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Double Dragon

aka: Arcade Archives: Double Dragon, Double Dragon Advance
Moby ID: 1839
Arcade Specs
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Description official descriptions

Set in a post-apocalyptic New York, Double Dragon is the story of Billy and Jimmy Lee, twin brothers trained in the fighting style of Sou-Setsu-Ken. Together, they manage a small martial arts training school, teaching their students in self-defense. One day, Billy's girlfriend, Marian, is kidnapped off the street by the "Black Warriors", a savage street gang led by a man named Willy. The Black Warriors demand the Lee brothers disclose their martial arts secrets in exchange for Marian's freedom. The Lee brothers set out on a rescue mission to crush the Black Warriors and save Marian.

Using whatever techniques they have at their disposal, from the basic punches and kicks to the invulnerable elbow strike, as well any weapon that comes into their hands, the Lee brothers must pursue the gang through the city slum, industrial area and the forest before reaching their hideout to confront the big boss, Willy.

The NES version of this game also has an additional VS. fighting mode for one or two players. Players choose from a field of six different characters (Billy and 5 of the enemy characters) and enter into a one-on-one fighting match. Players have to punch, kick, jumpkick, and even use a weapon against their opponents until someone's health bar is fully drained. The winner is the last one standing.


  • アーケードアーカイブス ダブルドラゴン - Japanese PS4 / Switch spelling
  • ダブルドラゴン - Japanese spelling
  • ダブルドラゴン アドバンス - Japanese GBA spelling

Groups +



Credits (Arcade version)

20 People (16 developers, 4 thanks)

Director and Producer
Sound Effects
Art Staff
Special Thanks
Director and Designer
Presented by
  • Technos Japan Corp.



Average score: 70% (based on 79 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 344 ratings with 7 reviews)

A Very Bad Port

The Good
It was unique to the Atari 2600. Very few (if any) games were scrolling fighting games. and that's just about it.

The Bad
First, the gameplay is way too hard. You only land one kick on your enemy and then he counters with a 3-hit combo until you're dead. In fact, I've never got past the first screen it's so difficult. Plus watch the characters as they move.It looks a bit gay. And the colors are pretty screwed up as well. The purple skin looks eerie.

The Bottom Line
Don't buy this game if you're looking for something fun. Only collectors should hunt down Double Dragon for A26.

Atari 2600 · by powerstone05 (344) · 2006

They tried and fell flat, double times!

The Good
There are two separate C64 ports of Double Dragon (by Mastertronic vs Ocean). Both are bad, on the same level, but different ways. Althought not for the lack of trying! (Some of the war stories from the developers are known in C64 enthusiast circles.)

At least they can have multiple enemies and 2 players on screen at once (which is far more than what C64 Golden Axe had from later).

The Ocean version is a bit newer, and somewhat better on the technical and presentational front, but not that much that's it's worth it.

The SID chip can do wonders with soundtracks. Wether because or despite the composers, hard to decide in this case.

The Bad
Both conversions are barely playable, and look like a joke.

The Bottom Line
This is the time when arcade games started to exceed way above the capabilities of 8-bit machines, and the programmers had trouble figuring out how they can keep up with the demands of the publishers/buyers.

At least the port of DD2 turned out much better.

Commodore 64 · by 1xWertzui (1135) · 2024

Much better than the original arcade version

The Good
In 1986, Technos Japan released Double Dragon, considered to be the grandfather of the beat-’em-up. The game was such a huge success that versions were made for the popular 8- and 16-bit systems. This included the Nintendo NES, which was published by Tradewest. You (Jimmy Lee) and your girlfriend Marion are fine-tuning your hot rod in a New York garage when Marion is beaten and kidnapped by a crime syndicate known as the Black Warriors.

This version of the game shares similarities with Bionic Commando (Capcom, 1988) in the way that it is slightly different to the original coin-op. It also shares something in common with Street Fighter (Capcom, 1987) because you can push the joystick in a specific direction while mashing buttons to perform some advanced moves other than your standard punch and kick, some of these you have to earn. These advanced moves include elbow punch, jump kick, pin attack, and over-shoulder throw.

There are a ton of enemies standing between you and the leader, and you can defeat them using the above moves. Some of the enemies carry their own weapons which drop when they go down. Picking up their weapon and using it against them is a stroke of genius. So, too, are certain structures that can be put to good use within each stage. In mission one, for instance, you can lure enemies to the edge of the conveyor belt and make them fall down to their doom. There are also new enemies; some of which make an appearance in later games. Tradewest was generous enough to include a life bar as well as a lives counter; when you die, you restart from a checkpoint, which is an unusual feature for a beat-’em-up.

The NES version of the game offers two modes for both players. Mode A is the original game as seen in the arcade version, but with a few cosmetic changes. Mode B is inspired by Street Fighter; you have nine enemies to choose from, and whatever one you choose, you need to fight them. Unlike Street Fighter, however, there is no such thing as round two; the mode ends when one of you goes down.

The game plays differently, with some missions requiring you to take a specific route through them. There is a quadruple-page spread of Double Dragon in issue one of Nintendo Power, telling readers how to beat the game. In the third mission, I kept going right just like you do in the arcade version, wondering why I was going around in circles. It turned out that I had to enter a hole in the wall, which two Abobos come out of.

Other than these changes, Double Dragon for the NES remains faithful to the original arcade game; the first mission is set in the city streets, and the following ones are set in their respective areas. The memorable soundtrack is the same for all four missions. It still lacks the boss theme, though.

The Bad
Nothing is bad about this game.

The Bottom Line
Sometime in the mid-Eighties, Technos Japan released a beat-'em-up called Double Dragon where the aim is to go through four missions, beat up bad guys, and save your girlfriend. It was a game that was never done before. In my opinion, the NES has the definite port of Double Dragon. Not only is it very close to the arcade version, it suffers from no slow-down at all, offers two game modes, and is slightly different in the later levels. Deserves to be in your NES collection. Two thumbs up, way up!

NES · by Katakis | カタキス (43086) · 2021

[ View all 7 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
MSX Screenshots RetroArchives.fr (709) Dec 1, 2018


1001 Video Games

The Arcade version of Double Dragon appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Board game

In 1989, Tiger adapted this video game into a board game.

C64 version

Two C64 versions exist, the original Melbourne House release by Binary Designs and a later, rare cartridge only release by Ocean, ported by Imagitec Design. Here's an interesting bit of trivia from the US Commodore 64 Mastertronic/Arcadia (Binary Designs) instruction manual:


Dear Game Player,

During our Herculean task of cramming as many as possible of the multitude of animation and graphic elements that make up the arcade game into the Commodore 64, we were faced with a problem. To get both one- and two-player options, and to achieve the authentic feel of two-player simultaneous action, simply took more memory than we had available.

But we knew how disappointed you would be if the game didn't have the same two-player mode as the arcade game you know and love. So we came up with a memory-saving solution. We implemented sprite stacking techniques to create the animated characters (using two smaller sprites instead of one larger one to create each figure).

The resulting small gap you may notice in the characters at waist level, is the compromise that the architecture of the C64 forced us to make.

This should not impair your enjoyment of the game in any way.

The Programmers

Amstrad CPC versions

Basically two completely different versions of the game were released: a dodgy port for standard CPC 464 and superior conversion for CPC 6128 which were both developed by Binary Design. The latter was an Atari ST conversion and released for the French market. The former was ported from Spectrum and put into UK shops.


Marvel published a six-issue line of comic books based off of the video game in 1991, giving Marian an early casting as a police officer and giving the Lee brothers a very Marvelous father -- Stan!


In 1994, Universal released Double Dragon, the movie, starring Mark Dacascos as Jimmy Lee, Scott Wolf as Billy Lee, Alyssa Milano as Maria, and Robert Patrick as Koga Shuko, the evil gang leader.As the film would have it, in the year 2007, what was once called Los Angeles is now "New Angeles", a city half-destroyed by The Big One in 2000. The city is now a metropolis out of Hell, where earthquakes and tidal waves are part of the typical day. The smog is so dangerously thick that huge fans are on top of buildings to blow it away and phone booths are oxygen booths. The Hollywood River has overflowed, making many famous landmarks mere wrecks. The urban areas that once stood in the south all the way to Long Beach are underwater. By day the police are out doing their jobs and normal people go about their lives, but there is a curfew. At night, the police and people lock their doors and the gangs emerge causing mayhem, including the "Mohawks" and the "Gloves". The only ones who go out to fight the gangs are a group of kids and teens called the Power Corps.

The movie's plot primarily concerns Shuko doing all he can to acquire the Double Dragon. While he has one half, the Lees have the other. It becomes good vs. evil as the Lees, along with the Power Corps' leader, Maria, team up for some good old butt-kicking action to defeat Shuko and prevent him from using the Double Dragon to take over "N.A." All in all, the movie was unsuccessful.


If you are playing a two-player game and both characters are still alive after you beat Mr. Big, Billy and Jimmy must fight each other to see who gets the girl. In the NES, Gameboy (and possibly other versions); it is two player but not simultaneously. Both players will play as Billy and Jimmy will remain a enemy boss character regardless. As a consolation prize however, the NES version features a "Mode B" in which 1 or 2 players can engage in a 1-on-1 fighting match with six of the game's characters using graphics more faithful to the arcade.

NES version

The NES release has a few bugs that should not have passed quality control since they can be triggered fairly easily. For example, you can climb up the wall at the end of the first level while it's obvious you shouldn't be able to. Also, the game was originally to have a staff roll (the one you see in this entry), but an invalid JSR forced Technos to abandon it during production.

References to the game

In the movie The Wizard, Jimmy is seen playing the NES version of Double Dragon at the bus station. Of course, the arcade version didn't look like that but this was Nintendo's movie so they put their Double Dragon in it.


According to the magazine Retro Gamer (issue #1), the game was Mastertronic's #7 best selling game (289.510 copies).


  • EGM
    • 1989 Buyer's Guide - Best Video Game of the Year (NES version)
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #4 Best Arcade Games of All Time
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #75 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
  • Retro Gamer
    • September 2004 (Issue #8) – #88 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by Olivier Masse, PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual, Robbb, Servo and WildKard


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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 1839
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Macintrash.

Amiga, Atari 2600, NES, SEGA Master System, Commodore 64 added by PCGamer77. Nintendo 3DS added by CrankyStorming. Xbox One, Nintendo Switch added by Rik Hideto. Wii U added by is_that_rain_or_tears. Game Boy Advance, Game Boy added by Kartanym. Antstream added by firefang9212. PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 added by Sciere. Amstrad CPC added by Kabushi. Wii added by gamewarrior. ZX Spectrum added by Dean Swain. Genesis added by Satoshi Kunsai. Arcade added by The cranky hermit. Atari ST, Atari 7800 added by Servo. MSX added by koffiepad. Lynx added by Jeanne.

Additional contributors: Satoshi Kunsai, chirinea, Sciere, Alaka, Xoleras, Freeman, Johnny Undaunted, LepricahnsGold, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, S Olafsson, ryanbus84, Jo ST, FatherJack, Bart Smith.

Game added June 30, 2000. Last modified July 3, 2024.