Double Dragon (Neo-Geo)
|Publisher(s)||Technōs Japan, SNK|
Double Dragon (ダブルドラゴン?) is a 1995 fighting video game spinoff of the Double Dragon series developed and published by Technōs Japan. It is based on the 1994 Double Dragon movie, which in turn was based on the original arcade game. It was originally released for the Neo Geo (in AES and MVS formats) and later released for the Neo Geo CD and PlayStation (the latter ported by Urban Plant). It was Technōs Japan's last Double Dragon game before the company went out of business, and the fourth and final Double Dragon game released in arcades.
The game plays like a conventional fighting game of its time, that is battles are one-on-one and conducted on best two-out-of-three matches. One of the unique aspects of Double Dragon is the lack of specific punch and kick buttons like other fighting games. Instead, there are four attack buttons of varying strength and speed, which can perform punches or kicks depending on the character's position. The player's character and his or her opponent have a super move meter called the "charge meter", overlaid over the character's health gauge. The less health the character has, the quicker it will fill up. "Charge moves" are usually performed by executing the command of a regular special move and pressing two attack buttons simultaneously at the end instead of just one. Other techniques available in the game include dashes, air guards, air throws, and down attacks (which allows characters to jump over and attack their opponent while they are momentarily unconscious on the ground).
The characters and settings are inspired by the Double Dragon movie, which featured prominently in the game's intro. This includes the appearances of a submerged Hollywood Sign, the appearance of the Dragon Wagon in Billy's stage, the Lee brothers' transformation technique, Marian's depiction as a gang leader, and the inclusion of Koga Shuko as the game's final opponent. However, the characters are depicted in a more anime-like style and only five of the game's twelve fighters are actually featured in the movie; Burnov and Duke are from previous Double Dragon games and the rest are new characters created specifically for this game.
There are ten regularly selectable characters in the game and two boss characters, for a total of twelve characters. In the single-player mode, the player competes against all ten of the regular characters (including a clone of their own) before facing against Duke and Shuko in the game's final two matches. The first opponent can be chosen by the player.
In the home versions, both Duke and Shuko, are playable by entering a secret code.
- Billy Lee (Voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa) - The younger Lee brother, Billy is a master of the fictional Sousetsuken style, a combination of numerous martial arts learned by Billy and his brother, Jimmy. Billy has blond hair and wears a blue and red casual outfit in his default form. In his transformed form, he wears a blue gi. Has faster attacks than his brother Jimmy. Billy was one of the protagonists in the original Double Dragon, although his character design and ability to transform is taken from the movie.
- Jimmy Lee (Voiced by Kaneto Shiozawa) - The elder Lee brother. Jimmy has brown hair and wears an orange and black outfit in his default form. He wears a red gi in his transformed form and has stronger attacks than his brother Billy. Jimmy was the other protagonist from the original Double Dragon. Like Billy, his design and transformation ability is based on his movie counterpart.
- Marian (Voiced by Yuka Koyama) - A childhood friend of the Lee brothers and female gang leader at Bloody Town. She uses a street fighting style with techniques based on figure skating. Marian was Billy's kidnapped girlfriend in the original Double Dragon, although her depiction as a gang leader is much closer to the film's incarnation of the character.
- Abobo (Voiced by Daisuke Gōri) - A former pro-wrestler from New York who works for Shuko. Abobo was an enemy character in the original Double Dragon. In one of his super moves, he briefly turns into a bloated freak similar to the mutation he undergoes in the Double Dragon movie.
- Burnov (Voiced by Daisuke Gōri) - An obese pro-wrestler from Detroit feared as the "human bomb". He has a rivalry with Abobo. Burnov was the first stage boss in Double Dragon II: The Revenge. In the manual his name is spelled Blunov.
- Amon (Voiced by Kaneto Shiozawa) - A master of the fictional Ryuganinpoh style of ninjutsu. He seeks for the whereabouts of his missing family and believes Shuko might know something.
- Dulton (Voiced by Yusaku Yara) - A street brawler from Italy who is looking to take down Shuko. In the manual his name is spelled Dalton.
- Rebecca (Voiced by Keiko Han) - A tonfa-wielding martial artist from the Netherlands. She was once romantically involved with a man named Eric, who turned out to be a spy for Shuko, and now seeks to get revenge.
- Eddie (Voiced by Yukimasa Kishino) - A kickboxer from Venezuela who trains Shuko's henchmen.
- Cheng-Fu (Voiced by Hisao Egawa) - A master of the Drunken Fist from Hong Kong.
- Duke (Voiced by Hisao Egawa) - Shuko's bodyguard from San Francisco and the last opponent before fighting Shuko himself. A master of Moukohisouken, a fictional art of assassination. Duke shares his name with the final boss from Super Double Dragon.
- Koga Shuko (Voiced by Osamu Saka) - The final boss, Shuko is the evil dictator of Bloody Town. A powerful master of kobujutsu and ninpoh. Shuko was the main antagonist in the Double Dragon movie.
On release, GamePro gave the Neo Geo AES version a negative review. They praised the charge meter and the accuracy of the controls, but criticized the "remarkably subdued graphics" and concluded, "Normally, Double Dragon would just be average, but the silly aspects (the announcer) and goofy fighters (with some very standard moves) get in the way." Reviewing the Neo Geo CD version, Maximum found the game lacked originality, had poorly defined sprites, and suffered from subpar gameplay compared to other Neo Geo CD games. They scored it two out of five stars.