Video Games


Fan Fiction
Fan Art


Hosted Sites

DD II Shrine




Double Dragon
Console: Commodore Amiga 500 and compatibles
Developer: Binary Design (Richard Aplin)
Publisher: Melbourne House
Number of Players: 2
Release Date: Late 1988

Story | Codes | Characters


European box

European budget release

By "Psycho" Steve Halfpenny
Associate Editor


Gaining a strong following in Europe and certain other parts of the planet, the 16-bit Amiga 500 games computer was clearly ahead of its time.  With superior yet extremely similar technology to the Atari ST, a great amount of Amiga games resembled something that could easily be mistaken for something on the PC Engine or Sega Genesis, with many terrific original titles and almost perfect arcade conversions.  In fact, before the PCs we know today had taken over the world, the Amiga remained the most powerful home computer available for quite some time.  However, whilst there may have been many lucky Amiga owners back in 1988, it never peaked in popularity until a few years later, probably due to its high price, and as a result the Amiga wasn’t really pushed.  The majority of arcade ports were just direct copies of ST versions.  Not taking anything away from Atari’s machine, but the Amiga just had that little bit more power.  Still, even in ’88 people were aware of this extra potential and I’m sure that most of these people expected the Amiga conversion of Double Dragon to be the best home version available and hopefully, bring home the godfather of all side-scrolling beatemups intact.  If only the man behind the action, Richard Aplin, had done it a couple of years later when he was getting pretty good at it (he ended up porting Capcom’s Final Fight and managed to pull that off quite well you see).

Graphics: C-

These are pretty feeble for the ST, never mind Amiga.  First of all, the game is in a low resolution which means that detail is at a minimum.  Saying that, the backgrounds are fine and almost dead on certifies for the awesome design of the original.  The problem is the main sprites, which look painfully rushed and blocky with no real shading or shine (on a 16-bit machine?).  Abobo/Bolo looks good but everyone else varies from looking reasonable to dire.  Especially bad are the sprites used when you grab an opponent.  They’re also very glitchy (check out some of these shots).  Being more positive, I guess the game still manages to look more than a little familiar and the characters move around at quite the speed; they’re much faster than in the other home computer versions anyway.  Then again, there are just way too many missing frames and as a result, everybody kind of shuffles around the screen.  Let me just sum this up by saying that these graphics are not Amiga nor ST standard and later games, DD sequels included, prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Sound: D-

The Amiga’s sound capabilities were absolutely fantastic and clearly ahead of its time but you wouldn’t think it based on this (listen to any tune from the Turrican trilogy for example and you’ll know what I mean).  This one has hardly any sound to speak of and when it does, it's the worst known to man.  No in-game tunes here either, but the infamous Mission 1 tune has been directly recorded from the coin op and sampled, very badly might I add, for the title screen.  Yep, I hate to say it folks, but taking away the music from Double Dragon takes away a lot of its magic.  I could live with these punch and kick noises if this wasn’t an Amiga and ridiculous homemade sampled voice effects put the icing on the cake (or should that be take it off?).  When enemies die, Abobo sounds believable (did he draw the longest straw or something?), Linda makes a fair ‘yelp’ and everyone else sounds like they’re being sick.  Maybe they noticed how bad they all look (or how stupid the programmers were. Why didn’t they sample the sounds from the arcade like they had done for the title screen tune?).  Incidentally, the sound is exactly the same on the Atari ST version, which had far worse sound capabilities and was a lot of times the only way you could tell the difference between Amiga and ST games.  Nothing seems different here however.

Enemies: C

Except for Abobo/Bolo who is okay as previously mentioned, these guys are all just Lee brothers in different colors - well, except for Linda of course.  Though very easy to defeat and completely stupid most of the time, these Black Warriors stalk our heroes constantly, sometimes hiding their poor AI, meaning that you will be struggling every now and then.  Okay, this is a complete lie when there is only one enemy to take on but when they gang up on you there is some fun to be had, usually at your expense.  Especially crazy is the end of Mission 2 where the elevator doors just keep opening, throwing hordes of bad guys at you.  It’s great to see that there is no slowdown at all here, however most of the enemies won’t last long as somehow, someway, they always end up meeting their maker after a trip on the conveyer belt.  They’re just too dumb.  Like every other home computer version, Abobo’s throw is gone but he will slap you around a bit.  Sadly, and also like other home computer versions (decent Amstrad version being the odd one out), it’s just far too easy to complete the first time around.  Slap your joystick on auto fire every time you meet up with an enemy and you shouldn’t have any trouble.  You have five credits but you might as well have infinite.  It feels like you do anyway (until the final mission that is. More on this later…).

Weapons: B-

All of the weapons from the arcade game are included and rightly so.  Everything works as it should too.  The major problem here is that the baseball bat and whip are just too darn powerful and turn what was already an easy brawl in the street into a walk in the park.  With bat in hand I defeated both Bolos just before ‘Invade the Enemy Base’ at exactly the same time and they never laid a single finger on me.

Controls and Moves: C+

Is it just me or is the control worse than the other computer versions?  It certainly seems that way, even forgiving the fact that this only uses one button.  I had trouble pulling off the throw numerous times and the CPU only seems to let you grab when it feels like it.  All the moves are included anyway and it is a heck of a lot easier to control than the Genesis version, but this factor still knocks points off the playability scale.

Modes: C

Nothing of note really.  One or two players and um, that’s pretty much it - like just about all the other computer versions.  The high score table is better than in the arcade I guess.

Conclusion/Overall: D+

Some people have a few good memories of this one, though I’m not sure why.  Perhaps they never saw the coin-op.  Anyway, the Amiga version is exactly the same as the Atari ST version in every way and it’s obvious that this was used as a blueprint when the developers created the decent Amstrad version, but this doesn’t mean that this is any good.  Both the ST and Amiga were capable of so much more. You could say it was good enough based on what was released back then, receiving 62 percent in the March 1989 issue of Zzap64 (popular UK Commodore magazine), but even their conclusion was negative; “Not a bad game, but a rather weak conversion….  In my book, being a weak conversion is what ruins the entire point of the game.  People bought arcade ports because that’s what they thought they were getting (the main problem I had with the NES game).  In fact, I always wished that someone would give it another try because I know that the Amiga and ST could have pulled Double Dragon off really well.  Even if the original coin-op didn’t exist, I would still probably consider this weak.  Basically, the game is ruined by poor controls, some horrendous looking sprites, the lame animation and the difficulty being set too low with far too many credits to boot (join the club).  That is, until you get to the final mission where the obstacles in the Shadow Boss’ lair will just destroy you.  How stupid is it that you will probably make it all the way through most of the game with all five credits remaining only to have a block come out of the wall and take a whole life away, again and again?  Talk about poor difficulty balance, not only does this make the Master System version seem morally justified but it’s even more annoying than those jumps you have to make in the Game Boy version.  The sound only makes matters worse and if I haven’t mentioned the small play area, I have now.  This is more like a public domain or shareware version of Double Dragon; certainly not a version you would buy in the shops at full price (costing more than twice as much as the Spectrum, C64 and Amstrad versions).  Then again, I remember non-professional games with far better graphics, sound and game play than this seemingly rushed effort.  Too easy (see a pattern here?), too dull and too short (you’ll finish it in less than 20 minutes, I promise you).  The whole thing feels as though it has been programmed by somebody who simply didn’t care enough.