Double Dragon

In a city ravaged by war and corruption, law and order have taken a backseat to terror and violence. Ruthless gangs rule the streets. Crime and bloodshed are commonplace.

The city lives in fear.

Your name is Billy Lee. Your twin brother is Jimmy Lee. On the streets they call you the Spike, and your brother, the Hammer. That’s because you are both masters without equal in the ancient martial arts of Kenpo and Kung fu.

You’ve got what it takes to survive in the meanest streets in the world! And
now, you’ve got troubles.

The Black Warriors, the meanest of the street gangs, is out for revenge: They
want you dead. To bring you out into their territory, they’ve kidnapped your
sweetheart, the beautiful Mary Ann.

Now you must venture out into the war-torn wasteland to rescue Mary Ann,
defeat the Black Warriors, and return law and order to your city.

“Its going to take every fighting skill you have and if you make it to the headquarters of the Black Warriors, you’ll face the greatest surprise of all, the leader of the gang!”


Sega Mega Drive/Genesis advert

It sure will you know, just look how serious these brothers Billy and Jimmy are!  Double Dragon is an arcade and video gaming gold medallist.  Often regarded as the game that properly started the scrolling beat em up, Taito’s (In Europe and US) arcade smash is an absolute classic.  Released in Japan in 1987 by Technos, Double Dragon introduced a two player element to the scrolling beat em genre.  It also added the ability for players to pick up dropped or found weapons to use against the CPU enemies.  The game was an arcade smash!


Arcade Cabinet

A year later saw the release of the home ports.  Taito took control of giving Europe and the US the ports that we played then and today.  Due to its popularity Double Dragon was ported onto nearly everything home system around at the time.  Myself and my brother had the Sega Master System port (Still my favourite version 😉 ) and was one of the closest versions to the arcade at the time.


Is she…..? naa

Double Dragon is a side scrolling beat em up.  Players can choose from one or two player depending on which platform you play the game on (NES version only had one player at a time).  Moving from left to right, you control Jimmy or Billy in eight directions and use the buttons for punch and kick. Pressing the buttons together will perform a jump kick.  The players start with three lives but can continue as many times as you like up until mission four.  There is a secret button combination that i heard in the past that allows you to carry on using continues at mission four, but i have yet to test them out.  If anyone knows if these work, please feel free to share the knowledge 🙂

You can perform various attacks in the game be pressing directions and certain button combinations.  Picking up weapons is a good way of adding to your attack power but you will lose it after a certain amount of time or at the level end.


Its a lethal weapon

The game starts with your girlfriend being rather savagely beaten up and taken off by members of the Black Warriors.  As usual both Billy and Jimmy are hiding in their garage (honestly watch the beginning of the game). So starts the first of four very enjoyable missions to rescue her and destroy the legendary Black Warrior gang.  Did i mention the Lee brothers could do martial arts?  Well its incredibly handy to know martial arts when your stuck in a city controlled by the Black Warrior gang and the Lee brothers are two of the best fighters around.


Sega Master System version – No garage hiding here!

Each of the four missions are split into different areas, the slums (or streets), Factory district, The Park and lastly the Black Warriors headquarters.

      Mission 1 – Arcade Version                 Mission 2 – Sega Master System

               Mission 3 – NES Version        Mission 4 – Atari 7800 (dear oh dear Atari)

At the end of each stage you will have to fight one of the Black Warriors lieutenants.  These guys as you’d expect are bigger and have more energy than the regular enemies.  Some of these enemies would also appear in later games due to their popularity.  Everyone remembers Abobo right?


Sure you do…..

Not only was Abobo the end boss of mission one but he also featured in the animated TV series and film of Double Dragon.  Now ive not seen the film but ive got the feeling an evening with Da22, Stevenger (VGR2016 colleagues) and a copy of Double Dragon the movie might be well worth a giggle!  Abobo has also featured in his own game in 2012 “Abobo’s Big Adventure” which is an Indie game developed by I-Mockery.

game B

NES version had a Street Fighter style bonus game

Various changes had to be made when porting the game to the home versions. Due to restrictions on cartridge size each of the 8bit versions were slightly different.  Whilst the Sega Master System version remained similar to the arcade while slightly scaled down, the NES version as i mentioned early could only have one player taking turns.  The NES version did have a “Game B” added though which was a one on one beat em up style game.  It wasn’t much fun though as the hit detection was poor.  The Sega Master System version also has great sound and the levels were very faithful to the arcade version.  Again the NES version fell short on sounds, visuals and level design too.

One of the most memorable events happens at the last battle of the game.  Without spoiling this for readers i will just say this, unlike a large amount of video game final battles, Double Dragon gives you a movie style scene.  Trust me you’ll never forget what happens!


Yeah that good!

Double Dragon went on and added many more games to the series, the most notable is Double Dragon 2,  being better than the first in my opinion.  Although later on other games refined the Double Dragon take on the scrolling beat up, it will always be remembered fondly by fans of the genre.  If you have never taken up the pad as Billy or Jimmy, then give it a try.  Its still fun to play today


Thanks again for reading and thank you for all the “Likes”.  Please take a look through the rest of VGR2016.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. stevenger says:

    Decent article, like that you chose to compare the different home versions.

    Speccy version being completed here:

    The (character) graphics were notoriously hideous even at the time. Whoever did them had a) never seen a human at rest, and b) never seen a human in motion. Nice satisfying, crunchy feel to the fighting though.

    Regardless, give me Target: Renegade any day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Da22 says:

    Love double dragon always have found memories, I’m sure we broke a SMS pad playing it. I was also going to mention the Speccy version but I got beaten to it! 👍 now bad dudes vs dragon ninja.. Oh yeah now that’s rad!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. retrolechuck says:

    Love both them games but they were later than DD. Renegade is the only real earlier game than DD but only one player


  4. acidbearboy says:

    I can’t believe you didn’t mention the music! I might do a post on it – some real classic themes, plus I have a great remix album. Also, I don’t think Taito had anything to do with the development, just arcade distribution.


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