Clarifying the Abobo and Bolo mix-up

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Jonny2x4
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Clarifying the Abobo and Bolo mix-up

Post by Jonny2x4 »

I know it's strange to bring this up after all this time, but I really never found an official source confirming the names of the enemy characters in the arcade version of the first Double Dragon outside the KLOV entry for the game and as some of you may know, KLOV features mostly user-submitted information, so the accuracy of any info they may have is often debatable without a source to back it up (essentially KLOV is the IMDB of arcade games). As a result, I've never been able to confirm the name of the black mohawked head swap of Abobo featured exclusively in that version.

The flyers for the arcade version don't mention any of the enemy characters' names, so unless they were published in a Japanese gaming mag (such as Gamest or Famitsu) back during the game's release, I doubt Technos actually even released an enemy list for the arcade version. The earliest known instance of Technos publishing the names of the characters was in the cassette version of the arranged soundtrack Original Sound of Double Dragon released on February 1988 (two months prior to the Famicom version). The cassette included a fold-out poster that has a commentary by Mr. Kishimoto, along with the game's plot and character descriptions. The strange thing is that even though the soundtrack is based on the arcade version (and the plot blurb is written to reflect this), the character descriptions are the same ones (more or less) that were featured in the promotional flyer for the Famicom version (as well as in the actual game's manual). It lacked the head-swapped bosses from the arcade version, but it lists Chin Taimei an enemy made up for the Famicom version (with the same illustrations for all the characters). The only difference is that it describes Jimmy Lee as a good guy, taking into account his role as Player 2 in the arcade version. It seems Apollon was never given any character descriptions for the arcade version and used the Famicom version for reference.

To add more confusion, the game's boss theme (a tune from the arcade version that never made it to the Famicom version) is listed in the track list under the title "Abobo the Giant Appears" (大男アボボ登場), implying that "Abobo" is one of the bosses. Either way, it's an odd title to choose, since the tune is also played when the player confronts Jeff at the end of Mission 2. Speaking of which, since the fold-out poster doesn't accurately reflect the enemy roster from the arcade version, the first time the name "Jeff" was ever mentioned was in the manual for the Sega Mark III version (released on October 1988). Since this port was published by Sega and not Technos, it's possible the name "Jeff" may had been made up by them to cover up any discrepancies. The Mark III version doesn't feature the Mr. T-like giant though, and instead the game simply recolors the bald Abobo in different skin colors.

Either way, the name "Bolo" never appears in any version of the first Double Dragon. It was only given to the hippie-haired version of Abobo who appears in Double Dragon II: The Revenge, at least according to the Famicom version's manual (released on December 1989). The Mega Drive port of the arcade version (released on December 1991) lists Bolo as "Abobo", but I don't know if this is a reflection of the arcade version's original intention (since the Famicom version might as well had be a different game) or a screw-up by Pal Soft (the game's publisher). Bolo's head-swap in the game is referred as "Oharra" in the manual and "Oharra" goes better with "Bolo" than "Abobo" (since they're both names of Mr. Han's henchmen in Enter the Dragon). Coincidentally, "Jeff" is the only enemy from the arcade version not in the Mega Drive port.

The confusion was likely caused by the Apollon soundtrack's track listing and by the enemy list in the Mega Drive port of II. While Bolo does fit in with the Enter the Dragon naming pattern of the characters better than Abobo, Kishimoto makes no mention of "Bolo" when he speaks about the original game (he only speaks about Lee, Williams and Roper). Either way, the head-swapped enemies were never officially named by Technos and it's possible that the other characters were only named while the Famicom version was being developed.
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Eddie MountainGoat
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Re: Clarifying the Abobo and Bolo mix-up

Post by Eddie MountainGoat »

A well-researched and well-written piece.

I found it an informative and enjoyable read!

Good stuff!

Something it made me wonder about is this: Given that "Jeff" is not mentioned in the original materials, but Taimei is, do you suppose it's possible they were originally intended to be the same character? They're both the boss of Mission 2, and they're both a sort of evil-Bruce-Lee-type (Taimei has his obvious similarities, while Jeff is an evil equivalent of the Lee brothers - who are heavily based on Bruce Lee). Maybe Technos ran out of time or energy, when designing the arcade game, so they just made him a palette- and head-swap there, but poured their full intentions into his NES incarnation.

Of course, given that both Jeff and Taimei appear in arcade DD II, they're clearly now different characters.
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Re: Clarifying the Abobo and Bolo mix-up

Post by Jonny2x4 »

Eddie MountainGoat wrote:Something it made me wonder about is this: Given that "Jeff" is not mentioned in the original materials, but Taimei is, do you suppose it's possible they were originally intended to be the same character? They're both the boss of Mission 2, and they're both a sort of evil-Bruce-Lee-type (Taimei has his obvious similarities, while Jeff is an evil equivalent of the Lee brothers - who are heavily based on Bruce Lee). Maybe Technos ran out of time or energy, when designing the arcade game, so they just made him a palette- and head-swap there, but poured their full intentions into his NES incarnation.


It seems more likely Chin was created to add more variety to the enemy roster. With Jimmy being turned into the final boss in the NES version, having another enemy who uses the player's fighting style would've been pretty redundant anyway. I always thought Chin was a more of a Jackie Chan-clone anyway.

Of course, it's possible Technos intended to had unique designs for the stage bosses, but used head-swapped characters instead to save themselves time and effort (not to mention they probably didn't have enough ROM size for more than six unique fighters). If you look at the enemy roster in the arcade version of Double Dragon II, all the new enemies are stage bosses and the head-swapped bosses from the first game were reduced to becoming glorified grunts.

Curiously, the Mark III version's manual uses its own illustrations instead of recycling the ones from the Famicom version, but the enemy section is laid out exactly the same way as the Famicom manual, with Jeff replaced with Chin and even though the illustrations are different, they tried to copy the same stances, while depicting the characters in a more game-accurate matter. Even Jeff's jump kick stance looks similar enough to Chin's as well.

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Mark III manual
http://www.smspower.org/Scans/DoubleDra ... 4c81476926
mechapop
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Re: Clarifying the Abobo and Bolo mix-up

Post by mechapop »

Nice! Is there scans online of the whole Famicom DD manual?(or the DD2 and 3 manual?)

Also regarding cool instruction manual pictures and figuring out enemy characters names, I once saw some nice scans of the 2003 DD Advance Japanese manual. Not sure where it was online though, but it had a ton of name/descriptions
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Re: Clarifying the Abobo and Bolo mix-up

Post by Jonny2x4 »

mechapop wrote:Nice! Is there scans online of the whole Famicom DD manual?(or the DD2 and 3 manual?)

The DD3 manual is on this site. It's done in a manga-style, unlike the others (it only gives out the names of the non-playable enemies from Mission 1 though).
http://doubledragon.kontek.net/games/dd3/manga1.html

I found pictures of the manuals for the first two Famicom games from a Korean blog, but they use photos instead of proper scans. I only have the second Famicom game, but no scanner right now.

DD1 (FC)
http://bbs2-api.ruliweb.daum.net/gaia/d ... ageIndex=7

DD2 (FC)
http://bbs2-api.ruliweb.daum.net/gaia/d ... ageIndex=7
Also regarding cool instruction manual pictures and figuring out enemy characters names, I once saw some nice scans of the 2003 DD Advance Japanese manual. Not sure where it was online though, but it had a ton of name/descriptions


Yeah, I posted them here almost three years ago. :P
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mechapop
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Re: Clarifying the Abobo and Bolo mix-up

Post by mechapop »

Dude! Thanks so much. I'm seriously loving this thread.

In fact I am reminded of the first time I had heard the names and backstory of the DD1 characters. It was April of 1988, I was in fourth grade and my classmate next to me
pulled out Nintendo Fun Club magazine and showed me the article. While I was irked the graphics didn't look much like the arcade(I had already been a huge fan of the game since the previous summer) I was thrilled a version of it was coming to the NES and that it was fleshed out with more of a plotline and depth.

Not sure who has seen this, but it's still my all time favorite DD article from a print magazine

Image

Image
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Re: Clarifying the Abobo and Bolo mix-up

Post by Jonny2x4 »

Kishimoto more or less admitted to Pix'n Love that his team pretty much made up the arcade version's back-story after the fact when explaining why Billy and Jimmy fought over Marian at the end of the game. Exactly when he wrote the back-story I have no clue (the Double Dragon soundtrack is earliest known instance of any back-story being published that I know of). It's possible that "Hammer" and "Spike" were actually given by Taito long before Technos officially went with Billy and Jimmy Lee (much like how Mario used to be "Jumpman" back when Donkey Kong was first released).

By the way, the reason why that Fun Club article (and the game's manual for that matter) describes as Abobo as a bomb thrower, despite the fact that he never actually uses any bombs in the game, is because apparently the manual's translators misinterpreted the name of one of Abobo's signature move, the "genbaku nage" (原爆投げ, literally the "atomic bomb drop), which is the move in which he picks up and toss the player around.

Anyway, here's another vintage goody in the form of Technos Japan-related stickers based on all of their earlier Famicom games (including DD2). The chibi versions of Billy and Jimmy Lee actually appear on one of the side-labels on the actual Famicom game's packaging.
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mechapop
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Re: Clarifying the Abobo and Bolo mix-up

Post by mechapop »

Heh, I wouldn't doubt if the backstory came later. I have to say though, I do love the Japanese Famicom/NES illustrations of the characters more than the odd squatty looking art from the Japanese arcade flyers circa 1987.

I love that Chibi look though!

Reminds me of these two gems

Image

Image

What can I say, I also dig this incarnation
Image

Hence why it's difficult to even acknowledge DD3 arcade or DD "V" SNES/Jaguar/Genesis.
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Jonny2x4
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Re: Clarifying the Abobo and Bolo mix-up

Post by Jonny2x4 »

mechapop wrote:I have to say though, I do love the Japanese Famicom/NES illustrations of the characters more than the odd squatty looking art from the Japanese arcade flyers circa 1987.

Yeah, the flyer art was drawn by the game's sprite designer, who didn't have much experience drawing outside bitmaps, while the Famicom version's cover and manual illustrations was done by an actual artist.

I seriously wonder if Kishimoto (or any former Technos employee for that matter) still has access to the original illustrations. I would love to see high-resolution versions of them that isn't cluttered with all the text.

I love that Chibi look though!

Reminds me of these two gems

Image


That's from the PC Engine version's options menu. Pretty much scanned over from the same illustration that I've posted, only with the outfit colors switched to make it consistent with the actual character designs in the "visual scenes."

The Japanese instruction card for the first arcade game also had chibi designs for Billy, Jimmy and Willy.
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Re: Clarifying the Abobo and Bolo mix-up

Post by mechapop »

Man you find the most amazing rarities. Have you been able to find any promotional or rarer DD2(arcade, Famicom, etc) art?(posters, ads, phone cards, manuals, etc) Most I've seen is the Billy/Jimmy fending off people cover(which doesn't make sense as Marian is still alive) Also was there any promotional art related to SDD or Neo Geo DD? I've seen the DDA promo art, though it was mostly of Billy and Jimmy.

The promo imagery for the Japanese arcade DD as seen on the flyers, phone cards, etc lacked the Fist of the North Star style I usually associate with DD, so I knew something had to be up with it.
Im just glad Taito didn't do any changes from the Japanese arcade game as they did with Renegade.
(Im curious where this shot of Billy comes from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_Gfw3CCuK0 )

For some reason, I still like the names "Spike" and "Hammer" more, but I rarely see those names used from DD fans.

One question, in your personal view...what do you see as the canon lineage of the DD series?

For me personally, it's DD arcade - DD2 arcade or NES - DD3 NES - SDD SNES/SF - Neo Geo DD - DDA - Zeebo/iphone.
I dont include the Battletoads games...and that Virgin Interactive Game Gear game...that game is so bizarre, it's almost like it was a completely different
game and they just stuck the DD label on it. It's also the worst controlling game Ive ever played and just has no real connection to DD despite it's namesake
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