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SCORES EXPLAINED:

5.0 Perfect
4.5 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.5 Good
3.0 Fair
2.5 Weak
2.0 Poor
1.5 Bad
1.0 Terrible
0.5 Atrocious
0.0 Your Mom


Funkmaster V Reviews


7800 Rank: Not Ranked

Genre: Beat 'Em Up

Awards: None
Ow. I Bet She's Uncomfortable Pros: All Arcade Levels Included/ Stiff Challenge
Cons: Horrible Character Models/ Stripped Down Move Sets
Crack! That's the Sound of yo Melon Head!


Overview: I reviewed this game for the old site in like 2003/2004 and gave Double Dragon a friggin' 4.5. I have no idea what I was smoking back in the day, but old age and wisdom has brought my score back down to earth. Though this seminal beat em up can be enjoyable on the Prosystem,
serious problems exist.

Graphics: I don't know if there's another game in the library that features the complete dichotomy of good graphics and absolute sheeeeeite graphics the way that Double Dragon does. First, on the positive side, the backgrounds look GREAT. Especially the lair of Shadow Boss. Although the statues do not stab you with their spears like they do in the arcade, it still looks breathtaking... if you can have your breath taken away by Atari 7800 graphics, that is. The urban blight of the first two levels mixed with the weird Japanese Engrish billboards (MATIN, English Tear, and Scoop Moto!, eg) deliver a fantastic 80's nostalgic vibe. On the poo poo side of things, the character models are laughably bad. The big, bald muscle men (named Adobo, in Double Dragon lore) are the same sprites as the bald wrestler from Title Match Pro Wrestling. That's not a great thing considering he's the best looking character. The women at least have big boobs, to satisfy your 8 bit lust.

Sound: There are a few loops in Double Dragon that sound similar to the arcade game. There are different pop and crunch sounds for different strikes and hits, and a groan for a defeated enemy. The main ditty that loops can get on your nerves if you are in the mood.

Gameplay: This is standard beat 'em up fare, with a grown man punching YOUR girlfriend in the face to start the mission off with that good, clean, Christian vibe. You AND a buddy can hit the streets looking for some #metoo revenge. The gameplay feels different than the arcade, and Double Dragon purists will probably hate it. The AI enemies have two attack patterns: one where they are just walking around and another where they are in hot pursuit of your mini vest wearing azz. At your disposal are a handful of moves, but sadly, there are no grappling, pro wrestling or Judo moves. You DO have punching, kicking, spin kicks, jump kicks, elbow smashes and a groovy headbutt that makes your character look really funny. Weapons are sparse, but the game can be controlled by moving carefully. There are ladders to climb, platforms to jump off of, holes in bridges to figure out how to avoid and pits with spikes. God... you gotta love the 80's. Pits with spikes in every game. The memories... AMIRIGHT?

Interpretation: Activision did a better job than the Nintendo port at recapturing the arcade feel of the game. Deciding which game is better is up to you, the consensus is that the NES flava is better... but I think the NES version is too weird for me to enjoy that either. All four Arcade Missions are in the Atari version, which is great. Understandably, some touches are missing. Like when a big guy breaks through a wall in the Arcade and scares you silly... that is not here, it is replaced with a preexisting hole and the guy just moseys out with the other peons. Also, the hideout's gargoyles do not jab at you with their spears like they do in the arcade. That's quite OK, because the game is hard enough as it is.

Value: (By the way... doesn't the Shadow Boss on the back of the box look just like James Caan {Sonny from Godfather} with weird hair?) The fact that there is two player simultaneous punch/ kick action gives this game a shot in the arm game-life wise. Oddly enough, if both players defeat the Shadow Boss and are alive at the end of the game... they have to fight each other for the girl. Boy, that's some caveman shiz right there... and it makes you wonder... what's SHE been doing on the side?

Overall: There is a graphic hack ROM of this game in the Atari Ageforums that looks so good, it makes you wanna throw this version in the trash. With the fixed graphics, there's a decent game underneath it all. I always thought if Activision just released this as an original Beat 'Em Up, tweaked the backgrounds, and dropped the Double Dragon moniker, people would have enjoyed this for what it is. If you CAN do that, bump this game by a full point. But, trying to pass this game off as Double Dragon just doesn't cut it, babes. Oh yeah... if you see the girl from the end of the game, have her call me. One night on the Mothership and she won't be confused about where her loyalties lie, no mo'.



Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Mitch from www.Atari7800.org for allowing the use of his screenshots for this review.


Other Reviews:
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 4.5 out of 5.0 (Excellent)
Digital Press: 8 out of 10
The Atari Times: 5 out of 10
Video Game Critic: F