10 Year Anniversary
December 2, 2000 - December 2, 2010
By "Psycho" Steve Halfpenny
Last Fans of the Lee Brothers
In 2000, a few old timers, mostly 20-somethings, united to honor a violent but fun video game they played in the 1980s. The site, namely the Double Dragon Dojo, was amongst other digital shrines dedicated to what for many their first introduction to a genre known as the "beat 'em up." Of course, back then, unofficial websites were the norm and historical sources such as Wikipedia and YouTube were either years away from being realised or years away from being any good. Even from day one, the Dojo was informative but hardly unique.
Fast forward a few years later and this site has attracted more than a handful of visitors, many of whom have contributed in one way or another and even attracted some, albeit limited, coverage in the gaming press. Now here we are in early days of 2011 and most fan sites are long gone whilst this one still stands proud. Still, it's not been without its problems. Perhaps some of us took it for granted as visits to the forum in particular deteriorated to the point where no one was around for months. Scratch that - years.
But lately, it's enjoyed something of a revival. Why? Who knows. There are no new games in the series, for the most part, and the game type as a whole is virtually ignored or unknown in the mainstream media despite a comeback of sorts for retro and classic gaming. Double Dragon is hardly the first and foremost title that your man on the street mentions when quizzed over video game infancy... or maybe it just depends on who you ask. But then we did just celebrate our tenth year of existance. We just don't seem to be able to let go of Double Dragon like the rest of the world seemingly has. We may well be the last fans of the Lee Brothers. Here are a few reasons why.
Dojo Master (DM): My first encounter with Double Dragon is hard to recall because I was likely only 4 or 5 years old at the time. However, here is what I can remember. I was at my grandparents' house for Christmas and was given a bunch of NES games as gifts (I think Super Mario Bros. 2 may have been in there). Double Dragon was one of those gifts. I don't remember how soon I played the game after that Christmas morning, but I remember playing the game frequently, and I could never get past Mission 3. It's a hard game after all. The first Double Dragon game didn't strike me as anything magnificent - just frustrating. Rather, it was Double Dragon III (NES) that knocked my socks off.
Mechapop (MP): Absolutely fell in love instantly. I first encountered the Double Dragon arcade game at the local mini golf place I went to in 1987 (I was 9). I had never really seen a side scrolling beat-em-up, and just really loved the whole feel of the game.
The sounds, music (oh how I can instantly recall the tunes), the gameplay (which albeit was a bit slow), characters, and especially the two players. The idea of having to fight your friend at the end thing, as well as "Machine Gun Willy's" one hit kill thing threw me off, but overall it was just a great game to discover, play and watch. Learning subtle little nuances, tricks, etc., was also fun. Like realizing how you can go through the whole game on just a quarter or two if you use the elbow or seeing how long you could keep the box weapon going.
Eddie MountainGoat (EMG): The first DD I ever saw was the original coin-op in 1988. It was in the video game section of the local roller-skating rink (hey, it was the '80s!). I was pretty sure I recognized the heroes because they looked exactly like some action figures I wanted (I was wrong. And unfortunately, I’ve never been able to track those toys down. They would be super-cool to have now, even if they aren’t actually Billy and Jimmy). I didn’t play the game that first time, but I was instantly hooked nonetheless (partly because I now “know” where those toys came from). I had no idea about the post-apocalyptic, Fist Of The North Star-like storyline (how can you, from just seeing the arcade machine?), but the plot from the demo was easy enough to pick up: Bad guys capture the damsel, good guys must rescue her. Thus began my life-long love of video games.
Swainy (SY): It was the first arcade game that I remember that really caused a crowd to form around it. It was that popular! The first time I saw it being played was in a cab office near my school and a couple of my friends were on Mission 2 being beaten up by Jeff. The one thing that did stand out for me at first was just how catchy the music was. That and I couldn't wait to play it!
Claudio (C): I first saw Double Dragon (the arcade version) circa 1989. I used to have judo lessons twice a week with my cousin, and the gym's bar had one arcade cabinet. Well, the owners used to change games after some time (it was pretty usual everywhere I guess), but DD survived a long time. I remember tons of people gathering around the machine.
I can't quite remember my very first impression, but it was love at first sight: Double Dragon 1 is still my choice as the best arcade game ever.
I played with my cousin EVERY TIME we had our judo day; definitely one of my fondest memories.
I also remember this older guy; he was a phenomenon. Well, one day I met him in the bar while he was having a bad time with yellow Jeffs, right before the end of the game. He begged me to join in and we defeated Willy & co. Finally, he explained me we were supposed to fight each other to have the girl (nobody did know her name, back then) and obviously he beat the s**t out of me. But who cared? That was the first time I was experiencing the ending scene of the game.
Billy Lee (BL): My first impression of Double Dragon was at the arcades back in the grocery store. My biggest impression was Double Dragon 2 on NES. I loved DD2. It was exciting, challenging, and had a great story all around. It was definitely the best DD game in the series.
Steve Halfpenny (SH): Strangely, I never played Double Dragon the first time I saw it in arcades. I was a big fan of aging games like Mr Do!, Pac-Land and the ever-so-slightly newer Bubble Bobble, but I'd give anything a whirl once. I was very young - yet to hit double digits - and Double Dragon seemed like a game made specifically for teenagers. The first time I really appreciated it was when myself and a friend I'd met on holiday watched these two guys play it all the way through whilst I was at Pontins (a now defunct UK holiday camp) in 1988. I'd never seen anybody complete a progressive game like that before. Watching your girlfriend get kidnapped and heading out on this journey starting in the streets, fighting in the forest and then the mountains until finally getting the girl back after taking on the bloke with the machine gun in the enemy base. It was just so epic and almost movie-like. Seems such a daft thing to say now given the technological advances in video and graphics and whatnot but it's true. When I did finally get around to playing it, it was like nothing I'd seen or played before. The graphics were superb back then, the music was so catchy and again, because it was the first of its kind, it was all so instantly playable. Games seemed somewhat limited in what you could do back then, so being able to walk into the background and fight on ledges, climb ladders, use weapons, etc. - I've never thought about this before, but I suppose in many ways it was very much the Grand Theft Auto of its day. I decided there and then that it was my favorite game ever and wished to own an arcade machine some day. There was no way home machines could ever replicate something like this but hey, the upcoming home versions that the magazines had previewed would come close! How naive I was!
Billy or Jimmy
BL: I was always a huge Billy Lee fan. Billy Lee is still my all time favorite character in any game. Billy Lee represented pride, dedication and honor; however, he wasn't just a generic hero. He showed a lot of emotion towards the ones he loved, especially Marion in the DD series. You can actually feel the connection between those two.
EMG: Billy. Blue was my favourite colour, so it really was a no-brainer. And since Double Dragon, I’ve still always taken the blue guy; Cody (Final Fight), Axel (Streets of Rage), Berserker (The Combatribes), Snake (P.O.W.), Ryu Hayabusa (Ninja Gaiden), plain Hayabusa (Ninja Combat), Crusher (Street Smart), Max Force (NARC), Joseph Gibson (Mercs)… even more obscure ones like FF (D.D. Crew), Paul (Riot City) and Hawk Takezaki (Riot Zone). In my mind, they’re all just clones of Billy Lee, the original blue-wearing, blonde guy.
SY: When I first started playing I was always Jimmy, mainly because my friend always got to the arcade before I did and I felt more comfortable playing on the right of the machine simply because I had a bit more space to move about in. Also, I was a big fan of Renegade on the ZX Spectrum and Jimmy reminded me of the Renegade character as he had dark hair.
SH: I had brown hair, my best mate had blonde, so naturally, he was Billy and I was Jimmy. Funny really, 'cause had we played one of the later Nintendo games it would have been the other way around!
DM: As I said, Double Dragon III (NES) was my favorite. But I did not own the game, so I would have to rent it from the video store across the street. I would always talk my brother into playing the game with me, and he would always demand that he be the first player. So I was always Jimmy. I guess that might be one reason why red is my favorite color. Though we didn't rent Double Dragon II as often, I would have to be Jimmy in that game as well.
C: Would you choose which arm of yours to give up and cut off? My cousin is one year older than me, so he was in command for everything (you know how it worked when you were 7 years old, don't you?). So he was always player 1, and I was Jimmy. Since then, I tend to prefer him. By the way, years later I learned that Jimmy was the elder brother of the two, and was said to be even more powerful than Billy, so the child in me has been somehow avenged....
EMG: The day after my discovery at the Rollerdrome, I was talking about Double Dragon in school, and discovered that a guy I had previously had nothing to do with also liked it. We became instant buddies. From that point forward, we’d often play it together, talking to each other in-character as we played (What would you call that? Video-Role-Game-Playing?) – even though we didn’t know the characters’ actual names until I got the C64 port by Melbourne House (even then, we were still learning to read, so we got a few of them wrong). From that point forward, we got to play Double Dragon both at the Rollerdrome and at my house. Then, the Rollerdrome replaced it with DD II, and we kept playing. And he got the C64 port of that one, and we played at his house too. I was always Billy, he was always Jimmy (I don’t actually remember asking him if he was okay with that. I just took it for granted – I always wanted the blue one).
We actually thought that since Jimmy appears with Marian on the artwork for DD II, the woman being avenged was not Marian, as she was Billy’s girlfriend. Instead, this was Jimmy’s girlfriend, Maria (perhaps the makers of Rage of the Dragons had a similar idea when they gave Jimmy the dead girlfriend, Mariah). Since Marian wore a red dress in DD 1, and is seen only in gold in DD II, it all made sense to our young minds. What didn’t make sense was the fact that we waited in the garage until after she got kidnapped or killed; We tried holding down on the joysticks, hoping that it would make us walk down, but it never worked. We also couldn’t figure out why our characters chose to take the whole journey on foot when we had both a car and a helicopter at our disposal. Again, we tried standing under the vehicles and jumping, but were never able to enter them. Only later, in NARC, could we finally get in our red car and do what we had wanted to – run the enemy drones over without bothering to engage them in combat.
MP: I always preferred "Hammer." I'm kind of sad they dropped the Spike and Hammer nicknames after Double Dragon.
MP: It's all about the elbow!
BL: The Hurricane Kick. One of the best moves ever.
C: I loved the jump spin kick of DD 1, but both the cyclone kick and high jump kick from DD 2 (NES) are the very best for me.
EMG: I don’t know if you include two-player team ups or weapon attacks in this one. If so, definitely hitting people with a baseball bat while my buddy held them in a full-nelson. What could be more dominant?
SH: There were better choices in finishing off the bad guys, but nothing was cooler than grabbing someone's hair, kneeing them multiple times in the chest and then finally tossing them over your head! Genius.
SY: The Throw. I simply love throwing the bad guys near an edge and watching them bounce off the side and plummet to their death. I also enjoy using the uppercut and roundhouse kick.
EMG: If we’re only talking about single-player, unarmed moves, then the uppercut. True, it’s just the conclusion to a series of punches. But there’s something satisfying about the way that Billy and Jimmy manage to flex their biceps and deliver a knockout move at the same time.
DM: The cyclone kick from Double Dragon III of course. Not only does it take out enemies on both sides, but it can be performed with the other player for a super-powered double attack, and it's easy to pull off with a turbo pad (unlike in DD II).
DM: Abobo. So iconic and so damn hard.
BL: Abobo. Abobo is an epic boos. He is definitely one of the most memorable bosses in video game history. Every time you faced him, you knew you were in for a huge fight.
MP: The "Mr. T Hulk" as we called him.
SH: I expect everybody to say Abobo so I'm gonna say Jeff (little did I know!). Okay, the sprite is the same as Billy and Jimmy with different colors, but he has this ultra coolness about him. I can't quite explain it!
C: Abobo has a special place in our hearts, but the greatest villain of the whole series is the fierce Gensatsuken Sensei, the Mysterious Warrior from Double Dragon II on the NES. And he fights with the best heart-pounding theme of the entire franchise; Roar of Double Dragons!
SY: The first Jeff at the end of Mission 2. He is the one that I can always have the most fun with as he can climb. I always take great pleasure in smashing him off the ladder, bouncing him off the stacked boxes or just headbutting him off the elevator platform.
EMG: Jeff. He’s my favorite boss-archetype, and the most underused: the evil equivalent. I personally prefer the idea of a villain who is the hero’s match in every way over a villain who is his superior – it makes the battle that much more exciting. But from a gamer’s perspective, there’s more to it. While large powerhouses (like Abobo) and crime bosses with firearms (like Willy) are commonly found in BEUs, it’s a rare challenge to find yourself taking on your equal. I mean, the fights with Abobo and Willy represent struggling against unfair odds – one is bigger and stronger than you, and the other has superior weaponry. They’re uphill battles. Which are all well and good. But what about fighting on equal terms? The winner then, is the one who’s actually better.
Having said that, there’s still something cool about Burnov. He’s an oversized brute in a metal mask who disappears when defeated (and sometimes reincarnates)! That’s fantastic villain-mystique.
C: All of them?
EMG: Mission 1. The first stage in the entire Double Dragon continuity. What’s not to like? Marian gets kidnapped, the awesome City Slum theme plays, we see Wanted posters of villains to come, and then A GUY TWICE YOUR SIZES PUNCHES THROUGH A WALL. It puts you right in the thick of the action and is a fantastic way to start a fantastic game.
SY: Probably Mission 2. It had a great soundtrack, introduced dynamite and cardboard boxes to the weapons list and had some of the best level design in the entire game. Every game needs a killer conveyor belt!
MP: Factory stage, due to the look...the dynamite, the conveyor belt, the boxes, the fence, and Jeff.
SH: There's a real warmth to the last stage. You're in the enemy base, the statues and booby traps are making life hell, but it genuinely feels like you're in the final moments of a Hollywood blockbuster. Or better yet, the Bruce Lee classic that never was. Then there's that moment when you approach the final showdown with Willy - the music changes to the intro theme and you get chills on the back of your neck. I'd never experienced that in a game before and I'm not sure I have since.
C: Really, DD 1 is perfect from start to end. Maybe the forest impressed me the most. I developed some sort of affection for the slums and the industrial area as well, since that's the only part of the game I owned when I was playing alone.
Besides, I can hardly dump one single stage from the NES version of DD, DD 2 and DD 3. DD 2 is sublime from Mission 6 to the final confrontation with the Mysterious Warrior.
BL: Stage Eight in DD 2 (NES). I loved the challenge and dark feel of the stage. It felt like the final stretch before you got to the final boos in stage nine. By the time you reached it, you had to make sure your skills were top notch, especially when it came time to fight the drop-danglers at the end of the stage.
DM: Japan from Double Dragon III (NES). The music has this wonderful mix of Asian culture and an eerie feeling of breaking into a secret fortress. You start out on the outside of this massive ninja stronghold and make it inside just to be greeted by bamboo spear booby traps. Then, you have climb up another floor while taking out enemies who appear from behind hidden walls (like something out of Indiana Jones). Finally, it's time to face the ninja leader with your new friend - Chin. How cool is that?
C: I also love (and hate, since they are very tricky) the final platform-like phase of Mission 3 and the following Mission 4 up to the entrance of the hide-out in the NES version of DD 1.
SH: Heck, I have to pick one?
C: The opening from DD 1 is possibly the most iconic moment of the series: Williams and the gang kidnapping Marian, and the Lee bros popping out of the garage right after to start the feast. That's how videogames are supposed to kick off!
But, once again I can't avoid to mention the NES's DD 2; the entering illusion of Marian... The Mysterious Warrior and the following fight speeches right before the final fight are epic.
EMG: The first time my gaming buddy (the same one from before) and I invaded the enemy’s base. It was the furthest we had ever gotten at that time. He was so impressed/shocked that he used language we weren't supposed to use at that age, prompting my father (who was looking over us at the time) to give him a stern look. But it didn’t detract from the moment. We were the Double Dragons, and we were closer than ever before to saving Marian!
MP: When you realize you have to fight your friend to win the girl.
SY: It's got to be the Billy vs. Jimmy section at the end of the game in two-player mode. I honestly used to dread that moment in the arcades when playing against a stranger. Usually because they would get up set when I repeatedly used the headbutt technique on them!
SH: I think there are a lot of moments and effects that happen throughout the game. It was very unexpected in 1987. The sort of thing that the rip-offs and the titles that were influenced by DD missed. Pick a random beat em up and you'll see a bunch of enemies flood the screen simply by walking in from the right. Beat them, walk along and a few more will wander into view. Maybe they'll jump through a window or something if you're lucky, but in Double Dragon, Linda will enter through a door, Abobo smashes through a wall, Jeff comes in on a rising platform, this guy drops down from here, etc... you can criticise the repetitiveness of the gameplay and characters throughout all you want, but the fact is, the programmers did a wonderful job in trying to keep things constantly fresh. Is that a copout answer?
BL: The Double Dragon 2 NES ending was the best moment of the game. They worked so hard to save what they believed was a deceased Marion only to have her recover. It was definitely the game's best moment.
SH: Okay, if I had to pick one it would have to be Abobo's debut. What a great introduction to an enemy, and he's not even the end boss!
DM: Playing Super Double Dragon for the first time. After playing Double Dragon III so many times, I fell in love with the game. Then, one day, I spotted Super Double Dragon at the rental section of a local supermarket (yes, supermarkets used to have movie/game rental sections). Ever since then, I had these wild dreams about how awesome Super Double Dragon must be.
When I finally picked up a copy of the game from Funcoland (now known as GameStop), I was both disappointed that the game was dissimilar to DD III and excited by the amazing music and fighting system.
Why We Love It So
DM: It boils down to this simple fact: it's about two street-tough martial artist brothers who take out an entire gang bare-handed (well, almost) to rescue Billy's girlfriend. That's good old-fashioned 1980s action movies for you.
SY: Everything it done, it done right. It was the first two-player scrolling beat em up, it was the first beat em up to introduce collectable weapons, and you could even carry those onto (most) of the levels. The sound effects were superb, the music was awesome, and the playability still holds up extremely well all these years later.
BL: We love it because DD was a revolutionary game. Great gameplay, great characters, and an awesome story made DD one of the best games of all time.
C: I could write for hours here. But the reason is plain simple... BECAUSE IT'S THE GODFATHER OF BEAT 'EM UPS (at least the first worldwide famous, remarkable and noteworthy game of the genre).
SH: Speaking personally, I guess it was the game that got me into beat 'em ups. I'd played stuff like Way of the Exploding Fist, Kung Fu Master and probably a few other Karate Champ-style games prior to discovering DD, but the whole vigilante on the streets theme was brand new and just appealed to me, probably because it was real. It wasn't a game set in a fantasy world or something; it COULD be happening in the world somewhere right now!
Not to go completely off on a tangent, but I seem remember a review in PC Gamer magazine in the mid to late '90s about a shoot 'em up that would have been awarded a higher rating had it not been for a science fiction setting. I totally get that. The later-added future setting in DD is completely unnecessary and needlessly forced. It's just so much better when you can relate somewhat to the scenario that you're presented with. That and well, it's just awesome isn't it?
MP: A lot of it is nostalgia. But I think the music is so iconic, as well as the look of the characters (sad how they ditched the signature look in 1990), and the fact it was a pioneer of what became such a ubiquitous staple of the era.
There’s certainly a heap of
nostalgia that ties us to Double Dragon. But we don’t just like it because
it was the game that began the
beat 'em up-boom of the late
'80s and early
the other way around – it began the boom because it’s a good game.
co-op gameplay, smooth combat control, graphics that represented the peak of
the time and awesome soundtrack make for an experience that earned its
place in our hearts.
Simply put, it’s fun.
BL: Double Dragon has influenced games in both the beat-'em-up and fighting game genre. A lot of games have used its elements to create their fighting games thanks to DD.
DM: It's easy to see how every brawler after DD was influenced by it. From scrolling stages to two-player co-op, tons of games owe something to Double Dragon.
EMG: I would go so far as to argue that Double Dragon is the game that had the second-biggest impact on the world of arcades (number one goes to Street Fighter II). It’s the game that made beat 'em ups cool. While it wasn’t the first scrolling brawler ever, it was the first one that got the formula right, establishing the template upon which all subsequent beat 'em ups were based. At worst, they [the subsequent beat 'em ups] were pale imitations. At best, all they did was add to Double Dragon’s core basics.
C: Scrolling beat 'em ups were huge back in the day and Final Fight, Street of Rage, Knights of the Round Table, etc, owe a lot to DD.
SY: Every scrolling beat 'em up that followed has been influenced in some way by Double Dragon. Golden Axe, Final Fight, Streets Of Rage are all rated as great games but in my opinion not one of them bettered the original Double Dragon.
SH: The year after the first Double Dragon, I got into SNK's POW, which was really just their version of the game (the gun gimmick was a good one though and a natural progression). After that came Final Fight and then there were just DD-style games everywhere; easily the most popular games in the arcades for a few years and it's all down to the original game. None of them captured my imagination the same way. Eventually you had arcade-quality games at home with stuff like Streets of Rage, and by that point nobody would say that these games were DD clones any more. They were just "beat 'em ups," and pretty much the only fighting games out there until Street Fighter II stopped all that, but that's another story. I suppose by the mid '90s the DD style of game was cliché; considered old hat and generally repetitive affairs. I find it funny that nearly everything DD influenced never took on board the ways of keeping the game fresh and exciting as one progressed, despite the limited amount of characters and whatnot. They missed a lot of the tricks, such as making the game one huge level where the main characters visit different sites and settings. This affects the gameplay and not just the graphics. The level design in other games just wasn't as smart.
I never found the Double Dragon sequels all that exciting. DD II never clicked with me and it just wasn't the sequel I wanted. I know many felt the same. It was practically a remake with less interesting characters and dull backgrounds. I don't want to fight on a farm, I want to take to the streets! Some of the later home games like DD II on the PC Engine and Super Double Dragon, or specifically Return of... are pretty good though.
MP: Like many fans, I consider the first two the "real" Double Dragon games. I absolutely loathe the arcade Double Dragon 3 and Double Dragon V, yet greatly appreciate Super Double Dragon (as well as Double Dragon Neo Geo 1995 and Double Dragon Advance to some extent). Some of the ports were just utterly bizarre to me, like the 1992 Game Gear Double Dragon (was this suppose to be Double Dragon 4? Was this a weird gaiden side-quel?). It's disheartening they never revived the series, aside from the "remixes" of DDA and the Xbox Live Arcade port. (That Brazillian Zeebo version looks way too odd for me to consider it a proper sequel or remake).
EMG: I have never liked DD 3. The arcade game wasn’t just a quarter-cruncher – I’ve played quarter crunchers that were still enjoyable. The biggest problem I have with DD 3 is that it was cheap, ugly, and no fun whatsoever. The plot doesn’t feel right either (and this is something that NES DD III is also guilty of). The Fist-of-the-North-Star-like post-apocalyptic-Kung Fu-fest (there’s an expression and a half) of the first two games is replaced by a globe-trotting quest for magic rocks, starring Egyptian mummies and walking trees (what the hell?). If anything, this seems more like an Indiana Jones plot.
SY: Not even the Double Dragon sequels could better the original.
C: The games on the NES and SNES did a great job in developing the series. DD II is truly an enhanced version of the arcade counterpart. DD III was turned into a great game despite the poor original version (it still is the hardest Double Dragon challenge ever), and Return of Double Dragon might have been the best game of the series, if only it had cut scenes and a proper ending. Should I mention Double Dragon Advance?
Geo is a fair Street Fighter II clone, but nothing amazing.
Still, I enjoyed
it more than the movie it sort of ties in to.
I have never played any of the NES games, but it took me a while to accept the idea of Jimmy as the Shadow
Boss (he’s player 2, dammit!).
DM: Well, obviously, since I created it, this is a trick question. But why did I create it? Because no one else wanted to. To this day, I still have yet to see any other person attempt to make a Double Dragon site devoted to the entire series. However, you can find numerous Mega Man, Metroid and Castlevania sites out there.
SY: Double Dragon was one of the first things that I searched for when I first used the internet and sure enough there was the Dojo. Back in the late '90's, Double Dragon seemed to be a forgotten game (hell, scrolling beat 'em ups seem to be a lost genre) so it was great to find a bunch of people who also held the game in such high regard. I've spoken to some great people via the site and even fulfilled my dream of working on a Double Dragon game - even if it was just a fan project - all thanks to the Dojo.
SH: How did I discover the Dojo? Classic Gaming announced news of the site when it started late 2000.
I was at university back in '99 and in my spare time, I was discovering the wonders of the internet, which had just exploded out of nowhere. I was a big fan of emulation; just the amazement of being able to play actual arcade games on a PC for the first time. I loved MAME but the 3D games of the late nineties just weren't clicking with me (though I did like a lot of Dreamcast games). I never could get Double Dragon running properly, sadly, which was still etched in my mind as my favourite game I could never truly play at home. Oh, the frustration! I discovered the Classic Gaming website and loved reading Game of the Week and the various articles about old titles and systems – the history of stuff like ET on the 2600 was just fascinating and this was akin to the first time you found out how your favorite film was made thanks to special features on DVD, which funnily enough was also a new and fresh idea at the time. Sure, there were a few other DD sites, but now I could find out all about Double Dragon with like-minded fans like myself and thanks to the likes of Dojo Master and Johnny Undaunted, I found out all kinds of information through the Dojo's website and forum. Within months I was writing my own reviews and sharing memories, much like I am to this day.
MP: 2002. I was at a Gateway Computer store (back when I didn't own a computer) and was looking up fan sites for some of my favourite old school series. It's cool seeing the site still around and updated, since many sites of the '90s and early 2000s fell to the Angelfire/Geocities wasteland. Only thing is, I wonder if there are other DD ports the site has not covered or if there exists any other DD merchandise in Japan.
BL: I found the Dojo around 2006. I was dying for more information about DD and found this place. Even though I have never posted here, I liked this place a lot. I did send an e-mail before thanking the Dojo master for creating this site.
EMG: I think it was late 2007 or early 2008. I was looking for sprites from the original arcade game, and happened upon the Dojo. I admit that I was quite surprised to learn that I was not the only person in the world who still cared about Double Dragon!
C: I found your great website near the end of 2001. I was wandering through the web looking for news of my beloved Lee brothers to refresh old memories, and I found it.
I was so happy to see that some people had the passion to dedicate their time to build such a complete repository of DD information and features. You did so much and you're still doing so much to preserve the memory of this great title. Keep on going, guys!
MP: I think it's good to have things that remind us of our childhood or growing up. As for its relevancy, it's a product of the ghetto street punk rocker beat-'em-up times. I'm still a fan, but I don't see much relevancy in 2011. I think the advertisements for the home versions to me are some of the most iconic things about the game and the period.
One thing I always wanted was toys and figures based on the actual games (and not that horrid cartoon. Though it definitely was better than that gosh awful 1994 movie. ONLY good thing about it was it inspired the great 1995 Neo Geo game.)
EMG: As I said, Double Dragon is the game that made beat 'em ups cool. But today, I think it’s mostly retro gamers who still think they’re cool. As gaming has moved to new platforms, Double Dragon has not really kept up.
It pains me to say this, because I love Double Dragon, but it’s on its way to becoming a gaming footnote. Sure, you can argue that it’s the original influence behind games like the Dynasty Warriors series (which I also enjoyed). But since that’s only an academic point, it is intrinsically moot.
DM: The game could easily be relevant today. We can see that 2D games are in full swing and brawlers are still well appreciated. Not only have TMNT: the Arcade Game and X-Men been released on Xbox Live Arcade, but new 2D brawlers such as Castle Crashers have been well received by gamers.
SY: Double Dragon will always be a very important game simply because it was the first ever 2-player scrolling beat 'em up. I know that the game does suffer with a bit of slow down, but I do get a bit miffed when I hear people say that the likes of Final Fight or Streets Of Rage 2 are the best that the genre has to offer. I honestly believe that Double Dragon really has never been bettered. It had the best physics of any scrolling beat 'em up, you could keep hold of the weapons (baseball bats do not vanish into thin air after using them five times, fact fans) and the levels actually scrolled in the next scene. Not to mention the fully interactive backgrounds. Sorry Streets of Rage fans, but smashing up trash cans does not count!
SH: As I've said before, it's not just the nostalgia talking when we say how much we love, or at least, loved this game. DD did things that haven't been duplicated in the same way since. There was a time when every game was different and Double Dragon was just that. It's kinda funny that everyone and their kid was bringing out a beat 'em up shortly afterwards and there was zero originality in gaming – I don't recall people copying Donkey Kong or Pac-Man to the point where you could be mistaken for thinking it was the same game unless they were dodgy clones (though if they did they'd have been sued to death!). Maybe Technos should have tried this and they'd still be around today.
If someone like Capcom or Activision had come up with Double Dragon or even just owned the rights today, its legacy would have been preserved and you'd have it on computers and new versions, etc. Sadly, because Technos went under and the name rights have been whored out all over the shop, nobody has treated it with the respect it deserves. But despite the lack of re-releases, official remakes and sequels, it's funny that so many people out there who were around for the early years of gaming still remember it. I've had two girlfriends who sure did and I haven't had that many girlfriends. How remarkable is that?
BL: Double Dragon was huge then and it still has a chance to be a big game now if done right. If you look at games like Shemue (Which was heavily influenced by DD), you notice how they added a deep story and deep system into a beat 'em up game. I also like Jade Empire as well. I think using a formula similar to Jade Empire would help rebuild Double Dragon into something new, but keeping it somewhat around its core.
DM: With so many digital distribution methods available, even on handhelds, it looks like there are lower risks and easier methods now to publish a new Double Dragon game. Here's to hoping that the series doesn't stay comatose for long.
C: It may not be Super Mario Bros 3, but Double Dragon deserves credits for opening up an entire game genre and dictating its coordinates. That's video-game history.
I still hope we'll have another chance to see a new DD game following DD Advance; the Nintendo Wii [Correction: 3DS] is going to get a new Kid Icarus, after all...
Cheers to all of you guys, and congratulations for your first 10th anniversary!
Amen. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
- Steve Halfpenny