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Double Dragon V: the Shadow Falls
Console: Sega Genesis
Developer: Leland Interactive Media
Publisher: Tradewest
Number of Players: 2
Release Date: August 5, 1994

Story | Codes | Moves | Characters


By Cloudmann
Contributing Writer


So it's 1994 and the glory of scrolling beatemups like Streets of Rage, Final Fight, and the father of them all, Double Dragon, had come to a near halt.  What took their place was the versus fighter craze launched by the insanely successful Street Fighter II.  Everyone and their mother wanted to get into the bandwagon and make the ultimate fighter - the Street Fighter killer, though nobody succeeded.  Tradewest, owning the rights to Double Dragon, decided to use the series in a fighting game and released it on three systems.  It sounded good in theory, but unfortunately, this game would be based off of the relatively gay cartoon rather than the previous games.

Graphics: A+

The graphics are stunning.  Side by side, the Genesis and SNES versions look identical, except for the fact that Nintendo cleaned the game and removed the blood in favor of sweat or something a-la Mortal Kombat.  This is certainly among the most colorful of graphics I have ever seen on the system, and the graphics are very, very clean.  This game was originally designed for the Jaguar, then ported to the 16-bit systems.  Whoever ported the graphics and animation did a bang-up job, as the Jaguar and Genesis versions (the most powerful and weakest systems this game was made for, respectively) look nearly identical.

Sound: B-

I remember all those Sega commercials claiming that the Genesis had better sound than the SNES.  Sure, the Genesis has more sound channels, but they're all pretty underpowered.  Comparing the SNES and Genesis, this is pretty evident, though not horrible.  The sound on the SNES version was dead-on and the music, while nothing special, was pretty close to the Jaguar music.  The Genesis has a reputation for making sampled sounds and music sounding kind of grainy.  This game has a lot of voices in it and they all seems a bit muffled, as to compensate for the inherent graininess of the Genesis.  The music, while pretty well dead-on, seems a bit more synthetic than the SNES version.  While this music and sound is really good for the system, this makes this version less desirable than the SNES one.  Whoever said the Genesis was king of sound was smoking something potent.

Enemies: A-

I'm kind of up in the air about this.  While there are a lot of fighters (12 in all), they're all from the cartoon and seem like a classroom full of fourth-grade boys designed them.  Really, Tradewest would've been better to stick to the original characters in the arcade games, but I suppose they did okay with these guys.  This is pretty status quo as far as fighters go.  Fight, fight, fight, hit, hit, hit, I win, you lose, I mock you in front of the whole world with an elementary school taunt.  Standard fare all the way, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Weapons: N/A

This is a versus fighter, and aside from the more-or-less non-effective weapons that people carry in this game, there's nothing for people to pick up and use to enhance an arsenal of moves.  Really doesn't apply to this game.

Controls and Moves: C-

One thing I've noticed about most of the me-too Street Fighter clones is that generally, the controls in these games are pure garbage. Occasionally, a breath of fresh air like Samurai Showdown will come by and destroy that notion.  This game actually has pretty good control as far as fighters go.  This isn't Street Fighter Alpha 3, mind you, but controls are responsive and the moves are relatively easy to perform.  Problem?  There seem to be too few moves.  That's only a minor gripe, but it costs this game some depth and therefore some replay value.  Out and out, this game's just too repetitive and gets boring quick.

Modes: B-

Being a fighter, you have your mandatory tournament and versus modes along with the always gay story mode (called Quest mode here).  To lighten your life, Tradewest has included a Dossier mode where you can learn all the characters' likes and dislikes (woohoo!), and a Battle Demo mode where the CPU fights itself (why?).  Pretty limited.

Conclusion/Overall: B

You know, this really isn't too bad of a game.  The graphics and sound are pretty good, the control is pretty tight and it has a decent roster of enemies.  This game just lacks a bunch of little things that make it very unpolished.  With a bit more research and development, this game could easily have been a killer versus fighting game.