| paleface [sys=PCCD; cat=Beat_em_up; loc=JPN] |
|Apparently this is a port by Naxat Soft of the NES DDII, which is quite different from the old Technos Japan arcade version I used to play (though I always liked the original DD better). As such, it ditches the traditional punch/kick buttons for a very unusual left-attack/right-attack scheme, where of your two control buttons, the left strikes left and the right strikes right.|
And this comes in handy, because the AI is absolutely ruthless about surrounding you: the almost always attack in twos, and one always forgoes the pleasure of punching you in the face for the sneaky thrill of getting around behind you. Nasty stuff.
Of course, aside from being able to punch in front of you and kick behind you, your hot young street blood has a few additional moves up his cut-off sleeves, namely a wicked uppercut, a mobile jump-kick, a spin-kick that takes out everyone around you, various grapple moves for punch-drunk opponents, and the apocalyptic (or post-apocalyptic, rather, and New York style) knee blast that sends your victim flying most of the way across the screen.
Pulling all these moves off with just two buttons can be tricky, but therein lies the game. And let me tell you, there's nothing quite like landing a knees blast on that guy who just got a sucker punch in your back, especially if it sends him flying off a handy nearby ledge. You'll also find a few hand-to-hand weapons (flail, shovel (??), knife, demolition ball (!!)) but since you can't carry these from stage to stage they really just serve as occasional window-dressing next to your mighty hand-to-hand moves.
So if you haven't figured it out yet, this game involves a lot of beating people down, street ruffian style. At the end they throw in some jumping bits and these suck, since you can't jump that far really and a miss is instant death. Fortunately that's really only for one stage, then it's on to a hefty string of end bosses. Between each level you're treated to a well-done anime-style cinematic showing the little story bits. And then you go beat more people up.
The sprites have been entirely redrawn since the arcade and NES versions, and to my way of thinking they have rather a nicer style than the originals: sharper and tougher than Technos' traditional rounded style. Some of the later tougher opponents in particular look quite improved.
The sound deserves special mention: it is superlative. I've maybe put a game CD in my car stereo two or three times in my life, and DDII has been one of those times--and by far the best. The pumping techno soundtrack, intermixed with scratching, vocal samples, and basically whatever they figured would sound kick-ass, is a real work of art unto itself. And the punching and kicking sound effects are as solid and beefy as you could hope.
This is probably now my favorite Double Dragon, even ahead of the recent tweaked-up GBA version (see entry 353). The left/right two-button scheme is really cool once you get the hang of it, the sprites are really sharp, the gameplay, aside from the jumping bit, never falters, and the sound is outstanding--as is the overall presentation. Awesome stuff, and you can even turn off friendly fire in two-player, something sorely lacking in the GBA version.