Super Double Dragon
|Super Double Dragon|
North American cover art
Super Double Dragon, known in Japan as Return of Double Dragon (リターン・オブ・
As with previous installments of the series, the player takes control of martial artists Billy and Jimmy in their fight against the Shadow Warriors gang. The objective is to proceed through each stage and defeat all enemies, including a boss. The game consists of seven stages, which includes a casino, an airport, a martial arts gym, a fight atop a moving truck, a city slum, a forest, and the hideout of the boss.
In addition to the punch, kick, and jump buttons, the player now has a guard button for blocking attacks. If the player times the guard button right, their character can not only defend against an enemy's punch, they can also put certain enemies in an arm grab, leaving the enemy vulnerable to successive attacks. The arm grab only works on Williams, Roper, Steve, Jackson and the Chen brothers. There's also a "Dragon Power" gauge under the life gauge, which the player can fill by holding down L or R buttons. While the gauge is filling up, the player can perform special attacks which vary depending on how much power the player has accumulated, which includes a flying hurricane kick. If the power gauge is completely filled, then the player's regular attacks will gain extra strength for a limited period.
Super Double Dragon is one of the few games in the series where the protagonists of Billy and Jimmy Lee were differentiated, not just in their in-game character designs (where the brothers were given different hair styles), but also in their fighting abilities. Particularly, the two characters have different basic punches (in the Japanese version, Jimmy's roundhouse kick is also different).
- Billy Lee (ビリー・リー Birī Rī?) - Player 1's character. A master of Southern Sōsetsuken (南派双截拳 Nanha Sōsetsuken?), which specializes in agility and flexibility. Billy retains his basic design from the NES versions of the previous games (red hair and blue outfit).
- Jimmy Lee (ジミー・リー Jimī Rī?) - Player 2's character. A master of Northern Sōsetsuken (北派双截拳 Hokuha Sōsetsuken?), which prioritizes strength. Jimmy now has a blond flat top hairstyle to distinguish him from Billy (in previous games, Jimmy was only depicted differently in cut-scenes and promotional art).
- Williams (ウィリアムス U~iriamusu?) and Roper (ローパー Rōpā?) - The two common enemy types in the game. Williams has wild blond hair and wears a yellow vest with camouflage pants, while Roper has black hair with a bandanna tied around his head and wears a white vest and pants. Sometimes they come armed with all sorts of weapons, which can be used by the player.
- Baker (ベイカー Beikā?) - Another common enemy type who is always armed with twin dao blades.
- Jeff (ジェフ Jefu?) - A recurring sub-boss who appears in the early stages. He's a palette swap of Billy Lee with darker skin and green clothing, and thus has most of the same techniques (including the hurricane kick).
- Steve (スティーブ Sutību?) - The boss of Mission 1. A suit-wearing expert in mixed martial arts who specializes in kicks. Reappears as a sub-boss in subsequent stages.
- Jackson (ジャクソン Jakuson?) - The boss of Mission 2. A former heavyweight boxing champion. Reappears as a sub-boss in subsequent stages.
- Chen Ron-Fu (チェン・ロン・フー Chen Ron Fū?) and Chen Ron-Pyo (チェン・ロン・ピョウ Chen Ron Pyou?) - The bosses of Mission 3. Twin martial arts expert who operate a training gym in Chinatown. They have the ability to grab the player's kicks and twist his leg. Ron-Fu (in the yellow vest) specializes in kicks, while Ron-Pyo (in the red vest) specializes in punches.
- McGwire (マックガイア Makkugaia?) - The boss of Mission 5. A clown-like fat man who can block attacks with his stomach.
- Carlem (カーレム Kāremu?) - The boss of Mission 6. The giant gatekeeper of the enemy's hideout. His special technique is a middle kick feared by his comrades as "the leg of death."
- Duke (デューク De~yūku?) - The final boss, who uses a flashy martial arts style.
Muneki Ebinuma, who worked as the lead game designer of Super Double Dragon, published a commentary about his involvement in the development of the game in 2004, where he detailed his original plans for the game that he was unable to fully realize due to time constraints. The game was supposed to feature cut-scenes prior to boss battles and between stages, as well as a full ending sequence, in contrast to the lack of in-game plot in the retail release (where no explanation is given as to why Billy and Jimmy Lee are fighting the enemy). The plot would've involved Billy and Jimmy Lee investigating a criminal organization known as the Shadow Warriors following the disappearances of several local martial artists, eventually coming face to face with their leader Duke, who would've been revealed to had been a childhood friend of the Lee brothers. The character of Marian was also supposed to appear in the game as a policewoman who assisted the Lee brothers (an occupation she had in the Double Dragon comic book and animated series produced around the time). While Marian is still mentioned in the instruction manual and packaging description, she never actually appears in the retail version of the game. In addition to the cut-scenes, some of the stages were supposed to have more traps and obstacles, and there was supposed to an additional boss after defeating Duke.
The Japanese version, Return of Double Dragon, features several significant differences from its American counterpart: the title theme and most of the background music were shuffled around (e.g. the Mission 1 theme from the American version is played during Mission 4 in the Japanese version) and the player can perform certain actions which cannot be done in the American version (such as retrieving a boomerang after throwing it or hitting an opponent more than once successively with the hurricane kick). The enemy placement is also different in both versions and weapons such as knives and incendiary bombs do less damage in the Japanese. Enemies can duck end combo blows, thus preventing the player from finishing their combos. The final Mission also features two additional levels before the final battle. An Option Mode is included in the Japanese version as well, allowing players to adjust the game's difficulty level, as well as listen to the game's music and sound effects.
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