Genesis Reviews

Double Dragon

Genre: Beat-‘Em-Up Developer: Technos of Japan Publisher: Ballistic Players: 1-2 Released: 1992

Final Fight. Streets of Rage. TMNT: Hyperstone Heist. Whenever you are asked or are justing thinking of classic Sega beat-’em-ups, these are what is usually mentioned. What most people don’t mention is the original game that started it all, Double Dragon, mostly because people refer to Genesis Double Dragon as the crappy Double Dragon V fighting game. But what many people don’t know (unless they are Genesis collectors and know almost every game made for the Genesis) is that the original Double Dragon actually came out for the console. It’s pretty hard to track down in complete form, which could be why. The game itself is still a nice little break from life. Even if the game is, you know, just fifteen minutes long.

It’s your basic story from the arcade original. Your girlfriend is walking around an alley but is then punched in the stomach by a random bad guy and taken away. Suddenly, you jump out of the garage (which happens to be right next to where your significant other was just taken away from) and automatically know that A: She was taken, B: Where she was taken, and C: Who took her. Anyway, Billy (the blue one, and player one) goes on a four-level adventure to get her back. He soon meets up with….

Oh yeah, I shouldn’t give away everything. The game itself is not just a graphically enhanced copy of the NES classic. It’s a direct port of the arcade game. One of the big differences between the two is that the Chinese kung-fu characters have been absolutely taken out of the game. Also, this version seems to be a little easier. Finally, since it’s the normal two-player mode, Jimmy is NOT the evil ruler of the shadow gang (even though the game box SAYS he is, it’s the guy that… crap, almost gave more away.)

The graphics are pretty good at emulating the arcade version. The backgrounds look great and are not too distracting from the fighting. The sprites are a good size, although determining exactly where you should be to actually punch a guy can be frustrating in the beginning.

The music is classic retro style (which is what it should be, since it is based on an older game). The sounds seem a bit generic, and don’t really sound like fighting. The guns sound realistic, but that seems to be the only thing (I just gave away another ending part, didn’t I? Crap.). You may find yourself adding your own versions of the sound effects, because the provided ones may not be good enough for you, except if you like the old-time smacks and crunches.

The gameplay can be a bit confusing sometimes, especially when the game randomly switches the buttons you selected for fighting and jumping. You get your basic jump, kick, and punch moves, but you can also use a special back elbow and back kick, if you know the right combinations. Moreover, the jump kicks are odd. If you want to use a jump kick to the left, press jump and kick. If you want a jump kick to the right, press jump and punch. Why it’s like this, I don’t know. You also have a “five knees to the face” move, and a throw. Another thing to be aware of other than the bad guys is the holes. I’ve lost more than one game because I kept falling into holes or being thrown into holes (you’ll love the bridge!).

The bad guys are almost all the same. The Latino drug smuggler, redhead wroper (The “W” is silent), Blonde wroper, bridge guard wroper and the whip chick all use the same moves, and all take the same amount of hits to kill. They all can use any weapon on the screen, except for the woman, who can only use the whip. Then you have the special suit wropers. The two green ones are used as mini-bosses on the bridge. There is a teal one in the second level, and you face two golden twins in the final batt… (Oops! I DID IT AGAIN!). Also, you get to face ABOBO! Our favorite African-American muscle man who actually is your biggest threat other than the final fight itself. The final boss fight is probably one of the most annoying battles in recent memory and you may just smash a controller against a wall.

If I had any problems with this game, it’d be its shortness. There are only five levels, and the second level has a total of only NINE bad guys. NINE! Ballistic felt it needed to shorten the game, apparently. Other than that, the game is really fun, and a nice way to waste away a half hour.

SCORE: 6 out of 10



  1. out the all the arcade double dragon ports, this is the best!

  2. I remember being able to elbow smash through the arcade game. Heck, that was really the best way to beat it. The only real problem I have with the Genesis port is that it plays WAY too fast. The whole game seems to be running at a higher speed than it should, and this throws off the gameplay. Aside from that, everything else is pretty decent. I’d give it a 6/10.

    • “I remember being able to elbow smash through the arcade game”

      Up to a point, but at least there it required some finesse and accuracy, and a few of the battles got tricky. In this version, though, everything just feels completely off to me. The speed is part of it, but not all — it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong.

  3. This is a terrible port. However decent it might seem cosmetically, the gameplay has been trashed — it’s now painfully easy (you can pretty much elbow-smash through the entire game), and yet it doesn’t feel right at all. Avoid, especially at the prices usually asked for this game. 2/10.

  4. I don’t appreciate the Double Dragon series like some others do. Growing up on Final Fight and the Streets of Rage series it’s just hard to enjoy a series that is so technically inferior. This game does little to change my opinion of the Double Dragon series. The moves Jimmy and Billy have at their disposal are satisfying enough, it’s just that executing the moves you want is inconsistent. The graphics are passable but not impressive, which is fine because neither were the arcades. The music is a mixed bag and the sound effects are just weak. The game does have a good atmosphere which breaks up some monotony. Overall, this is a game most Double Dragon fans will appreciate but most new comers will be sorely disappointed. I am stretching here giving Double Dragon a 5/10

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