Double Dragon series
Retro Coin Op Synopsis
In 1987, two martial artist brothers took their crusade for justice to the streets, and the video game world would never be the same. Double Dragon almost single-handedly (or double-fistedly) popularized the side-scrolling fighting game, paving the way for every Final Fight and Bad Dudes that followed.
In the animated intro, an inner-city babe named Marian was kidnapped by a street gang known as the Shadow Warriors, led by the machine-gun-toting Willy. Twins Hammer and Spike (later known as Billy and Jimmy Lee) arrived on the scene just as the villains made away with the girl, forcing them to hit the streets for a rescue.
Willy had plenty of minions standing between him and the twins, and the baddies weren’t afraid to risk life and limb for the cause. The entire game was one fight after another, as Hammer and Spike took the bad guys out with punches, kicks and special moves like jump kicks, head butts and the always-popular elbow smash. Facing our heroes were thugs like Lopar, Linda and everyone’s favorite, the big-headed bald guy named Abobo. Often the gangsters carried weapons—knives, bats, dynamite and more—and once they were defeated, Hammer and Spike could take these armaments as their own. The occasional oil drum, packing crate or barrel could also be tossed as a weapon.
At the helm of these Double Dragons, you dished out gangland justice with a joystick and three simple buttons—jump, punch, kick. The battle raged through four stages, covering a street scene, a factory, a jungle-like setting and the Shadow Warriors’ creepy castle, where a still-armed Willy awaited.
The game owed a lot to its side-scrolling fighting predecessor, Kung Fu Master, but Double Dragon’s superior graphics, sound and variety of moves put it in a new class all its own. Even more importantly, the game allowed for two-player simultaneous action, which was almost a must as swarms of enemies flooded the streets (and as swarms of gamers flooded the arcades). You and a second player could work together, but your attacks did hurt each other, a fact made all too clear by the game’s finale, wherein the two brothers settled the matter of whose girlfriend Marian really was.
Shaking the arcade world out of its temporary slump, Double Dragon ushered in a new wave of prosperity and a host of imitators. The game spawned a feature film and a syndicated cartoon series in 1993, as well as several video game sequels.
Double Dragon II – The Revenge, released in 1988, was essentially a revamp of the original with improved graphics, more moves and new enemies. The sequel also pretty much made the entire first game pointless, since Marian was killed in the opening animation. Double Dragon 3 – The Rosetta Stone, a 1990 release, added new Dragon Sonny and took the trio across the globe in search of three legendary Rosetta Stones. The new game also allowed players to purchase new moves and other bonuses by adding more quarters.
Double Dragon fell out of the spotlight in the early 90’s as gamers rushed to play the new one-on-one fighting games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Billy and Jimmy responded with their own one-on-one game in 1995, Double Dragon (Neo Geo), but the twins’ glory days had tragically passed them by. At least we’ll always have Abobo.
Arcade Machine Release History1987 - Double Dragon
1988 - Double Dragon II - The Revenge
1990 - Double Dragon 3 - The Rosetta Stone
1995 - Double Dragon (Neo Geo)
Arcade Game Sub Categoriesadventure