Double Dragon II – Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Developer: Technos Japan
Publisher: Technos Japan
Release Date: December, 1988
Genre: Beat ‘Em Up
Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10
Reviewed by: bbpower
Do you want to bust up gang members with your fists? Good, because this game caters to just that. The brother duo of Billy and Jimmy Lee are back in this ass-kicking game, Double Dragon II: The Revenge. Why is it revenge you may wonder? Well, the boss from Double Dragon named Willy did not like how the story ended last time. After his defeat, he retaliates by shooting and killing the insanely gorgeous Marian, in the streets! What a low life, right? This enrages Billy and Jimmy so they go after the scumbag, Willy, and the rest of the Black Warrior gang to settle the score.
In my opinion, Double Dragon II received a much need makeover from its less-fun introductory game. Double Dragon lacked so much, but this second installment did a 180 and gave gamers what they wanted. I will note first, above all, this game has co-op mode! Yes, it has exactly what Double Dragon was missing. So, grab a partner and start cracking skulls! This game by far is better in co-op mode. Busting up the enemies with a buddy is a lot of fun and still makes the game challenging.
The graphics in this game are fairly good for the NES and were improved in many ways from the first Double Dragon. There is a much more of a variety of enemies and the weapons look more defined. The overall design of this game is leaps and bounds better than the first, but I still feel Technos held back again from letting Double Dragon II reach its potential.
Players fight their way through levels beating the tar out of gang members as they progress. The controls are directional; B button attacks left and A attacks right. This makes for a confusing time for a few minutes, until players get the hang of it. I dislike this control configuration and am unsure why Technos did it this way. Also, the characters have a mechanical feel while playing. They don’t have the easy flow of character movement as other NES beat em up titles made around the same time.
Punching and kicking still makes up the main attacks, but a hurricane kick is in player’s arsenal to round house enemies in the face, while cursing at the screen in fury. Also, players can grab enemies and throw or slug them in the stomach, which is a favorite move of mine. Sometimes I found hand-to-hand combat not enough. Luckily there are weapons to help aid in your brain smashing escapade.
The same weapons from the first game were given face lifts to go along with the updated game. Players can use whips, barrels, boxes, shovels, grenades, and chains to pummel the evil gang members with pleasure. Weapons can still be swung, but also thrown. This will come in handy when you are surrounded by bad dudes. Most of the weapons will have to be taken from gang members, but the stage provides some as well.
The enemies in Double Dragon II are versatile attackers; some will run up to you, or throw weapons, or jump kick you. The fighting is fairly realistic… for 1988 NES standards.
Four levels makeup the game. However, they are difficult and there is still a boss to take down at the end of each level. The bosses’ fighting abilities improve as the game progresses and the settings change to battle them. There are some challenging parts of the game, which have nothing to do with fighting that I found ridiculous. It seemed to be Technos stab at upping the difficulty in a cheap way.
I found it fairly easy to die and extra lives are hard to acquire, so player’s fighting skills need to be solid to make it far into this game. There are a few much needed continues granted to take down this awesome retro classic.
After the final boss is defeated, there is still a showdown between Billy and Jimmy. I am unsure why this was not taken out of the game. Maybe it’s to see who is the supreme player between the players? I don’t know, but I think it’s lame to end the game in a showdown between people on the same side, especially when you are playing the game to win together. This is one scene that Technos could have skipped on.
Set aside the dumb ending, I love this game and anyone I have ever talked to who had an NES loved playing it too. It is a popular classic that goes down as one of the most fun, 2-player, beat ’em up retro classics in my book. I give Double Dragon II a deserved Nerd Rating of 7 out of 10, which is a three point bump over the first installment in the series. The upgraded skins of enemies, weapons, and the added co-op mode were worthy of the point bumps.
Also, to help in the ranking, it’s a bargain buy! You can grab this game for typically 12 bucks, or less. If I praise the game this so much, why not a better ranking? Well, the game was entirely too short. Four levels is not enough and the brother showdown at the end is lame. Add more levels and bosses, than this game would have been maybe an eight. As stated above, I disliked the controls and feel it made this game initially annoying to get the hang of and mechanical. Luckily for gamers like this writer who want more after beating this game, there is another sequel to check out; Double Dragon III!
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