Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone

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Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone
Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone
The Japanese brochure from the arcade version, with illustration by Kazumi Kakizaki.
Developer(s) East Technology
Publisher(s) Technōs Japan
Distributor(s) Bandai (European NES version)
Metro (Australian NES version)
Designer(s) Yoshihisa Kishimoto
Series Double Dragon
Platform(s) Arcade, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, NES, ZX Spectrum, DOS, Game Boy, Mega Drive/Genesis
Release date(s) Arcade Version NES/Famicom Version
  • NA February 1991
  • JP February 22, 1991
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer

Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone (ダブルドラゴン3 ザ・ロゼッタストーン Daburu Doragon 3: Za Rozetta Sutōn?) is a side-scrolling beat 'em up produced by Technōs Japan that was originally released as an arcade game in 1990. It is the third arcade game in the Double Dragon series. The game was not internally developed by Technos, who were busy working on other projects at the time such as WWF Superstars and The Combatribes. Instead a company called East Technology, whose previous work was the 1989 arcade shoot-'em-up Gigandes, was contracted to develop the third game in the series, resulting in a sequel with a drastically different gameplay and graphic style than its predecessors. The game was controversial upon its release due to the addition of item shops where players acquire power-ups by inserting real money into the cabinet, which was removed from the later Japanese release.[1]

Plot[edit]

After returning home from a two year training mission, Billy and Jimmy Lee come across a fortune teller named Hiruko. The elderly woman tells the Lee brothers that in order to challenge the world's strongest adversary, they must seek out the three Rosetta Stones that have been scattered around the world. The game begins in the United States, where the Lee brothers must defeat the remnants of the Black Warriors gang from the previous games before they set off to find the stones. Afterward, the heroes must travel to China, Japan and Italy, where each of the stones are being guarded by formidable fighters unique to each country (such as swordsmen in Japan and archers in Italy) who will refuse to give them up without a fight. Once all three Rosetta Stones have been procured, the Lee brothers' journey reaches its final destination in Egypt, where they face all sorts of supernatural creatures as they enter Cleopatra's tomb to uncover the mystery surrounding the stones.

Gameplay[edit]

An attract sequence from the arcade version showing three player characters fighting off against enemies.

Double Dragon 3 can be set up to be played by up to two or three player simultaneously, similarly to The Combatribes. The first two players control returning heroes Billy and Jimmy Lee respectively, while the third player controls a new character named Sonny (a yellow-clad palette swap of the Lee brothers). The controls consists of an eight way joystick and three buttons once again, but the combat system has been greatly altered from previous games. The game discards the directional attack buttons from Double Dragon II: The Revenge, returning to the punch and kick format of the original Double Dragon. However, moves such as the elbow strike and the hair grab had been removed and new abilities were added in their place. The player can now run by pushing the joystick left or right twice and perform moves with a second player such as a back-to-back hurricane kick when standing near each other and a triangle jump kick when one player jumps towards the other. Other new moves include a running head-butt, a belly-to-back throw and a jumping knee drop.

At the start of certain stages, players will have access to an item shop where they can purchase in-game power-ups by using real money. The item selection vary between stages and each one cost a single credit. The available items are as follow.

  • Extra Guys - Allows the player to control one of three new character types in addition to the Lee brothers. These characters form teams of other fighting siblings as well, allowing each player to control a different member of the group. When the player's current fighter is killed, the new one will replace him, essentially substituting the extra lives system from previous games. These new fighters consists of the Urquidez brothers (mixed martial arts champions), the Chin brothers (Tai Chi experts) and the Ōyama brothers (karate masters). The fighter that the player can purchase varies between stages and up to three can be stored in reserved.
  • Tricks - Gives the player two additional techniques. The Hurricane Kick (performed by doing a standing jump and pressing the kick button) and a jumping throw that varies depending on the character being used (performed by jumping over an enemy and pressing the punch button).
  • Weapons - Available from Mission 2 and onward. Gives the player one of two weapons: a nunchaku or a sword. Available only when the player is using a Lee brother.
  • Energy - Restores the current character's health to 150%.
  • Power - Increases the attack and moving speed of the player's current character.

Regional differences[edit]

The Player Select screen from the Japanese arcade version.

The Japanese version of Double Dragon 3 was produced after the game was already distributed in North America and Europe and features drastic changes as a result. Most notably, the item shops were removed from the game and a more conventional character select feature was added in its place, allowing players to start the game as any of the three new fighter types (the Urquidez, Chin and Ōyama brothers) in addition to the Lee brothers. The player has access to his character's entire repertoire of moves, although the command input for the Hurricane Kick requires more precise timing in the Japanese version. Since weapons are no longer purchasable items, they can be found lying around on the floor in certain stages, waiting to be picked up by the player if he's controlling a Lee brother. The game was also made easier, with enemies doing 1/3 less damage than in the overseas releases.

Reception[edit]

Julian Rignall, writing for Computer and Video Games, reacted positively to the game's change to a more realistic art style and recommended the game to fans of the series, scoring it an 83%.[2]

Ports[edit]

NES version[edit]

Screenshot of the NES version of Double Dragon III.

Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System on February 22, 1991. It is not a port of the Double Dragon 3 arcade game, but rather was a parallel game developed at the same time and features a similar plot and structure. Unlike the arcade version, the NES game was developed internally by Technōs, with Acclaim Entertainment serving as the game's publisher in North America and Europe.

The combat system is much closer to the previous NES games than the arcade version was to its predecessors. The hair grab technique that was omitted from the arcade version was kept in this version, although the shoulder throw was removed. Instead, the Lee brothers can perform an overhead collar throw by jumping over enemies similar to the one used by the Oyama brothers in the arcade game. Weapons can be taken away from enemy characters like in previous NES games and can be used by the player as long as the original owner isn't killed. One notable difference between this game and the previous NES entries is the fact that the player fight different enemy types at the same time instead of only twin versions of every character, although the maximum number of on-screen enemies is still limited to only two.

The player starts the game as Billy Lee (with Jimmy Lee in 2-player mode), but can control two additional characters in later stages: Chin Seimei, a Chinese martial artist; and Yagyu Ranzou, a Ninja from Japan armed with a sword. These characters initially confront the player as stage bosses (Chin in Mission 2 and Ranzou in Mission 3) and only join the player's party once they've been bested in combat. Each character has only life, but the player can switch between any of them during mid-play. In addition to their standard fighting method, each character also has a reserved weapon that can be only used for a limited time. If one player controls Billy and the other player controls Jimmy, both of them can perform a Double Cyclone Spin Kick or a Triangle Jump Kick together.

The Family Computer version (titled Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone) that was released in Japan has some slight differences from its NES counterpart. The Famicom version is a bit easier than its NES counterpart, as it features less enemies to fight and the player has more health. However the ending in the Famicom version changes depending on which of the characters are still alive by the end of the game, whereas the NES version has one fixed ending regardless of who survives. The Famicom version also featured a script much closer to the arcade game, where the storyline was written for NES version (in which the Lee brothers are searching for Marion once again).

The NES version is infamous for featuring a typo during the opening sequence of the 2-player mode, where Billy's name is misspelled "Bimmy", despite the fact that the correct spelling is used in the single player version of the opening. This typo was the inspiration of the enemy character Bimmy, a deformed clone of Billy who appears in Double Dragon Neon

Other platforms[edit]

Double Dragon 3 was also released for the Game Boy and Sega Genesis by Acclaim. These ports were titled Double Dragon 3: The Arcade Game to indicate their nature as straight conversions of the arcade version, setting them apart from the NES game. The Game Boy version (developed by Sales Curve) was released on August 1992, while the Genesis port (developed by Software Creations) was released on December 1992.[3]

Computer ports of the Double Dragon 3 arcade game were also released in 1991 for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, and IBM PC, which were all developed by The Sales Curve and published on their Storm label.

Soundtrack[edit]

An album containing the original soundtrack for the arcade versions of this game and The Combatribes was released by Pony Canyon in Japan, titled Double Dragon 3/The Combatribes. It was released on June 21, 1991 and its catalog number is PCCB-00065. Tracks 1 to 12 are taken from Double Dragon 3. The first track is a remix of the title theme, while Track 12 consists of assorted background music from the game mixed with sound effects.

  1. "The Rosetta Stone" (arranged version)
  2. "The Rosetta Stone"
  3. "To the Dragon World"/"In America"/"The New Black Warriors"
  4. "Jim's Theme"/"The Way of Sōsetsuken"
  5. "To the Dragon World"/"In China"/"Li's Theme"
  6. "To the Dragon World"/"In Japan"/"Ranzou's Theme"
  7. "To the Dragon World"/"In Italy"/"Giuliano's Theme"
  8. "To the Dragon World"/"The Enchanted Forest"/"Enter the Dragon"
  9. "The Fearsome Goblin"/"Roppe, the Stone Man"/"Hiruko's Trap"
  10. "Awakening of the 2,000 Years Old Demon"/"Cleopatra's Theme"
  11. "To the Children of the World"
  12. "Play Version"
  13. "The Final Battle" (arranged version)
  14. "Title Roll"/"The Motorcycle Nuclear Warheads"/"2X4 Fatman"/"Go to next Act"
  15. "Amusement Park Nightmare"/"Persian Warlord"
  16. "The Slash Skate Screamers"/"Destroy Overdrive"
  17. "Place of S.O.D."/"War Paint"
  18. "The Slaughter Troops"/"Swastika is Cyborg"
  19. "The Final Battle (Martha Splatterhead)"
  20. "Ending (Out of Somewhere)"/"Staff Roll (Rest in Peace)"
  21. "Play Version"

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sakekan interviews Yoshihisa Kishimoto (Part 1)". Gamer.ne.jp (in Japanese). 
  2. ^ Rignall, Julian (February 1991). Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone. Computer and Video Games. 
  3. ^ Double Dragon 3: The Arcade Game is a trademark of Technōs Japan Corporation. © 1990 Technōs Japan Corp. Licensed exclusively to Tradewest, Inc. Programmed by Software Creations, Ltd. Sublicensed to Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. Sega and Genesis are trademarks of Sega Enterprises Ltd. Flying Edge is a trademark of Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. © 1992 Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved. -- From the back box of the Genesis version

External links[edit]