Our Nostalgic Games: Double Dragon

Magazine/Site: Famitsu
Date: 11/08/2018

Our Nostalgic Games ~Retro Gamer Round-table~ #204

Editors passionately discussing games playable on modern hardware that are just as good as they’ve ever been!

Arcade Archives Neo Geo (PS4) – Double Dragon

A beat-em-up released from Technos Japan in 1987. You can use boulders and boxes to attack in these side scrolling stages that have depth. You can also play with two players simultaneously.

Original Release Year: 1987

Hardware: Arcade

Date of Digital Release: 11/22/2014

Maker: Hamster

This Week’s Participants

Giorgio Nakaji: A Famitsu editor that plays a lot of old games, and has played the original arcade Double Dragon to completion.

Ooishinbo: A Famitsu editor that has only played the NES version of Double Dragon, and isn’t very good at action games.

Estate Matsushita – A Famitsu part-timer that wasn’t even born when Double Dragon was first released.

Let’s Get to the Shocking Final Battle With Two Players!

The King of Side Scrolling Action Games

(Nakaji) This time around I’d like for us to play Double Dragon, so let’s have some fun!

(Matsushita) I’ve never played this.

(Ooishinbo) I haven’t played it in the arcade, but I have played it on the NES. It’s the king of beat-em-ups.

(Nakaji) Well I’ll explain a bit about the game then! The main character is martial arts expert Billy Lee. He’s heading into enemy territory in order to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend Marian…!

(Matsushita) The story’s very straightforward, isn’t it?

(Ooishinbo) I loved the violent feel that the world had, fighting thugs in the street and such.

(Nakaji) For starters, the characters you control are fixed: 1P gets Billy, 2P gets Jimmy. If you’re only playing with one player, you can only play as Billy.

(Ooishinbo) In the NES version, you can only play as Billy no matter what.

(Nakaji) Right. And that’s why its story is different from the one in the arcade version.

(Matsushita) Does Jimmy just not appear at all in the NES version?

(Nakaji) Not exactly…But that’s a different conversation about a different game, so let’s leave it at that.

(Matsushita) Now I want to know.

(Nakaji) It’s a huge spoiler, so find out for yourself.

(Matsushita) You’re really not going to tell me!?

(Nakaji) For today, just worry about seeing the arcade version’s ending!

Attacking With 3 Buttons

(Nakaji) Your three actions are punch, kick, and jump. You can also move in 8 directions, so give it a try.

(Matsushita) And the enemies can’t just be defeated with one blow. This is hard!

(Ooishinbo) If you hit one of them with either two punches or a kick, they’ll hunch over. Try touching them at that point and doing the hair grab!

(Matsushita) I got it!

(Ooishinbo) Alright, now kick!

(Matsushita) Grabbing Nasty Hair Kick!

(Nakaji) And if you grab their hair and punch, you can shoulder throw them.

(Ooishinbo) The kick hunches them over in one blow so it’s very convenient, but it’s easier to avoid than the punch is. So be careful.

(Matsushita) This is a really hard game!

(Nakaji) And if you face away from the enemy and hit jump and punch at the same time, you’ll do an elbow. If you hit jump and kick at the same time, you’ll do a jump kick. And if you tap the joystick toward the enemy twice, you’ll do a headbutt.

(Ooishinbo) The elbow is really strong!

(Matsushita) Wow, you’re not kidding!

(Nakaji) Alright, now no using the elbow from now on.

(Matsushita) Huh!?

(Ooishinbo) It’s definitely more fun this way.

(Matsushita) You just told me how to do it, so you can’t just tell me not to now!

(Nakaji) There are boulders and boxes in various places throughout the stages, and drum cans or something too. You can pick them up and throw them as an attack as well.

(Ooishinbo) And if you kick them while they’re on the ground, you can hit enemies and knock them down.

(Nakaji) That’s great for knocking down all of the enemies on screen at once too, if they’re all crowded together.

Utilizing the Terrain and Enemy Weapons

(Matsushita) The enemies are the only ones who have weapons, how is that fair?

(Oooishinbo) Enemies come out with knives, bats, and even whips.

(Nakaji) If you attack them, you can make them drop their weapons. You can attack that guy that throws the knife, then pick it up and use it yourself.

(Ooishinbo) Once an enemy’s thrown a bomb though, run away because it explodes after a few seconds.

(Nakaji) But if you manage to lure an enemy over to where the bomb was dropped, you can use that explosion to do a lot of damage to them.

(Matsushita) Oh? Is it easier to get through the level if I just ride on this conveyor belt? …Ahh!

(Nakaji) Be careful, because there are places where the terrain is just a trap.

(Ooishinbo) Not just the conveyor belt, but also pits, cliffs, gaps in bridges, protruding walls, and stone statues that attack you.

(Matsushita) I can’t believe that neither of you told me about all this before just now!

(Nakaji) And the last boss is different depending on whether you’re playing with one or two players. So in a two player game, it’s…well that’s a spoiler so I’m not going to say. There’s a drama that I want to watch tonight, so I’m going to head home.

(Matsushita) Tell me before you go home then!