The Fight of the Dragons
The computer and video game company, Tradewest, is the producer of this appealing game. Tradewest is an American video game company, based in Corsicana, Texas, that generated numerous video and computer games in the 1980’s to the early 1990’s. The company is best recognizes as the publisher of Battletoads and many more video games in North America and maybe all over the world.
Tradewest was founded in 1986 by John Rowe, Leland Cook, and Byron Cook. This game company started out by contriving arcade games in the United States such as Victory Road, Alpha Mission, Redline Racer, and Super Off-Road. In 1987, Tradewest put all the arcade games behind and began applying on the home consoles market. Tradewest purchased Cinematronics’s video game developer and helper of El Cajon, California whose previous games included Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace and recall it to be The Leland Corporation. John Rowe was chosen to run this company because of his successful history in the video game industry.
In 1994, the Tradewest industry was renamed Williams Entertainment Incorporation, and also the end of the Tradewest as a company. The company, Williams Entertainment Inc, became WMS’s, Williams and Midway brands, official division and the doorway to the video game console market. WMS in 1996 was losing interest and becoming bankrupt. Williams Entertainment, Inc, was transferred to Midway who characterizes the business to become the division Midway Home Entertainment Incorporation. Like it was, the division served as Midway to the home console market, which could now develop and publish video games without the help of any publishers. The company employs Byron Cook as president of the Midway Home Entertainment and John Rowe as the Vice-Chairman and Director of Product Development to develop and publish games for Nintendo Game Cube, Microsoft Xbox, Sony Playstation, and PC.
Back to the 1980’s through the 1990’s, Tradewest made and published a few video games for the Nintendo Entertainment System console. The games were addictive, memorable, and popular. Those games were Battletoads, R.C. Pro-Am II, High Speed, and Double Dragon.
Double Dragon was the first game that Tradewest made in June, 1988, for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The story of this game is about two twin brothers, Jimmy and Billy Lee. They were both trained in the style of Sou-Setsu-Ken. Sou-Setsu-Ken is a mix of other fighting style such as karate, judo, kung-fu, etc. Billy and Jimmy were set in a post-apocalyptic New York to manage a small martial art school for the beginners and amateurs. One day, Billy’s girlfriend, Marian, was captured and kidnapped by the “Black Warriors”; the leader of this gang is led by a man named Willy. The Black Warriors beseech the Lee brothers to admit their Sou-Setsu-Ken arts style in exchange for Marian’s freedom. The Lee brothers take battle on a rescue to save Marian and destroy and kill the Black Warriors.
Double Dragon is a platforming, fighting/beat-em-up, and a little of RPG element game. It is a platforming game because you can move left, right, up, and down in a third perspective view while navigating through a bunch of enemies. There are four missions with the scenes: the city in New York, the industrial area, the forest, leading to a cave and a temple sort of thing, and a hideout, which is covered with dozens of enemies, including Willy. The city in New York is more like a practice stage for you. The scene starts off with a bunch of thugs. One of the thugs punches Marian in the stomach or somewhere around there and takes her away. The first mission starts and you will be greeted by two thugs. At the end of the mission or level, you fight a huge, buff, earth guy who usually comes out of the rock walls. The second mission begins the player(s) in the industrial area, greeted with two sorts of pushovers, and also fights a boss that is strong with purple-bluish hair and is wearing purple pants.
The third mission takes place in a forest, then two caves, and into a mountainside or something like that. The forest introduces the two thugs from the city, and at the end, the two earth guys. The caves are filled with stalactites. They fall of the ceiling in random or a pattern, so the player(s) has to time the moves. Then, you have to jump onto conveyor belts with platforms on it. If you fall, you will meet with two pushovers from the second mission and after that, the stage starts over. If you successfully jumped on the conveyor belts with platforms and made on to the other side, you will be greeted with two muscular guys that was first seen as a boss at the end of mission two, but with two of them and the color of their hair and pants are brown. The cave leads to another cave, but with twice the enemies. The thugs make the appearance in the caves and leads to jumping off cliffs and fighting two earth guys at the end; instead of brown, they are green. After the battle it leads to a mountainside where you fight butch- looking girls. Then find the door at the bottom right of the mountain, but to open the door the player(s) attacks the butch-looking girls above the door. Kill enough of them, the door opens to the next mission. There is no boss to defeat (if you count the girls a boss).
The fourth mission starts off with a place that looks like Death’s home with all the skulls, fire, death traps, pits, and passages. Anyway you fight their way through blocks, pushing and smashing you against the wall. Then you fight the brown hair and pants, muscular guys and then climbed up to fight the pushovers and exit the place. The next scene is the outside of Willy’s hideout. The player(s) fights his/her way through thugs which leads, if the player(s) goes the right way, to the hideout. The hideout first welcomes the thugs and after defeating them, it leads to the final room, the tournament. The tournament includes all the enemies from the previous mission, as well as Willy and Jimmy?! Yes, Jimmy is the last boss. Billy has to fight his twin brother. Anyway, when you kill all the enemies plus Willy and Jimmy, Billy will find Marian trapped in a room. He rescues her and ends the game with Billy kissing Marian.
Double Dragon is a beat-em-up/fighting game because Billy uses his fists and feet to beat up the Black Warriors. Each stage has two enemies, maybe because of sprite limitation. The enemies have a specific name and a weapon that they usually hold. The names of the Black Warriors are Williams, Lindas, Ropers, Chintais, Abodos, Willy, and Jimmy. The Williams are the thugs that first appear in mission one in the city. They sometimes throw dynamites and knives, or wield a baseball bat, taking about forty percent of your health, so watch out for their attacks. An advice is not to attack an armed William, wait for him to throw their weapons, dodge, and attack. If he has a bat, wait, come up to him, and use the kick attack. For a regular William, kick or punch normally. The hair pull combo will work best for them. Lindas are the butch looking girls from the first mission also. They usually gang up and always sending one with a whip. Using the triple kick can knock out the ones with the whip. The full-length hair pull attack can knock-out the Lindas in one sense.
Ropers are the pushovers. The second mission is where they are first seen. Sometimes they will throw boxes or barrels. To dodge the attacks, wait for the throw, dodge, and then punish them with the kicks and punches. From time to time, Ropers goes on jump kick frenzies; in order to defeat them, get away from his kick and crush him to death. Just like the Lindas, the hair pull maneuver will finish them off. The Chintais are the buff guys with the hair color as same as the color of their pants. Their first appearance was the boss level in mission two. Thereafter, they become regular enemies, and in mission four is a pain in the neck. These enemies are a bit challenge because of the kicking range. If you kick a bit too early, he will drop a leg thrust, and if you kick late, Chintai will claw your face. Hair pull combo will become your best friend; two of them will bang them out. The only weapon that the Chintais hold is a knife. Chintais most likely to double-team so watch out.
Abodos are those huge, ugly, beefy, earth guys that frequently come out of rocks and caves. They are difficult to fight and tricky to die. The advice for executing these foes is to kick them first. They will fall down after the first kick. Then when they get up, use the jump kick or the triple kick and repeat. If there are two Abodos surrounding Billy, use the jump kick to the right or left and penalize with a triple kick. Timing is the key to fighting these enemies.
Willy and Jimmy Lee are the toughest enemies/bosses in the whole game; they are stronger than the Abodos. Willy holds a machine gun and Jimmy uses his bare hands and feet. The best way to kill Willy is the kicks and the hair pull combo. Just like the Abodos, once Billy knocks Willy down, immediately use the triple kick or hair pull attack when he gets up. Once you see the “blink of death” for Willy, as fast as you can go to the side of the sliding door and keep kicking. Out will pop Jimmy Lee, his twin brother. Jimmy looks exactly like Billy but with different colors. Fight him as Billy would with Willy and Abodo. Keep away from him; make him come to Billy. Use the triple kick continually until he dies.
Double Dragon has a little bit of RPG element. There is RPG in this game because you build the character, Billy, through each mission. The things you build up are Billy’s attacks. The heart meter below your health shows you what level you can use your attack. The first heart is the basic moves: kick, punch, jump, and headbutt. To headbutt, tap the forward button twice. This attack is pretty useless, but if you nail the timing, there might be a useful time to do this attack. To jump, press the A+B button simultaneously. I found it useless to, however it is important to employ this when jumping over pits. Punching is the A button. This is useful for a one on one against a regular enemy, except it takes a few hits. The B button is kicking; this move will be used often in this game because it has the best range and speed. This is most helpful when beating up the Abodos and Chintais.
The second heart is the advance basic moves, except the jumping. The new attacks are uppercut and roundhouse kick. The uppercuts are automatically used with the punching, and so is the kicking with the roundhouse kicks. The uppercuts are thrown after like three punches. The uppercuts are fine with Williams, Lindas, and Chintais, but do not use it on Abodos, unless you are hardcore. “The Fist of Fury!” should be the nickname of this attack. The Roundhouse kicks seem like the equivalent of the uppercuts. This technique is useful for the enemies with armored weapons and fighting Abodos. There is no nickname for this.
The third heart just gives Billy a jump kick. It’s ineffective because the enemies are usually ducking while Billy uses this method. It’s good for dodging though. The fourth heart gives you the best move, in my opinion; it is called the Hair Pull. This method is automatically used as the B button and consists of having three to four moves in one. The three are kick, hair pull, knee bash, and shoulder-throw, if you want to utilize it. The best combination of using this attack is kick, kick, hair pull, and knee bash (four times), and the shoulder-throw. The only time not to use this is fighting while surrounded by enemies. You will most likely abuse this move.
The fifth heart gives Billy the reverse elbow smash. To activate this weapon, the player(s) employs the A button while standing backwards to your enemies. It is useful when scoring a hit down for the enemy. It is tough because the enemies will most likely to duck and you always get knocked down first. The sixth heart provides you the tackle. To trigger this movement, you would hold down and A over a fallen enemy. It is useful after a hair pull combo, although if you use it on a Chintai, you would be kicked off his body. The seventh and final heart is the Jumping Roundhouse kick. This attack is used automatically with the kick button. This ability will allow you to jump in the air, and instead of doing the roundhouse on the ground, you do it in the air. This kick jump deals more damage than the regular roundhouse kick and the uppercuts. However, eight out of ten, the enemy would dodge the jumping roundhouse and will most likely hit you flat on the ground. Let’s call this jump the “Delay Jump”.
Double Dragon has great graphics for its time and awesome music. What I found tricky and troublesome about this game is the controller. The graphics are well designed and colorful. It gives out the true meanings of the characters and the backgrounds. The music is awesome because it fits with all the missions and scenes. My favorites would be the mission title where it gives a likable beat and the opening title/the tournament. The controller is tricky and troublesome for its jump button and starting the game. The jump button in this game is A+B, as I stated in the previous paragraphs. I usually think of the A button to jump and the B button to attack while holding down the directional pad to do crazy moves. When I first played this game, I had no idea how to jump. I randomly pressed buttons until I found out how. To start this game, you would most likely to use the start button; after all it would make sense. But to start this game, you press the select button. I thought the select button was used for opening a status screen or sometimes pausing. People who are new to this game will more likely to hit the start button than the select key.
In conclusion, Double Dragon is one of the best and memorable games on the Nintendo Entertainment System. This game is similar to River City Ransom, but in that game you collect money, buy items, and fight enemies. But in this game, you are depending on fighting enemies, and beating the game. I found it strange that his brother is against Billy. Why? Is he jealous that he doesn’t have a girlfriend and Billy does or Billy is the most excellent brother while Jimmy is the least? It begs for me to have an answer. Anyway, Double Dragon will never be history because once you begin playing this game “You’ll never have to stand in line to play Double Dragon again” (Tradewest).