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Double Dragon

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Masahiro Yoshihara

GAME DEVELOPER:Arcadia

GAME PUBLISHER:Arcadia

Copyright 1988, Technos Japan

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, lets just ignore the graphics: nobody should expect a 1988 EGA game to rival the arcade original anyway in that department. But whats 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, youll be frustrated if you try to pull them all off. Its just not intuitive at all. Worse, supposedly powerful attacks like the jumping kicks dont 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 cant be excused by citing hardware limitation because many 1988 and older games – most notably Quicksilvers excellent PC versions of Data Easts classics like Karnov and Guerrilla War – boast smooth animations and near-flawless gameplay.

Overall, if youre a fan of the original classic, youll 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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