Thursday, June 3, 2021

Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls

The series winds to a not-so-epic conclusion with a terrible fighting game. Well, it isn't really THAT bad, but it certainly isn't what series fans were expecting after the other four games. To make things worse, it barely has any of the iconic characters from the series. Sad thing is, there was another Double Dragon fighting game that DID have characters like Abobo and Chintai, but it was only released in arcades and I've never personally gotten to play it. Too bad the SNES didn't get a port of that one instead of this mediocrity.

On the back of the box we see all of the game's new characters. Don't recognize them? They're from Double Dragon: The Animated Series rather than any of the previous games. This game might actually be a worthwhile play for fans of that show.

Another question people might be asking is...what happened to Double Dragon IV? Well, most people at the time (including the devs) considered Super Double Dragon to be the fourth game, with this being a follow-up to that. However, later in time the fan consensus shifted more towards SDD being a remake rather than a fourth (not unlike Super Castlevania IV) and much later in time an actual Double Dragon IV downloadable game was made for PSN and Nintendo's online store that just kinda ignores SDD. One of several Double Dragon revivals that have been attempted over the years.

I'm only focusing on the retro ones, mainly the retro ones on Nintendo systems, so after this the only one I might check out is Battletoads Vs. Double Dragon on the SNES. We'll see.

Here we see the main character, Jay Leno.

And here's...Blonde Jay Leno.

Seriously though, I'm not too keen on these block-jawed designs for the main characters. That blockiness actually extends to most of the other character designs.

One of the characters is straight-up named after his gigantic jaw.

For the people who are big fans of giant jaw designs, there's finally a game for you guys.

The game's lone selectable* female is Sekka. Who? Why is she wearing Geordi LaForge's eye visor as a mask? Way to not cover your nose up, rendering the mask pointless.

I'm just bitter because this was a perfect chance for them to finally let Marion be an active character. Would have been awesome to play as her. Oh well.

* - In some versions of this game, you can enter a boss code to play as Dominique. And in the Jaguar version of this game (yeah, there's a Jaguar version) you can play as her without entering a code.

This is kind of interesting: You can move points around after you choose a character, emphasizing one stat over others if you want.

After that, it's time to settle this in the ring. TWO MAN ENTER, ONE MAN LEAVE

Here's the bad guy, the Shadow Master. Who? What happened to Willy? Or Abobo? Yanno, I suspect this game started out as a generic fighting game and they slapped the Double Dragon license on it at the last minute. Kind of like how Doki Doki Panic was a game repurposed into Super Mario Bros 2, or how Highlander: The Source was dogshit repurposed as Highlander.

The game has a "stage map" showing you all of the fights. This would make a little more sense if it were a regular action beat 'em up with stages.

I choose Sekka, and...does Bones have a machine gun? Also he's literally that "u mad bro" sunglasses picture people post online

Sekka has powerful kicks, and can probably crush a skull between her rock-hard thighs. Bones... is a doctor, not a scientist, and is quickly defeated.

You get awarded points based on how much you won by. It's very old-school. I like how Sekka has Vega claws.

One cool thing is that the characters trash-talk after they win, like a lot of prominent fighters from this era.

It's a battle of the Sekka palette-swaps as a guy with a broom looks on creepily.

Which one's which? I DON'T KNOW WHO I AM ANYMORE

Wait, is that some sort of mutagen in the background? What's the Shadow Clan up to? They makin' viruses in this lab? Please don't censor me, Google.

This man with a horribly-misshapen head summons our heroes to tell us that the city needs us. Apparently this happens if you play as one of the "good" characters and the Shadow Master appears if you play as one of the "bad" characters.

...WTF. I was just making a bad joke, I didn't know that was actually the story.

I give Jimmy Lee a whirl, seen here fighting Flat Top of Dick Tracy fame. To my surprise, Jimmy is armed with a sword.

"Yeah! Yeah!" he says.

The mysterious good guy tells Jimmy to go to Cody's Nutron Grill. Is that a restaurant? Is it owned by wrestling sensation Rhody Codes?

Here's Sickle, probably the least-memorable character in the game. He reminds me of something but I'm not sure what. Who else has arm-blades?

Speaking of blade, here's Blade...the other least-memorable character. He's basically just a guy.

Here's Sekka, my old main. I have a new main now!

Next, I finally battle Jawbreaker, king of the giant jaw artwork.

He lives up to his name by unhinging his jaw and attempting to eat our hero.

Next up is...Cyborg from Justice League?

That brings us to the second-to-last fight, the Goro of the game: Dominique.

She can press your character over her head like Ultimate Warrior. She's also clearly intended to be some sort of dominatrix character, hence the name. I miss Lindas.

Get to the end on Easy, and the game ends prematurely. To fight the real final boss, you have to play on Normal. I HATE when games do this. It happens a lot in mid-90's games, like the industry collectively went through a phase.

I choose Billy for the Normal playthrough. Here's someone I missed the first time: Icepick, the Sub-Zero character. You fight him at Cody's Nutron Grill, which is apparently also a hotbed for Russian Prostitutki. I knew them Rhodes boys were no good!

And wow. First dominatrix, now this. The devs of this game were going all out with the M-rated content here.

It's brother versus brother!

Billy stabs himself with his own sword!

Reeling from my horrible injuries, I turtle up in the corner.

Oh yeah, our heroes can throw fireballs. That's a thing.

We go from Cody's Nutron Grill to...Dusty's Garage. You kiddin' me?

"You gotta stir tha pot to get to da pay windah."

"The only way to stop the Shadow to go to Dustin's Apothecary."


I'm kidding, it's just the Shadow Clan lair again to fight Dominique. I want to play as those two bow-legged background goons. "Eyyyy!" says the one on the left.

Since I'm on Normal this time, I continue on to the actual final boss. The Shadow Master...what a weirdo. Also it took me this long to notice how much the Shadow Clan emblem looks like the Mortal Kombat logo.

He's got a blistering dash-strike, and defeats me a couple times.

When I finally win a round, it's flawless. Go figure.

With the Shadow Master defeated, peace is restored to ::checks notes:: Metro City.

Not only does Billy have a freakish jaw, he also has freakish, block-like pecs. At least he doesn't have a freakish cranium like Lo Pan over here. Who is that guy anyway?

This game brought us one really good thing: The main theme. Other than that, I'm glad this series is over. Kind of an unceremonious end on the SNES.

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