If ever there was an arcade game that could be considered the ’80s rock star of gaming, then surely, Double Dragon is the one.
I would bet that most people reading this weren’t even a hint in the glint of the eye of their Dads when this baby was released in 1987, but believe me, this game was THE game to play back in the local arcade.
We’re literally talking queues of people ready to feed in their 20 cent pieces (yes, that’s what games used to cost).
The premise was relatively cliched… some hot chick gets thumped in the stomach (controversial) and taken captive by some seriously bad dudes.
You play the part of Billy (and if there’s a second player, Billy’s twin brother Jimmy) Lee, and it’s your job to find the bastard Black Warriors who took said hot chick Marian off to their hideout, and rescue her good and proper.
It’s probably no surprise it was such a hit (pun intended). These were the days of gaming where everything was relatively new. Here was a beat-em-up story mode game where you could play co-op and live out your martial arts kick arse kung fu dream (with some Rock’N’Wrestling thrown in for good measure).
One of the biggest movies of the time was Karate Kid. One of the hottest TV shows going around was Rock N Wrestling (Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Rowdy Roddy Piper, etc). And Bruce Lee movies were an underground cult hit must-do for any teenage boy worth his salt.
This beautiful Double Dragon… this captured all of that.
And at the time, it was beautiful! In 1987, graphics weren’t much cop compared to today, but when this game hit the arcades, you couldn’t help but get caught up in the hype.
Just the fighting moves were enough to get excited about. The brutal uppercut, the venomous high kicks and of course, the “grab him by the ears and knee him in the head repeatedly” manoeuvre.
You could even elbow a bloke in the face… unheard of back in the day (let’s not even mention the baseball bat – well, we sort of just did).
By no means politically correct, but that was sort of the point about Double Dragon.
Now, both the combination of me not being very good combined with me having no money, meant that I never got even remotely close to completing it. But apparently, if you did complete it as a co-op, you both then fought each other to win Marian’s heart.
If that ain’t true romance, we don’t know what is 😉
(skip through to 35 minutes to watch the fight)
I mean… what a concept… your brother risks life and limb to help you raise a damsel in distress, only for you to have to try and kill each other for the chance at true love.
Forget Love Island as a reality TV show… Blood Island! There’s your huckleberry!
The actually did make a movie out of the game, although I never saw it… I’m sure many of you did though?
Of course, Double Dragon made it to a whole bunch of home platforms, but my heart will always lie with the arcade game. What a f*cking ripper!
Written by: @dantheinternut