When Technos released Double Dragon in arcades in 1987, it marked the next evolution of the side-scrolling beat’em up genre. It quickly became a popular game and would spawn two sequels. The innovations in the series also inspired other companies to try to create memorable games in the genre like Final Fight and X-Men. iiRcade players can now experience these genre-defining games on one platform together.
Billy and Jimmy Lee begin their martial arts journey in a war against the Black Warriors. Seeking to find a weak spot in the brother’s armor, the Black Warriors kidnap Billy and Jimmy’s friend Marian in the streets and hold her hostage, taunting the Lee Brother to follow them into their turf.
Beginning in a city slum, players can play solo or together as the Lee Brothers and start pounding on the gang members that kidnapped their friend. Two of Double Dragon’s innovations were that it could be played simultaneously with another player and that hidden moves existed that players could perform. Headbutts, elbow smashes, hair pulls, and other attacks can be utilized by the Lee Brothers to make sure the Black Warriors pay for their crimes. Outside of the city slums, the fight expands to a factory, forest, and eventually the headquarters of the Black Warriors. If Billy and Jimmy are successful in defeating the leader, they will finally duel each other to find out who’s taking Marian home as the true hero.
As a staple game in the genre of beat’em ups, Double Dragon plays just like the original arcade cabinet on the iiRcade. Even better, the game is pre-loaded on all iiRcade cabinets. Though more advanced games in the genre would quickly surpass what Double Dragon brought the gaming industry, it still holds up as a must-play.
Double Dragon 2:
Released just a year after the original game, Double Dragon 2 took the essence of what its predecessor offered and refined the formula to make for an excellent sequel. The second adventure of the Lee Brothers starts with a shock, with Marian being gunned down by the leader of the Black Warriors.
While the first Double Dragon could feel sluggish at times, Double Dragon 2 sets the perfect pace of speed and control for a more playable experience. The punch and kick buttons of the second game may confuse beat ’em-up players at first, as whatever direction you are facing will indicate which button will attack in front of you. For example, if you face the left side of the screen, button one will punch, where button two will perform a reverse kick. This changes when facing right, as button two, will now punch, and button one will perform a reverse kick. This does take a few minutes to get used to, mainly if you just played the original Double Dragon, but it also becomes an excellent addition to thinking about how your attacks will change.
Players will also find the challenge factor to the game increased and will need to mix up their attacks and strategies to beat their foes. For example, players of the original Double Dragon will note that the elbow smash was the key to easily defeating most enemies. This same attack is available in the sequel, but the enemies are often too intelligent and too fast to walk into repeat attempts at the move.
As the most rounded game in the series, Double Dragon 2 plays and performs excellently on the iiRcade. The sequel also takes top honors for the best soundtrack among the games and sounds terrific on the iiRcade’s speakers. So if you can only choose one Double Dragon game to play, Double Dragon 2 is the best route to go.
Double Dragon 3:
The third arcade installment of the Double Dragon series finds the Lee Brothers traveling the globe searching for the Rosetta Stones. On their journey, they will travel to China, Japan, Italy and finally unveil the mystery of the Rosetta Stones in Egypt.
You will want to bring a buddy with you to play co-op in this game as the enemies pull no punches. No matter what stage you are in, the enemies are extremely punishing and can knock you down as soon as you stand up unless you learn to move quickly. If you get stuck, it will be up to your co-op partner to help break some faces so you can gather yourself for a minute.
Thank goodness the iiRcade allows unlimited coins for this game, as not only will it allow you to continue after you find yourself taking a cheap beating, but also so you can purchase power-ups. At the beginning of almost every stage, you will find a shop to buy additional fighters, energy, weapons, and more advanced fighting techniques. If you wanted to get these items on an actual Double Dragon 3 arcade cabinet, you would need to pay another quarter to get them. Even with all the power-ups, though, cheap attacks from the enemies can put you down and out quickly and strip away those precious upgrades.
Compared to the previous two games, Double Dragon 3 sits far below the pecking order of games to enjoy in the trilogy. Therefore, only those intrigued by its significant differences from its predecessors or the most hardcore Double Dragon fans should check it out.
To see all the games available on the iiRcade system check out https://store.iircade.com/games.