Super Double Dragon Review by: geeogreeSuper Double Dragon - when regular double dragons aren't enough
Billy and Jimmy Lee are back again taking on the Shadow Warriors gang. There doesn’t appear to be any reason for this at the beginning of the game. I guess beating up on the Shadow Warriors gang was reason enough for Billy and Jimmy to return and do so. However, upon a bit of digging it appears that Marian has yet again been kidnapped by the Shadow Warriors gang. The reason this time is so that Billy and Jimmy will give up their dojo to Duke who is the leader of the gang. Not really sure if this game (since it is on the SNES) is a sequel to the series or a remake of the original game. From what I could gather this version of the game (as opposed to the Japanese release) had a lot of stuff cut out of it in order to speed it along. Things were cut out that were extra that would have required translations or extra work and so the North American version was lacking some elements. One of which was Marian as a playable character which would have been neat. Instead of being the damsel in distress she would have been right in there fighting along with Billy and Jimmy. I think this would have been great but because of money problems it was scrapped and instead Marian was just kidnapped again.
Graphics 7/10 – I had to be really careful on grading the graphics for this game after reviewing Double Dragon 1, 2 and 3 on the same day. These graphics obviously blow those ones out of the water but for a 16-bit SNES game the graphics are just good. They don’t blow me away at all but they also don’t lack where needed. The fighting animations are good and clean. No fragmentations or lost pixels or anything like that like some earlier games had. Also, the environments were quite well done and even interactive at times. Going up fire escapes were cool and the side by side elevators looked awesome. The character sprites were also much improved over the previous games. Billy and Jimmy even look different and their moves are slightly different. It’s not a big detail but it is nice to show that even 2 brothers wouldn’t punch and kick exactly the same way.
The one complaint I have for this game (and most others like it, especially on later consoles) is the insane repetition of enemies. There have got to be 500 guys that all look exactly the same in this gang. How do you tell them apart? A bit more variety in the enemy design would have been nice. Even if it were simply similar fighting styles slapped on to new sprites each level depending on the location the players were in. That would have been cool.
Sound 7/10 – Like the graphics I needed to be careful on how critical I was on the sound. 16-bit sound is much improved over the 8-bit NES options and it is noticeable in the sound in this game. I really enjoyed each levels theme a lot. However, for a 16-bit game I didn’t feel like the music did anything substantial. It fit the mood for the Double Dragon series and for the gameplay. The songs all had a fairly upbeat pace to them which I feel always fits a fighting game best. However, it does get a bit cheesy in spots. Like it’s an 80’s movie soundtrack being played over top of the game.
Addictiveness 8/10 – I really enjoy playing this game, especially with a friend but also on my own. I feel like the additional block mechanic to the game really improves your ability to combat the enemies. Not only to simply defend yourself but also to use the block in order to fight back against your enemies. Blocking and then kicking the enemy over and over is one of my favorite things to do. Something they took out, which I’m not sure if it is a good or bad thing, is the hurricane kick from Double Dragon 2 and 3. This move was SO useful but probably ended up being over-used. Instead the combat is much more 1 on 1 in your face than those games were. That move allowed you to take on 2 or 3 enemies way easier than you are able to now. The block helps offset that and I think I prefer the block but it was a missed move in some instances in the game. Still, the extra combat variety really does help the game be more enjoyable to play because you have more things you are able to do to the enemies you come across. There is a similar type move that you can use by powering up a bar (using L + R) that does a flying spinning kick across the screen rather than straight up. It’s harder to use because you can’t just bust it out over and over again but it does have its uses. You can also “berserk” by powering up the bar which makes all your attacks knock enemies down in 1 hit.
Story 3/10 – I was originally going to rate this as a 5 but dropped it to a 3 when I learned that this game was originally going to be different. The original story was not that Marian was kidnapped yet again but that she was a cop investigating the Shadow Warriors Gang and she was going to be a playable character along with Billy and Jimmy. Together they were going to defeat the Shadow Warriors. For budget reasons (as far as I can tell) this story and the extra sprites and moves and what not were scrapped and instead it basically became a remake of the original game. That was pretty disappointing to learn.
Depth 4/10 – with only 7 levels in the game there isn’t tons of stuff to do. The levels are fairly long with lots of enemies to battle but beyond that there isn’t much to do. There are no secrets that I know of and the game is very linear only allowing you to move back in certain areas while fighting enemies. It’s a beat em up game so expecting anything more is silly but I do wish they could have come up with a bit more for this game. Knowing the history of the development of the game and knowing that things were left out that would have been in this game had the American distributor of the game had more money to use then I would have rated this game higher. I expect more from games on newer consoles and this game could have done a lot more.
Difficulty 6/10 – this game does not measure high on the difficulty meter. It’s still a beat em up game and can be tough before you’re really comfortable with the controls and all the attacks available. The 3 enemies trying to attack all the time can be difficult at first until you become familiar with the mechanics that each enemy regularly follows. There aren’t too many different enemies to become familiar with so learning this doesn’t take long to do. Still, if you can’t master this aspect of the game then beating the game will be tough.
You also have 3 lives when you start the game as well as 5 continues to use. This really helps to get you through the game in 1 try. Makes it less likely to need to replay the game over and over to learn areas.
Overall 5.8/10 – I feel bad giving this game such a low rating because it’s not a bad game. The story and depth of the game are where it really hurts. Knowing that the story could have been so much better with Marian as playable character is disappointing. Also, it’s obvious this game was rushed because of the small number of enemies to fight. Given a bit more time this game could have been so much better. However, it’s still a fun game to play and I do recommend it if you like this style of game and are looking for a 30-60 minute time killer.