Review by Ice Water

"Double Dragon, please forgive my low score..."

Back in the mid 1980's, one of the greatest series ever created was born: Double Dragon. This game was so bad ass that it eventually found its way from the Arcade to the homes of millions on their NES's. So naturally the creators, Technos, had to create some awesome sequels, and thus Double Dragon 2 was born just one year later, and brought forth a new attack system that had a love-hate relationship with people. And then, two years later, Double Dragon had returned, but unfortunately the two year period seemed to be more of a 'please donate money' game instead of the friggin' awesome action we had grown to love in the previous Double Dragon games. And sadly, this affected the score severely.

Story
Just like the last two games, Double Dragon 3 brings to the table a story to explain why Billy and Jimmy Lee are crackin' everyone's skulls. The twin martial artists have just come back home after a 2 year training session (probably to forget the loss of Marion, seeing how she was killed in the second game) only to find some old hag sitting on their front porch. After asking what the heck she's doing there, she explains to you that her name is Hiruku and that you guys need to find the three Rosetta stones so you can fight the strongest enemy in the world. Seeing how the Twins just love nothing more than kicking ass, they go along with the old lady and head on a world wide journey to find the stones.

Compared to the last two games, this game's storyline just seems really weak. I mean the first game you set out to save your girl, and the second one was all about avenging her death, but in this one you really don't have a reason to be going out at all! What's the deal?!

Controls
Like the last two Double Dragon's, Double Dragon Three stays true to the three button system. You get a button to Punch, Kick, and Jump, as well as a joystick to move your Lee Brother around the screen. Added to the series (finally) is the dash, where if you double tap your joystick to the left or right, you'll bust out into a sprint to do some running damage to your opponents. IT does make up for the slow walking speed the Lee's seemed to have developed since Double Dragon 2, seeing how you walk pretty sluggishly without dashing. Other than that, the only way the controls can fail on you is if one of the buttons happens to have gum or something on it and you don't want to touch it.

Gameplay
This is why this game is the worst of the Double Dragon series. Changing the traditional life bar with 0-3 lives (depending on the machine really), Double Dragon 3 changes it all to one life per coin, and gives you a time bar that shows how much more damage you can take before you reach zero (much like Captain America and the Avengers or Spider-man the arcade game). This wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for the fact that the enemies you face are all pretty cheap, especially the bosses. If a boss manages to slap you across the face, you sure aren't getting up without poppin' in another coin.

Another huge problem with this game is that there are NO WEAPONS! Holy crap man! Weapons are what made the original two Double Dragon's so friggin' fun! WHERE'S THE BASEBALL BAT?! WHERE'S THE WHIP?! Instead of weapons, we now have to BUY THEM from the friggin' store at the start of the level. What the heck is up with that! As well as being able to buy weapons from the store that disappear the second you get beat down, you can also buy the following:

Tricks
Extra fighter
Power Ups
Energy

Whoopee. So instead of learning all the moves right off the bat, and being at full strength, I have to pay an extra 5 quarters to be able to be at max power AND be able to reheal myself. Man that sucks. The extra fighter could be considered the closest thing to an extra life in this game, seeing how as soon as you lose your Lee brother, he'll be swapped out for the mercenary you just hired, depending on the land you bought him in could change him from being a street wrestler dude, to some fat Chinese martial artist to some ninja wannabe from Japan. Why can't I just get an extra life for ol' Billy or Jimmy instead? Man, what were these guys thinking changing everything that made the classics so awesome?

Also, adding to the problem is the fact that EVERY ENEMY in the level will come to your exact location, making sure that there is constantly 3 or 4 of them giving you a hard time. Meaning if you see the Go message, then you've probably killed everyone and can face the boss. What's up with that?! It used to be where you couldn't move across the screen until you beat everyone up in that area, and now you can get to the end of the level with all the enemies going with you. And all the levels are pretty straight forward too, unlike the last two games that actually put up some platforms, holes, elevators, ladders, conveyor belts, moving rocks, etc. that would give you some terrain problems. Jeez man, what else can go wrong!

Oh yeah, the ending was pretty weak as well.

Graphics
The graphics at the time were pretty amazing, seeing how the Lee brother's looked as realistic as they ever had before. The enemies are all well designed as well, seeing how I could have sworn Bruce Lee was the second boss of the game. The backgrounds are well designed as well, seeing how they actually look like the country side of china, or some big city in the USA. Really great job here, too bad the gameplay botched it all up.

Music
Seeing how you may not be able to hear the music, if you played the NES version of Double Dragon 3 before (probably way better than this version for sure), then you'll know that they at least made the music friggin' awesome like in the last two games. That's a relief at least. You get tunes that mimic the land you're in, be it China, Japan, Italy, Egypt, or the good ol' USA. Well, the tunes are pleasant if you can live long enough to hear them at least.

Sound
At least they kept the thuds and stuff so you know that you're crackin' skulls. Added to this game was some voice acting that sounds like a robot, as well as some chick in the shop which you can't understand, but it sounds like she's asking for a quarter to sell you stuff you shouldn't have to buy in the first place.

Worth playing?
Only if you have like 40 bucks worth of change in your pocket it is, seeing how most of the bosses will kill you like ten times a piece, causing you to lose over 4 bucks on one fight. And with all the upgrades and whatnot that you have to buy to be able to experience the game in its entirety, you'll definitely want to spend some more cash. Unfortunately, this game isn't for poor people.

Stick with the regular Double Dragon's if you happen to find a quarter and see all three in the same room.


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 01/21/05


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