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Double Dragon
Console: Atari Lynx
Developer: Telegames
Publisher: Telegames
Number of Players: 2
Release Date: 1993

Story | Codes | Characters


By Cloudmann
Contributing Writer


In 1993 the handheld wars raged on.  Game Boy was king and the Lynx and Game Gear were hearing the first signs of their deaths.  In the me-too world of console gaming when Accolade released Double Dragon for the 16-bit Genesis in 1992, the 16-bit Lynx had to show up its 8-bit competition (Game Boy and Game Gear) and release a superior conversion of the game for a handheld audience.  While the attempt was noble, the results fell sorely short of what could have been a really solid title.


Graphics: B-

The Lynx was 16-bit and that meant it had far more graphics processing power than the Game Boy or the Game Gear.  Unfortunately, because it's hand held, the screen resolution suffers dramatically.  For example, all the character sprites in this game are near arcade-perfect conversions, however, the character sprites occupy more that half the height of the screen, so you have only a tunnel-vision view of your world.  Moreover, while the sprites look dead-on as stills, the animation of the sprites is quite choppy.  Maybe 20-frames-per-second choppy.  Making the graphics look dead-on was nice, but if you can't play the game because of the choppiness and because you're getting killed by three off-screen enemies, the game just plays like crap.  A little compromise was needed here.

Sound: C-

There was no excuse for this.  I know the Lynx has a reasonably powerful sound processor.  Aside from music, all you hear is the occasional death-sound of your enemies and your own death-tune.  That's it.  That would have been okay except for the fact that the music is mediocre for Lynx quality.  Too many shortcuts were taken here.

Enemies: C

This is a bit of a mixed bag.  All your enemies appear to be here except for Jeff and Lopar (and Abobo is replace with a palette-swapped Bolo sprite), but they're not the same as their arcade counterparts.  They can attack you from off screen, and the AI seems to know that.  The enemy attacks are damn near impossible to counter and if you get surrounded by two or more enemies, so expect to lose some life.  The elbow smash is still your best attack, but the AI seems to know to avoid it at most times.  Overall, the Lynx's setbacks due to screen resolution cripple your ability to see what the enemies are doing, and the enemies have the ability to use that to their advantage.  That in itself makes the game maddening at times.

Weapons: B+

Well, you have your whip, bat, knife (though you can't really see it fly at all), crate and boulder.  The only weapons left out are the dynamite and the oil drum.  Not too shabby, and the weapons more or less work like they do in the arcade.

Controls and Moves: C-

This part of the game is just a bit south of cheese (that means it stinks).  The choppy animation and small screen were bad enough, but coupled with sticky controls and a limited arsenal of attacks they make this game pretty frustrating.  The Lynx has only two buttons, but I think the NES made better use of two buttons than was done here.  The game play is just plain confusing at times.  This part was pretty clearly just slapped together before the game went to production.  Bad, but not horrible.

Modes: B+

This is a handheld, so the modes are a bit limited.  I saw regular mode and practice mode (where one to four enemies get to kick the crap out of you until you learn how to fight).  I guess there's not too much more you can expect.

Conclusion/Overall: C

This isn't a horrible conversion of the game, but it's not really all that good either.  What sucks about that is that the Lynx was capable of so much more.  If some graphical quality was dropped in favor of speed, frames of animation and a wider view area, the game would have been ten times better.  The sound was done too quickly, but that's honestly not something you'll be concerned with when you're cursing the game for its frustrating controls.  One word Telegames: polish.