Double Dragon – Nintendo Entertainment System
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Developer: Technos Japan
Release Date: June, 1988
Genre: Beat ’em Up
Nerd Bacon Rating: 4 out of 10
Reviewed by: bbpower
When I think of classic NES games where you beat the hell out of people, Double Dragon always comes to mind. This smash ’em up video game has been bringing joy to gamers for decades and the series has been incredibly successful with multiple console releases and sequels.
Arcade classic Double Dragon gives gamers a chance to pummel ruthless gang members now on the NES. The game is split into a Mode A (a story line) and Mode B. Mode B is a one-on-one fight between player one and two or CPU. Players can pick between the two hero characters and some of the bad guys faced in actual gameplay. Try this section to get a feel for the fighting dynamic of the game before you dive into story mode for the actual game.
The story line is based around Billy and Jimmy Lee who are martial artist brothers and have fallen for the same girl, Marian. However, she was abducted by a gang that goes by the name of The Black Warriors who are led by Willy. Sounds pretty tough. Billy and Jimmy must work together to save their true love and restore balance on the block. Do you have what it takes to take down an entire gang?
The brothers have default attacks to elbow, kick, and punch gangsters to defeat them, but they are able to level up and learn more powerful maneuvers as the game progresses. You can jump as well to perform stronger kicks, too. There are weapons you can pick up to smash enemies, but you cannot carry them to the next scene in the game. The weapons you may find are chains, bats, whips, boxes, and oil drums, which can be used to bust up enemies. The weapons can also be thrown to long range attacks. Each weapon has a certain reach, but they all cause the same damage.
The game takes players through four demanding levels with a boss waiting to knock you out of commission at the end of each area. The levels grow more difficult as you near the final boss and the characters change on the way, but there is not a large variety of bad guy skins. Health points are lost easily and it is very hard to gain extra lives, so be smart and don’t take too many hits early on.
After you defeat the final boss, there is one more surprise fight; you must fight your brother in a showdown to ultimately decide who gets to win Marian… sounds like a great way to settle it after you worked together to take down the Black Warriors. Defeat your brother and you win Double Dragon. I think it’s a total lame ending, but there is no sharing a girl in this NES classic and neither would anyone want to. How awkward would Christmas and Thanksgiving be after an ending like this?
On top of this bogus ending, there is a monster bummer where I believe Technos went wrong with making the game. Double Dragon is a two-player game, but there is no cooperative mode in this first installment. Player one goes until he dies and then player two gets a turn, similar to Super Mario Bros. for the NES. So, I suggest playing this game on your own since you cannot slaughter guys with a friend. Due to a lack in the software developer’s programming abilities, or lack of a bigger budget, or both, co-op mode was not added to this NES edition.
Also, the NES limitations only allowed two enemies on the screen to fight at once, which is different than the other two installments for this system (Double Dragon II and III). I suggest gamers to check out those two titles for cooperative play and for two of the best 2-player NES games around.
I give Double Dragon a Nerd Bacon 4 out of 10. Why so low you you ask for such a well known title? Well, I feel this game lacked the potential it could have been. The programmers didn’t give their all and the NES as a system did not do this game any favors. There are some glitches here and there, which are no fun in any game. Also, the game is too short. Technos could have done better. However, this is the first installment of a great series and only the second game ever created by this developer, so you cannot expect a home run.
If you are sitting by yourself this is still a decent play and will give you a challenge. I still pop in Double Dragon on occasion to whoop some gangsters with chains. If I am with my brothers, though, Double Dragon II or III is picked instead. Also, this game is considered a bargain buy for well under ten American greenbacks, so don’t pass by a clean copy at any garage sale or game shop. Besides, since there is three installments for the NES, wouldn’t it be fun to own the entire set? Enjoy smashing faces in and game on!
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