Atari 2600 Friday’s #28 – Double Dragon
The GF is testing out a number of games for a neighbor to sell, some of which may become ours. I’m going to try to snag the interesting ones that we don’t own yet. In the mean time, I have grabbed one out of the bag for this weeks Friday’s. What we have here is a very interesting port of Double Dragon to the Atari 2600, or as The Obsessive Compulsive Gamer mentioned “Hilarious that they tried to port this game. The even more hilarious thing is you could call it anything, Bad News Brawler, Streets of Rage, Bad Dudes.” I say everyone deserves to know the joy of Double Dragon, even if they couldn’t afford a NES in those days.
The Story: As every knows Marion has been kidnapped. It is up to Billy and Jimmy Lee to save her.
From the Manual: “The Black Warriors have kidnapped your best girl. That was their first mistake. Challenging you and your twin brother in martial arts combat will be their second. But these thugs don’t play by the rules. Knives, whips, bats, boulders, and dynamite are standard issue with these masters of pain. And their uzi-toting boss doesn’t believe in happy endings.”
From the Box: “Twin brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee learned to fight the hard way — for survival in the unforgiving city streets. Their brand of combat – classic martial arts manoeuvres mixed with anything-goes street brawling – has turned them into walking lethal weapons. Now, the Lees must summon all their fighting abilities and cunning into
meeting the greatest challenge of their lives – rescuing Billy’s girlfriend, Marion. She’s been kidnapped by the Black Warriors the savage street gang lead by the mysterious Shadow Boss. The twins pursue the Black Warriors through the city streets and it’s out- skirts. Finally they fight their way into the Secret Enemy Base. There, Billy and Jimmy meet the Shadow Boss. It’s a battle to the finish, with Marion as the prize.”
The Game Play: Do we all know how a Beat em up works? I hope so, but for those who don’t……..Basically just run around the screen, beat up everything that comes at you and wait for the cue to move on to the next area, with intermittent bosses thrown in to make it harder, and usually a time limit for a sense of urgency (we are trying to rescue Marion here). You have 3 lives to get through the entire game, But don’t worry the time limit resets with each stage. In double dragon, the enemies do drop weapons you can pick up and use: bats, knives, and oil drums are listed for the Atari version.
The Controls: You can Move around the screen using the joystick and perform 4 different attacks on the enemies. Punch: Move the joystick to the right or left (depending on which direction you’re facing) and press the button. Elbow Punch: Move the joystick diagonally up and to the RIGHT and press the button to throw a LEFT elbow punch, and diagonally up and to the LEFT and press the button to throw a RIGHT elbow punch. You’ll throw the elbow punch in the opposite direction from the one you’re facing. Kick: Move the joystick diagonally down and to the right or left, depending on which way you want to kick and press the button. Jump Kick: Move the joystick up and press the button. You’ll leap forward and kick in the direction you’re facing.
Post Review: Now first of all, this obviously isn’t the prettiest version of double dragon and the opening scene of Marion being kidnapped is just gone, the iconic music is still here and the base experience most definitely exists. However, the game itself is probably the hardest version of Double Dragon there is. Normally I can play the series to some extent. In this version, the enemies just beat me down in seconds and gave me no chance to even attack back punching faster than I could and jumping around me like a crazed psycho. Apparently if you watch youtube videos, people have figured out very specific strategies to not get ‘pulverized’, however doing so before hand defeats the purpose of my posts, I go for a first time play. With some practice and time this could be quite the enjoyable version of Double Dragon, Just don’t expect the same experience Neon gave us.
The High Score: Well, in multiple tries I could only defeat one of the two enemies on the very first screen just once through sheer luck, for about 350 points.