Double Dragon II: The Revenge
Review by JHarring
"Well-done sequel with the same type of action as the first game."
Double Dragon II is the sequel to the arcade and NES classic, Double Dragon. The spirit of beat-'em-up gameplay remains intact, with new levels, new fighting techniques, and new enemies and bosses added to give players a new challenge. Like the first game, this sequel is not a 100% accurate port of the arcade version, but it is similar in many ways.
The story this time is a tale of revenge. The evil Shadow Warrior gang, which was defeated in the first game by Billy Lee, has taken revenge on Billy by gunning down his girlfriend, Marian. Billy swears to avenge her death by defeating the gang again, this time enlisting the help of his brother Jimmy. One of the best options of this game is the two-player simultaneous play where Billy and Jimmy fight alongside each other through their enemies. Fortunately, an option is present that allows no damage from friendly blows. However, there is also an option that allows damage, so tons of cooperation and timing is necessary if you want to play on this setting.
The fighting techniques and controls have changed from the first Double Dragon. In the first game, there was a punch button and a kick button. This time, one button performs attacks to the left, the other to the right. Depending on which button you press and which direction your character is facing, different attacks are performed. Even more techniques are available from jumping, crouching, and holding positions. This time around, Billy and Jimmy don't have to learn their techniques as they progress - they know them all at the beginning.
Secret Power Moves can also be discovered by pressing the right buttons at the right time. These devastating moves like the Hyper Uppercut and the Cyclone Spin Kick are the most powerful in the game, but also require the most practice. Like in the first game, the Lee brothers can find and use weapons that their enemies attempt to attack them with, in order to gain an edge.
The graphics have been improved over the first game with larger characters and better animation. The music is okay, and the sound effects are pretty standard too. The controls work well, again using the two-button jump technique that plays a bigger role in this game than in the first one. There is a higher emphasis on jumping because of the many difficult traps that start appearing in the second half of the game. One messed up jump can cause instant death, so you'd be wise to practice a lot.
Compound the traps with no continue or save feature, and you've got a challenging game on your hands, especially at the highest of the three difficulty levels. However, if you can get through the game on that level, you're in for a secret surprise that wasn't in the arcade.
Double Dragon II is a good, if slightly different, beat-'em-up game with the same spirit as the original classic. It offers slightly more replay value with the different skill levels and the two-player cooperative play, making it a worthy follow-up to the groundbreaking first game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99
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