Double Dragon (NES)

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Double Dragon

Double Dragon - NES - USA.jpg

NES - USA - 1st edition.

Developer Technos
Publisher Technos, Tradewest
Published 1988-04-08
Platforms NES
Genres Action, Beat 'em up, Fighting
Themes Martial Arts
Series Double Dragon

Double Dragon is a beat 'em up video game developed and published by Technos and released for the NES on 1988-04-08. It is part of the Double Dragon series, and was published in the USA by Tradewest. The game is a port of the arcade original, but it is so different, it can be considered a unique game. One major difference is the addition of a one-on-one fighting game.

In the story, Billy Lee's girlfriend Marion has been kidnapped by a gang called the Black Warriors, and he must beat them all up to rescue her. Unlike the arcade game, your twin brother Jimmy is not helping Billy along the way, but actually the leader of the gang who kidnapped her.



My brother received this game as a Christmas gift the same year that I received Bad Dudes (I think 1990). Although, at times I preferred this game, looking back, I think Bad Dudes is the better game over all. Because we owned the game, I played it a fair amount, but I never got good enough at it to pass the third mission. Now that my tastes are more refined, I see the game as highly flawed.


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4 4 7 7 5

Best Version: Windows

— This section contains spoilers! —


  • The addition of experience points that yield better martial arts moves was a great design choice.
  • The game's graphics are pretty good for 1988. Several of Shinichi Saito's backgrounds are attractive, and I like Billy's character sprite designed by Koji Ogata.
  • Kazunaka Yamane's simulated electric guitar is fantastic.
  • The added Mode B fighting game adds a bit more value to the title overall, and at least gives a little multi-player action.


  • The main gimmick of the title is that you were twin brothers fighting together, and the NES port completely eliminates that option and makes your brother the villain. This isn't just a huge deviation from the original game, but removing the comradery of multiplayer also takes away a lot of the fun of the game.
  • I hate it when games like this set you back to a checkpoint when you die.
  • Yet another damsel in distress game with a women as reward trope at the end, but, as a bonus, you get violence against women too and women used as a pawn.
  • It's stupid how weapons magically disappear in various sections of the game. I think the designers could have come up with a better way to deal with this.
  • Since the game had been redesigned anyway, the developers could have fixed the pacing of the missions. Missions 1 and 2 are both quite short and can be finished by even an amateur player. However, mission 3 and 4 are both very long and extremely difficult.
  • The Mode B fighting game is poorly-constructed. It's not that bad for 1988 when there wasn't really anything better, but it has not aged well.
  • The manual is poorly translated (Abobo's "atomic throw" becomes, "he likes to throw bombs"), has the wrong screenshots for missions 1 and 2, leaves out Mode B entirely, and gives away the supposed surprise ending.


  • The game is ridiculously hard, even for an expert player. Making it through the game generally requires exploiting the bad AI, and using mostly elbows and jump kicks throughout the game.
  • He may be a martial arts master, but Billy is an incompetent jumper. Jumping over pits and water is an arduous task which results in death numerous times until you get the hang of it, and the moving platforms in missions 3 and 4 are especially frustrating!
  • The hidden entrance to the Black Gang's underground hideout in mission 3 is really obnoxious. Players are essentially tricked into a never-ending loop without any indication how to get out of it. The loop underground for missing the jumps is and even more annoying punishment.


Box Art




NES Works.


Strong female character?FailMarian and Linda are the only women. Marian is a damsel in distress, Linda is a generic opponent.
Bechdel test?FailThe game lacks dialogue.
Strong person of color character?FailLopar is black, and Chintai is Chinese? but neither is important.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.


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