Rookery’s Retro Review: Double Dragon (Arcade)


Overall Score: 5 (of 5), cooperative beat ’em up worth every quarter.

Story: In a city that’s not Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, a street gang approaches a girl, punches her square in the gut, then carries her off.

aDD3What?  That’s pretty screwed up!  Fortunately, our heroes emerge too late to do much about it from a garage named Matin, which is French for “morning”.  That makes about as much sense as the door next to it with the sign “English Tear”. This bizarre workplace or residence aside, the two players are on a mission to beat up every bad guy between them and the girl unjustly jabbed in the celiac plexus.

Playable brothers Billy Lee “Hammer” and Jimmy “Spike” can jump, kick, punch, jump-kick and grab to unleash a torrent of other moves including throwing their opponents.  Enemies come in waves and with weapons of all sorts, so fighting fair is clearly out of the question.  The good news is, players can pick up these weapons to use them against their enemies.  Care must be taken however, as players can accidently (or intentionally?) hit each other instead of the bad guys.

aDD2Although this isn’t the first or last of this sort of game, it did have quite a lasting appeal with the innovatively easy gameplay that causes the gamer to focus more on the knock-down drag-out fun rather than too much focus on manipulating complex controls or tons of buttons.  There are big guys to fight and tricky enemies as well, but what really makes this game memorable is perhaps one of the best two-player endings of any arcade game.

Highlights: Responsive controls, easy to play, lot of fist/kick action with various combos.

Lowlights: Enemy swarms seem overwhelming at times or capable of beyond-human speed/manuevers, occasionally a bit of lag from more going on the screen than can be processed by the machine, a single flat objective of beating up bad guys until the end.

Similar Style Games: X-Men (Arcade), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade), Battletoads, Streets of Rage

Final Thought: A necessary staple for new cooperative gamers or fans of classic arcade action.