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Double Dragon
Console: Zeebo (Brazil only)
Developer: Brizo Interactive
Publisher: Tectoy S.A.
Number of Players: 2
Release Date: May 25, 2009

Story | Codes | Characters


Menu icons

By Rockman


Double Dragon for the Zeebo is a hard game to find... no, really hard.  Unlike some of the other hard-to-find DD games, this one is not only in another country, but it's on a system that only allows you to acquire games through a download service that's only available in Brazil!  Luckily, through a Brazilian auction site, Google translate and a lot of dumb luck, I was able to procure myself a Zeebo system with Double Dragon already loaded onto it!

While Double Dragon Zeebo seems like a remake of the first game (seems to be all we fans get after DD 3; still just glad to get something), it's more of a remake of Double Dragon Advance with a few tweaks added here and there.  Developed by a company called Brizo with some help and/or input from Million, DDZ is a fast-paced game with extra focus on mid-air juggling.  But make no mistake, from start to finish this game is pure Double Dragon.

Graphics: A

Color-wise, the graphics in DDZ are very much like the ones in Double Dragon Advance, but that's about where the similarities stop.  Billy and Jimmy themselves have a more modern anime look now.  Actually, they're closer to the cutscene artwork in DDA.  The enemies as well have a new look to them but for the most part they're recognizable (except maybe Linda, who is sporting a blue 'fro this time around, and Abobo, who is still as muscular as he was before, but now he is simply wider than other characters instead of being taller than them), and the new characters created just for this game look amazing!

This game has six missions: three from the original DD, one that resembles a stage from DD 3, and two completely new missions.  Mission 1 is the familiar city slum and it looks great.  However, it is a bit short compared to the original, though the iconic spot where the enemies bust through the wall is still there.  Mission 2 is the industrial area, sans conveyor the belt and with Burnov as the new boss (ala DDA).  Mission 3 is the first new stage, which is a broken-down highway.  It's a pretty fun stage and with its uneven levels and plentiful barrels to throw around, there's a lot to do.  Juggling an enemy off a ledge and then continuing down on a lower level is quite satisfying.  Mission 4 is the second new stage and what I call the endless hallway.  As the name says its a long, dark hallway you continue down, and it's littered with doors that enemies continue to pop out of.  Honestly, this is one of the less-exciting stages as the colors are drab and there's not much to look at as you push toward the boss.  Mission 5 is an urban dojo and while it's not exactly like this, it looks to be inspired by Ranzou's stage from Double Dragon 3, complete with teleporting ninjas throwing shurikens.  Finally, there's Mission 6, good ol' Willy's hideout.  It hasn't changed much from the old arcade version, but this stage sure invokes a feeling of nostalgia.  The moving wall and spear hazards are a bit easy to bypass in this game due to Billy & Jimmy's ability to run.

Sound: B+

Brizo kind of dropped the ball here in my opinion.  While the themes that come from the original are intact and very recognizable, they sound way too processed.  The songs are somewhat bland midi renditions that lack the charm of even the NES versions, and they hold no candle to the arcade and GBA versions.  While the songs aren't terrible, they still leave much to be desired.  Also, just like with the GBA version, the developers chose to recycle the same music for two stages (Missions 4 & 5).  While this recycled tune is new, it's more relegated to background noise as it doesn't pump you up the way some of the other themes did in the past.

The reason the sound even gets a B+ is because of the effects.  From the whip crack to the hit sounds, everything sounds crisp, concise and like it REALLY hurts!  Billy and Jimmy even have new screams and yells that seem to work perfectly with their new anime design!

Enemies: A+

Enemy selection in this game is incredibly varied with lots of familiar faces, a few new ones, and best of all, new moves and attacks for some of the old characters.  For example, Abobo can now block as well as use somewhat of a super attack.  He turns completely dark (except for his eyes which, sparkle all evil-like), then he smashes the floor with a punch that sends shockwaves out all around him, and the only way to escape the shockwaves is to jump.  There's a fat break-dancing boss, a swordswoman with white hair who can sprout angel wings for an instant kill attack (yikes), and a BIG, club-wielding maniac in an Oni mask that can literally make the ceiling collapse on you!  The ninjas from DD 3 also make a return, except this time they're teleporting and hopping as opposed to running.  The enemies still pull the official DD AI behavior of trying to swarm you on both sides, but with the new plethora of moves the game is more fun and challenging than frustrating.

Weapons: A

All the Double Dragon staples are here.  From bats, to whips, to knives and barrels, everything makes a return!  Although the Kali Sticks from DDA are missing, you can now drop weapons without going into a blocking stance the way it was required in DDA, which makes weapons a bit more fun.  For example, if you're wielding the nunchucks, you can hit your opponent twice, and before you deliver the final blow you can drop your weapon and use your Tae Kwon Do kicks for big damage (which you can't do with a weapon in your hand)!  You can also keep weapons throughout the entire stage.

My only gripe about the weapons is that they don't appear as often as they did in DDA, so you can't play around with them as much.

Controls and Moves: A+

Being on a gaming console with multiple buttons certainly helps this incarnation of DD.  The moves and controls are very similar to DDA, but now instead of having to press two buttons together to do crouch, headbutt or cyclone kick, you can simply push one button.  Of course, what makes any control scheme great is variety, and you can still crouch, etc., by pushing two buttons together if you want to (which is how I play).  There are also two buttons for jumping: the right shoulder button (GBA style), and one of the face buttons (SDD style).  The left shoulder button no longer blocks but instead drops your current weapon.

All the moves return from DDA sans two specific ones: the block counter and the mounted punches.  It's never good to lose moves, but in this case I feel like the developer got rid of them because they would slow down the action in this game and they wanted it to play very fast and furious, though this is just my observation.

The juggling aspect of this game really drives it forward.  While juggling was a component in DDA, this game takes this aspect even further as some of the moves that couldn't touch you in midair in DDA now can, thus allowing you to create amazing juggling combos.

For example, you can punch an enemy twice to stun him, walk up to grab him, give him two knees to the face, then do the pop-up kick (up + kick) and follow it with two headbutts, a dragon hook (punch while dashing), another headbutt, and finally a hyper knee.  But that's not to say that fundamentals don't count for anything anymore since you still need to have a good command over moves like the back elbow and hyper uppercut to progress through the game with any sort of success, especially on hard mode.

Modes: A+

OK, so there are only three modes in the game.  That includes One-Player Mode, Two Player Mode, and "Extra" Mode.  Now, I know with only three modes you're probably wondering why I gave the mode section an A+.  Well, for the Extra Mode, you get to play through the game as ANY of the enemies from the game!  That's right, if you want to be one of the "Agents," you can!  Want to lash your way through the game as Linda?  Go for it!  Heck, you can even use the Dragons as well and go through the game as Jimmy and Willy (complete with machine gun action!).

You unlock this mode after beating the regular game on any difficulty level.  Once Extra Mode is unlocked, you can select Billy, Jimmy, Williams or Roper to play with.  From there, every time you beat the game in Extra Mode you will unlock four more characters until there are only four bosses left to unlock.  Then you must beat the game once per boss to unlock each boss character.  The selectable enemies don't exactly get in-game endings, but you do get cool screenshots of the character you used doing things you wouldn't normally see (like a shirtless Willy shooting into the sky Rambo style).

This mode alone almost makes it worth the hassle of tracking down this game!  A friend and I went through the game as Abobo and Willy, which was amazingly fun, especially when we were fighting our doppelgangers.  You can tell that the game wasn't designed with these additional characters in mind as they can't run and some in fact are a bit slower - getting past the moving wall and the spears in Willy's Hideout proved to be a little ridiculous.  But it's still an amazing mode and (with the exception of the new characters in DD 3) is definitely unlike anything seen in previous Double Dragon games!

Conclusion/Overall: A+

While it can be said that this game is a remix of Double Dragon Advance, I have to say the overall feel and focus on juggling makes DDZ a different enough game from DDA, such that it can stand on its own as an amazing title.  Brizo did a great job and it shows that they were also DD fans who put a lot of effort into the game.  The Extra mode is also an amazing feature that no other Double Dragon has ever had and it adds some replay value to the game.

With six medium-sized missions, some may think it's a bit short, but I think that's easily remedied by playing the game on the hard difficulty setting. The trademark two-player mode is also a plus since the handheld versions of DD make multiplayer difficult (as evidenced with DDA).  To put it simply, Double Dragon Zeebo just plain rocks.

Besides, when else are you going to be able to shoot up the streets as Machine Gun Willy?