1-2 players, horizontal game
Telegames, for the Atari Lynx
Running rampant through the city, a gang of vicious street thugs has kidnapped the lady Marion. In retribution, martial artists Billy and Jimmy Lee set out to rescue her, determined to fight anyone in their way. This is the humble premise of DOUBLE DRAGON, an arcade game that spawned two sequels, over a dozen home versions, a cartoon series, and countless imitators. Courtesy of Telegames, this classic title has now reached the Atari Lynx. Four skill levels are available, as well as a practice mode and the ability to play with or against a second player. Whether bare-fisted or armed with a variety of weapons, Lynx players can now take the fight to the streets.
In theory, DOUBLE DRAGON should work on two levels, appealing to gamers who want an action-packed fighting title and to collectors looking for a quality adaptation. Unfortunately, this card does neither, and the result is a mild disappointment. Though there's plenty of action, compared to the fighting games popular today, this title sports a pace that seems plodding by comparison. Devotees of the arcade version will notice numerous subtle, but fundamental differences here. These include abbreviated levels, enemies that take a high number of hits, and the lack of most of the original's end-level villains.
The game is fairly difficult for a variety of reasons. You start with three lives, but there are no ways to get extra lives, recover health, or continue a game. The controls are the worst culprit. By pressing button A or B, alone or with the joypad, the player punches, kicks, jumps, jabs, grabs, and throws enemies and objects. As a result, the controls are unresponsive at times and behave unexpectedly at others. While the game remains playable, all of this adds up to create a grueling contest that players may find is more trouble than it's worth.
The Lynx adaptation attempts to duplicate the graphics of the arcade, and partially succeeds. The cartoony characters and scenery have been retained, though the sprites are drawn much larger on the screen to retain the level of detail. The minimal animation of the original DOUBLE DRAGON has been trimmed further by the removal of more frames, making the game look jumpy at times. Sound effects have suffered the most; powerful thuds and punches have been reduced to tinny echoes. A number of tunes play in the background, but they are mostly uninteresting.
DOUBLE DRAGON is not a terrible game, but it is also not an especially captivating title, either. Tolerant players who don't mind this card's leisurely pace, translation liberties and quirky controls will be sufficiently entertained. More demanding gamers, however, should not set their expectations too high, lest they be disappointed.
GAMEPLAY: 5 GRAPHICS: 7 SOUND: 5.5 OVERALL: 5