Double Dragon was originally released to the arcades and became an instant classic. It was the game that defined the sidescroller beat-em'up. The original characters names were Spike and Hammer, but this quickly changed to Billy Lee and Jimmy by the time it was released on other platforms. Fair Marion is outside of our heros' garage, when a bunch of freaky delinquents rush by and steal the steamy scream queen. The two poofy-haired brothers who are our heros run out of the building to see poor Marion being stormed away, and thus begins the game. Three buttons, punch, kick, and jump, and a joystick were your arsenal to rescue the fair damsel. Progressing through a series of screens kicking the crap out of everything in sight was the theme of this game. If someone came at you with a baseball bat, you could knock them senseless and then pick up the baseball bat to return the favor for a while. Same thing for whips, knives, boxes, oil drums, etc. Upon winning the game, if there were two players active, you'd get to duke it out man to man to see just WHO exactly was Marion's boyfriend.

After the original, there were four sequels made, as well as a Neo-Geo arcade box port. Double Dragon 3 was the death knell of the arcade life of the series, featuring abysmal gameplay and horrible digitized graphics a-la Mortal Kombat. The popularity of the game ensured its passage to the console world, where it appeared on the Atari 2600, Atari 7800, GameBoy, GameGear, Sega Genesis, Atari Jaguar, Atari Lynx, Sega Master System, Neo-Geo, NES, Super Nintendo, Turbo CD, and even the Playstation. The Double Dragon duo teamed up with the BattleToads for Battletoads & Double Dragon, which was released for Gameboy, Genesis, and NES.

I personally most remember the NES version, which had several additional modes which were what made the game my favorite. There was a Royal Rumble mode in which a huge group of baddies, a single baseball bat, and you were pitted in a free for all. There was also a two-player fight mode, where you and a buddy could duke it out one on one. The game had a hidden XP system, which was expanded upon greatly by the same development team later in the NES classic River City Ransom.

Double Dragon is one of the few games that had an enormous impact on the entire gaming industry for many years, easily witnessed in games such as Final Fight, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and even Street Fighter.

I seem to be doing several "I did that!" nodes recently (see Game Genie), but I must confess that I wrote conversions of Double Dragon for the Amstrad CPC (DD 1 and DD 2), the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga (finished off ST/Amiga DD1 after it was abandoned by another programmer, and wrote ST/Amiga DD2)

Sadly, they were contract jobs, a bit rushed, and none of them were very much fun to play. I was quite pleased with Amiga Double Dragon 2, mainly because it had some slightly flashy techy things in it, and some fantastic music by a musician from the Netherlands, who went by the moniker 'Uncle Tom'. It also had some rock hard copy protection on the disk, which I spent about a week and a half programming, considered to be almost 'uncrackable', and which was duly neatly cracked by somecalled called 'Weetabix' (who said 'Nice Try!' on his intro page. Bastard! ;-) )

I did loads of arcade beat-em-up conversions on 8 and 16 bit computers, but I think the best one I did was Final Fight on the Amiga, which I ran on an emulator recently and was fairly chuffed with.

Double Dragon also had some great moments that made it appealing.

At one point on the first level there is a poster of a VW Beetle on the wall. As you walk past a huge bloke crashes through the wall and becomes your first real challenge. Fighting him was fun because you also had a couple of normal bad guys and a woman with a whip to beat, but more experienced players knew the trick was to stand on the platform above where he came out. If you got in exactly the right place he would come crashing through the wall, turn around and go straight back in again.

Another game that features a Double Dragon style mode is Tekken 3 with its Tekken Force section.


Double Dragon at first was a simple arcade game, that soon grew to epic size spawning a horrid amount of material.

The Games:

The Series***:

Season 1:

  • The Shadow Falls (Originally Aired 9/12/1993)
  • The Legend Continues (Originally Aired 9/19/1993)
  • The Mistress Of Chi (Originally Aired 9/26/1993)
  • The Price Of Oblivion (Originally Aired 10/3/1993)
  • River Of Tears (Originally Aired 10/10/1993)
  • Over The Line (Originally Aired 10/17/1993)
  • Rebirth (Originally Aired 10/24/1993)
  • Judgement Day (Originally Aired 10/31/1993)
  • Dragon Hunt (Originally Aired 11/7/1993)
  • Call To Arms (Originally Aired 11/14/1993)
  • Heart Of The Matter (Originally Aired 11/21/1993)
  • The Eye Of The Dragon (Originally Aired 12/5/1993)

Season 2:

  • Shadow Khan (Originally Aired 9/11/1994)
  • Shadow Claw (Originally Aired 9/18/1994)
  • Virtual Reality Bytes (Originally Aired 9/25/1994)
  • Doom Claw (Originally Aired 10/2/1994)
  • Superhighway Warriors (Originally Aired 10/9/1994)
  • Undertown (Originally Aired 10/16/1994)
  • Shadow Conned (Originally Aired 10/30/1994)
  • The Sight Of Freedom (Originally Aired 11/6/1994)
  • The Ancients Arise (Originally Aired 11/13/1994)
  • The Return Of The Shadowmonster (Originally Aired 11/20/1994)
  • Daj Of Undertown (Originally Aired 11/27/1994)
  • RPM (Originally Aired 12/4/1994)


* Was not the origional Double Dragon game. Was a fighter loosly-based on the movie.

** Basically a Neo-Geo MVS Cart, not the home version. There were only mild differences between the MVS & Home cart.

*** "The Series" _WAS_ an ANIMATED series.

Also worth noting is the short lived syndicated Double Dragon cartoon. Billy and Jimmy Lee were the main characters and that's pretty much where the similarities to the game ended. The bad guy was the Shadow Master, a guy who like to dress in all black and say meancing things. Both brothers had a dragon tattoo that made them superheroes when they recited a special oath. There were also other friends, who were clearly designed to be action figures. There was a videogame based on the cartoon released for the SNES, but unlike other Double Dragon games it was a one on one Street Fighter 2-esque fighting game.

There was also a movie starring pre-Party of Five Scott Wolf and b-movie mainstay Mark Dacascos as Billy and Jimmy. Robert Patrick, the T-1000 himself, played the bad guy Koga Shuko who needed the Lee's medallion to take over the world or something generic. Alyssa Milano also showed up to provide the required T&A. The movie was pretty awful by all acounts and grossed a measley 2.3 million at the US box office.

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