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- Double Dragon -




Double Dragon by Mr.T
Game:Double DragonCompany:Taito

Double Dragon, one of my favourite arcade games of all time, only beaten by Outrun in terms of personal coinage. Double Dragon was one of the first in the "Scrolling Beat-em-up" genre, and in my mind, the best. Double Dragon takes you through 4 levels, with the soul intention of getting your girl back from the clutches of an evil gang.
To get her back your gonna have to fight your way through wave upon wave of enemies. These come in all shapes and sizes, from Whip wielding blondes to giant muscle bound mohican dudes, who like to make their entrance by smashing through the side of a building. To dispose of your enemies, you a host of moves you can pull off, from the usual kicks and punches to headbuts and my favourite move, the rear elbow. Life is made easier once you get your hands on a weapon. These can be picked up along the way or beaten out of an enemy. Weapons come in two forms, Handheld or Throwable. You can only choose from two handheld weapons, the Baseball Bat or the Whip. Throwing weapons offer you a bit more choice, you have at your disposal: a knife, crate, oil drum and even dynamite (be careful not to blow yourself up). All weapons are evenly matched and each has their plus and minuses. e.g. the oil drum can knock down multiple enemies at once but can quite easily be thrown out of play.
The game stands up well as a 1 player game but things start to really get spiced up in 2 player mode. 2 player action is great fun, more so when fights break out between yourselves, over who should have the baseball bat or if you should accidentally hit one another in the heatof battle. Don't worry though, your differences can finally be settled at the end of the game when you have to kick the crap out of each other, well there's only girl!
Graphics are great, especially for their time (1987). Backgrounds and sprites are very well drawn. Although there are only four missions the scenery changes quite a bit, which keeps things interesting. The characters do repeat themselves after the first couple of levels and from then on only seem to change colour. I found it amusing to find the mohican dude change from his usual brown skin to a green in the 3rd level.
Sound wise the game can't be faulted. All kicks, punches, thuds and yells are well up to scratch. The music is really memorable and adds a unique atmosphere to the game.
So to sum up, I'd say Double Dragon is a must for any arcade emulation freak. It's emulated perfectly under MAME (give or take the odd sound glitch). The game doesn't require a Super Computer to run either and runs quite happily on my Pentium 233 MMX with a frameskip of 1. I've had to mark the game down in parts because it is a little short and does get repetitive, but that doesn't stop it from being head and shoulders above rest. Games such as Vigilante, Renegade and Ninja Gai Den fall well short of Double Dragon, it's a true Classic!
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