This is another one of my favorite video games of all time, it was truly revolutionary for its time as it was or at least one of the first to throw the first punch in the beat em up video game genre. Though this game was also influential in my life as it was one of the inspirations to become a martial artist.
There is just so much I love about the game. It's true that the story/plotline is rather basic as it's your damsel in distress scenario and you along with your brother are the only ones that can not just save her but the city from this vicious gang. Personally, I don't mind because at least it's a plotline that is simple and straight to the point, no complicated bullcrap and despite a somewhat cliché plotline saving an innocent life is important all the same. But like with most beat em ups they're not games totally concerned with story, their more concerned about the action and this game doubles up on it and more.
The graphics I think are great, yeah sure this is a game from a different time, but I don't care like with a well preserved and maintained vintage race car, this game still looks and plays good to me. I really like the background animation as it depicts each of the different areas, giving you a feeling that you are in a much broader world or that you actually are going on a journey, which was rare in video games at the time, where in most of the old games it just felt like you were in the same area with different challenges thrown in. From the nit and gritty streets, warehouse, park, mountains, and fortress.
I really love the character animation as we saw people with features, clothing and everything. Always did like those vest that the brothers wore the blue and red, too bad they never came in style in the 80s, but this of course was a way to help distinguish the difference on who's who. Though of course one other character animation that stands out for me is the mini boss/boss Bo Abobo. He was defiantly one of the first memorable bosses in video game history, one look at him really made me nervous as a kid, the guy looked like he was built like the Hulk or one of those wrestlers from WWF. This guy no push over either as his punches can drain your health quickly and sometimes can pick you up and throw you away. You can say facing him is literally the David vs. Goliath motif, despite how big and tough he is trust me he always goes down like all the rest.
The gameplay is great, from being able to move your character widely in an area which gives you plenty of maneuverability room. You have a solid variety of moves from the basic punch, kick, jump kick. Sub movies like throwing a guy, grabbing their hair and kicking them, and an upper cut or spin kick for the finish. But also, this game has a couple of power moves which are easy to execute if you know how, from a head butt to the famous elbow strike, these are very effective moves as they help take down foes with little effort. Though I'll admit these moves are another weak point in the game as it could render the game just a little easy, they almost act as a deus ex Machina device as they really do help you get thought the game fast or with little problems. So, for anyone that wants to continue being challenged playing game I suggest you make this moves your emergency/last resort measures only, in case things get harry.
But what I also like about this game is the fact that you can pick up weapons which are always your best friend in beat em ups, each of these weapons have strengths and weakness but useful all the same from a whip, a knife to throw, barrels/boxes/boulders also for throwing, and my favorite of course is the bat which I always love having when Abobo is around or just to help widdle the odds down. Also, I really love hearing the punches and kicks you deliver to each of your opponents, the bone crunching sound is just music to my ears, it really gives you the feeling that your dealing damage to your opponents.
Playing though this game always gave me such a gratifying even empowering feeling having the ability to beat the crap out of each scumbag that dares to come your way. Along with the big bosses whom are intimidating but then once you fight them and take them down, they're not so scary let alone tough.
But of course, another great thing is the music which is just great, all the tunes are they kind I love to download on my iPod and listen to or even play at a party with friends to dance to. Each of the tunes on each level down to the "Dead or Alive" theme song which is one of my favorite themes of all time.
The only real bad thing about this game is that it's kind of short, I personally wouldn't have minded two or three more areas along with boss battles. Though same could be said for a lot of other beat em ups out there, the ride may 'be short but it's still a sweet ride all the same.
Overall, if you're into the beat em up genre of video games this is a vintage classic worth playing. Double Dragon roars.
Rating: 4 stars
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