Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls
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|Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls|
Cover art of the SNES version
|Developer(s)||Leland Interactive Media (SNES, MD/GEN)
|Publisher(s)||Tradewest (SNES, MD/GEN)
Williams Entertainment (Jaguar)
Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls is a 1994 American-produced sequel to Technōs Japan's Double Dragon series. Unlike the previously produced Double Dragon games, Technōs had little or no credited involvement in the development of the game outside of licensing the series' name to publisher Tradewest (the publisher of the first NES version of Double Dragon and the Super NES title Super Double Dragon). Instead, the game was developed by Leland Interactive Media, a subsidiary of Tradewest. Unlike the previous games, which were side-scrolling fighting action games or beat-em-ups, Shadow Falls is a head-to-head fighting game based on the animated Double Dragon TV series in the style of Capcom's 1991 arcade-hit Street Fighter II. Technōs would eventually produce its own fighting game based on the Double Dragon movie the following year simply titled Double Dragon for the Neo Geo. Shadow Falls was originally released for the Super NES and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, and later released for the Atari Jaguar by Telegames (publisher of the Atari Lynx version of the first Double Dragon) in 1995.
The game follows the 8-way directional pad/stick with the 6-button layout common to most fighting games (including Street Fighter II), which at the time consisted of weak, medium and strong punches and kicks. The Genesis version supports the standard 3-button controller (making use of the start button to toggle between punches and kicks), as well as the 6-button controller released the previous year. The characters have several special moves, as well as finishing moves called "Overkills" where the losing character has their own unique death animation when they are defeated by a certain type of basic attack.
The game features four game modes: Tournament, Vs. Battle, Quest and Watch Mode. Tournament is an arcade-style single player mode, where the player competes against a series of computer-controlled opponents, with each character having their own ending. Vs. Battle is a two player mode where one player battles another. Quest is an alternate single player mode where one competes in a series of plot-based battles. In Quest Mode, the player can choose to play as one of the Lee brothers, who are on a mission to stop the Shadow Master from releasing a plague, or play as one of the Shadow Warriors, who must compete to replace the Shadow Master. The player can also alter the storyline by having Billy be the Shadow Boss while Jimmy is good. In Quest Mode, the player can also adjust the attributes of their own character. Watch Mode allows the player to pit two computer-controlled characters against each other. There is also a Dossiers mode, where the player gets to view the game's character profiles, as well as an Options mode to adjust the difficulty setting, control configuration and other features.
Shadow Falls has a character roster of twelve fighters - ten immediately playable characters (the two "Double Dragons" and eight Shadow Warriors) and two end bosses. Many of the characters are taken from the Double Dragon animated series that aired during the game's release. Only Bones, Sekka, Blade, and Dominique are original characters, with Blade's design being based on the generic Shadow Warrior soldiers who were on the show. Dominique and the Shadow Master are playable in the Super NES and Mega Drive/Genesis versions via a code. In the Jaguar version, Blade, Trigger Happy, and Icepick were removed, and Dominique was added to the immediate roster.
The Double Dragons
- Billy Lee - Raised by the Oldest Dragon after being left at the Dragon Dojo by his father John Lee to find his twin brother, he was raised as a Dragon Master to obey the code to the letter. After meeting his brother Jimmy, he decides to fight and becomes a Double Dragon. He is noble and only fights when he must.
- Jimmy Lee - Raised by the Shadow Master and fooled into believing the Shadow Master was his father, he was raised to be the Shadow Boss and be evil. After being betrayed by the Shadow Warrior he joins with Billy as a Double Dragon. He is reckless and always gets in trouble.
The Shadow Warriors
- Shadow Master - The master of all Shadow Warriors, he is evil and deceptive. His ultimate goal is to cover the world in darkness and shadow. He has many powers which include shapeshifting and teleporting, and he is able to trap warriors who fail him in the Shadow Mural. He has a scythe, the lower half of which can detach and be used as the sword. He is a secret character and the final boss of the game.
- Dominique - A dangerous dominatrix with a whip and knives at the tips of her high heels. She is the sub-boss that precedes the Shadow Master and is also a secret character.
- Jawbreaker - Extremely tall, he will eat anything and anyone. He has a large jaw with sharp teeth and can bite a chunk out of anything.
- Icepick - A computer expert and the brains of the organization. He fights using a sword and dagger.
- Bones - A resurrected skeleton who is influenced by rock n' roll and has a tattoo of a cobra on his forehead. He wields a laser rifle.
- Sickle - Rude and cruel. He fights with two rather large red sickles.
- Blade - A literally heartless cyborg who looks similar to the low ranking Shadow warriors in the cartoon. His weapons are crimson blades on his gauntlets.
- Trigger Happy - A large brute who loves to destroy and shoot at things, he loves chaos. He uses a hand mounted blaster to fire at unsuspecting people.
- Countdown - Robotically enhanced. He attacks with shoulder mounted rocket blasters and laser vision.
- Sekka - A cyborg similar to Blade who has skin made of armor and claws on the end of her gauntlets.
The original release for the SNES generally received mixed reviews. GamePro described the game as an unoriginal but competent Street Fighter II clone with good character sprites and a variety of options. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly commented that the game would appeal to younger gamers with its cartoon style and easy-to-perform moves, but summarized it as a strictly average entry among the many fighting games on the market. They scored it a 5.25 out of 10. The Super NES version also received scores of 5.75 out of 10 from Game Informer and 3.1/5 from Nintendo Power.
The Sega Genesis version received a rating of 2/10 from Sega-16.
The later Atari Jaguar version received generally negative reviews. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly unanimously agreed that the game is better than the Jaguar's previous fighting games (Kasumi Ninja and Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) but substandard in absolute terms. Their chief criticisms were that the Jaguar version has the same graphics and audio as the by-then outdated SNES version, and has far worse controls, with the use of the Jaguar controller's number pad making it almost impossible to execute special attacks. GamePro's reviewer expressed little problem with the controls but still panned the game, criticizing the "headache-inducing music" and arguing that it is unacceptable for a game which was graphically average even on 16-bit systems to be ported to a 64-bit system with no enhancements aside from the backgrounds. A reviewer for Next Generation stated that "while the 12 characters in the game have some theoretically interesting designs, the art is flat and the animation is stilted at best." He also concurred that the background improvements in the Jaguar version were not enough to make the game's graphics better than mediocre, and gave it two out of five stars.
- "Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls Release Information for Super Nintendo". GameFAQs. 2015-09-01. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
- "Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls Release Information for Genesis". GameFAQs. 1994-08-01. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
- "Double Dragon V Release Information for Jaguar". GameFAQs. 1995-04-01. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
- "Retro Review of Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls," Game Informer 174 (October 2007): 134.
- "ProReview: Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls". GamePro. IDG (61): 54–55. August 1994.
- "Review Crew: Double Dragon V". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Sendai Publishing (60): 33. July 1994.
- "Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls Critic Reviews for Super Nintendo". GameFAQs. 2015-09-01. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
- "Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls Critic Reviews for Genesis". GameFAQs. 1994-08-01. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
- "Review Crew: Double Dragon V". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Sendai Publishing (70): 38. May 1995.
- "ProReview: Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls". GamePro. IDG (70): 90. May 1995.
- "Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls". Next Generation. Imagine Media (6): 102. June 1995.