A global nuclear war has left the world in ruins. There are no laws and no authority to enforce them. It is a world in which violence rules and only the strong survive. Amidst the chaos fierce gangs emerge as the new elite. On the outskirts of town twin brothers Jimmy Lee and Billy Lee contemplate their future in the aftermath of the war. But one day Billy’s girlfriend Marian is kidnapped off of the streets and the brothers receive a letter. It reads “we have Marian. If you want to see her again bring us the secret book of Sou-Setsu-Ken by 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.” Billy is both angry and confused by the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend. Little does he know that his own brother also has feelings for Marion…
Double Dragon (ダブルドラゴン Daburu Doragon?) is a 1987 beat ’em up developed by Technōs Japan and distributed in North America and Europe by Taito Corporation. The game is a spiritual and technological successor to Technos’ earlier beat ’em up, Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (released outside of Japan by Taito as Renegade), but introduced several additions such as two-player cooperative gameplay and the ability to arm oneself with an enemy’s weapon after disarming them. Double Dragon is considered to be one of the first successful examples of the genre, resulting in the creation of two arcade sequels and several spinoffs, as well as inspiring other companies in creating their own beat ’em ups.
Home versions of the game were released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari ST, Amiga, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Genesis/Mega Drive and Atari Lynx, among other platforms during the series’s height of popularity. A remake titled Double Dragon Advance was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. The NES version was re-released for the Wii’s Virtual Console in North America on April 28, 2008 at a cost of 500 Wii Points. Nintendo also released the Game Boy version on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in 2011.
Another remake was released for the iOS mobile devices in 2011, which features brand new gameplay, sprites and animations, and music. A new Double Dragon title, Double Dragon Neon, was released in 2012 for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, and is considered a reboot of the series.
The player takes control of martial artist Billy Lee, or his twin brother Jimmy (also known as Hammer and Spike in the supplementary materials for the American arcade release), as they fight their way into the turf of the Black Warriors gang in order to rescue their common love interest Marian. The player character has a repertoire of martial art techniques which they can perform by using the joystick and three action buttons (kick, jump, and punch) individually or in combination. Techniques range from basic punches and kicks, to more elaborate manoeuvres like hair grabbing moves and elbow strikes. When playing with another player, one can assist the other by grabbing their partner’s opponent from behind. Caution should be taken, though, as some enemies are able to do the same thing to the players. The player begins the game with a certain number of extra lives and a life gauge which depletes as the player takes hits. If the life gauge runs out or the time limit reaches zero, the player will lose a life.
There is a small variety of enemy characters that the player will face through the course of the game. Certain enemies carry melee weapons, which can be knocked out of their hands and picked up to use against them. Available weapons include baseball bats, whips, throwing knives, and dynamite; in addition, rocks, oil drums, and boxes can be found in certain places.
The game is divided into four different stages or “missions,” which consist of a city slum, a factory, the woods, and the gang’s hideout. The game normally ends if a single player defeats the final boss alone. However, if two players manage to complete the game together, they are then forced to fight each other in order to determine who will win Marian’s affections.
Although the original arcade version featured a color palette of 384 colors, the hardware used consisted of several 8-bit processors running in parallel; 16-bit technology was cost-prohibitive at the time the game was first released. The hardware consisted of multiple HD6309-based processor chips, and multiple processors dedicated to sound, such as the Yamaha YM2151 sound chip.
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