Double Dragon II (Game Boy)

Double Dragon II / Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-Kun: Bangai Rantouhen (熱血硬派くにおくん 番外乱闘編) - Game Boy, 3DS (December 1991 / December 7, 1990)


American Cover

Double Dragon 2 (Game Boy)

Even though the second Game Boy offering is called Double Dragon II, it uses the cover art from the NES Double Dragon III, but the game inside is neither of the two. In fact, it originally was not even a Double Dragongame. After the first portable title alread included a few elements from the sequel, Technōs apparently didn’t bother with creating yet another remix, so they just took a Game Boy game they already had – an entry in the long-running Kunio-kun series – and gave it a gritty facelift, much like they did with Renegade. (See the Kunio-kun article for a direct comparison.)

Double Dragon 2 (Game Boy)

Since both series were made by the same developer in the same genre, the result isn’t totally different from a true Double Dragon game. If anything, it works better with the new sprites, since something always felt a bit off with the oddly proportioned Kunio characters. The moves tend to be a bit more exaggerated. If an enemy is hunched over, the next kick is always a high jump kick, and the heroes can leap over to stomp on downed opponents – a very Kunio-kun like attack. The biggest difference is the lack of a jump. Pressing both buttons together instead makes the character crouch down, which can be used to avoid attacks but also as an opener for a jumping uppercut. Overall, the moveset is a bit more limited than Double Dragon fans will be used to.

Double Dragon 2 (Game Boy)

Oddly, the most Kunio-kun feeling part of the game is the music. Even though it was completely replaced from the original, it still is much more upbeat and faster than a typical Double Dragon soundtrack, and if anything invokes memories of playing Nintendo World Cup.

Double Dragon 2 (Game Boy)

Unfortunately, the game is just kind of dull. Aside from the occasional subway sidewalk to fall down, there are no traps in the flat stages. The game is so bankrupt of ideas, it makes you go through basically the same subway ride twice, complete with subway station segments for entry and exit, only swapping out some of the gangsters with their stronger superiors. Most enemies can be dealt with using the same simple approach, except for the many armed foes in the later game. At least you get to fight cool bosses like Jason Vorhees with a chainsaw, a ninja who can disappear in a puff of smoke, and a fat guy who throws you on the floor so he can sit on you. They won’t be as fun to fight in the ultra hard boss rush at the end, though.

Double Dragon 2 (Game Boy)

With only three lives and no continues, the game can get quite frustrating and unfair, especially considering you never get to use any weapons despite many enemies coming into the fight with familiar Double Dragonmainstays like bats, knives and chains. The game also does that annoying D.D. Crew thing (although it predates that game) where you can never hit multiple opponents at once even if they stand in the same spot, enabling one to counter attack while you hit the other. This forces an approach to crowd control that’s opposite from most beat-em-ups and common fighting sense alike, by trying to keep the enemies scattered to both sides.

Double Dragon 2 (Game Boy)

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