Review by King Atari
"Best Fighter on the NES!"
Introduction- If there was one thing that could not be forgiven in the original NES Double Dragon, it was the lack of a two-player cooperative mode. The rest of the game, while much of it changed from the arcade, remained fun, but only one player at a time kills a lot of the magic. Enter 1989, the sequel to Double Dragon had already been released in the arcades, and was considered a rehash of the original. When it came time for an NES port (which was inevitable), Acclaim, instead of Tradewest, got the rights to publish it. They reworked the game from the ground up, and while it ventures even farther from the arcade than the original did, it's arguably the best home version of any Double Dragon game, ever.
Gameplay (10/10)- Superb in every way. Instead of the standard control scheme, they took a cue from Renegade. Whichever way you're facing, that button punches. For example, if you're facing right, the right button punches, and the left button does a back kick, or vice versa. It's confusing at first, but quickly proves to work great. Wiping out enemies has never been more fun. You have plenty of moves, and unlike the original, no hearts! As soon as you set out, you're ready to go!
And oh, by the way, two players at the same time!!! Never has there been a cooperative mode more fun than this (except for Contra)! There is a little flicker, but it's no big deal, and being able to clean up the streets with a friend makes a huge difference in the gameplay.
Story (10/10)- Mostly the same as the arcade, but there's a twist at the end (which I won't tell). Basically, The Black Warriors are in the mood for revenge, and in retaliation for their defeat in the original, they kill Marian. Billy Lee and Jimmy Lee once again set out to defeat the gang. There's a cool surprise at the end that was not seen in the arcade.
Graphics (10/10)- Amazing! The characters and backgrounds are very detailed and nicely colored. The levels avoid dull linear gameplay and offer plenty of challenges. The visuals are definitely top notch for the NES. Most of the levels have nothing to do with the arcade, but are pretty cool anyways. The battle inside a moving helicoptar is a highlight.
Sound (10/10)- The game features the music from the coin-op, but it's been rearraged and NES-ized. It sounds great though, but I didn't find it quite as loud as I would've liked. Still sounds good, especially the level 1 theme.
Replayability (10/10)- Going through the game with a friend is incredibly fun, and even going alone is good. Beating the snot out of countless people has amazing longevity, made all the better with a bud.
Final Recommendation- Best fighter on the system, period. River City Ransom is good, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III is good, the original Double Dragon is good, but this game is great. It succeeds in every way, and is a genuine NES classic. Pick this one up now! The NES had a lot of good games in it's time, and this one stands out as one of the best. Acclaim did an amazing job reworking the original for the home market, and while I'd usually balk at a game veering to far from the arcade, in this case, it was warranted. This game screams for a GBA remake, or at least part of an NES collection. Amazing does not begin to describe the amount fun to be had with this game. GameStop should have this one readily available, so there's no reason you should't be able to run out and pick it this one up.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 10/28/03
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