Double Dragon Game History (with Video)!

Double Dragon was originally released in 1987 (Arcade) and first ported in 1988 (Nintendo NES) and is one arguably of the greatest side scrolling beat ’em ups ever made! The adventures of Billy and Jimmy, two butt kicking brothers on a quest to save Billy’s love interest, Marian has you fighting through hordes of bad guys with an array of weapons and powers.

It’s one of the most popular little fighting adventures out there, right next to River City Ransom and Streets of Rage. With a TV show, Movie, and much more that spawned from it’s popularity, it’s no wonder the game has done so well!

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Now, you can add a little history video next to the additions of Double Dragon. Our friend ‘Slopes Game Room’ has made this fantastic in depth look into the history of Double Dragon and it’s one of the most comprehensive in-depth looks into the series ever put together. As well as covering all the essentials it showcases a lot of the development and inspiration that went into shaping Double Dragon.

Free up some time and give the fantastic video a watch or read our Double Dragon game history below!

Formats

Since it’s original inception on NES it went on to be released on (take a deep breath!) ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, IBM PC, Atari ST, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari Lynx, Nintendo Game Boy, SEGA Master System, SEGA Mega Drive / Sega Genesis, Xbox 360, Playstation 4 and even iOS and Android as well as a full arcade release!

Gameplay

It is a side scrolling beat ’em up and is a favoured choice of many with it’s 2 play co-operative play and genre defining gameplay.

Developed by Technos Japan it was distributed by Taito in North America and Europe as a spiritual (and technological) successor to Taito’s earlier release “Renegade”. In true “successor” form it introduced lots of new elements, including two play cooperative gameplay and the option to steal an enemies weapon!

The game is split into four distinct stages (“missions”) which consist of:

  • City Slum
  • Factory
  • Forest
  • Gang Hideout

Double Dragon is  considered to be one of the first successful examples of this entire genre, resulting in the creation of two arcade sequels and several spinoffs, as well as inspiring other companies to create their own ‘beat ’em ups’.

Ending (Spoilers!)

The game usually ends in the single player mode when you defeat the last boss and save Marian! However… should you complete the game in 2 player co-operative mode there’s a whole different ending, resulting in a head to head battle (which was a complete surprise and hadn’t been done ever before in a game, as far as we know!) to win Marian’s affections.

For the 2 player head to head battle, all power bars are reset to 100% and there are no extra lives. The timer is also reset. This becomes a full 1 round head to head vs fight!

Enemies

The players encounter seven different types of enemies during the game; with the exception of Linda and Willy, all have two different skin colors.

  • Williams: A low-ranking member of the gang, who can use bats, knives, and dynamite.
  • Rowper: Another low-ranking member, who can use the same weapons as Williams and also throws rocks, oil drums, and boxes.
  • Linda: The only female member, and the only one who will pick up or carry a whip to the exclusion of all other weapons.
  • Abobo: A tall, bald, shirtless gang member who can throw heavy items.
  • Jick: The boss of the first and third stages, identical in appearance to Abobo except for the addition of a beard, larger eyes and a Mohawk hairstyle.
  • Jeff: The boss of the second stage, who is a head swap of the Lee brothers.
  • Willy: The leader of the gang, and the final boss. He carries a machine gun whose bullets can instantly kill Billy and Jimmy, and he never drops it when knocked down.

Reception

It was very well received critically and on average received high 70’s to low 80’s scores (as high as 85% in SEGA Power and CVG) to as low as 13% for the dreadful port to SEGA Mega Drive / SEGA Genesis.

It has featured in several “Best Games of All Time” awards including:

  • EGM
  • Empire
  • Game Informer
  • G4
  • Gamespot
  • GamingBolt
  • KLOV
  • NowGamer
  • Yahoo

Summary

Double Dragon is up there with one of my favourite beat ’em ups (alongside the likes of Golden-Axe and Streets of Rage) of all time and is still an arcade classic to this day (especially for those experiencing the co-operative ending for the first time!). It has stood the test of time and continues to entertain new audiences on new platforms with (I am sure) more ports planned in the future.

Did you guys enjoy it? Who else wants to boot up some Double Dragon and play through the night? Comment down below with your thoughts!

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