Double Dragon (ダブルドラゴン Daburu Doragon?) is a 1987 beat 'em up developed by Technōs Japan and distributed in North America and Europe by Taito Corporation. The game is a spiritual and technological successor to Technos' earlier beat 'em up, Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (released outside of Japan by Taito as Renegade), but introduced several additions such as two-player cooperative gameplay and the ability to arm oneself with an enemy's weapon after disarming them. Double Dragon is considered to be one of the first successful examples of the genre, resulting in the creation of two arcade sequels and several spinoffs, as well as inspiring other companies in creating their own beat 'em ups.
Home versions of the game were released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari ST, Amiga, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Genesis/Mega Drive and Atari Lynx, among other platforms during the series's height of popularity. A remake titled Double Dragon Advance was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. The NES version was re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console in North America on April 28, 2008 at a cost of 500 Wii Points. Nintendo also released the Game Boy version on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in 2011.
Another remake was released for the iOS mobile devices in 2011, which features brand new gameplay, sprites and animations, and music. A new Double Dragon title, Double Dragon Neon, was released in 2012 for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, and is considered a reboot of the series.
The player takes control of martial artist Billy Lee, or his twin brother Jimmy (also known as Hammer and Spike in the supplementary materials for the American arcade release), as they fight their way into the turf of the Black Warriors gang in order to rescue their common love interest Marian. The player character has a repertoire of martial art techniques which they can perform by using the joystick and three action buttons (kick, jump, and punch) individually or in combination. Techniques range from basic punches and kicks, to more elaborate manoeuvres like hair grabbing moves and elbow strikes. When playing with another player, one can assist the other by grabbing their partner's opponent from behind. Caution should be taken, though, as some enemies are able to do the same thing to the players. The player begins the game with a certain number of extra lives and a life gauge which depletes as the player takes hits. If the life gauge runs out or the time limit reaches zero, the player will lose a life.
There is a small variety of enemy characters that the player will face through the course of the game. Certain enemies carry melee weapons, which can be knocked out of their hands and picked up to use against them. Available weapons include baseball bats, whips, throwing knives, and dynamite; in addition, rocks, oil drums, and boxes can be found in certain places.
The game is divided into four different stages or "missions," which consist of a city slum, a factory, the woods, and the gang's hideout. The game normally ends if a single player defeats the final boss alone. However, if two players manage to complete the game together, they are then forced to fight each other in order to determine who will win Marian's affections.
Although the original arcade version featured a color palette of 384 colors, the hardware used consisted of several 8-bit processors running in parallel; 16-bit technology was cost-prohibitive at the time the game was first released. The hardware consisted of multiple HD6309-based processor chips, and multiple processors dedicated to sound, such as the Yamaha YM2151 sound chip.
Developer(s) Technōs Japan
Sega (Sega Master System)
Publisher(s) Taito Corporation (North America)
Technōs Japan (Japan)
Producer(s) Tradewest: Leland Cook and Byron Cook
Designer(s) Yoshihisa Kishimoto
Series Double Dragon
Platform(s) Arcade, Nintendo Entertainment System, PlayChoice-10, Sega Master System, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, IBM PC, Atari ST, Amiga, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Game Boy, Mega Drive/Genesis, Lynx, Mobile, Zeebo, Apple OS, Game Boy Advance, iPhone, Xbox, PS3
Release date(s) (Arcade) 1987
Genre(s) Beat 'em up
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, simultaneous
CPU Main CPU
Hitachi HD6309 12 MHz
Hitachi HD63701 6 MHz Sub Cpu
Motorola M6809 1.5 MHz
YM2151 3.579 MHz
2xMSM5205 375 kHz
Resolution: 256x240 (H) 57.44 Hz
Color depth: 12bit, 4096 colors.
On screen colors: 384
On screen sprites: 64
Tiles: 3 tiles as 8x8 for character map, 16x16 for sprites, 16x16 for background.
Tile-maps: 2 maps, 512x512 for background, 256x256 for character map.
Palettes: Every tile uses 15 unique colors (1 color reserved as transparent) via one of the its own 8 dedicated tile palette. Hence 3x8x16 = 384 colors.