The biggest question: Why Was DD1 NES Only One Player?

The place to talk everything Double Dragon.

Moderators: Steve Halfpenny, Jonny2x4

Post Reply
mechapop
Red Belt
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:01 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA
Contact:

The biggest question: Why Was DD1 NES Only One Player?

Post by mechapop »

I was going through old magazines from 1988 and they sure tried to advertise the Tradewest "Double Dragon" on the NES as 2 player like the arcade game.
"You'll never have to drop another quarter!" The "fierce two player action comes home!" Even an (allegedly) hands on preview in the spring 1988 issue of Nintendo Fun Club
almost makes it sound like it'll be two player. So much money spent on magazine and tv advertising telling the public it's the arcade experience at home.

Now...we know that Nintendo had a habit of making really odd versions of popular arcade games, sometimes going on to be better(if not graphically then longevity and concept wise)
Bionic Commando, Ninja Gaiden, Strider, etc) But while many came to see DD1 for the NES as a timeless classic...I always felt it was a bit, well odd.

Like seriously, has any programmer or exec ever mentioned why they made it one player? It's not like the system couldn't do 2 player. Even in 1985 at its launch(heck 1983 if were talking Famicom)
the NES had always been able to handle two players. Why did they turn Williams into a weird white alien? The more I think about it so much of DD1 NES feels odd.
Like virtually every other game for the NES between 1987 and 1992, they optioned to turn it more into a platformer. Batman the movie, Shadow of the Ninja and countless other games
got turned into these games that start off like side scrollers but end up tediously frustrating Ninja Gaiden like exercises. I will say I thought it worked with DD2, as it provided
a surprisingly colorful and inventive alternative to the virtual Double Dragon 1 remake that DD2 arcade turned out to be.

Anyways, anyone else know what I mean? While the colors were odd and the characters squatty, it's interesting how Sega went for a mostly straight port on the SMS.
http://www.youtube.com/user/badicalpower/videos
(my adult swimlike animated series)
Die_In_Fire
Red Belt
Posts: 124
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:51 am

Re: The biggest question: Why Was DD1 NES Only One Player?

Post by Die_In_Fire »

Is 1 player for the same reason that renegade on arcade and final fight on super nes are 1 player: system limitations.
Even mighty final fight is 1 player.

mechapop wrote:
Like seriously, has any programmer or exec ever mentioned why they made it one player? It's not like the system couldn't do 2 player. Even in 1985 at its launch(heck 1983 if were talking Famicom)
the NES had always been able to handle two players.


Again, final fight 1 on snes.

You cannot compare dd1 with other older famicom 2 player games like urban champion, because the different features, move set, sprite set and music are totally different, and requiring different memory capacity.
With the SMS being 2 player, it's obvious that Technos wanted also a 2 player famicom release, but couldn't handle it at the time. Because of that, and to compensate, they made that port with platforming segments.

The level up system was kind of an experiment, which they applied later on river city ransom and for shodai nekketsu kouha kunio Kun for the sfamicom.
check my WIPs (Double Dragon and Kunio-kun stuff):
http://www.youtube.com/DieInFire
てめえっ! なめんなよ!!!
User avatar
Play2win
Black Belt
Posts: 284
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:36 pm

Re: The biggest question: Why Was DD1 NES Only One Player?

Post by Play2win »

That is true- but as to the two player feature, the ad campaign leading up to the game's release bordered on false advertising. There was a run on the stores, and Double Dragon carts were in very short supply. I can't help but wonder how many kids ran to their NES when they finally got a copy, booted it up and selected two player mode, only to see alternating turns instead of simultaneous play.


As an aside- many other NES translations of arcade games came within a hair of falsely representing 2 player simultaneous modes, such as P.O.W., a game which box art features the Red "player 2" who is nowhere to be found in the game.
May you live hapilly forever...
mechapop
Red Belt
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:01 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA
Contact:

Re: The biggest question: Why Was DD1 NES Only One Player?

Post by mechapop »

Die_In_Fire wrote:Is 1 player for the same reason that renegade on arcade and final fight on super nes are 1 player: system limitations.
Even mighty final fight is 1 player.

mechapop wrote:
Like seriously, has any programmer or exec ever mentioned why they made it one player? It's not like the system couldn't do 2 player. Even in 1985 at its launch(heck 1983 if were talking Famicom)
the NES had always been able to handle two players.


Again, final fight 1 on snes.

You cannot compare dd1 with other older famicom 2 player games like urban champion, because the different features, move set, sprite set and music are totally different, and requiring different memory capacity.
With the SMS being 2 player, it's obvious that Technos wanted also a 2 player famicom release, but couldn't handle it at the time. Because of that, and to compensate, they made that port with platforming segments.

The level up system was kind of an experiment, which they applied later on river city ransom and for shodai nekketsu kouha kunio Kun for the sfamicom.


I guess you guys are right, as I just remembered Bad Dudes was only one player. But isnt there any NES games that feature 2 players with a lot of junk on screen? I mean all the Tengen games
were 2 player, like Gauntlet 1 and 2. But wasnt the Sega Master System DD1, as well as NES DD2 and DD3 2 players at the same time? Or did the programmers not know in 1988 how to pull it off?

The Final Fight SNES thing never made sense to me. FF2 and 3 were 2 player, and many games not long after the launch were 2 player simutaneously.
http://www.youtube.com/user/badicalpower/videos
(my adult swimlike animated series)
User avatar
Play2win
Black Belt
Posts: 284
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:36 pm

Re: The biggest question: Why Was DD1 NES Only One Player?

Post by Play2win »

Hardware limitations are a common excuse, but I have to believe that programming skill plays a part in this. NES games had severe memory limitations, but once compression technology became common, certain developers could do a lot more with less. It would be interesting to see if a modern programmer could pull off a "real" 2 player double dragon 1 game that's compatable with the NES hardware....
May you live hapilly forever...
mechapop
Red Belt
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:01 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA
Contact:

Re: The biggest question: Why Was DD1 NES Only One Player?

Post by mechapop »

Just fired up the SMS DD1...why did I ever sing its praises? Good lord that game is glitchy. Like...wow. The bad guys flicker on and off most of the game. How was this ever acceptable?
http://www.youtube.com/user/badicalpower/videos
(my adult swimlike animated series)
User avatar
Play2win
Black Belt
Posts: 284
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:36 pm

Re: The biggest question: Why Was DD1 NES Only One Player?

Post by Play2win »

mechapop wrote:Just fired up the SMS DD1...why did I ever sing its praises? Good lord that game is glitchy. Like...wow. The bad guys flicker on and off most of the game. How was this ever acceptable?



Well- at least it had a simultaneous two player feature :)
May you live hapilly forever...
Steve Halfpenny
Moderator
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:34 am

Re: The biggest question: Why Was DD1 NES Only One Player?

Post by Steve Halfpenny »

Hey, folks! Glad to be back after a long holiday from this place!

It's not so much system limitations, it's sometimes down to programming problems, deadlines and other, sometimes even bizarre issues. Being from the UK and seeing just about every console and computer under the sun and about a billion versions of the same arcade hit, it rarely has anything to do with what the machine is capable of (at least, way back when).

Case in point, Final Fight on the SNES. The reason that there is two player mode and a stage missing is down to Capcom only being issued with an 8 meg cartridge - there simply wasn't enough memory available for what they were going for. It looks to be one of those, let's try and make it exactly like the coin-op deals and then... oh no. No more memory. We're done.

Compare this to say the Amiga version of Final Fight, which is pretty good considering it's by one guy. It has all the stages, characters, two player mode and looks pretty close to the arcade, at least in screenshots. However, there's no in-game music and it plays about half as well as the SNES port and that's me being nice. Worse still, look at Final Fight on the Commodore 64, a machine that had a lot of problems with this game type and yet, considering the amount of similar games that lost the two player mode on this computer, there it is... all the characters and two player mode available.

Then there's horror stories about games being developed with the intention of them being a certain way and then suddenly, due to major errors, plans being changed. As a kid, I adored Pac-Land in the arcades and believed it was entirely possible for the game to appear on the 8 bit ZX Spectrum fairly intact (in 1989 may I add). The C64 one is superb, with nearly all the features of the arcade machine; however, on the Spectrum, things appear to have gone dreadfully wrong once they started sticking the game on cassette (YES, CASSETTE!). As a result, the game doesn't even scroll but it's clear in the graphics style that this wasn't supposed to be this way (all one colour as the Speccy had problems with scrolling and displaying in multiple colours).

So in closing, yes, I do believe that the main game of the NES DD was indeed supposed to be two player but problems, for whatever reason, occurred and very possibly, the original intended graphics ended up in the Vs. mode. It doesn't matter if other games had two players co-op before it, s**t happens and sometimes, you can't really point the finger. These were all pretty primitive machines compared to what we have now.
User avatar
Play2win
Black Belt
Posts: 284
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:36 pm

Re: The biggest question: Why Was DD1 NES Only One Player?

Post by Play2win »

It seemed like short programing deadlines have done a lot to hurt the DD franchise. Perhaps DD1 on the NES could have been two players if the programers had more time to compress memory or edit levels. We know that Super DD/Return of DD was released very incomplete due to artificial deadlines, and the sprites from the cut scenes and deleted story scenes can be found by hacking the ROM. If the developers had more time, we could have experienced the possibly awesome plot that never was...
May you live hapilly forever...
Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MixCix and 3 guests