Double Dragon is a beat ‘em up video game released for the first time in 1987 by Technos Japan Corporation. The series feature two twin brothers, Billy and Jimmy Lee, as they fight against different rivals. The game was followed by sequels and was released for incredibly lots of other platforms over the time.
The versions for NES came in 1988, while the Game Boy version was published in 1990. Other games were published for Master System, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and Lynx, while the sequels were published on even more platforms. The first game had a remake published for iPhone in 2011 and one for Game Boy Advance in 2003.
The two main characters were also featured in other games, including the NES version of Super Spike V’Ball, WWF Superstars, River City Ransom, Battletoads & Double Dragon, Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer and Rage of the Dragons.
The player can control either of the twin brothers as they fight in the turf of the Black Warriors in order to rescue Marian, a girl whom both of the fighters were in love with. Each character has its own set of skills and attacks which can be performed by using the joystick and three action buttons individually or in combination. Players can throw punched and kicks, but also grab hair or throw elbow punches. The game can also be played by two persons in the same time. In this case the second player can help the first one by grabbing their partner’s rival from behind.
Each player begins the game with a certain number of lives. If he gets hit by the enemies, their life gauge will deplete. If the life gauge reaches zero or the player runs out of time, one life will be lost.
There are not too many enemies during the game. The player will face certain enemies all the time. The available weapons in the game are steel bats, whips, throwing knives and dynamite attacks, but also oil drums, cardboard boxes and rocks, which the players can pick up and throw.
The game has four levels. The first one is a city slum, then a factory, then the woods and then the hideout of the boss who has to be defeated in order for the player to finish the game. If there is only one player, the game will end when the boss is defeated. But if there are two players, then after the boss is defeated the two brothers will have to fight each other.
The game was very popular and due to its popularity was later on followed by spin-offs. Double Dragon was listed as one of the 200 Greatest Games of their time by Electronic Gaming Monthly. The huge toy store, Toys “R” Us, reported the NES Double Dragon game was sold out in the first two weeks after the release in the United States.
Other games by
Double Dragon 2
The Double Dragons - Billy and Jimmy Lee - are back to avenge the loss of Marion! In their quest...
Double Dragon 5
Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls! Featuring 12 big lightning-fast characters! Four to six...
- Manufacturer: Acclaim
- Version: NES
Jason Hess and his brother, both of Clinton, Michigan, have found a new move not mentioned in the instruction booklet. To do the move you must be in the two-player mode. Have Billy and Jimmy Lee stand next to each other and use the Cyclone Spin-Kick. Both characters will lock arms, back to back, and the kick will be twice as long and powerful. Thanks for the great Easter egg, guys.
- Manufacturer: Tradewest
- Machine: NES and Sega for the SMS
When a character comes out holding a stick of dynamite, you can make him, blow himself up instead of you. Mike Strane of Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, says to stand on the vertical line as the character and start walking backward when the bad guy tosses the dynamite. If all goes correctly, your opponent will stroll toward you - right into the explosion. Good strategy, Mike.
When fighting an Abobo, the jump kick seems to work the best. The problem with the jump kick is that it takes quite a few solid hits to get rid of an Abobo, and if you are pressed for time, this simply will not do. If you have at least seven bars of energy, then try regular kicking: it works most of the time, and puts the Abobos out of commission much quicker. Do not attempt to punch an Abobo. It does not work and you will only lose energy!
- Manufacturer: Virgin Games
- Machine: Game Gear
Double Dragon is "fighting" its way into the Game Gear! You control Billy Lee in a battle to the death with the city's worst scum! Kick and punch your foes to make your way to the final Boss and save poor Marion! This is a top fighting game made even better for this system!
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Available: May
- Theme: Action
Double Dragon, the hit arcade game, has now made it to the Game Gear featuring the deadly punch and kick attacks that have made it a classic among fighting game fans.
Control Billy through gang-infested areas such as the city streets, urban trains and even the countryside. Danger lurks everywhere so watch your back and fight off the enemies with your martial arts skills. Where the going gets really tough, pick up a weapon or two.
Slip on your brass knuckles and unleash your Double Dragon!
- Theme: Fighting
- Available: May
Flex your muscles for the original of the fighting games. Virgin brings Double Dragon kicking and punching to Game Gear.
Billy and Jimmy Lee must rescue the beautiful Marion from the evil Abobo brothers. These guys have the muscles to do it! Use attack moves like kicking, punching and throwing to annihilate your opponents. Set in futuristic cities, Double Dragon will knock you out!
The visuals of this game are strong - duplicating the original title's animated feel. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the programmers have the 1987 look down pat, the game play on this classic kicker is weak, with the lack of complex techniques screaming out at every encounter. Not bad, but definitely dated.
Fighting games are relatively new to the Game Gear and this is a pretty good addition. While there isn't much variety in the moves, there is still plenty of thugs to beat up. The 8-Bit tunes were actually catchy but the overall execution of the game could be better. Still, it's not a bad game for fighting on the go!
I would have liked to have seen better graphics and game control. The game looks pretty good for the small screen and the music is decent, too. The game play features a variety of moves and weapons, but getting them to connect with an enemy is the tricky part. If the game wasn't so choppy it could fare well.
Double Dragon is a fairly decent game for the small screen, but it is hard to see exactly what is going on sometimes. I would have liked to see more technique built into this classic game, since all I had to do was punch, punch, punch, punch, punch. Overall, Double Dragon is a good fighting game if you're on the move.
- Machine: Gameboy
- Number of Levels: 4
- Theme: Action
- Difficulty: Average
- Number of Players: 1
- Available: July 1990
Tradewest had a mega-hit a while back with their NES version of Double Dragon. Now they have shrunk this cart down to Game Boy size and even though it is only black and white it still captures all of the excitement and thrills of its NES big brother.
Once again you assume the role of vigilante Billy Lee and you must rescue your girl from the clutches of the gang leader and also make the streets safe for the people.
Unlike other Game Boy titles which offer either great graphics or decent gameplay, Tradewest's Double Dragon does both! Can you make it through the four intense levels of fast and furious punch and kick action before the Shadow Boss takes over?
The battle begins in the streets of the city. Use the weapons you find along the way.
Climb up the ladders to the top of the building. Throw the enemy off the narrow ledges.
Level three takes you from the asphalt jungle to the real thing. Be careful on the broken bridge.
- Platform: GameBoy
- Type: Action
- Release: July 1990
- Levels: 4
- Difficulty: Easy
This black and white version of the NES original combines the familiar sights and sounds with all new techniques and some minor animations borrowed from Part Two.
Incorporated into the game play are all-new backgrounds, although the enemies remain the same. Along the way, you can retrieve whips, bats, boxes and other weapons that will help you dispatch the bad guys and get your babe back!
GameBoy Double Dragon is a nearly perfect version of the classic coin-op. The graphics are good, the play is identical to previous versions and the detail in the backgrounds is retained. A good action title that does complete justice to the title.
Virtually identical to the original NES version, except it's now in black and white. Movement and scrolling is smooth, control is good and all the familiar adversaries and weapons are back - only smaller. Double Dragon fans should enjoy it.
A perfect translation of the NES version of Double Dragon to the GameBoy. This game duplicates almost every aspect from the bone-busting game play, to the various special moves and weapons. The sound track is also very good.
Like Castlevania and Super Mario Land, Double Dragon is in the small league of games that are bound to do very well on the GameBoy. The game plays well, the music is right out of the NES and the graphics are brilliant by GameBoy standards.
The martial arts masterpiece still holds up as one of the best and most sought after carts around!
It's no secret that those body slammin' Double Dragon boys, Billy and Jimmy, (also known as Spike and Hammer), have been through the video mill a time or two, or three. Now, at last, they're in first-class graphical form on the Genesis in an original, knuckle-busting adventure.
Take That, Street Scum
Billy's girlfriend, Marion, has been beaten and taken hostage by a group of street thugs. Always the honorable bad boys, Billy and Jimmy set out to free her from her captors and give them a taste of their own painful medicine. Punching, kicking, jabbing, knife stabbing, baseball whacking, you name it, it all happens during the four levels of gut-busting action.
If you select the single-player option, you hit the streets as Billy. If you prefer to play Jimmy, plug the control pad into the second slot and off you go. They both have identical moves.
ProTip: When two or more thugs close in on you, which is often, use a combination kick and elbow jab to get them off you.
The three basic moves are a simple kick, a punch, and a jump-punch. Each move corresponds to a Controller button. The super moves, such as the elbow jab and the flying roundhouse kick, require simultaneous button press combinations, but they're real sure-fire scum busters.
Fighting the Good Fight
Accolade's done an excellent job of translating this arcade-based version of Double Dragon into the Genesis format. The "fist fly-boys" have all their moves down pat and they're easy to control.
This, combined with the two-player simultaneous option, makes DD really hot. What more could you ask for? Maybe another level or two. Then again, perhaps Accolade's just trying to keep us hungry for more.
Stay dose to the walls when you're near a bridge or spiked pit area. The direction controls are very sensitive and if you're fighting too dose to the edge, you'll either fall in or be knocked in.
Double Dragon is a beat ‘em up side scrolling game that revolutionized the genre back in the late 80s, leading to many sequels, spin offs and other companies creating their own geat ‘em up games.
The story is pretty shallow, but at least it’s there. Two brothers, Billy Lee and Jimmy, are powerful martial artists living in a city overrun by the Black Warriors gang. When the two refuse to train them to be stronger fighters, Billy Lee’s girlfriend Marion is kidnapped and he sets off to rescue her, defeating all crooks, thugs and henchmen he encounters.
In Double Dragon, you play as Billy Lee as he fights various enemies that appear on the screen, using basic and, later, more complex moves. As you beat up your foes, you gain experience and unlock more abilities, like a jump kick, and you can also take any weapon that they drop and use it against them. It should be noted that there can only be two enemies on the screen at once, and you cannot carry the weapons that you picked up over to the next part of the stage.
There is also a so called co-op mode, which is actually playing the game in turns, instead of side by side. Aside from this, Double Dragon also features a “versus” mode, which lets you pick between Billy Lee, Jimmy and five other antagonists from the game and fight. This mode can be played alone or against another player.
The graphics may not seem all that impressive right now, but back in the 80s, they were pretty top notch. The previously mentioned “versus” mode also uses bigger and more detailed sprites instead of the tiny ones from the beat ‘em up part of the game. The levels are decorated to the best of the technology’s ability, and, truth be told, you wouldn’t play this game for the graphics.
To sum up, Double Dragon was and still is a shining example of how a beat ‘em up should be done and, although there were many versions available at the time, they all followed the same pattern. As mentioned, the visuals aren’t the key point of interest, but the nostalgia and the desire to see how it all began.
Double Dragon features:
- RPG-like system which gradually unlocks more moves
- Versus mode which lets you fight the computer or another player
- Co-op mode which lets you take turns with a friend