Last updated on August 7th, 2015
Every month I gear myself up to do another retro review but this month is different. I could review the version I’m playing but that would be totally pointless. No one can buy it anymore. So take it as a review of the name and the games of Double Dragon.
Double Dragon was first released in Arcades way back in 1987 and pretty much revolutionized the beat-em-up genre. You take control of either Billy or Jimmy depending on if you actually selected two players or not, regardless it doesn’t matter.
Later it was ported to almost every home console available which makes it even more impossible to put out a review that would suit everyone, NES, Sega Master System, Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Atari Lynx, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Game Boy and Genesis/Mega Drive are amongst the consoles it appeared on, I’m missing some I know.
Out of all those an unofficial cart which was released by Ballistic and Accolade in 1992 for the Genesis was actually what I’d regard as the closest one to the arcade. I have what is the closest on XBOX 360 but it’s now unavailable for whatever reason, the genesis version i’m told by various people is actually very good but a little faster apparently.
Trust me though as a younger gamer I had most of the versions for the consoles I listed and they were all awful.
You start out coming out of a garage some girl gets beat up and you go and save her. Just a real stay classy moment, But I guess it was cool back in the day, anyway you progress through the game by beating people up, don’t expect much in terms of story, it’s an old game, old games just always gave you the basics.
Gameplay to Double Dragon feels fluid, to this very day I find it extremely hard to find something that matches the feel of the authentic arcade ports of this game. If you punch people it’s pretty satisfying, kicking is also in that same category however if you are like me. I love a good elbow. The combat is just really satisfying. Double Dragon in my view marks the first time a fighting game was done right.
If only they hadn’t milked it bone dry more than Capcom milked Resident Evil 4.
Without Double Dragon there is no Final Fight, there is no Street Fighter (Probably), there is certainly no Fighting Force. Okay maybe Double Dragon has a lot to answer for if it’s directly responsible for Fighting Force even existing.
Yep. Everyone in Double Dragon has a six pack. Not once did I pass the gym.
What I can tell you is the Graphics for my version are great, the graphics for the Genesis version are pretty good, just youtube it if you really want, the others are not so great.
Lets just look at some images.
I know the Atari wasn’t very powerful but geez.. What is that?
Nintendo Entertainment System
Coldplay were inspired to write their hit Yellow based off this game.
“Hey Ma, ROADKILL”
Sega Master System
Looks a bit better we are getting somewhere now!
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
I’ve seen it in action on youtube, looks like it plays well at a faster pace though.
Double Dragon, a masterpiece, one of the most influential games of all time, milked bone dry and made to look worse than it ever needed to look however somehow remained as one of the most memorable games of all time. If it came out for the Atari 2600 only and was never an Arcade hit would we still be saying that now? I don’t think so.
It’s best to remember the positives though for what was the best money spent in the Arcades. A simply enjoyable experience and the thrill of saying you beat Double Dragon with no continues is one to behold. I’m quite proud that I mastered that.
There is something immortalizing about a hard game done right. The Double Dragon’s, The Contra’s, Ghosts and Goblins, Castlevania and the Mega Man games all live on one same logical concept, hard games that are fair, challenging and are fun to master. These are the games that deserve to be immortal.
Next month I’ll play something I hate, I promise.
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