Welcome to the first Retro Rush Review in a six-part series of import games released weekly by MonkeyPaw Games! This review will cover Double Dragon, the PS1 classic, now playable on the PS3, PSP and PS Vita.
Double Dragon -
Platform: PS3/PSP/PS Vita (cross buy)
Developer: Technos Japan Corp/Imperial Entertainment
Publisher: MonkeyPaw Games
The original Double Dragon arcade game came out in 1987 and because of the popularity of the game, many sequels followed. There was even a Double Dragon movie that came out in 1994, which was loosely based off the original arcade game. The PS1 version of Double Dragon is not a side-scrolling beat ‘em up, however. It’s a port of the arena fighting NEO GEO arcade version of the game, which is based off the Double Dragon movie. Confused yet? Think of this as the Street Fighter II equivalent of Double Dragon, and it will make more sense.
A second player can join in on any of these modes for a 1 VS. 1 fight at any time.
- Overdrive Mode - This is a PS1 exclusive mode that tweaks the gameplay to give priority to knuckle drives and overdrives.
- Normal Mode - The original arcade mode
- Tiny 3D Mode - The game is on a 3D field where you can change perspective with your L1, L2, R1 and R2 buttons.
Your standard fare of Double Dragon characters are here, including Billy and Jimmy Lee, Abobo, and Marian. To round out the roster, a new cast of formidable fighters have been assembled including Dulton, Rebecca, Eddie, Amon (ninja), Cheng Fu (drunken master) and Burnov (a huge punk). Defeating every one of these fighters in single player mode will get you to the mid-boss, Duke and final end boss, Shuko. On the character select screen, you’ll be able to see each character’s charge and special moves.
Health Bar, Charge Bar, etc.
- Health - Your character’s health is indicated by a yellow bar above your name. When you take damage, the bar turns red.
- Charge - The more damage you deal,, the more your Charge meter builds up (indicated by the blue portion on your health bar). Your Charge move is ready to use once you see the word, CHARGE blinking underneath this bar.
- Special Moves - Your standard punches, kicks and throws are here, with special moves that consist of familiar fighting game joystick/gamepad movements (Down, Down-Forward, Forward + Punch) and charge moves are here.
For a downloadable title, this game has awfully long loading screens between matches. Loading up the next character fight can take upwards of 20 seconds. While that doesn’t seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things, when you are pumped up to fight your next character, the last thing you want to do is lose momentum when you’re on a winning streak. I’m pretty sure this is due to the time it took to load in everything on the PS1, and the programming wasn’t changed to compensate when ported over to the PS3. Strangely enough, the Vita version seems to load a bit faster. And unless you know Japanese, you won’t be able to read the quotes from the characters after your fight. Being a straight Japanese PS1 port, Americans are missing humor that was in the North American NEO GEO version.
It’s great to see this lesser-known entry in the Double Dragon series make it stateside to the PS3, PSP and PS Vita. The 2D arena fighter may be a departure from the side-scrolling fighting game we’re all used to, but it’s a very playable. I enjoyed it even more on the PS Vita, as it seemed to be an even better fit for a portable. If you can look past some PS1 loading nuances, you have a decent fighting game on your hands.