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Double Dragon II

1988

DOS

 

 

The late 80s, early 90s was a pretty sad state of affairs for computer action games. There were many different unique models each with their own hardware configurations and the capabilities of each machine varied widely. As a result the pre-Doom era of computer gaming tended to be filled with pont-and-click adventure style games (Sierra, Lucasarts, etc.) This didn't leave much for action or arcade fans who sadly had to make do with substandard arcade ports and hacked together clones that while they sometimes looked better, they usually played a heck of a lot worse than their console counterparts - which is a perfect description of the Dos version of Double Dragon II.

This particular version of DD II came out wile the Sega Genesis was just making it's commercial debut, thus it looks like a lot of effort was pushed into making the graphics as arcade perfect as possible. And yes, they do look pretty good.

Too bad everything else about the game really stinks. The game moves extremely slow, like everyone is walking through Jello. Punches and kicks sometimes come out a full half second after the button is pressed. The fact that the controls are set up to work with a one-button joystick doesn't help either. Forget trying to jump over anything (like say, bottomless pits or over spikes in the last level,) forget about doing jump kick attacks, or elbows, or the highly effective hair-pull, knee-them-in-the-face move that was really the only effective move you had in the arcade. Anything more than the straightforward punch is an exercise in sloppy wonky what-the-hell-am-I-doing mania. You can tell they got lazy in this area because they didn't even try to implement the trademarked DD Hurricane kick in any type of button timing fashion - the manual actually says to just jump, kick, and move the joystick from side to side. Yeah that takes some skill. Even when I was 11 I thought that crap was a rip off. Thing is there is no reason for a decent computer at the time to not be able to handle a fast moving arcade game. Just pure laziness, I tell you.

Sound? There is no sound beyond simple "blumps" and "bleeps." To be fair this was before soundcards were widely available. But still they could have at least tried.

Thankfully they didn't cheeseball out on the rest of the game. As before the graphics look really good (better than what was on consoles at the time by far) and all of the levels, elements, and enemies are there. You just won't see any of them because it takes Ghandi-like patience to get past the first level. I didn't come here to meditate, I came here to bust some heads! This game also has the distinction of being the very first computer game I bought with my own money, back for our old Tandy 1000. But the things that impressed me when I was 11 don't cut the mustard anymore. Nowadays I actually like some "action" in my acton games.

Graphics: Complete arcade-faithful renditions of the characters and levels are hindered by slow animation.

Sound: None to speak of.

Gameplay: Like playing DD in slow motion. An action game with no action.

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