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Double Dragon
Console: Sega Genesis
Developer: Ballistic
Publisher: Accolade
Number of Players: 2
Release Date: 1992

Story | Codes | Characters


By George


A port of Double Dragon came to the owners of the Sega Genesis in 1992.  Produced by the outlaw company Ballistic, a division of Accolade, this version of Double Dragon was never officially licensed by Sega.  Many feel this is the very reason why Double Dragon on the Genesis suffers and is not quite up to par with the SMS or NES versions.

Graphics: A

This is definitely one of the strong points of the Sega Genesis version.  Taking full advantage of the Genesis' 16-bit cpu, the rag tag staff at Ballistic was able to reprogram this version of Double Dragon to near arcade-perfect graphics glory.  No other version of Double Dragon for any system can come close graphically to this one.  Each character and background is drawn with detail and precision.  You can make out the little rips and cuts in every fighters physique.  Abobo actually looks like a human being and not like an alien.  The scenery is quite impressive as well.  Trees, walls, bridges, and conveyer belts display all 16 bits of resolution and texturing.  The Sega Genesis version definitely does not suffer from the building block look of its 8-bit counterparts.

Sound: B-

Again another strong point for this version.  The music is excellent.  It definitely captures the feel of the grimy scenery, making you want to kick butt.  You will find yourself humming these tunes for the rest of the day.  However, the kicking and punching sounds are a little awkward.  To be truthful, I could squeeze a whoopee cushion and get the exact same sound effects.  Perhaps, the programmers at Ballistic just took a tape recorder and squeezed real hard to get their product done below their estimated budget.

Enemies: C+

These guys are no push-overs.  They are definitely challenging and will pound you into submission.  However, there aren't a whole lot of them.  You will see numerous repeat appearances by Willy, Roper, Williams, Linda, Chintai and Abobo.  Their moves are pretty straight forward too.  Punch, kick, punch and kick.  Nothing too impressive.

Weapons: C

Again nothing too impressive.  You will have your average assortment of goodies just like every other fighting game:  knives, boxes, barrels, baseball bats and whips.  However, in this version it is very difficult to actually pick up one of these items and execute a move.  It seems like every time you get around to pick one of these items up a bad dude will sucker punch you and knock it out from your grip.  This comes from the fact that it is almost impossible to outrun your CPU foe.  The enemies' speed and ability to mimic your movements is almost comical.  However, if you can manipulate a move using a weapon, the results will be devastating.

Controls and Moves: D-

This is where the game really, really suffers.  The moves themselves are relatively easy to execute.  If you're playing with a friend and have the opportunity to have the screen amongst yourselves without any enemies you can execute most moves pretty easily in a practice session.  In addition, you have the ability to do every single specialty move from the get go (unlike the NES version).  That is a nice plus.  Being an avid player of Capcom fighting games, these maneuvers are like child's play.  However, good luck trying to connect on your foe.  I mean seriously, sometimes trying to hit a bad guy will turn into a comedy.  You will tap those buttons furiously in the hopes that maybe you'll do damage (note the use of the word "hope").  Chances are that while you're swinging away, two or three guys will smack you from behind making the game even more frustrating.  The feel of the fight is very choppy and difficult to execute.  Nine times out of 10, you'll do a move you did not intend on doing or do nothing at all.  There is zero fluidity or any type of feel for your movements making for a very difficult fighting session.

Modes: C-

All I have to say is thank God you can select a whole lot of lives and continues, otherwise I would have never have seen the last stage - not unless I hooked up the Game Genie.  Unfortunately, this version lacks the one-on-one fighting mode seen in the NES version.  A true disappointment.

Conclusion/Overall: C+

The Sega Genesis port of Double Dragon is truly disappointing.  The graphics and sounds are definitely a step above the 8-bit versions, but I would've expected more from "the leader of the 16-bit revolution."  Again many blame this on the fact the game was never licensed.  Made a full five years after the NES and SMS versions, the Genesis version did little to draw in a new generation of fans to the Double Dragon genre.  In fact, I'm sure it had a repelling affect.  Play this game for a while and you'll see what I mean.  You will never "master" the Genesis version for the simple fact it is nearly impossible to have a fair fight.  You are never truly in control of yourself due to the choppy game play.  Let's not forget the inability to take cover.  Every enemy will be on you like flies on doodie.  Only pick this version up if you are curious to see another incarnate of everyone's favorite classic.  It is interesting to watch, but by no means playable.