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Game #3611
Double Dragon  
Action   Beat em-up

Rating: 8.17 (73 votes)

Double Dragon box cover

Double Dragon screenshot
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.

Reviewed by: Underdogs
Designer: Masahiro Yoshihara
Developer: Arcadia
Publisher: Arcadia
Year: 1988
Software Copyright: Technos Japan
Theme: Gangster
System Requirements: DOS
Where to get it:
Related Links: Double Dragon Dojo
If you like this game, try: Double Dragon II: The Revenge, River City Ransom, Karnov

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