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Double Dragon V: the Shadow Falls
Console: Atari Jaguar
Developer: Telegames, Inc.
Publisher: Tradewest
Number of Players: 2
Release Date: August 5, 1994

Story | Codes | Moves | Characters


By Cloudmann
Contributing Writer


Flash back to 1994 when the side-scrolling beatemup stepped down from its throne to make way for the versus fighter, with Street Fighter II securely at the head of that line.  With the insane amounts of money being generated by this new game genre, everyone wanted to get his piece of the pie.  Many generated pure crap that happened to resemble a fighter (take your pick from the many piles of dung out there), and some companies tried to create the Street Fighter killer but fell a little short (Samurai Showdown, Mortal Kombat, etc).  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 on the prior arcade games.  To worsen things, the Jaguar version, while looking generally better than the Genesis and SNES ports, is pretty unpolished and really suffers for that.

Graphics: B-

All three ports of this game look almost identical, but the Jaguar port is a little more colorful and has somewhat better color smoothing.  I gave the Genesis port an A+, so this port should rate better, right?  Well, no.  For some reason he Jaguar port looks a bit blurrier than the others (some attempt at anti-aliasing, maybe), and the graphics still just look a bit more pixilated.  That, combined with the fact that passable 16-bit graphics are being pumped out of a 64-bit machine, hurt the look of this game.  The whole time I looked at this game I couldn’t help but think that the TurboGrafx-16 could have done this.  This game, considering the power behind it, is only decent looking, and the Jaguar was capable of so much more than this.

Sound: C-

The Jaguar was supposed to be the big Mamma-Jamma of the console world at this time with its 64-bit processor and all that other stuff that made it bling-bling.  The Jaguar's specs and most of its games (like Aliens vs Predator) backed that up pretty well.  Why then, does this 64-bit game sound just a bit worse than the 16-bit SNES port?  Voices are tinnier and the music sounds more synthetic for lack of a better word. The music could have at least been pumped up a bit to take advantage of the Atari's many digital music channels.  Really, quite a disappointing waste here.  Was that a bit of graininess I detected in the voices?  This would have been acceptable on the Genesis or even the SNES, but there's no excuse for that on this machine.

Enemies: B

Read my review of the Genesis port.  Same gay, uninspired characters from the same gay, uninspired cartoon.  Still gay, still uninspired, still carried out pretty well considering the crap the programmers had to work with.  None of the big, nasty boss characters seem to be readily available, though.  Still a pretty decent effort, all in all.

Weapons: N/A

Really doesn't apply to this game.  Any weapons that characters have are part of their attacks permanently.  Jimmy can't ditch his gay sword and pick up anyone else's almost equally gay weapon (thank goodness).

Controls and Moves: D-

The same lack of uninspired moves that were in the other two ports still plague this one.  To worsen matters, the control is a bit stickier and less responsive than the other ports, and the Jaguar controllers just suck for this type of game.  Top all of that off with what appears to be painful load times prior to matches (about 5 or 10 seconds long), and you get a colossally frustrating, monstrous pile of crap.

Modes: B-

Tournament and versus modes appear here, and a Battle Demo mode where the CPU fights itself (why?).  Pretty limited, but none too shabby.  Thankfully, the extremely gay Quest mode in the other two ports has been removed.

Conclusion/Overall: C

On the SNES and Genesis, this wasn’t a bad game.  Compare this port to those however, and this seems like a rushed pile of dung.  Because of that hurried attempt, and lack of any real effort in this game falls squarely into (maybe a bit below) that pile of mediocre, me-too Street Fighter wannabes that saturated the market around the time this game was released.  This game sucked.  It sucked and left a bruise.  It would have been nice to see the Jaguar flex its muscles in a port of what is a pretty good game on two other, weaker consoles.  But alas, in Atari fashion, everything is over-hyped, rushed and dropped in favor of something else.  That is pretty typical of the Jaguar and a lot of its games, and that's really too bad.  That system had a lot of potential and all of that rushing and lack of polish killed the Jaguar before it had a chance to make anything of itself.