Double Dragon (series)

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For other uses, see Double Dragon (disambiguation).
Double Dragon
Double Dragon logo.png
The title screen of the 1987 arcade game
Genres Beat-'em-up
Developers Technōs Japan
Publishers Technōs Japan
Platforms Arcade, Nintendo Entertainment System, Master System, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Game Boy, Mega Drive/Genesis, Lynx, Game Gear, Super NES, Jaguar, Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, PlayStation, PlayStation 3, Game Boy Advance, Xbox 360, iOS
Platform of origin Arcade
First release Double Dragon

Double Dragon (ダブルドラゴン?) is a beat 'em up video game series initially developed by Technōs Japan. The series stars twin martial arts, Billy and Jimmy Lee, as they fight against various adversaries and rivals. Due to the popularity of the game series, an animated series and live-action film adaptation have also been produced.[1]


The original Double Dragon by Technōs was first released as a coin-operated arcade game in 1987. A Nintendo Entertainment System version also produced by Technōs was released the following year, followed by a Game Boy version in 1990. Various licensed versions of the games were also produced by other developers for various gaming platforms such as the Master System, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Genesis, and the Lynx. Versions of Double Dragon for home computers were also released as well. A Game Gear game titled Double Dragon also exists, but it is not another port of the original game. It is based on Streets of Rage instead, especially the main character, Billy Lee, who strongly resembles Axel Stone, the protagonist of Streets of Rage series.

Two Double Dragon sequels were released for the arcade: Double Dragon II: The Revenge in 1988 and Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone in 1990. Like the original, Technōs produced versions for the NES in 1989 and 1991 respectively. A fourth game was released exclusively for the Super NES in 1992, titled Super Double Dragon. It was the last game produced by the original team at Technōs, and the last to retain the beat-'em-up gameplay of the original.

In 1994, Tradewest released Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls for the Super NES and Genesis in North America and Europe, a competitive fighting game developed by Leland Interactive based on the Double Dragon animated TV series by Bohbot Entertainment. A Jaguar version was released by Telegames as well.

Another fighting game was produced by Technōs, simply titled Double Dragon, was released for the Neo-Geo arcade and home console in 1995. A Neo-Geo CD version was also released, as well as a PlayStation version by Urban Plant. It was the last Double Dragon game produced by Technōs before the company went out of business.

In 2003, a remake of the original Double Dragon, titled Double Dragon Advance, was produced by Atlus and Million (the copyrights holder of the Double Dragon series at the time) for the Game Boy Advance.

In 2011, another remake was released for the iPhone, developed by Brizo Interactive and published by Aksys Games.

On April 4, 2012, WayForward Technologies announced that they would be developing Double Dragon Neon, a self-parody of the series.[2] The game was released September 11, 2012 for PlayStation Network, one day later for Xbox Live, and will be released for PC in the first quarter of 2014.[3][4]

On April 5, 2013, Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons, a 3D remake of the original Double Dragon II, was released on the Xbox Live Arcade by game developer Gravity.[5]

A compilation of the three arcade titles, titled Double Dragon Trilogy, was released by DotEmu in 2013 for iOS, Android and Steam platforms.

Other appearances and related games[edit]

  • Super Spike V'Ball (NES) - The NES version which features Billy and Jimmy as playable characters.
  • WWF Superstars (arcade) - Features a cameo by Billy as one of the game's spectators.
  • River City Ransom (NES) - The Double Dragon theme music plays during the battle against Randy and Andy, two characters based on Billy and Jimmy. The Japanese counterparts of Randy and Andy, Ryūichi and Ryūji, are recurring characters in the later Kunio-kun games.
  • Battletoads & Double Dragon (NES, GB, Genesis, SNES) - A crossover game between Double Dragon and the Battletoads.
  • Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer (Neo-Geo) - Burnov from the Neo-Geo Double Dragon game makes a cameo as Captain Atlantis' opponent in his ending.
  • Rage of the Dragons (Neo-Geo) - An unofficial homage to the Double Dragon produced by Evoga and Noise Factory. The main characters are named Billy and Jimmy Lewis.

Related media[edit]

A Double Dragon comic book limited series loosely based on the games was published by Marvel Comics in 1991, which lasted six issues from July to December. The comic book was written by Dwayne McDuffie for the first four issues and by Tom Brevoort and Mike Kanterovich for the final two.

A Double Dragon animated series was produced by DiC Entertainment and Bohbot Productions, which originally aired in syndication for two seasons from 1993 to 1995, lasting 26 episodes.

A film version of Double Dragon was released in theaters in 1994 directed by James Yukich and starring Scott Wolf and Mark Dacascos as the Lee brothers.

Recurring elements[edit]


Lee brothers[edit]

Billy and Jimmy Lee, as depicted on the packaging artwork of Double Dragon Advance. Their poses in this image was modeled after the fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris in Way of the Dragon.

For most of the series, players take control of martial artist Billy Lee, who battles against various adversaries such as gang members and rival fighters. He is often assisted by his twin brother Jimmy Lee, who usually serves as the second player's character in most of the games. The Lee brothers are characterized as successors of a fictional martial art known as Sōsetsuken (双截拳?, "Twin Sever Fist", also known as Sōsaiken), which combines techniques from other styles such as karate, tai chi and Shorinji Kempo.[6]

The duo were actually unnamed when the original arcade game was initially released in Japan,[7] although the names Hammer and Spike were given to them in the cabinet and promotional flyer produced by Taito for the overseas version.[8] The names Billy and Jimmy Lee were first established in the Famicom/NES version of the first game and consequently used in other console versions and tie-in products, such as The Original Sound of Double Dragon soundtrack album,[6][9] but were not actually used in the arcade versions until Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone. Billy Lee's name comes from a combination of Bruce Lee's last name with the first name of his character Billy Lo from the movie Game of Death, while Jimmy is named after musician Jimmy Page[10]

Because of the differences between the arcade and console versions of the games, the designs of the Lee brothers tend to vary throughout the series. While the original arcade game has Player 1 controlling a blond-haired Lee brother dressed in a blue outfit and Player 2 as a brown-haired brother in red, the NES version had their hair and outfit colors switched around: Billy was now the brown-haired brother in blue, while Jimmy became the blond-haired brother in red. Super Double Dragon was the first game to have the Lee brothers sport different hairstyles during gameplay, with Billy being given a laid down hairstyle and Jimmy a spiky flat top, a design convention adopted by later games such as Double Dragon Advance and the smartphone versions, although some of the promotional art and in-game visuals for the earlier games (such as the ending photograph of Double Dragon II: The Revenge and the story sequences/character portraits of Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones) had already depicted the Lee brothers with differing hairstyles. Other games, such as the Neo-Geo competitive fighting game and Double Dragon Neon, depict the Lee brothers as identical twins like in the first arcade game.

The two brothers are shown to be romantically interested in a young woman named Marian, a student in their dojo.[6][9] The arcade version of the first game (along with most console versions) can end with both brothers fighting each other over Marian if two players reach the end together, with the survivor ultimately winning Marian's affections. The Famicom/NES version, which establishes Marian to be Billy's long-term girlfriend, changes the story so that Jimmy was actually the leader of the Black Warriors (a change made as a result of the lack of two-player cooperative play in that version) and was the one who orchestrated Marian's kidnapping.

Enemy characters[edit]

The enemy organization in the original Double Dragon are the Black Warriors gang, who are characterized as the dominant criminal organization in New York City after a nuclear war has left the city deprived of any law and order. Much like the Lee brothers themselves, the names of the gang members were established throughout the console versions of the series. The gang's original leader is the machine gun-toting Willy Mackey (commonly known simply as Willy), who wishes to acquire the knowledge of the Lee brothers' martial arts for himself and orders the kidnapping of Marian as ransom. Recurring members of the gang throughout the various versions of the first game include the thugs Williams and Rowper, dominatrix Linda, and bald strongman Abobo.[6][9] The arcade version also featured two unnamed head swaps of other characters (namely of Abobo and the Lee brothers) as end-stage bosses: although these characters were absent in the NES version, which instead introduced a unique enemy, a Chinese martial artist named Chin Taimei. The Lee brother head swap would later appear in the Mark III/Master System version released by Sega, where he was named Jeff.[11]

The name of the gang would change in later games. While the arcade version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge had Willy and the Black Warriors retaliating against their earlier defeat by gunning down Marian,[12] the Famicom version replaced Willy with a nameless fighter who led a mysterious armed group following the dissolution of the original Black Warriors.[13] While unnamed in the Japanese version, the English localization of the NES version would refer to this organization as the Shadow Warriors (or the Black Shadow Warriors in the manual), a name later used for an unrelated enemy group in Super Double Dragon, as well as Willy's own gang in Double Dragon Advance. The Shadow Warriors was also the name of the villain group in the Double Dragon animated series and its tie-in game, Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls, where they consisted almost entirely of new characters.

The names Williams and Rowper were derived from the characters played by Jim Kelly and John Saxon respectively in the movie Enter The Dragon.[10] Other character seem to follow a similar naming convention such as Linda, who shares her name with Bruce Lee's widow Linda Lee Cadwell, and the enemy character Bolo from Double Dragon II: The Revenge, who shares his name with actor Bolo Yeung.[14]


The gameplay in most of the games takes place in a pseudo 3D perspective like in Renegade and later beat-'em-ups, in which the player character can move in four directions but are always facing left or right. The player can perform a variety of unarmed fighting techniques against their enemies, as well use melee weapons such as baseball bats and throwing knives normally obtained from enemies. In some installments, there are techniques that can be done in combination with another player.


  1. ^ "Double Dragon: Neon - Quick History - IGN Video". 2012-04-10. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  2. ^ "Double Dragon is Getting a Flashy Neon Reboot - IGN". 2012-04-04. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  3. ^ "Double Dragon: Neon Release Date - News". 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  4. ^ "Slender coming to consoles, Krautscape and Double Dragon: Neon hitting Steam". Polygon. 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  5. ^ "Double Dragon 2 Remake Heading To Xbox Live Arcade Next Week - News". 2013-03-26. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Double Dragon Famicom version flyer". Disk-kun. 
  7. ^ "Double Dragon Japanese arcade flyer by Technos Japan". The Arcade Flyers Archive. 
  8. ^ "Double Dragon American flyer by Taito". The Arcade Flyers Archive. 
  9. ^ a b c "Original Sound of Double Dragon ■ Arcade Version ■". The Video Game Music Database. 
  10. ^ a b * Gorges, Florent (March 2009). "La Naissance de Kunio Kun et Double Dragon". Pix'n Love (in French) (Edition Pix'n Love) (#07): 34–49. ISBN 978-2-918272-00-7. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  11. ^ "Double Dragon (ダブルドラゴン / 双截龍) - Japan Manual - Scans - SMS Power!". 
  12. ^ "Double Dragon II: The Revenge Japanese arcade flyer by Technos Japan". The Arcade Flyers Archive. 
  13. ^ "Double Dragon II: The Revenge Famicom version flyer". Disk-kun. 
  14. ^ "VC ダブルドラゴンII The Revenge 敵キャラクター紹介". Nintendo of Japan Homepage (in Japanese). 

External links[edit]