Double Dragon Arcade
Year Of Release: 1987
In 1986, Technos would release to the world, Renegade. Renegade is seen by many as the granddaddy of the side scrolling beat em up genre that would blow up in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The following year, Technos would take what they did with Renegade expand on it and make one of the most popular arcade games of the 80’s, Double Dragon.
Double Dragon is a two player side scrolling beat em up that is about two bad ass twin brothers called Billy and Jimmy Lee. Making them twins ensured that only one character sprite was needed, but with a palate swap. At the start of the game, Billy or Jimmies girlfriend, Marian is kidnapped by the evil Black Warriors gang. This scene right at the start of the game was pretty intense for the time. As the Black Warriors gang would punch her in the stomach in a pretty graphic way before carrying her away. This is pretty much all the story you get for the game, but it’s all you really need as an excuse to go and put a beating on a ton of bad guys.
At a glance, Double Dragon seems like a pretty simple game, but it does have a pretty neat control scheme. Rather than just having a jump and an attack button, Double Dragon has separate buttons for kick and punch. This means that as well as doing basic punches and kicks you can do some pretty cool martial arts moves. Certain enemies would wield weapons and if you knocked them out of their hands you could then pick the weapon up and use it. While now this type of thing may not seem like a big deal, back in 1987 this was actually a pretty ground breaking feature.
Double Dragon has four stages that you would need to make your way through. The game could be very challenging the first time you played it, but once you got the hang of the lay of the levels and the enemy attack patterns, you can actually get through the game without any major problems. One really cool thing about Double Dragon is its two player co-op mode. You and a friend will be standing side by side trying to save Marian from the Black Warriors and when you finally after working together for four stages beat the last boss. You are forced to fight each other to see who Marian will go home with.
Current High Score: 151,210 by Jason Wilson
Double Dragon was not only a huge arcade hit, but the game sold millions of copies on various home consoles and home computers. The NES is the version that gets the most attention even though it has many changes from the arcade. The Sega Mega Drive, Amiga, PC, Sega Master System, Nintendo Game Boy and even the Atari 2600 would get a port and this is not even half of the systems and the computers the game was ported to!
As Double Dragon was a huge success there would be two arcade sequels in Double Dragon II: The Revenge released in 1989 which as well as its arcade version would like the first game be ported to pretty much everything under the sun. Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone was released in arcades in 1990 and once again would be ported to many different systems.
While there was only three games released in the arcades, Double Dragon would see more games released on home systems such as Super Double Dragon and Battletoads & Double Dragon as well as even a one on one fighting game. In 2011 all three original games would be ported to the iOS.
Double Dragon was such a huge hit that there was an animated series that ran from 1993-1994 and even a live action movie released in 1994.