Review by fduboo
"An interesting sequel to the original slugfest, marred by quirky control."
Double Dragon II: The Revenge is the sequel to Double Dragon, arguably the most popular Final Fight- type game before Final Fight itself came out. The predecessor had many cool ideas combined into one slick game (including gaining actual experience levels from which you gained new moves) that helped to define it from the pack of wannabes that included Bad Dudes and River City Ransom. However, the sequel lacks this ingenuity, leaving it as just another game instead of a classic. The paper-thin story involves once again the two Double Dragon Brothers, who are still on a quest to rid the world of baddies that always tend to gather in gangs. There is the possibility that Billy's girlfriend (thought to be killed in the first) is alive, as he hears her whispers emanating from spooky houses (the plot points are advanced through sub-par Ninja Gaiden like cutscenes in between the levels). Will the brothers survive and end the reign of gang terror? Hmm...
Pretty decent, actually. Each level has different colors to help carry themes throughout the game. For example, the dim streets of the first stage are bluish and gray, while the forest level has plenty of lush green. The brothers are actually a little smaller than in the first Double Dragon (the enemies are as well), which helps to eliminate some of the slowdown that plagued the aforementioned predecessor. The animations, however, seem choppier. The cutscenes are moderately detailed but do little in the way of impressing the eye like they should. They are STILL SHOTS for crying out loud!
Ugh. The music is extremely repetetive. Sure, there are different tunes for each stage, but each tune is an endless loop of about 10 seconds of song (and often not even that). The music in the Helicopter Stage particularly annoyed me- it was very mechanical and droning, nothing that really got the adrenaline pumping. The sound effects are decent, ranging from the cool weapons sounds (like when dynamite hits the ground and blazes for a few seconds) to the scratchy soulnd of landing a kick on your opponent.
Geez, oh man what happened here? Let me try to explain how the control works here...when you are facing to the right, pushing A activates a punch to the right and B is a back-kick to the left. When you are facing to the left, A activates a back-kick to the right and B is a punch to the left. One question: WHY? Why are there no consistent controls except when you are in the air? On the plus side, there are a few super-attacks like the Cyclone Kick and the Super Knee, and these are about right in the difficulty required to perform them. They are challenging to do but no overly so. You get used to the controls, but you never like them.
It's the same as the original, with a few new twists. You basically just progress along the levels, beating up the enemies thrown in your way. The enemies range from whip-toting Lindas to Knife-throwing Billys. There are a few new things now, however. You start with all your moves (the experience system is sadly gone) and there are new weapons with which you operate (dynamite, for instance). Also, the levels are a little tougher to navigate, with moving platforms and conveyor belts adding a new level of depth that didn't exist in the predecessor. There are several modes of play, including one-player, two-player team (you cannot hit the other character) and two-player competitive (you can even KILL your companion). The two-player mode is obviously the highlight here, and the competitive mode can get quite intense.
There are cutscenes, but in the interest of not completely trashing a halfway decent game I won't count this score.
There are plenty of modes and difficulty levels to master after beating the game once, and this game is a nice one to pick up with a friend.
Average (5/10)...I like the attempts to change level layouts and add more of a semblance of a story, but this game was a real disappointment next to the popular original.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 02/28/00, Updated 02/28/00
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