Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Arcade - Double Dragon


Double Dragon

Back in the heady days of arcades, there were always certain games I would approach before others to put my 10p's into, and Double Dragon wasn't one of them.

WHAT? WASN'T one of them? But Double Dragon is a classic game! A genre-defining moment in the history of Video Games! Well... yes, that's true. Let's not forget I was but 7 years old when this came out, and when I became a regular arcade hunter, I was more interested in the likes of Paperboy, Indiana Jones, Rampage, etc. I'd watched people play this, but always kept myself away from it.

But why was this? Maybe I considered the outright pugilistic nature of the game too "adult" for me? That's a laugh looking back at some of the other games I played... Anyway, I remember an occasion in the "Oasis" amusements in Southport where a guy had put a quid in for 7 credits. I asked him if I could join in. I eventually used my credit... and all his... and reached the end of the game.

And thus, I began playing on my own, and discovering that the whole game was terribly easy except one part of the forest section.

This bit, with the broken bridge. I spent entire credits trying to jump this and dying every time. But hey, adopt, adapt and improve, practice makes perfect and any other phrase I could coin, eventually I got the hang of it.

Hold on, I've written all this gobbledegook and not one mention of the game itself, the story or anything! That can be swiftly remedied. Plot wise, it doesn't get much more standard, to be honest. Bad guys kidnap your girl, you go off to rescue her, beating up anyone who tries to stop you, and if you have a friend you can take your brother along for the ride. All the basic ingredients of a fighting game are there, and with buttons to punch, kick and jump, there's many combinations available, and different moves available according to what position you and your enemy are in. For instance, you can punch three times to knock over your opponent, but move in a little closer during the combo and you'll get them in some sort of lock position and pummel their head in, or even give them a throw. You can combine buttons for flying kicks and the infamous back-elbow move that virtually ensures completion of the game. Or, most controversially, a double tap of the joystick engages the head-butt move, which you will only use to look good, because as moves go, it's crap.

Enemies range from standard bad guys to huge hulks and to fast martial arts experts. Oh, and there's a couple of women in there too. And a man with a gun. No-one else could afford one, it seems. However, they do manage to afford some Baseball bats, rocks, dynamite, knives and whips. All the best weapons to use against one man in his quest to get his woman back, then.

But was it any good?

Well... yes. It was. If you can discipline yourself not to use the back-elbow move all through the game. It really does spoil it, because using everything else in your move set allows the game to remain a challenge throughout. As soon as you start to use that move, though, it becomes more than just easy, it's an absolute doddle. The scenery becomes more of a hazard than your opponents.

No comments:

Post a Comment