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Double Dragon II: The Revenge



1989 Acclaim (Technos)



The second Double Dragon game comes off a lot better on the NES than the original. Not only are the graphics and gameplay a notch up, this time Acclaim also decided to grace us with the two player simultaneous play that is the hallmark of the series.

Plot follows the Lee brothers as they seek revenge for the death of their mutual girlfriend Marion. The NES game tells this through semi-animated cut scenes (unlike the arcade where they Shadow warriors show up and just kill the broad.) Control is a direct translation of the arcade, with the A and B buttons used for frontal punches and backwards kicks depending on which direction the character is facing (which was actually used first in another Technos game, Renegade.) The learn-as-you-go play mechanic has also thankfully been dropped for this incarnation, thus you can bust out all of the hurricane kicks and flying knee strikes from the very beginning. Rounding out your arsenal are various grapple moves, shoulder throws, and the ability to commandeer dropped enemy weapons (knives, whips, bats, etc.) for your own use.

Some liberties were taken from the arcade game for this home translation. The levels for have been redesigned to give more of a platform feeling, some sections have the obligatory 8-bit disappearing platforms and such. However for the most part however these are improvements in the design from the arcade game. The second level features a helicopter where a door that periodically opens and sucks people out. Later on you fight enemies on the moving treads of this multi layered steam tank. Most games of this type didn't do much to incorporate hazards into the backgrounds and level designs and these areas do a lot to keep the game fresh.

The Shadow warriors themselves look pretty decent. The recognizable sub-boss characters were directly translated from the arcade (like the dissolving big guy with the mask.) New additions include large Commando looking dudes, Bruce Lee wanna-bees, and evil clones of yourself. The machine gun boss Willy from the first game has been replaced with the evil "Shadow Warrior" who does cartwheels and spinning moves. They all have specific weaknesses and usually fall for repeated hurricane kicks or the ol' walk-up-and-down trick. The final few levels is where the challenge begins to ramp up, but even then most people should be able to defeat the game in a few tries.

Although it doesn't remain accurate to the arcade game the platform and cinema elements actually make this incarnation a lot better as far as gameplay goes.






Billy Lee, player one. Jimmy goes for the blue jean head-to-toe look and has the pompadour/mullet that was so stylish in the 80's. He completes the outfit with the sleveless open vest which instantly connotates a bad ass.


Jimmy Lee, player two. As the twin brother he must conform to 8-bit video game laws of fashion, which means he must appear exactly as his brother but in a different color.


Roper, based on a character in Enter the Dragon. This character appears in all levels and carries sticks of dynamite. But since this is videogame dynamite it has to flash for a few seconds before it explodes.


Linda, the lone female character in the game. She comes stylin' in her full pink leather body suit with shoulders exposed and mohawk. Because is NES land all you need to be evil is a mohawk.


Williams, based on Jim Kelly's character from Enter the Dragon, even though Jim Kelly is black. He wears the spikey armbands that (along with a mohawk) instantly meant you were a bad guy in the 80s.


As if to prove my point about wearing spikes making you evil comes Brunov, the first level boss. Although in the arcade this son of a bitch was impossible to beat here he's cake. He is one of two enemy characters to come directly from the arcade version. He also dissolves when you beat him for some reason.


This character's name is Abore, which probably means something to somebody but I'm too lazy to find out what. He looks like Arrhhnold, and is evil even though he doesn't have a mohawk or spiked wristbands.


Bolo, based on Bolo from Enter the Dragon, who was played by Bolo Yeung. He even looks like Bolo Yeung, if Bolo Yeung took crank and had big-headed disease.

Actually, I always thought this character was supposed to be Mexican. I guess the internet can teach you things after all.


This character is the second to come based from the arcade game. Although for some reason they must have forgot what his name was supposed to be, because they named him Chin, from the Chinese guy in the first NES game that wasn't in the first arcade game, of which of course he looks nothing like except for his hairdo, which is not a mohawk, but he is still evil.


They must have ran out of names because this guy's name is "Right Arm." Real imaginative there fellas. Why just not call him "Assistant" or "Lackey?" He wears sunglasses at night. This was the 80s after all.


No name for this guy, just Ninja. I guess it was hard to think up shit after "Right Arm." These bastards are pains-in-the-ass and never appeared in the arcade game.


These are the evil clones of yourself that you fight at the end of the game, although I suspect they are the other set of Homosexual Lee brothers, Gaylord and Sergio Lee, who our heroes feel obligated to kill for wearing all purple. They do the T-1000 melting into the floor thing and are the only characters to throw fireballs.


The evil boss of the Shadow Warriors (called the Shadow Warrior, once again proving the developers ran out of good names.) Since he's the big boss he's taller than you and has a ton of cheap moves, like back flips and crap like that. He also does the spinning tornado-fist move that everyone tries on their big brother at least once in their life before they really learn how to fight.


Graphics: A step up from the previous NES incarnation. The characters look a lot more realistic and don't suffer from big-head syndrome anymore. Lots of animation for the main characters.

Sound: There is still a boing-type noise when you jump, which comes off kind of stupid at first. The rest of the sound consists of smacks, punches, and explosions that are nothing special but do their job adequately. The game could have used some digitized groans here and there.

Gameplay: Gameplay feels highly polished. The controls become a natural extension of your hand. This is one of those games where you can't blame mistakes on bad control or crappy design. Some of the platform elements in the later levels can be a pain but these are few and far between.


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