Double Dragon 3: The Sacred Stones
Box Shot
Double Dragon 3: The Sacred Stones
Platform: NES
Publisher: Acclaim
Designer: Technos
Genre: Beat-em-up
Players: 2
Published Date 1991
Reviewed by: Matt Hull

Following in the steps of the first two Double Dragon games, the third installment is probably the most unknown. The original was decent although extremely frustrating and the sequel (Double Dragon 2) was an excellent game and an enormous improvement over the first DD game. Probably the most innovative in the NES Double Dragon series is the third one. One major plus in DD3 is all of the special moves and different characters that you will use in your quest. It's important to learn to master the controls for each character if you want to get far.

The storyline is that a year has passed since Billy and Jimmy defeated the Shadow Warriors. However, a new danger has been revealed. Marion has vanished without a trace and a mysterious friend (Hiroku) has appeared. She says that the people who captured Marion will release her if the Dragons gives them the three Sacred Stones of Power. However, little do they know that these people that have the Stones really don't want to give them away. The storyline unfolds as the game progresses and is rather surprising!! You venture through different parts of the world such as the USA, China, Japan, and more...

Continuing in the trend of Double Dragon 2, there is a two player mode that allows you to play with a friend. And believe me, if you have no experience at this game, you will definitely want to play this one with a friend. Like the previous two DD games, you must venture through side scrolling stages and defeat the enemies that pursue you. However, it will not be easy. The AI in DD3 is very high and the enemies are very good at surrounding you and attacking relentlessly.

One BIG plus over previous Double Dragon games for the NES is all the moves that each character has. As the game goes along, you will gain the assistance of two people one you defeat them. They are Chin (of China) and Ranzou. (of Japan) The moves in DD3 are AWESOME. It is so easy to execute a cyclone kick and there is a cool move where you jump, pick up a guy, and throw him. With experience you will master those moves. I REALLY like the play control in Double Dragon 3. It's cool that you press both A and B to jump. You press those buttons and press B to do a jump kick. Once you learn the controls they will become second nature. That's the beauty of NES games eh? Another great thing about the controls in comparision to the original Double Dragon game is that once you deliver a hit, that enemy will be on the ground for a second. No more cheap hits like in the original DD game!! Also, many enemies will drop weapons like a bottle or a sai once they are hit. Pick these items up and swing away!

As far as graphics go in Double Dragon 3, I am VERY pleased. There's enough color and detail to give this game a cool atmosphere. The shading of the characters is EXCELLENT. You can easily tell by the graphics whether you are in China or Italy. The backgrounds are SUPER in DD3. Seeing the Great Wall in the distance in China and the Pyramids in Egypt is very cool. Also, each level in Double Dragon 3 has its own enemies. There are ninjas in Japan and spear throwers in Italy. Finally, the animation is very smooth and I have no complaints about that. Overall, I liked the graphics immensely in DD3.

The music is what really adds to the game's atmosphere. The scores are absolutely SUPERB!!! They fit the atmosphere of the stage perfectly. China and Japan have excellent themes. My favorite has to be that ending theme though. VERY NICE!! The themes of the last stage (Egypt) really add to the mystery as well. The sound effects when you hit someone and just effects overall are well done. I simply have no complaints about the music and sound effects.

One thing that causes the most controversy in Double Dragon 3 in the challenge. The game is VERY hard and turns most people off. That's too bad since the game is a great one. You simply have to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE to do well in this game. I personally like the challenge in this game. It keeps me coming back for more. And believe me, beating this game without using any cheats or codes give you a GREAT feeling considering how much the odds are stacked up against you. It is a VERY challenging game but it really isn't as frustrating as the original DD game. It all depends on how good of a video game player you are. The compensate for the challenge, just play the two player mode!

Lastly, the game Double Dragon 3 is LOADS of fun once you learn the moves and figure out how to execute them to perfection. That two player mode can't be beat. It's just a blast to play this game with two players. It's also a LOT of fun to control the characters Chin and Ranzou. Ranzou has one of the coolest jump kicks while Chin has TONS of power.

Overall, I HIGHLY recommend Double Dragon 3. It has great graphics, music, control, a challenge that can't be beat, a cool storyline, and is a lot of fun to play. What else do you want?? On a side note, this game has a lot of lasting value and isn't boring. There are SO many moves that each character has unlike the two moves of the original Double Dragon game. Try this game out if you haven't already and BE PATIENT! It takes a lot of tries before you do well. One last thing. Each character has a special weapon that he can use. Jimmy and Billy have nunchucks, Chin has an Iron Claw, and Ranzou has ninja blades. Go to the subscreen and select these items if you want to use them. I HIGHLY recommend using nunchucks on the first boss. Well, I've said all that I can about Double Dragon 3. Give it a shot!