Review by EPoetker
"Not as good as DD3, but still quite an excellent game."
Ahhhh...memories. After having finally beaten this game on Supreme Master mode without cheats, I can safely say that this was one of the best fighting games on the NES. The battle system, the music, the replay...all of these things made this one of the finest martial arts games I've ever seen. On to the game...
I love the story. Billy's girl, Marion, hasn't been kidnapped, like in DD1, she's been KILLED(and the opening scenes do a perfect job of establishing that fact without having to resort to blood or gore.) Your mission is pure vengeance(although, since Marion was kidnapped again in DD3, you kinda know how the ending turns out.) More of the story is revealed in cutscenes that follow every level. All in all, a surprisingly deep story for a fighting game.
Graphics, as always on the NES,are nothing particularly special, although on the NES games they get more points if they don't slow down or flash too much. Thankfully, this problem doesn't seem too prevalent here, as the programmers made sure that everything flowed well. Enemies are nicely animated, especially the big, overmuscled dudes named Abobo(everyone who's ever played a DD game knows and hates Abobo.) And the acrobatics of the last bos were simply amazing. Your moves are detailed enough to provoke wincing(again, the Elbow Bash is the biggest contender here.)But of course, one must go to the...
Music! While okay throughout the game, the last two levels(and especially the end boss) were where the music actually got inspired. By the time you reached these extremely hard areas, the musicians decided you needed a bit more motivation, and so delivered that motivation extremely well. The final theme is the BEST, definitely worth playing the game for. But you'd probably play it for other reasons, like...
GAMEPLAY! Here's where the DD engine excels. You can play one or two player, in modes where you can choose to beat up on your teammate or not. Your repotoire of moves is is actually pretty substantial(remember: two button controller) and let you figure out ways to beat up on the enemies with ease. Unfortunately,(and here's the reason why I don't give it a 10) you get to the point where you use the same strategies for the same enemies all the time, and too often those enemies will just walk right into your fist(unlike the amazingly intelligent and tenacious DD3 enemies.) The developers knew this would happen, so they put in a whole lot of levels where platform jumping(much harder to do in this game, as you used two buttons to jump and couldn't change the direction of your jump in mid-air) was important. But seriously, the places where you had to jump through would have been fiendish enough in a normal platform scroller(especially the infamous Gear room on level 7) and trying to make it through with your jump controls, with only three lives to go through the game with, where one false step means death, just seemed excessive. This is the only thing that prevents this game from getting a 10 in my book. The last two levels showed that putting the emphasis strictly on beating up enemies was still fun and challenging, but since you had probably burned away your extra lives, fighting them became annoying rather than rewarding. This was why I highly applauded the vastly reduced emphasis on platform jumping in DD3.
Those low points aside, Double Dragon 2 is still considered a must-have for any true NES gamer. It's emulation time for most of you, so I WOULD reccommend getting a PC pad, as you don't want to wear out your keyboard with the button mashing moves. Punch and kick your way to victory!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/31/00, Updated 01/31/00
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