animations and near-flawless gameplay.
Overall, if you're a fan of the original classic, you'll be disappointed at this spiritless PC version. I suggest you play the original arcade or the NES version on emulators instead and leave this version alone. Better yet, just forget about this whole series and instead play the NES version of River City Ransom, a severely underrated gem that is superior to Double Dragon in every aspect.
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