One Year Anniversary
December 2, 2000 - December 2, 2001
Welcome to the Double Dragon Dojo's One Year Anniversary Celebration! What are we celebrating you ask? It's the first full year that we have been graciously hosted on Classicgaming.com's server. The Dojo hasn't been around very long, but we would like to take this time to show you all it's been through and what it took to make. We have also included for your benefit a timeline outlining the history of the Double Dragon series. Read on, and enjoy.
Double Dragon Timeline (video game series) | Double Dragon Dojo Timeline
Double Dragon Timeline
Technos Japan Corporation is founded by three former employees of a game
company called Data East. The company was formed from a one-room
apartment and its earlier Arcade games such as Tag Team Wrestling, Karate
Champ and Dog Fight were distributed by Data East and later Taito. As
time went by, the staff became bigger.
1985: Technos releases
Exciting Hour (aka Mat Mania) in the arcades. One of the game's
opponents, the Karate Fighter, bears a striking resemblance to Chin Taimei
of the Double Dragon series.
1986: Technos releases
Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun (Hot-Blood Bad Boy Kunio) in Japanese arcades
during May. The game's premise is about a high school student named
Kunio who must fight using his bare hands against various enemies such as
high school hoodlums, motorcycle raiders and even hit men from a Yakuza
group who are constantly beating up Kunio's friend, Hiroshi. The game
is responsible for creating the beatemup genre and is often considered as a
predecessor to Double Dragon. Kunio-kun was a huge success in Japan
and managed to save Technos from some of its money problem. Taito
releases the game in the western world as Renegade, with the plot and
graphic design of the game altered to fit in with the western culture.
The game doesn't receive the same kind of popularity it had in Japan
After the success of
Kunio-kun, Technos decided to become a third-party company for Nintendo in
order to produce games for Nintendo's Family Computer (the Japanese version
of the NES), otherwise known as the Famicom. Technos started
developing Famicom games by the end of the year. Around September the
company started working on a new arcade game, one that would lead them to
1987: Technos Japan
releases the Famicom version of Kunio-kun on April 17. While the game
is nowhere near as good as the arcade original, it's still a huge success
with fans of the arcade original. Taito releases the NES version under
the Renegade name.
1987: In May Technos
Japan released Double Dragon in the arcades. The game took the same
game play concept from Renegade, but added extra features such as usable
weapons, several moves and a two-player cooperate mode that made the game
stand light years ahead of Renegade. The player takes control of
martial artist Billy Lee or his brother Jimmy (nicknamed Hammer and Spike in
the English version) on a mission to save his girlfriend Marian from the
Black Warriors gang. The game was a huge success worldwide.
After the success of
Double Dragon, Technos earned enough money to move from a one-room apartment
into its own building and Technos became a major company in the Japanese
game industry. The success of Double Dragon also gave Technos some
confidence in the American videogame market. The American Technos
Incorporate was established during the year. During November, Technos
released the arcade version of Nekketsu Koukou Dodgeball-bu (aka Super Dodge
Ball) in Japan. The game's instruction card contained a small blurb
announcing Double Dragon's arrival on the Famicom with early screenshots of
1988: The Famicom version
of Double Dragon is released on April 8 in Japan. Despite all the
changes made from the arcade game (including the lack of the two-player
cooperate mode), the game enjoys moderate success in Japan. Since
American Technos was not licensed by Nintendo yet, the licensing rights to
Double Dragon in America were given to a company named Tradewest (a division
of Leland Entertainment), as well as the publishing rights to Double Dragon
for the NES. The game enjoys similar success in the U.S. and is a
featured title in the premiere issue of Nintendo Power. The deal with
Tradewest also gave them sub-licensing rights for future versions of the
On October 1 the Master
System of Double Dragon is released by Sega in Japan and later in America.
Thanks to the two-player mode and a game design closer to the arcade, this
version is a huge success with fans of the arcade game who were unsatisfied
with the NES version.
During the middle of the
year, Technos released the arcade version of Double Dragon II. This
time the American version is published by American Technos with Romstar (Tradewest's
sister company) behind the distribution. The game layout is very
similar to the first title, but the play controls were altered to the
Renegade-style method of having specific buttons for left and right attacks.
This time Billy and Jimmy were on a quest to avenge the death of Marian, who
is killed off during the game's opening. The game feels more like an
enhanced version of Double Dragon rather than a new game and it's a moderate
success in comparison to the original.
At the end of the year
several more versions of the original Double Dragon for various PCs such as
the Amiga, C64, Amstrad, Atari ST, IBM and even the Spectrum were produced
by Melbourne House through Tradewest's licensing deal. However, due to
poor supervision by Tradewest, most of these PC versions were lacking in
quality. Despite all of this, Double Dragon's popularity was still
1989: The Arcade version
of Double Dragon II is ported to several PCs just like the original Double
Dragon. This time the ports were done by Virgin with Tradewest's
license. The quality of these versions ranged from poor to average at
The original Double
Dragon is ported to the long-dead Atari 2600 by Activision and later to the
released Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari in Japan on April 25. The game
was the third game in the Kunio-kun series and was a success in Japan just
like both of its predecessors. The game marks the first appearances of
the Hattori Brothers, Ryuuichi and Ryuuji, who were modeled after the
likeness of the Billy and Jimmy. They played an important role in the
game and made various appearances in later Kunio games. DNM is
released during the following year in America under the title of River City
Ransom and Ryuuichi and Ryuuji were renamed Randy and Andy.
Meanwhile, the real Billy and Jimmy made an appearance in the Famicom version of U.S. Championship V'Ball as one of the game's four playable pairs. The game was released on November 10 in Japan and was translated for the NES by Nintendo under the title of Super Spike V'Ball. Billy Lee also made a cameo appearance in the arcade game, WWF Superstars, as part of a cheering crowd. We can only assume that the guy in the other side is Jimmy.
Finally, on December 22,
the Famicom version of Double Dragon II was released. Unlike its
Famicom predecessor, this version allowed two-player cooperation with or
without the ability to hit your partner. This version also contained
various features not included in the arcade game such as nine new missions,
cut-scenes between levels, three skill levels and new enemies, including a
mystery end-boss. The game also contained a longer and happier ending
than the one from the arcade game. The game is a huge success.
1990: At the beginning
of the year, the NES version of Double Dragon II was released in America.
This time it was Acclaim that had the publishing honors instead of
Tradewest. Acclaim signed a deal with Technos that gave them the
exclusive publishing rights to all console versions of Double Dragon II.
The Game Boy version of
Double Dragon was released on July 7 in Japan. The American version
was once again published by Tradewest and was released with its cover art
and manual recycled from the NES version.
The arcade version of
Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone was released early in the year.
This time Billy and Jimmy were joined by a group of new heroes as they
embarked on a worldwide quest to collect the three Rosetta Stones. The
game was developed by a different staff from the first two games and as a
result, Double Dragon 3 lacked all the charm and game play from the original
game. Features like multiple characters, a three-player mode and the
infamous shopping system weren't enough to salvage it. The game bombed
terribly at the arcades and the fact that you couldn't choose your starting
character in the American version (unlike the Japanese version) made things
On December 7, Nekketsu
Kouha Kunio-kun: Bangai Rantou Hen is released in Japan. The game is
Kunio's debut on the Game Boy and is a very simplistic beatemup in
comparison to previous games such as Renegade and River City Ransom.
This game would later become the Game Boy version of Double Dragon II.
1991: Despite how
terrible Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone was in the arcades, the game is
ported to several PCs by Tradewest with a company named the Sales Curve
behind the ports. The versions are even worse than the arcade game, as
they are missing several features such as the multiple characters.
However, somebody at
Technos had the right idea and the company decided to work on Double Dragon
III from scratch. The Famicom version of Double Dragon III: The
Rosetta Stone was released on February 22. The game shares the same
storyline, but the game design is totally different. The shop system
is no longer present and the player can change characters (which includes
defeated bosses) during game play. Players used special weapons
possessed by each of the game's characters for a limited time as well.
The Famicom version came with a 16-page manga that covered the game play.
The game is released two months later for the NES by Acclaim under the title of Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones. The game enjoys success similar to what Double Dragon II had for the NES. Once again, Acclaim had the exclusive console rights to a Double Dragon game.
July: The dreaded Double
Dragon comic book series by Marvel Comics was first published. This
six-issue limited series ran from July to December and had nothing to do
with its namesake other than the names of the main character. While a
full series was planned but never made, this comic is only a taste of the
bad merchandising to come.
released Double Dragon II for the Game Boy. This particular version
was not based on the arcade or NES game, but was rather a modified version
of a Japanese Kunio-kun game.
December 20: A Mega Drive
version of Double Dragon II was released in Japan. However, this
version of the game was terrible and thankfully the West was spared from
August 7: Technos Japan
publishes its first Super Famicom game, Shodai Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun.
The game's manual contains a small blurb at the end announcing Return of
Double Dragon, a new Double Dragon game for the Super Famicom.
October: Double Dragon 3
is ported to the Game Boy by Sales Curve. Instead of porting the
superior NES version of the game, this game ends up being another bad port
of a mediocre arcade game.
Around the same month,
the fourth Double Dragon is released for the Super NES in the U.S. under the
name of Super Double Dragon. This time Tradewest is the publisher
while American Technos translated the game. However, the game is
released with little pre-release hype and version that was published was
barely completed. The Japanese version, titled Return of Double
Dragon, is published on October 16. The game contains several new
features not included in the American version such as an option mode plus an
additional level. Neither version is a success however.
March 12: The PC Engine
version of Double Dragon II by Naxat Soft is released in Japan. This
version is based on the Famicom version, but has a few elements from the
arcade game as well, plus new features like fully-animated cut-scenes,
voiceovers, arranged music and multiple endings.
Around this year
Tradewest released Battletoads and Double Dragon: the Ultimate Team for the
NES. The game, which was developed by European developer Rareware, is
a crossover title features the Toads teaming up with the Lee brothers
against the forces of the Dark Queen. The game itself is more a
Battletoads game with Double Dragon characters added to the mix. Most
of the Double Dragon villains are not even properly named. The game is
ported to the Super NES, Sega Genesis and Game Boy by the end of the year.
September 12: The Double
Dragon cartoon series by Bobbot made it's dreaded debut. Twelve
episodes are produced for the first season. The final episode of
season aired on December 5.
April 29: Technos Japan
releases Kunio-tachi no Banka (Kunio's Eulogy). This is the last
beatemup made by the company.
July - Double Dragon V:
the Shadow Falls is released for the Super NES and Sega Genesis.
Closely based on the equally bad cartoon series, this game is a horrible
one-on-one fighting game with nothing going for it. The game is
developed by Leland Interactive. Technos Japan (the makers of Double
Dragon) has nothing to do with this game.
September 1: The second
and final season of the Double Dragon cartoon makes its debut. Thankfully,
not many people watched this due to it's poor time slot.
December: The Double
Dragon film is released in American theaters by Gramercy Pictures. Due
to poor ratings, the movie did horribly at the box office. The film is
released on video at following year on home video and later on DVD with
March 31: Double Dragon
is released for the Neo-Geo arcade hardware and home console. A
one-on-one fighting game loosely based on the movie, the game contains
various characters from previous games and the film, as well as a few
original characters. It didn't do very well in the arcades.
June 2: The Neo-Geo
version of Double Dragon is released in CD-Rom format.
1996 and beyond:
After 15 years of
operation, Technos Japan filed for bankruptcy and goes out of business.
Its last game was Super Dodgeball for the Neo-Geo. A few of Technos'
intellectual properties go to a company named Urban Plant. Urban Plant
produced a PlayStation version of the Neo-Geo Double Dragon on April 17.
It also released various Gowcaizer merchandise (including an anime series).
Eventually Urban Plant disappears as well around 1998.
A few years later, the
former staff of Technos (including Kunio Taki, Technos' president) work
together with Atlus to produce a sequel to Super Dodgeball titled Bakunetsu
Dodgeball Fighters (Super Dodgeball Advance in the U.S). The Japanese
version was released March 21 of 2001, while the American version was
released on June 12.
On December 2 of the year 2000, the Double Dragon Dojo, a fansite dedicated to the Double Dragon is hosted by Classicgaming. The site originally began on Geocities under the name of the Double Dragon Homepage.