Retrogaming – Double Dragon

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I smiled when this one spun up on my random picker.  My cousin and I spent a lot of hours in this game, playing 2P and beating up Abobo.  I don’t remember ever finishing it though, so this was definitely a treat.

Players take control of Billy Lee, who’s girlfriend (we assume) is kidnapped at the start of the game.  Time to go rescue her!  In 2P mode, players alternately control BIlly when one character dies the other takes over for the next life.

The levels are very linear, there is really only one way to go.  Enemies appear mostly in pairs from either side of the screen, though they may enter from doorways and other locations infrequently.  Only two enemies will ever be on the screen at a time, and if there are two, they will be the same type of enemy.  Sometimes enemies will carry weapons, which they can throw or hit you with.  Knocking an enemy down will make them drop the weapon and in turn you can use it against them.

The enemies are all spelled out in the Manual.  In general they punch and kick.  The Lindas usually have a whip, which is quite handy once you wrestle it away from them.  The Chintai have different moves, and are faster.  And the Abobo are huge and can really lay a beat down on you.  In general you kick people to death, learning your optimal kicking range is the key to beating the game.

In addition to your basic move set, you gain levels through the course of playing – displayed as hearts at the bottom of your HUD.  Each level adds more moves – the key levels are 3 and 4.  Level 3 teaches the drop kick (semi-useful) and level 4 teaches the hair pull, which is your staple move.  The hair pull is triggered at optimal kick range, after you kick a guy you will grab his hair, knee him in the face and have the option of throwing them.  One hair pull combo will kill a basic enemy, two will kill a Chintai.  The throw also works for throwing enemies off cliffs or ledges for instant kills.

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There are four levels in total, they look very different, but the first two are mostly just follow the path.  In the third level some extra jumping over things is included.  The fourth level includes a lot of platforming and it’s very easy to die by getting knocked off ledges or falling from missing a jump.

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The last boss room is straight forward, and challenging.  Though at this point you should really have your techniques mastered.  You will fight two of every character that you’ve had to fight so far, and then WIlly, who is armed with a machine guy.  I’m not sure if my game was bugged, but even when Willy was shooting at what appeared to be my stomach, the bullets went through and missed me.

After willy a doppelganger appears, which after reading the manual I discover is my twin brother Jimmy and not just a crazy mirror duplicate.  Jimmy really needs more sun, he’s pale like a vampire.  So much for the game actually explaining anything.  Why my twin wanted to kidnap my girlfriend is a really creepy mystery.

After beating him up, you enter the final room and locate your girlfriend asleep on a bed.  Now, just a few minutes ago, two Abobos, two lindas, two Chintai, Willy and Jimmy came out of that room.  What the heck was happening in there with a bed and a couch and …  ew.

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I felt cheated after finishing the game there isn’t even a credit sequence.  You are just sent back to the main screen to play the game over again.  Congrats on finishing, now do it again!

In addition to the single player campaign, there is a “B” mode, which is essentially a v/s mode similar to other fighting games.  You can pick from 6 different characters, (including enemies) and beat on the computer, or your friend.  Playing as Abobo is more fun than trying to fight him.

Bugs –

Enemies don’t die unless you knock them down.  You can rack up points and level quickly by punching one enemy but never knocking him over.

Sometimes picking up a weapon just as the last enemy disappears will transform the weapon and let you use it on the next screen.

At the end of stage 1, you can levitate up the side of the building where the two rails are.

On the second stage, after climbing over the grate – if you line an enemy up with the beam, then climb back to the original side and back, the enemy is invisible, but you can hit the air where he was standing for constant point increases and levels.

At the end of the second stage, when the boss appears, climb back down two ladders.  You win by default.

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What did you think?