Double Dragon 2: The Revenge
Box Shot
Double Dragon 2: The Revenge
Platform: NES
Publisher: Acclaim
Designer: Technos
Genre: Beat-em-up
Players: 2
Published Date 1989
Reviewed by: Kurt Kalata

Having met with success for some reason with the original Double Dragon in both the arcades and on the NES, it was quite obvious that a sequel was in order. The arcade one obviously came out first, but this time, Technos Japan directly worked on the game and had it published by Acclaim, instead of having it being translated by Tradewest. The result is a somewhat different, better game.

Subtitled "The Revenge", Billy and Jimmy Lee are just plain pissed this time around. Marion, Billy's girlfriend, was brutally killed. Anger and vengeance possesses Billy, and he's out to stop these cretins! For some reason (most likely for providing two-player jollies), his brother Jimmy joins the fight. Yes, finally, there is two player simultaneous in this game, and it's definitely welcome.

The first thing you'll notice about the game is the entirely different looks. The characters are taller, thinner, and look less cartoonish than the original Double Dragon. On a whole, it's quite a bit darker, and I much prefer it to the first one. Unfortunately, there was a tradeoff... the backgrounds aren't quite as detailed as they were before, but this really doesn't effect everything much.

The second big thing that stands out is the entirely revamped control system. Instead of simply punching and kicking, B button attacks to the left and A button attacks to the right. If you're facing right, hitting A will punch, but B will produce a backward kick. This control scheme takes plenty of time to get used to, but is actually quite cool after awhile.

The designers got rid of that silly experience point system from the first NES Double Dragon, instead allowing you to execute all of your moves at any point in the game. There are a few cool ones too...a cyclone spin kick (jump in the air and twirl for a few seconds with your leg held out), a jumping knee smash and a super uppercut (jump, then press the forward attack button when you land.) The only problem is that some of these can be really difficult to execute when you want them seems to be a matter of trial and error (especially with the Cyclone Spin Kick.)

The actual gameplay has improved too. When you attack someone, you stun them for a second. From this point on, you can control to pummel them into submission, or put them in a headlock and kick them, whack them, throw them, etc. This is quite a step up from the silly slapfests of its predecessor, which seemed to be little more than exchanging punches, and many deaths.

There are your typical Double Dragon levels, like the slums of some city, the park, or an enemy hideout filled with spikes, but there are some neat twists. You actually have to fight some enemies onboard a train at one point, or dodge bullets from a helicopter. One of the coolest levels actually takes place inside of the chopper...although very confined, the door opens every few seconds, sucking anything close by (either you or some enemies) right out the door. Cool indeed. There are three modes of difficulty, although the first one will only take you a few levels into the game.

The sound and music on a whole is pretty non-descript... sound effects are a bit bland, and the music doesn't really add anything to (but doesn't detract from) the game.

While Double Dragon 2 isn't the best beat-em-up out there, it's still quite fun. There isn't enough variety or speed to jolt up the gameplay, so it's fairly slow at times. River City Ransom and Mighty Final Fight are still the best NES beat-em-ups out there, but Double Dragon 2 still fares pretty well.