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One has to give Activision credit for trying to release such a game for the VCS this late in the console's life span. And as well-known as Activision was for expanding the graphics palette of the VCS, Double Dragon is graphically below par -- even for that console. In the end, Double Dragon is more of a collector's item.
Double Dragon is a brave attempt to bring the Arcade classic onto the underpowered Atari 2600 but it's a shoddy port with irritating A.I. and lacklustre gameplay. The haphazard programming means it's almost unplayable and overall it's easily the worst version of the game I've experienced so far!
But the saddest thing about this mess is that it could probably have turned out fairly well if you could actually get anywhere, something that should have become hopelessly apparent after even five minutes of actual play testing. To its credit, Double Dragon is still a lot better than luminaries like Knight on the Town – although pulling rank over anything in which the main character’s genitals are gnawed off by a hungry alligator probably isn’t the best choice of potential achievements. As such, ultimately this game is best left as a curious conversation piece . . . but not much of one.
Sometimes you just have to admit a system has limits. Taking an arcade game that needed to be dumbed down for even the most advanced consoles on the market and trying to cram it onto the 2600 is NOT a wise decision. Still, someone obviously thought it was a brilliant move over at Activision, releasing a game that could very well be considered torture in a foreign country.
As such, Double Dragon is virtually unplayable and easily ranks among the worst games for the system ever released by a generally reputable company. They really shouldn’t have bothered.
I'd recommend joining a gang before I'd recommend buying this game. Besides, all the cool kids are doing it.