It’s inevitable that the Double Dragon franchise would make the list. The first game was so amazing both in the arcade and NES port that it made most sequels to the game a must buy. Double Dragon II followed the first game within a year of its publication. Billy and Jimmy Lee were back. So was the abuse to women. In the first game you see a woman get roughed up and punched in the gut by a gang of street toughs. In the second game the girlfriend Marian gets mowed down by a machine gun. They weren’t kidding around with this one. In the arcade port you actually see Marian get blown away. In the NES port things are suggested through still images. Still, after fighting for truth, freedom, and the life of Marian in the first game it seemed a little abrupt to see her gunned down less than a year later.
Billy and Jimmy Lee take to the streets in Double Dragon II to avenge the death of Marian and hunt down the evil leader of the Black Warriors (Shadow Warriors in the NES Port). The Black Warriors is such a cool name for an evil group of murderers and thugs. It only stands to reason that their leader would be named something equally awesome like Snake Eater, Thunder Puncher, or Kathleen Turner Overdrive. Nope. In Double Dragon II the Black Warriors are led by the evil Willy. That’s right. The evilest gang leader in this dystopian future Earth is named after a euphemism for male genitalia.
All the same Willy has sent his most powerful goons to take out the Lee brothers. Here we see some of the classic characters from the original game. One of the most iconic is the famous Abobo character who was renamed in Double Dragon II to Bolo. Regardless of what you call him, he’s huge and somewhat hard to kill, especially when he shows up with his clones.
The control of the game was a bit different from the original game. This time it wholly depending on the way you were facing. If you face right, the A button punches while the B button kicks behind you. Face left and now the buttons are reversed. It sounds wacky but after some trial and error you can reprogram you mind to the control scheme. I’ll admit that I hadn’t played the game in years before this review and when we popped it in to do a play through I was a little unhappy with the controls. After about 5 minutes of struggling through it, it finally made sense. Don’t let it get you down or frustrated.
Overall I really enjoy the franchise and Double Dragon II is a very good sequel to the first game. SPOILER ALERT: The story line holds nothing back as Billy and Jimmy Lee have to go on crusade to avenge their fallen girlfriend who as it turns out may or may not be dead, though I’ll leave that up to you to find out. If you can find the arcade version of the game, pop in a quarter and relive the wonder of the opening scenes. If not, the NES port is ready and waiting to be played for a fair price.
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