Double Dragon (SMS)

Double Dragon (SMS) Box Art

Double Dragon

System: NES

Release Date: June 1988

Developer: Arc System Works

Publisher: Sega

Genre: Beat ‘em Up

Hey look at this, Double Dragon is back, this time on the Sega Master System. Arc System Works become a major fighting game manufacturer over time, but here is one of their early titles. They certainly haven’t gotten their act together, yet, though. This follows the arcade game, just as the NES game does as best I can tell. You are Billy and Jimmy (codenamed Spike and Hammer) and it’s up to you to save… Mary Ann.

The Sega version of Double Dragon does not have the level up system of the NES. Instead, all moves are available from the start. The punches seem to have more range than the kicks in this version, making them the more favorable attack. The back elbow and jumping roundhouse are used to attack enemies behind you, but everything seems to leave you vulnerable. Even the flying jump kick is prone to counter attack.

You move through four missions with unlimited continues (you’ll need them) through the first three. Once you get to mission four, once you run out of lives, it’s game over. Doing my post play research, I did see that if you preform a bunch (like 10-30) of jumping roundhouse kicks, you keep unlimited continues. I can’t confirm, though, as I don’t want to play through the first three missions again.

Graphics: 1.5

The graphics are bad in comparison to other titles of the time and the NES version. The flickering is especially bad.

Sound: 2.0

The music is recognizable, but not particularly good. This is a disappointing use of the Sega sound chip.

Gameplay: 1.5

The hit detection is very poor. The controls are very loose and not responsive.

Difficulty: 1.0

Difficulty comes from bad controls and poor graphics.

Fun Factor: 1.0

This is not a very fun port of the arcade hit.

Overall Grade: 1.4

Double Dragon earns a D+. This is not a good game. I would stay away from it if I were you.

Double Dragon (SMS) Video Review on YouTube