Double Dragon

When you think about characters in martial arts movies of the 1980’s you probably think of Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan. When you think of characters in martial arts video games from around the same time, I’ll bet you think of Billy and Jimmy Lee.

Double Dragon plays out just like a B-grade martial arts movie, light on plot but packed to the gills with face-punching action. The game starts with your girlfriend getting kidnapped by a gang of martial artists, and you take on the entire organization to get her back. You have quite the array of moves at your disposal, but you have to level up to use them. Every time you strike an enemy you get a certain number of, we’ll call them, ‘heart points’. Get 100 points and you learn a new move. From a jump-kick to the devastating back-elbow to the move where you sit on your foe’s chest and punch them in the face.

Did I mention this game was slightly violent?

You have to kill off wave after wave of identical foes, mercilessly slaying them with your twin fists, ‘Dynamite’ and ‘Iron’. You eventually make your way through 4 missions, through a city, a construction site, a forest, a series of caves, and eventually the gang headquarters where you end up fighting their leader, a guy with a machine gun. It’s quite the mismatch. After you beat him, watch out for the twist! Dun-dun-dunnn! Nah, I’m not going to spoil it for you, plenty of other sites will do that if you’re so inclined.

The thing about this game is that it’s unmercifully hard. You get 3 chances to finish it all. Period. No extra lives, no continues, no conveniently placed porkchops to restore your health. You fail 3 times and you get to start over at the beginning. It doesn’t help that the edges of platforms aren’t quite where they appear, or that your enemies have the ability to duck under your attacks and you have no such ability. It took me until fairly recently to actually finish the thing on my own, but it was gratifying.

Oh, and there’s a two-player versus mode, where you can play as the enemy characters, but I never got a whole lot of mileage out of that.

3 Responses to “Double Dragon”

  1. basscomm says:

    Wordpress seems to be eating comments. I need to sort that out.

  2. I was actually pretty good at Double Dragon 2 for NES, despite my lifelong suckitude at fighting games.

    Imagine my outrage when I went looking for the game one day and found out my mom had given it away!

  3. [...] go through all the trouble of rescuing Marian in Double Dragon only to have the evil Shadow Clan come back around and kill her off for some reason. Needless to [...]

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