DGT#17: Double Dragon


Double Dragon is a 1987 "beat 'em up" video game developed by Technos Japan and distributed in North America and Europe by Taito. Double Dragon is considered to be one of the first successful examples of the genre, resulting in the creation of two arcade sequels and several spinoffs, as well as inspiring other companies in creating their own beat 'em ups.  Originally an arcade game, home versions were released to most of the major video game systems. Double Dragon also spawned a series of related media in the United States, which includes a six-issue comic published by Marvel in 1991, and an animated TV series, which ran for two seasons from 1993 to 1995, which influenced a live-action film in 1994 (it was awesome!). 

I used to play this game in the arcade all the time, but it was so hard! I don't think I ever beat it when it was in arcades, which is a rarity for video games that I liked to play as a kid.  I felt like Adobo was always my nemesis, especially since he kept appearing in the game and only got tougher to beat as the game went on. Apparently, others felt the same, because he then got his own indie retro game Adobo's Big Adventure (check it out). At least Adobo paid me back by commenting on the Double Drankgon product line. 

Here is a summary of the game:

The player takes control of martial artist Billy Lee, or his twin brother Jimmy, as they fight their way into the turf of the Black Warriors gang in order to rescue Billy's love interest, Marian. The player character has a repertoire of martial arts techniques which they can perform by using the joystick and three action buttons (kick, jump, and punch) individually or in combination. Techniques range from basic punches and kicks, to more elaborate attacks such as throws and elbow strikes. When playing with another player, one can grab an opponent from behind, allowing the other to attack unimpeded. The player begins the game with a certain number of extra lives and a life gauge which depletes as the player takes hits, and must complete each stage within a time limit. One life is lost if either the life gauge or timer reaches zero, or if the player character falls off the bottom of the screen or into a hole, river, or bed of spikes.

Certain enemies carry melee weapons, which can be knocked out of their hands and picked up to use against them. Available weapons include baseball bats, whips, throwing knives, and dynamite; in addition, rocks, oil drums, and boxes can be found in certain places.

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

  • Williams: A low-ranking member of the gang, who can use bats, knives, and dynamite.
  • Roper: 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.
  • Adobo: A tall, bald, shirtless gang member who can throw heavy items.
  • Bolo: The boss of the first and third stages, identical in appearance to Adobo except for the addition of sunglasses, a beard, and a Mohawk haircut.
  • Jeff: The boss of the second stage, who has all the same attacks as Billy and Jimmy.
  • 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.

Wow, the last two bosses were named Jeff and Willy. No wonder I liked this game.


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