Double Dragon

aka: Arcade Archives: Double Dragon, Double Dragon Advance

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Critic Reviews 77% add missing review

NES Archives (A-)

Double Dragon is a game that was very popular in its time but due to some weak sequels at the end of its series is no longer given its proper due. Sure it’s a bit short and lacks a two-player simultaneous option but it is still a very fun and original beat ‘em up classic. For a longer game and the ability to fight together with a friend check out the equally classic Double Dragon II: The Revenge.

Jun 15th, 2008 · NES · read review

1UP! (90 out of 100)

C'est l'essence du beat'em up sur 8-bit. Les sprites sont juste Ă  la bonne taille, et donc l'environnement suffisamment large pour ĂȘtre confortable, les couleurs sont assez bien choisies, mĂȘme quand elles sont tendance fluo, les bruitages sont simples et excellents, les musiques trĂšs bonnes (avec mention spĂ©ciale pour celles d'intro et des niveaux 1 et dĂ©but du 4, gĂ©niales !), mais le gameplay surtout est vraiment accrocheur, au niveau des attaques en particulier. Difficile de dire quelle en est la raison; donner des coups dans Double Dragon est toujours un rĂ©gal, peut-ĂȘtre le tempo, peut-ĂȘtre la forme ramassĂ©e des personnages, ou peut-ĂȘtre une parfaite connexion entre les sprites, peu de beat'em up donnent en tous cas autant de plaisir que lui en matiĂšre de cogne.

Sep 3rd, 2004 · NES · read review

Game Informer Magazine (9 out of 10)

Along with the standard punch and kick maneuvers, there are an assortment of special moves that are opened throughout the game. Additionally, these bad boys can acquire various weapons such as knifes, bats, and the infamous whip. Double Dragon absolutely rocks and the NES version is great in its own right.

Nov 2000 · NES

Raze (89 out of 100)

Great definition and animation of the characters and objects make it worthy of Raze reader purchase. The two-player man-to-man option adds value to this enthralling package.

Jan 1991 · NES · read review

The Video Game Critic (B+)

A two-player "duel" (one-on-one) mode is included, but it's hardly worth your time. A very challenging and addictive game, Double Dragon spawned a number of sequels, including two on the NES.

Apr 28th, 2003 · NES · read review

Computer and Video Games (CVG) (83 out of 100)

On their own merits, both versions are competent. I think that the Sega version could have been a little better, as it doesn't play quite well as the Nintendo, but nevertheless, it'll satisfy Double Dragon fans. The Nintendo unfortunately lacks the two-player option, but more than makes up for this deficiency with an extra one-on-one Street Fighter-style game included on the ROM. As a solo game it's engrossing and fun - it's a shame it won't be available until next year.

Dec 1988 · NES · read review

Just Games Retro ( )

Double Dragon on the NES fares pretty well, even when considering that it has two strong strikes against it from the start. First, it's an 8-bit port of Taito's arcade cabinet, and the NES graphics aren't even close. Second, and more retrospectively, the genre quickly filled with "me too" brawlers - Bad Dudes, River City Ransom, Renegade, and Bad Street Brawler come immediately to mind. If you owned an NES, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a so-called "Double Dragon clone." Even though DD was not the first beat-em-up game (Taito released Renegade the year before), it is credited with defining the genre. So looking back, it must not only prove itself as a good game in its own right, it must also show why it is a better game than all the clones that followed - a sort of Double Dragonian quest for honor, if you will.

Aug 17th, 2003 · NES · read review

Retro Archives (16 out of 20)

LĂ  oĂč la plupart des conversions de Double Dragon s’étaient lamentablement vautrĂ©es, la version NES initie au contraire une sorte de relation privilĂ©giĂ©e avec la saga de Technos – au point d’offrir une version plus longue, plus technique et tout simplement plus intĂ©ressante Ă  jouer que la version arcade! Évidemment, il faudra composer avec une rĂ©alisation 8 bits, mais les graphismes de la borne originale n’ayant de toute façon plus rien d’impressionnant pour un joueur contemporain, cela ne devrait pas arrĂȘter grand monde. Dommage, en revanche, que le mode deux joueurs soit passĂ© Ă  la trappe, mais cela n’empĂȘche pas Double Dragon d’ĂȘtre un des meilleurs Beat-them-all de la console.

Nov 30th, 2018 · NES · read review

Digital Press - Classic Video Games (8 out of 10)

Beat-em-ups would come and go on the NES. "River City Ransom" is generally regarded as stealing the crown on the system and there's a strong case for "Mighty Final Fight," but you always come back to "Double Dragon." That says something and it's not just blind nostalgia either. This is a true classic, arguably even better than the arcade game it's based on... if it had a co-op mode that is.

Feb 25th, 2005 · NES · read review

Computer and Video Games (CVG) (8 out of 10)

All in all Double Dragon has some very tasty graphics and has got a good solid feel to it (although it does flicker in places!) sound does tend to grate on a bit but is bearable. Definitely one of the better conversions for the Nintendo that will hopefully not be too long in getting to the shops over here.

May 1988 · NES · read review

Nerdicus Reviews (4 out of 5)

Despite the controls and sloppy mechanics that are rough around the edges, the gameplay is still spot on and addictive and it keeps you coming back for more. The more you die, the more frustrated you get, and the more you want to beat this damn game. It took me 30 yeas I tell you, but I finally did it. I'm not crying...they are tears of joy.

Apr 2015 · NES · read review

Questicle.net (B)

In the arcade, Billy and Jimmy were able to fight together as one brotherly unit, but the co-op was regrettably chopped from the NES version. This does hurt the port’s street cred a bit, but the fighting is solid enough to see you through to the end.

Oct 2011 · NES · read review

Joystick (French) (75 out of 100)

Double Dragon est un jeu assez prenant, mais il souffre nettement de la comparaison avec Double Dragon II, qui est disponible en France depuis plusieurs mois.

Apr 1991 · NES · read review

Lens of Truth (7 out of 10)

Double Dragon was one of my first three NES games and holds a special spot on the retro shelf. To me, it is the “granddaddy” of side scrolling beat-em-ups. There may have been others before it at the arcade, but certainly not on the NES. Its gameplay is solid, complete with a great list of moves, enemies, and a strong soundtrack to keep you deep in gang-pummeling mode. Although its sequel (DD II) is the overall better game, it is not yet available on the Wii Virtual Console. However this one is, and for only $5.00, I say buy and experience for yourself the beginning of the beat-em-up genre at home. And no, Urban Champion does not count.

Jul 27th, 2009 · NES · read review

Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library ( )

The game suffers a bit from awkward, unnecessary platforming sections and the fact that the NES could only handle two enemies on the screen at the same time (and of the same type to boot). The other huge drawback is that the two-player simultaneous mode that made the arcade version a blast is absent here. However, as a small consolation you can face a friend in a one-on-one battle in Mode B (using the same fighters). It’s a competent and fine port of the arcade hit, if a bit lacking in the full translation.

2016 · NES

Classic-games.net (7 out of 10)

Considering its early release in the system’s life this version of Double Dragon is respectable. However I would still recommend the Master System game over this as it is a straight port and pretty amazing for the time. While solid there are far too many available ways to play the original arcade game at this point. This version isn’t unique enough to warrant seeking out in light of that.

Feb 6th, 2017 · NES · read review

NES Times (7 out of 10)

So ultimately, the NES version of Double Dragon is a good arcade port that still ranks as a decent brawler for the system, but could have been better. The graphics and sounds are well done and it does do a solid job of carrying on the spirit of its arcade predecessor. Unfortunately the lack of two-player simultaneous action, the slighty-annoying earning of moves and the cheap hits may turn off beat-em-up fans, especially those that enjoyed the coin-op original. Nevertheless if you give the game a chance, you'll find Double Dragon is still worth a playthrough or two. Double Dragon discyples looking for real 2-player action should check out the Sega Master System version or better yet, the superior NES sequels instead.

Feb 4th, 2008 · NES · read review

Retro Game Reviews ( )

Double Dragon is literally a game of two halves; the first two levels are fun with solid controls and a fair level of difficulty. The last two stages are extremely cheap though with frustrating gameplay and imprecise brawling that ends things on a sour note.

Jul 17th, 2015 · NES · read review

Retro Game Age (6 out of 10)

If I were to recommend a version of Double Dragon to play I would say the arcade or master system version. That version is a straight port and is amazing for the time. While interesting, the NES version doesn’t stand the test of time and is too frustrating and generally not worth the hassle. Not all old video games age gracefully and Double Dragon is one of the unfortunate victims of time.

Jul 29th, 2011 · NES · read review

HonestGamers (Staff reviews only) (6 out of 10)

If you’ve ever enjoyed walking to the right and punching dudes, you need to play Double Dragon at least once. Other games have come along and done things better, including the NES sequels, but the original game is still good enough that it can be enjoyable for an afternoon. This is a deeply flawed port of an arcade classic, but it’s also easy to come by and cheap enough that if you’re at all curious about it, you should still seek it out.

Jun 14th, 2013 · NES · read review

Player Reviews

Much better than the original arcade version
by Katakis | ă‚«ă‚żă‚­ă‚č (43228)

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!

Sep 28th, 2021 · NES

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Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Alaka, Alsy, SlyDante, Jo ST, Big John WV, Ryan DiGiorgi, RetroArchives.fr, Wizo, RhYnoECfnW, Baron79, VGManiac101.