Friday, August 21, 2020

Double Dragon II: The Revenge (NES, 1988)

This is it, Double Dragon TWO. The Reckoning. Does that make this Quadruple Dragon? .....I'll show myself out.

In this one you can play as both Billy and Jimmy, so grab a friend. Billy is still a badass, while Jimmy is a beast with the sugar and yeast. Guess they're on the same page now after their brawl in the previous game. I chose the medium difficulty level, as opposed to Andrew Ryan who chose the impossible. 

In 19XX... it was mid-2020 New York? And...nuclear war? Why do 80's games have such dismal views of The Future? You never see an 80's version of 2020 where things are just normal, it's always either hyper-advanced or complete ruin. At least one thing they usually get right is that 2020 people are terrible. 

WAIT WHAT? They're just gonna kill off Marian after the first game? I thought she was going to be a big deal throughout. Now who are they gonna rescue in every game? Is she seriously gone?

Morgan Freeman Narration: "Yes indeed, she was seriously gone."

Here she is, in what might be the most unflattering image of anybody in video game history. 

Alright, so without a Marian to rescue, our heroes are now motivated by THE REVENGE. That or he's trying really hard to pass gas there. Probably a little from column A, a little from column B.

This plays just like the first one, right down to pressing A+B together to awkwardly jump. This game has got a ways to go before it becomes Final Fight or Streets of Rage, but a lot of people swear by it. I like the original and found it to be a true classic, but this doesn't really innovate from it.

The first boss is this big goofball, and I quickly dispatch him with my turbo controller that annihilates this series. So far there isn't much to this game. You don't gain levels like the first one, the design isn't as tight, and it's much easier.

Anyway, enough dumping on the game. Next up, our heroes GET TO THE CHOPPA. What's with that grafitti? "Go for broak" say the grafitti artists while huffing fumes. 

Oh no. Is that a jump?

I drop down with a SHARP PUNT TO THE NEUSSEN. This pit, however, is an ill omen. Will we see more terrible platforming in this one?

The bad guys have improved their funding, and now have attack helicopters!

This is sorta like that first level of Mega Man X. I was almost expecting Vile to plop down.

It's amazing how The Future is always full of neon and technology despite the nuclear wars, here in The Future where Europe just elected new European President Jonald Brexit, a disaster for the continent.

Next boss. Is this guy supposed to be Chintai? What's going on with his head? It looks like he has a Predator face with mandibles. That movie was huge right around this time.

Maybe he is indeed supposed to be a predator, since we're on THE CHOPPA and all. Next we arrive at the island of the bad guys. I liked how the first game stuck to iconic city areas like the temple of the villains. This game veers into weird Metal Gear territory by having us go to an island and attack a super-advanced base. 

Is this Willy? He looks like Dutch from... Predator.

::the menace theme from Predator plays::

The whip-toting ladies from the first game have evolved to their next form and now swing chain whips. In the third game their chain whips will throw fireballs? And now we know why the U.S. didn't just send the military in to deal with these guys.  Against chain whips and pink spandex, they would have been walking into a death-trap. 

Oh No. Do we have to do platforming again? 

Yep, and like the first game the jumping controls are so weird and awkward that I don't know why they're even in the game. Especially for one-screen sections like this that don't seem to serve much of a purpose. 

This mega-tank thing is a real platforming test because you have to climb to the top of it. And it's terrible. Conveyor belts and auto-scrolling combine to make for an unnecessarily-frustrating screen. 

Finally reach the top, and you get to brawl some more! This game really should have stuck to the brawling. It does brawling pretty well until it stops to shoehorn in platforming. 

Is that evil, or is it just all of the B.O. from none of these people having access to a shower on this island? It's like Portland.

Another platforming section. Seriously? You've also got pots dropping fire on you just in case you thought you could make jumps without getting knocked out of the air. Can we get a Double Dragon II patch to remove all of the platforming hazards?

This is definitely a Double Dragon evil lair. I really like the aesthetic of the bad guys in this series.

For this part they decided that it would be a good idea to appropriate the disappearing block rooms from the early Mega Man games. This...was a really bad idea.

Another terrible platforming section, this time with conveyor belts. And I mean TERRIBLE. Jumping to the middle platform results in falling, so you have to jump from the left platform all the way to the right platform and then to safety. 

After that they decide to clone Castlevania by throwing in a section with platforming on round gears, resulting in more embarrassing flopping around as I struggle with the jumps. WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA. Also this game copies more of its contemporary games than Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Still not sure if this is supposed to be Willy or Abobo. The fact that it looks so much like Dutch is probably intentional. 

"Slime ball boss" makes me think of DDP going "Hollywood SCUM Hogan" all the time. In any case, it's funny that this dude says we'll destroy ourselves, since the final boss is some sort of clone. So he means that literally? I think the devs were trying to be clever, not sure. Also why does everyone have giant cheekbones in this world? Is there some kind of weird health condition going through? I mean, it's post-nuke neon world, the only thing missing for the Future Trifecta is a plague.

The final area looks distinctive and awesome. It's worth noting that I still haven't died to a regular enemy in this entire game. If this is Normal mode, how easy is Easy?

At last, the final boss room! Here you fight Jonald Brexit himself. He is these two lightning-fast ninjas, and it's the toughest fight in the entire game. The only place where I lost any lives that wasn't a platforming section. The ninjas move fast and can stunlock you if you aren't careful. 

The very last boss is some sort of shadow-clone of your hero, in a clear nod to Dark Link from Zelda II. It's much easier than Jimmy was in the first game and has a similar routine of using your own attacks against you.

Looks like there's another final boss if you get here on the highest difficulty level. Thanks, but I'm good. Already played that game with Prehistorik Man. I also seriously doubt their claim that "very few" have gotten this far, given how easy this game is compared to the first one. Onward to Double Dragon 3.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Looks like there isn't actually a new final boss in hard mode, so I'm not sure what this end-screen means. Probably a mistranslation of hard mode having foes so tough, no one survives.


  1. Ehm actually master mode have a new boss a dude with cape (he also appears in the sega cd version) I don´t remmeber much since I did beat this game a long time ago but the differences between master and normal mode is that master mode have only 3 lifes I think?

  2. I think Chintai and Abobo did the fusion dance.

    Contra was also big about taking the fight to the enemy bases.

    The final battle in this one is against a Double Dragon just like the first, in a way.