πŸ•Ή Introducing the Atari 2600+

Double Dragon

aka: Arcade Archives: Double Dragon, Double Dragon Advance
Arcade Specs [ all ]
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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.

Spellings

  • をーケードをーカむブス 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 をドバンス - Japanese GBA spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (Arcade version)

20 People (16 developers, 4 thanks)

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

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 71% (based on 79 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 337 ratings with 6 reviews)

Sure, good programming can do anything on any hardware . . . if you're Capcom, not Activision!!

The Good
It's Double Dragon on 2600! Oh, yay! If I was the only kid without either a Nintendo, Master System or 7800 . . . even one of those "dead-format" PCs from the Late '70s/Early-to-Mid '80s . . . then, hell yeah! It's Double Dragon on 2600!

Strangely, I like the music in this version. All of the tunes are here, somehow. I don't know how, it just is.

I also like how the characters blink to "death" like in the other 8-bit versions of this game (I don't remember is they blink in the arcade game, though, I haven't played that since I found it down by docks in LA Harbor in 1993 . . . don't ask what I was doing in either LA or the docks in '93), and as a plus, I just apply the Genesis 3-Button or Master System controllers in for an easier time. I don't dilly with the dally of the original Atari joysticks.

(And why do those Atari games-in-a-joystick work better than Atari's original?)

Also, the packaging is cool, and a nice alternative to the standard Double Dragon boxes of the day.

The Bad
The cart is dull in design.

The music does get annoying if you play lots (but that can be said of all . . . video game music, to paraphrase Dracula from Symphony of the Night).

The sounds are . . . I don't remember sounds, hold on while I play the game real quick. Yup, there's your standard "bloop and bleep" Atari fare.

The controls, no matter what device used, sucks.

Hey, why are the thugs tougher that a Siberian winter with a jacket? Too me forever to master the moves, after losing like 100 times, then only to get my ass kicked next screen over.

Then there's the color scheme . . . Activision on drugs? Any questions?

Also, Billy and Jimmy wear these little beanies on their head. They look like stereotypical sailors, and not the kind I want to meet. For that matter, almost everybody has beanies on . . .

The Bottom Line
Check out Double Dragon Dojo's review of this game, too. It's helpful.

Still avoiding the polygon-game revolution? Why? Still think you should own that Atari 2600 for thirty years like a record player from Sears? Yeah, Atari's making that comeback right about now, don't you think? Just got a color monitor for your Apple ][ today, or so I've heard . . .

Seriously, if you don't have any other method to play Double Dragon, find an old machine in a seedy bowling alley or biker bar. Buy this game at your own risk! I'm serious!

(On a rant for a moment: I know that the 2600 hardware was old by 1988. Old by 1982, even! But still, Road Runner and the Nintendo Classics that were released on this system came out decent. I even have Kung-Fu Master and it rivals Nintendo's Kung-Fu, when I use a Genesis controller for play, but still . . . and that was done by Activision. It's not like I'm expecting Contra or Ninja Turtles on this console, but Double Dragon could've been done up like the arcade version, i.e. like Sega did for the Master System version, despite system limitations. From a programmer's POV, this is terrible, and even though the system was dead by its release, those few holdouts that used to exist before the PlayStation deserved better than this.)

Atari 2600 · by Fake Spam (85) · 2007

If There's One Game Which Makes the Master System Worth Owning...

The Good
This is the best looking and most loyal port of the original Double Dragon. The Master System version fills in every aspect which its (rather illogically designed) NES counterpart failed to deliver: most significantly, a simultaneous 2-player mode. It was because of this game, the word "simultaneous" was burned into my vocabulary as a second grader.

The action is very similar to the very popular NES port, but the controls feel much more free-form, the sprites were bigger, brighter and everything ran smoother. I'm sorry to have to put it into as many words, but the only way I can describe the differences is that "it had a more Master System feeling to it" (I know, I'm lame). In addition, the 2-player mode was a much appreciated feature for anyone who desired a port worth of the arcade version.

Expect to fight your through the same rogue gallery (Williams, Ropers, Lindas, Chins, Abobos, etc.), and through the same levels (the alleys, the forest, bad guy HQ, etc.) with your full arsenal of moves is readily available; there are no hearts to accrue, and the points are there solely to engage in the videogame pissing contest that usually occurs whenever two grade school boys play together.

There is also a lot of fighting done on platforms, fire escapes and rooftops; these environments contribute to the feeling that you are chasing thugs half the time while being chased by the thugs the other half of the time. In short: being able to climb is good

The Bad
Not to knock it, but you had to own a Master System to play it. To my knowledge, very few people owned a Master System compared to the numbers NES-nation had. Also, the Master System controllers were very prone to dig into your skin, and rather ironically, cause a nasty case of Nintendo-thumb. It's not Technos' fault that the Master System controller was designed by the Marque de Sade.

Also, this version of the Double Dragon is relentlessly unforgiving. It's very hard to recover whenever you lose a life; making it past the boss without dying becomes a crucial affair of life or death for the rest of the game. I found it literally impossible to complete the game without a partner.

The Bottom Line
This overlooked and relatively obscure console port is the best home version of Double Dragon series. It's surpassed only by the Double Dragon II NES port which is actually an unfair comparison since DBII for NES was completely redone specifically for the console.

SEGA Master System · by ET2600 (15) · 2005

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 (343) · 2006

[ View all 6 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
MSX Screenshots RetroArchives.fr (708) Dec 1st, 2018

Trivia

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:

A NOTE FROM THE PROGRAMMERS:

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.

Comic

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!

Movie

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.

Multiplayer

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.

Sales

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

Awards

  • EGM
    • 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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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Macintrash.

NES, Amiga, Atari 2600, Commodore 64, SEGA Master System 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. Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 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, DreinIX, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, S Olafsson, ryanbus84, Jo ST, FatherJack, Bart Smith.

Game added June 30th, 2000. Last modified September 1st, 2023.