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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'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

By Johnny Undaunted
Associate Editor

Pre-Double Dragon

1981: The 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 success.

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.

After Double Dragon

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 the game.

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 game.

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 strong.

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 best.

The original Double Dragon is ported to the long-dead Atari 2600 by Activision and later to the Atari 7800.

Meanwhile, Technos 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 worse.

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.

November: Acclaim 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 this atrocity.

1992: Double Dragon 1 and 3 are ported to the Sega Genesis by Accolade and Software Creations respectively.  Both versions were horrible and were forgotten.

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.

1993: Double Dragon is released on two portable systems: the Lynx and the Game Gear.  The Lynx version is a horrible port of the Genesis version, while the Game Gear is an original game by Virgin that had nothing to do with Double Dragon.  Needless to say, they both failed.

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 little fanfare.


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.