Double Dragon II: The Revenge
Review by Godai-Kun
"A Huge Improvement over the original"
With the success of the original Double Dragon at the Arcades and it's less-than-perfect portage to the NES, it wasn't long before Technos Japan started developing a sequel. The Arcade version was released in 1988, although it was basically the original with slighty enhanced mechanics and new bosses. The Japanese Famicom version was released on December 22 of 1989, with the American version being released a month later with some slight tweakings. And unlike it's NES predecessor, DD2 for the NES is every bit as good, if not, better than the original Arcade version.
DD2 takes place sometime in the 20th century (it doesn't get any more specific than 19XX). A Nuclear Strike has left half of N.Y.C in ruins. The crime syndicates grew bigger and bigger, but two young men were brave enough to challenge them. Their names were Billy and Jimmy Lee, the Double Dragons. And yet they have mysterious enemy, that was destined to fight them one day. One day, a gang attacked the city and Billy's girlfriend, Marian is murdered. Thev Dragons swears to get their revenge and decides to track down Marian's murderers and their mysterious leader. However, when Billy and Jimmy infiltrates the hideout located on a mysterious island, things start to become a little bit on the weird side. A rather thin storyline (not to mention outdated) that ignores everything that happened in the original. But hey this is an action game. If you want deep drama and character developent, then play an RPG.
The most welcomed change from DD1 to 2 is the 2-player co-operative feature. The very same feature that made Double Dragon famous in the first place. Here, there are two 2 Player modes, one that allows you to hit your partner and the other one doesn't. The VS. Mode was removed too.
The Gameplay has also changed as well. In Double Dragon II, there is no specific Punch and Kick buttons. Instead, B attacks Left and Right attacks A just like the Arcade version. In fact most of the moves are indentical to the Arcade version. Although a few new moves are added such as the Knee Bash and the High Upper. The most powerful moves are the most difficult to execute.
There are nine missions in this game, mostly based on their Arcade counterparts. Most of the challenge in this stages doesn't consist of beating tough bosses, but rather than trying to time your jumps right. One of the most difficult mission is Mission 6, while short, there are dissappearing platforms in this level and a untimely jump may lead to instant death. Mission 3 takes place inside the confine space of a chopper. And there is an added 9th mission (availble only in the Hardest difficulty) in which Billy and Jimmy must confront a mysterious enemy not featured in the Arcade game. Beating the last boss eventually leads to a much happier ending than the one in the Arcade version.
Speaking of enemies, all the enemies from the previous games is here, except Willy (despite being featured in the Arcade version). Besides the three basic punks: Williams, Roper and Linda. There are boss characters like Burnov (the big fat guy who regenerates), Abore (big blonde guy with Army pants) and Bolo (Abobo's twin brother). Other sub-bosses include Chin Taimei (who wields two tonfa sticks in this game), Amon (a cheap ninja not featured in the Arcade version) and Jeff (a very tough street fighter). Still, it's not the same without Willy, he should had been inclunded at the end of Mission 7 at least. Oh yeah, the evil shadow twins also appears too in Mission 8.
The graphics are a huge improvement over the original NES version. Technos' tile art has come a long way since the original Kunio-Kun and this game shows how much differents a couple of years make. The snapshots between levels are well-drawn too.
Unfortunately, while the SFX has improved, most of the BGMs are straight ports of tunes used by the Arcade version and most them don't sound as good as their counterparts, with a few exception. Although, I like the last tune from Mission 9.
Overall, the game is a huge improvement over the original NES version and the Arcade version of part 2. Out of all the three Double Dragon games on the NES, this one is the best (although Double Dragon III comes to a close second).
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/06/00, Updated 09/06/00
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