Double Dragon II (1990) by Technos
System:NES
Game Type: Beat-em-up
Players: 1-2

Review by PrimeOp

In the mid-1980s, we were treated to a new sub-genre of gaming: the side-scrolling beat-em-up. At the forefront was Double Dragon, a game that set the tone for all 'beat-em-ups' that came after it. While the arcade version was a smash hit, the port to the reigning system of choice, the NES, lacked the 2-player game play that made it an arcade success. It was good, but just wasn't the real Double Dragon experience. But when Technos ported the sequel to the NES, we got the game that we wanted and much more.

As you may or may not know, the NES Double Dragon storyline was altered because they couldn't get 2-player simultaneous co-operative play. So, somehow, Billy and Jimmy were able to patch things up again after the rescue of Marion. Unfortunately, the Shadow Warriors aren't all that forgiving. Instead of kidnapping Marion, they murder her. Billy and Jimmy arrive too late to stop the assassins from completing their goal, but not to late to hunt them down. This game is basically a hunt to destroy the Shadow Gang. Keeping the basic plot of the arcade version is only possible by the fact that Technos was able to get a grip on the two-player simultaneous programming. Billy and Jimmy look like their earlier NES incarnations: brown haired Billy with blue clothes and blond Jimmy with red clothes. The original members of the Shadow Warriors return. Many of the makeovers that they recieved in the arcade version disappear due to the drop in screen resolution. You'll also find the new characters from the arcade version like Burnov and Duke (the Ahnold impersonator). In a strange twist, the only member of the original gang left to be left out is their leader, Willy, who is replaced by a new mysterious boss.
This is truly how it was meant to be... 2 player simultaneous!
Oddly enough, the NES cart is more enjoyable than the arcade version due to many alterations made to scale the game down to something the NES could handle. Technos compensates for these things by adding more platforming elements and some nice cinema scenes that help to tell the story of the game. The highly responsive controls retain the spirit of the arcade where the buttons are no longer punch and kick, but forward and back attacks. This obviously helps a lot when enemies try to attack from both sides. When you only play games with good control and collision detection, it's easy to gloss over these things in a review. But I'm making a point to praise them here. The graphics also show additional polish from the first game as far as the characters and the backgrounds. The sprites definitely have better shading this time. You can tell that Technos programmers had made themselves feel at home with the NES. Most of all, this game is insanely fun to play with a second play.
You have no idea how much I hate those two guys. You don't even know, man.

If you have an NES and want the full Double Dragon effect, this game is (in my opinion) the best of the trilogy. Part one is only single player and part three is annoyingly difficult. Beat-em-up fans and those that need a good two-player game can't go wrong with this cart. It's also very easy to find at a low price in used game stores and pawn-shops. Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sound 7
Control 7
Overall 7

Double Dragon, Billy Lee, Jimmy Lee and all related characters © Technos

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