With the upcoming release of the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition (NA) / Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System (EU), we're going to provide short profiles of all 30 games included on the system. This time around we look at Double Dragon II: The Revenge.
So far this series of articles on the NES Mini games has mostly featured conversions of relatively simple arcade games, with Konami's Castlevania and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest bucking the trend as console-first action-oriented titles, albeit the latter flirts with more RPG elements. Double Dragon II: The Revenge (by Technōs Japan) is another arcade game that made its way to the living room, but importantly the title that came to NES was in no way a simple port - it was an expanded game compared to the coin-op. They shared a name, but outside of that NES players would have felt like they were playing a console title rather than an arcade port.
So why are we getting the second game on the Mini NES and not the first? That's simple, the first was a disappointment that failed the deliver the key feature of the beat 'em up genre in this era - two-player co-op. It was really Single Dragon, which is a less catchy but more accurate name. The Revenge delivered two player co-op, which means it's an improvement right off the bat.
Some may also ask "why isn't the third game included?", considering the fact we have two Castlevania games on the system. The third one, frankly, wouldn't be a wise inclusion. It's an odd game that decided to ramp up difficulty by giving you multiple playable characters but only one life for each. That's cruelty that even From Software would consider barbaric.
With those flaws in the first and third games, The Revenge was really the only way to go for Nintendo when putting this collection together. It's a welcome inclusion, too, as the Double Dragon games are a key part of NES history, warts and all, and helped set standards and gameplay norms that would help to define the beat 'em up genre on home consoles.
As for the nitty gritty of the game itself, you have brothers Billy and Jimmy (no 'Bimmy and Jimmy' typos in this one) avenging a fallen loved one by going on a murderous punching and kicking spree on the streets. It's interesting how violence in video games is thrown around as a topic nowadays, but the issue some really have is that the violence is more realistic. After all, beat 'em ups like this look cute in 8-bit but are all about punching goons in the face.
We said the Double Dragon series helped set norms that informed the genre in later generations, but ironically this entry experimented a little. Yes, we get co-op, but we also have a strange control setup in which A and B attack left and right respectively; perhaps a clever idea in principle, it can be confusing initially if you're used to treating these buttons as alternate attacks for the direction you're facing.
You should also prepare for quite a stiff challenge, even in co-op, and for the game to pull some cheap moves on you. Some enemies lay it on thick with unfair attacks, and for reasons only the developers know there are platforming sections... with platforms that disappear. It's like Mega Man, if he was taller, couldn't jump as well and moved about 50% slower. These sections are beatable, but they're frustrating. As for enemies with unfair attacks, a well known trick is to do a jumping attack, trigger the block / flinch animation of the enemy and immediately uppercut them. You can do this over and over again, in many cases; as we said in one of our reviews - "you have to fight cheap moves with cheap moves!"
Ultimately, though, games like this aren't necessarily all about enjoying the best gameplay experiences - they're about punching and kicking goons with a buddy. Besides, its visuals and music will give you all of the 8-bit feels.
This should be an ideal co-op game on the upcoming system, just try not to break the controllers when the platforming sections come along.
I'm going to say this and I don't care how much hate I get. This game is a pile of Monkey Vomit.
It bears repeating. A pile of monkey vomit.
The controls are utter garbage. The graphics didn't really improve on the first. The music is ok but gets old really quick once you get to that horrendous jumping level. This game belongs in a landfill. It bears repeating. A landfill.
I believe the original Double Dragon Is way better. Although it didn't have a Co-OP, It did have a VS mode were you fought with a golem like thing. It was very cool. No game did that as well back then than Double Dragon. I don't know why Nintendo would put this elephant dong on the mini. It bears repeating. I don't know why Nintendo would put this elephant dong on the mini. I guess they needed a filler.
Never really a fan of any of these games. Imo River City Ransom would've been a better game to choose if you had to have a beat um up game. I could also think of about 50 games I'd rather have over this games inclusion.
@Spoony_Tech - I hated this game. I remember mowing lawns with my brother just to get it. We had to cut Mrs. Bolwarth's lawn. Her yard had rats. Yuck and she only gave us $10 dollars, But me and my brother wanted this game.
This game is one of the reasons I'm going to import a Famicom Mini. The Japanese version of DD2 lets you beat the game on Easy and Medium settings and doesn't need a cheat code to continue after a game over.
I think it's a good game, but they just went over the top with the difficulty.
@River3636 wow dude. don't hold back. tell us how you really feel.
I actually like the first one, but not having 2 player option was definitely an issue although it did have a 2 player battle mode which was cool. You could fight each other as "Ababo" and a few other characters.
I loved the Sega Genesis version of the first game because it is identical to the arcade game.
I remember the second game seeming to be quite difficult.
First, good call pointing out that it's not violence in video games that bothers people, but the realism. Some modern stuff can get quite detailed and gruesome. As for the game, I only briefly played the NES version, so I can't say it's landfill worthy. I had part one on Master System. Part two I really like for PC Engine. That was done by Naxat a few years after, based on the NES game, but with various improvements to presentation and playability as I understand it.
Did anyone ever play the Double Dragon games on the Gameboy?
I think they were far superior and the second had the best soundtrack. The second was by far the best of the three. It's a shame Double Dragon 2 hasn't been released on the GB VC on 3DS eshop.
That genre (Beat them all) was very popular during 90's era. Even Sailor Moon games also have a genre like Double Dragon.
I'm a huge Double Dragon fan, but I must admit, it sort of winds me up how much emphasis there is on the console versions rather than the arcade originals (that's in no way a criticism of this review). I understand the point of the NES Mini is to recreate the feeling of the NES, but I feel there is too much nostalgia about the versions we had to settle for at the time. With today's technology, every console should be able to download the true coin-op version on the eShop (or equivalent), maybe without the slowdown in the original's case.
I don't mean to moan, I just genuinely think this series is up there with any of them.
When I was a kid, I absolutely loved this game! Definitely the best of the trilogy on NES.
I prefer the arcade versions of the DD games, but I grew up with the NES versions of them. I'm just glad DD3 isn't on the mini. I couldn't stand that game. Didn't matter if it was the arcade or NES version.
Yup, I played the Gameboy DD. I currently have it on 3DS VC.
Good thing they didn't include the third.
Mmm. I never did like the second as much as the first. Why didn't they just give us that one?
@Jamotello - I really don't know why Nintendo would put this canker soar of a game on the mini and not put the original.
What gets me is I waited months for this snot rag to come out. I save my hard earned money to get it.
I remember when me and my brother put the cartridge in the NES. The gleam in our eye. The utter excitement that came over us. We earned it , but then, I also remember the utter disappointment that came over us when we saw this pus filled pimple try to be a sequel to the coolest game ever. My gosh. It was Double Dragon how could you do this to us.
This is easy game to complete even on hard as long as you use "jumping knee strike" (press A+B+direction when your character is on his kneels after jump). Mastering "jumping knee strike" is also useful on platforming sections.
@Anti-Matter Wait, there's a Sailor Moon fighting game? If so, I need it.
Yup. Check on Youtube. The title is Bishoujou Sailor Senshi Sailor Moon R SNES. You play as Five Sailor Soldier and the enemies are from Dark Moon clan.
@Anti-Matter I didn't even know that there were Sailor Moon video games! I'll need to check them out. Thanks for letting me know!
@Senpai_Bruh There are several "Sailor moon" beat-em-ups, i have the first one for SNES, it's a pretty cool "Final fight"-type game that i still play when i bring out the ol' SuperNES!
I also don't understand the hate "Double dragon II" gets, once you get the timing down for the spinning cyclone and flying knee you're set, and the jumping bits are a matter of standing still a bit and watching the pattern of the platforms...
@River3636 haha. I noticed you asking Thomas for this article on a Switch article the other day, and I was intrigued to see your comments, glad you didn't hold back!
I remember playing a Double Dragon game with my brother on the C64 back in the late 80's or early 90's. No idea if it was this one or not but I'll give this one a go anyway, just for some nostalgia. Doesn't sound like I'll enjoy it too much judging by the comments, which is a shame.
I disagree with a bunch of the games in here (Balloon Fighter? Blech.) but as far as the DD series goes, beat 'em ups of any kind are pointless without multiplayer, imho, so I wouldn't want the first one.
I named my twin boys Bimmy and Jimmy in honor of this game.
ok no i didn't.
My brother and I used to love this game. We played for hours mastering the controls and those frustrating platform sections. It was so satisfying beating the end boss, especially when landing the final blow which resulted in a Matrix-style slowdown (we'd both want that final hit just to gloat). Can't wait to play it again.
@River3636 You see how childhood memories can differ? Ha, maybe your hatred for this game stems from having to clean Mrs Bolwarth's rat-infested lawn for a measly 10 dollars (and you associate the trauma with Double Dragon)? Go see a psychologist.
@GravyThief - I had to let my voice be heard. People have to be inform of the atrocity that this game is.
@MysticX - "I also don't understand the hate "Double dragon II" gets, once you get the timing down for the spinning cyclone and flying knee you're set"
I thought I explained the abomination that Double Dragon 2 is. Those move only make this game more baseless and tragically redundant.
I'll give you this, it is better then Back to the Future and Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde and that is not saying much. Both those games are not going to be on the mini.
@Monkey_Balls- No, it only under scores it. I saved my hard earned money, endured rats, and cheap old ladies just to get this game. I think they took out the fun because not only was it a bit stale, it did not have the VS mode which all my friends and I played in the original.
Why aren't they putting the original?
They did that with Contra 2 as well.
@Senpai_Bruh Yep, there are several Sailor Moon beat em ups. I know there's an arcade game, at least one for SNES and one for Mega Drive/Genesis. Plus there are one-on-one fighters and other types. Have fun looking into it.
@speedracer216 - "I disagree with a bunch of the games in here (Balloon Fighter? Blech.) but as far as the DD series goes, beat 'em ups of any kind are pointless without multiplayer, imho, so I wouldn't want the first one".
To be fair, Ballon fighter is Blech now. it hasn't aged well. Although DD2 has co-op it doesn't measure up with the original or games like River City Ransom. I'd rather wait my turn and fight a brawler by myself than play through a holocaust with a partner.
@River3636 I take it you dislike this game slightly(joking, of course). I guess a lot of people did like the game. There are some games some people seem to like a lot that I just can't stand too. But I suspect they picked part two because it has 2-player co-op while also being a known property that wasn't a nightmare to license. The first game was disappointing to many on the NES. I know I didn't like it much after playing the Master System version. Too bad they didn't put some more games on it, like 40 or 50. Then they could keep this one in for those who like it, but also add the first.
As for Contra, its absence from this and the Virtual Console is fascinating, isn't it? There is speculation that the source code is lost. If that's the case, then either Nintendo requires some change to the game, or perhaps relating to anti-piracy measures.
You could say it that @River3636's defense and arguments are......double the trouble
The third game is harder yes but its better in every way. Plus theres easy ways to win once you work out the ai. My dad and i passed it when i was about 10 yrs old. It took about a year in between other games but we did it. Once we passed once it wqs easy to replicate. We never used the other characters just billy and jimmy. The first thing i said to 2 on the nes mini was wheres 3? 2 is like diet dragon.
I would have loved captain skyhawk on the mini too. Great arcade plane bombing action!
Wow. I am getting tired of complaining about this game already. I am about as redundant as that spin kick.
@sdelfin - To bad it didn't have 50 games. I'm wondering if they are going to have a NES mini 2. I think Contra was a hidden game for the DS version. I might be wrong.
I think I will go ahead and rate this game
Graphics: 5 Not bad but it was 1990
Music 5 Started to get annoying after a while.
Controls: 0 meaning you punch and the same button is kicking, lagging jumps and frustration of throwing the controller.
Fun: 0 About as fun as swimming in a cesspool of sewer water where Lincoln logs are a plenty.
I rate this game a 2.5 just because I can. It was a waste of my hard earned money. 44.00 was a lot for a 10 year old.
My first DD experience is with the original coin-op versions. Double Dragon rocked and was one of my favorite games in its time. Slowdown? Didn't care. I couldn't wait to play DDII when it came out. The biggest issue I had was that the controls were very different from the first despite the same number of buttons. The change from the punch and kick buttons to left and right attack took a lot of getting used to and so it doesn't quite live up to its predecessor in my mind. I don't remember playing the NES version, but it sounds like they tried keep the feeling of the coin-op by upending the controls just like in the original.
That's the best of the three !
Once you master the knee attack, you're invincible !!
Great moments spent with my brother on this game !
The specificity of the third was that you could do some merged attack together with both players !
This genre really hit its stride in the 16-bit era. After playing games like Streets of Rage 2, Final Fight etc. it is hard to go back to most 8-bit era beat em ups.
Loved this game! It had a surprisingly large amount of attack diversity for being limited to a controller with only two buttons. I felt the fun was in mixing up your attacks like being artists of brutality, spamming your way through would've made it boring
Definitely a memorable NES game, and definitely the best DD of the NES lot. Classic 8-bit frustration and triumph when overcoming obstacles. This was a no-brainer inclusion to me. They could've done worse.
Received the game as a gift when it was a "new release." Even with the added levels and platforming, it felt more like an arcade game than the first NES DD. I liked it then and still like it now. It was not easy to beat the game with 3 lives but if you used the 2P cheat to give yourself 3 more lives, you stood a better chance.
@SH007ME - Thank you
Yes, she descended into heaven in return to the double dragons or something. Maybe I'm mad at this game because it was one of the few games I didn't beat on the NES. Thanks for the ending. I actually played the heck out of this using save features and beat it earlier today. It only took me about an hour and a half to beat.
It has a new rating
Graphics: 5 Not bad but it was 1990
Music 7 Not all that annoying, actually charming.
Controls: 6 The spam jumping was alright and No frustration of throwing the controller.
Fun: 6 About as fun as swimming at a lagoon in John Pennycamp, FL. (To many children, but it was still a nice day).
I rate this a 6. Why because I can.
@River3636 ..lol..I just thought you needed a hug...
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