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Throwback Thursday: Double Dragon Review

April 30, 2009

A thug socks your girl in the belly, throws her over his shoulder, and takes off.  So begins one of the most popular games to ever come out for the NES.

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Visuals: Double Dragon was one of the nicer looking games on the NES which I guess doesn’t say much.  I’m glad to know post-apocalyptic NYC is going to be so vibrant and clean.

Sound: One of the best soundtracks for an NES game. It’s catchy and sets the right tone for all the ass-kicking you are about to do.

Abobo: So ugly, so awesome.

Change

If you were this ugly, you'd work out a lot too.

If you were this ugly, you’d work out a lot too.

Two-player mode: This needed to be co-op not alternating turns. This was probably the biggest change from arcade to console and it’s definitely a detriment to gameplay.

Enemies: They say variety is the spice of the life.  Trouble is the Double Dragon world is pretty bland.  Apparently the Shadow Boss has cloned about 5 people and sent them out in the streets to rough you up.  A wider assortment of enemies would have added more variety to the gameplay and offered more of a challenge.

Hearts: I like the fact that you unlock new moves the more you score, but the game is just too short (see below) for this to be effective. Unless you want to use the glitch on level 2 you won’t get any badass moves until late in the game.

Length: With a bit of luck/skill you can beat the game in about an hour. While this is nice if you just want a quick thrill, it doesn’t really satisfy. Plus, the short length makes earning new moves way to slow.

Cut

Versus mode: The weak one-on-one fighting mode is pointless.

Platforming: Why the hell am I hoping onto moving platforms and avoiding spikes when all I want to do is beat up the goons who took my girl?

From the ominous first screen, (that puke green GRIGR building) the music kicks in and you know you’re in for a treat. Double Dragon was a great entry into the side-scrolling beat-em-up genre.

What kind of a name is GRIGR?

What could GRIGR possibly sell?

Through four well designed levels you get to beat down chumps and get back your gal.  The ride is a bit too short and it wouldn’t have killed them to add a few more enemies to the mix, but overall it hits (pun intended) all the right notes.  If they had thrown in true co-op mode it would probably be in contention for best NES game of all time.

Verdict: Must Own

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