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DD II Shrine

 

 
 

 

Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone
Console: Amstrad CPC and compatibles
Developer: The Sales Curve Ltd.
Publisher: Storm
Number of Players: 2
Release Date: Late 1991

Story | Codes | Characters

 


By "Psycho" Steve Halfpenny
Associate Editor

Introduction:

Itís a slap in the face that there were more bad Double Dragon games than good ones, but itís also a true testament to how good the original arcade game was.  Even in 1991, you could slap the Double Dragon name on any old piece of crap and it would sell quite well. The thing is, just what is the worst Double Dragon game out there?  Is it the Atari 2600 version?  Now that was fairly impressive considering the hardware.  The Genesis port?  Mmmm, debatable.  The Game Boy version of DD 3?  I donít think so, although it might be the worst console Double Dragon title.  What about the dreadful C64 translation of the original?  I mean, that didnít even feel like a game.  It was just so devoid of game play.  Even when I look at my Dojo review for that port now I feel as though I was going way too easy.  Thatís how bad it was.  Well, let me tell you that Double Dragon 3 on the Amstrad is almost as bad. Though in hindsight, there is some "game" here, I suppose (and I use the term loosely).

Graphics: D-

The older Amstrad CPC series was pretty much abandoned in 1991 in favor of working with the more advanced Amstrad CPC+ machines (this isnít saying much, mind you).  This resulted in "classic" CPC games appearing and looking very cheap simply because they werenít selling anymore.  Double Dragon 3 is one of these.  The graphics for example were made in Mode 0 which allows for 16 colors but limits the palette greatly; hence its Spectrum-esque looks.  Visually, itís almost identical to the Spectrum version, but sadly, the backgrounds are completely monochrome.  The only difference is the odd splash of color on the main sprites.  I could almost live with all this if the game ran properly, but the worst thing about these graphics, and in fact, this entire sham, is the way the game moves overall.  I mean, itís just incredible.  I am not kidding you; the only way I could even play through this was by doubling the gameís actual speed using an emulator.  As well as being really slow, itís also very, very jolty (bizarre really, because the Spectrum version is so smooth).  If it wasnít for these factors, it wouldnít be so awful because the developers managed to at least get the fighting system right.  The sad thing is that by making everything so darn jerky, the programmers probably thought they were incorporating a "special feature" from the coin op. Furthermore, the amount of screen area used for the actual game is insulting.  I suppose playing this is the equivalent of running a beta version of an old Game Boy game on a Super Game Boy with an awful border to boot.  Give me the blobby C64 graphics over this any day.

Sound: D-

You can play this in a library with the sound up fully.  Okay, so there are a few crash-like sounds to be heard when youíre hit.  Thatís all folks.

Enemies: C-

The enemies are all fairly recognizable from the arcade.  Their AI is lousy and lemming-like on occasion (any holes about and they jump straight down them).  They do manage to hold up quite the fight, but who really cares with a game this jerky and slow?  As the game progresses, there are occasions when it becomes far too hard in a completely unfair way (like the coin-op, I suppose).  Especially fiddly and badly thought-out is the bit towards the end where you have to spell out ďRosettaĒ on the floor.  I donít know how many times the floor collapsed even though I never once went out of sequence.

 

Weapons: C

Nunchucks in China, a sword in Japan and thatís it, just like the coin-op.  Also, you still have to buy them and they make no big difference in the game play.  What fun.  Incidentally, I noticed that "Extra Guys" are available in the shops but upon purchase you'll find out that this only gives you extra lives (and extra misery).

Controls and Moves: D

All the limited moves from the arcade game are here apart from the cool ones (No stomp or back suplex.  I couldnít pull them off anyway.  Nor do I care).  The punches, kicks, flying kicks and the special trick kick you buy have all been ported in tact, but what is the point?  As mentioned already, you cannot seriously play this game.

Modes: B

At least the two-player mode is there so that you and a friend can lose your sanity together.

Conclusion/Overall: D-

Created when 8-bit software wasnít selling a fraction of what it did, when the best programmers for this format had moved on to other things, coupled with a license for a bad game in the first place, well, meant you were never going to end up with something too good.  This is a pathetic port of a superior Speccy version of a bad arcade game on a machine that already proved it could manage a kick-ass version of Double Dragon I and II from good old Richard Aplin.  This abomination, on the other hand, has no right to be on the Double Dragon Dojo.  I almost apologize for sending in this review but I was so bored and sick of life (not really).  The only reason I decided to play through and write about this one was for completion sake (and I figure no one else would dare play through all of this. If you have please email me and join my new suicide pact).  However puzzling it might be that this game was actually available in European shops without a warning sticker, even more puzzling is that Amstrad Action magazine awarded Double Dragon 3 88 percent in the December 1991 issue. I doubt anyone reading this who knows what to expect from this system will try it out and come to the same conclusion.  If you do, please let me know what you found so redeeming here, because I think that this is dreadful.  Maybe Amstrad Action reviewed a different version (Not again.  How many more ports do we need on this machine?  Two ports of DD I as Iíve documented and a completely different Spanish version of DD II).