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Double Dragon Advance
  opened by paleface at 06:09:12 11/15/03  
  last modified by paleface at 15:14:40 09/17/05  
  paleface [sys=GBA; cat=Beat_em_up; loc=NA]
You know the drill: one of two brothers, out to rescue one of the two brother's girlfriend (wondering about the motive of the second brother here) must beat up all kind of truculent gang members. A wholesome morality tale, really.
Now that's the old arcade game. Take that, keep the old tunes, throw in tons of new moves (along with a fourth button, Block/Counter), new weapons, new enemies, supposedly new stages, a couple new modes, and you've got yourself the makings of a work of gosh-darn genius that revives the old Technos sprites in all their glory, and then makes them better than ever.
A weird mode lets you play single-player as both brothers, switching off with Select--the tricky bit is that the uncontrolled brother just stands there making no move to defend himself, of course. Curious but sort of fun. There's also two player, Vs (haven't seen but the back of the box claims it, probably need a link cable) and Endless, a "survival" mode for the DD brothers with enemies coming in wave after wave that gets hard FAST. That one could keep you busy for... uh well forever technically.
The new moves include things like crouch uppercuts, knee flash kicks, a parry move and so forth (I've read that some come from the DD sequels but I didn't play those much, so they're still new to me :p). They really get a lot of mileage out of the four buttons, supporting the old moves with straight button presses (Punch, Kick, Block, Jump) and opening up new ones with button combinations. You can pull off some really impressive strings of maneuvers now and the system feels really liberating, giving you so many options for pugilistic mayhem that it's almost mind-boggling. How about triangle jumps? Ooh yeah. Or grab those new nunchucks (spelling on that slang, baby?) or the longer uh stick... things, and wreak some rapid-fire havoc. The controls respond effortlessly and if you stick to it you'll be F>F>Jump>A+Bing your way through the enemies with hurricane kicks in pretty short order.
New enemies include bosses from later DD games thrown in to this remake of the first one, like the masked freak Burnov. Difficulty gets pretty high up there in later stages, with fast enemies who surround you and beat you to a pulp in a trice. Heck, they even get good at dodging, the twerps! Speaking of fast, business-suited men obviously inspired by the "agents" of the Matrix movies fill in the slow spots with crazy super-fast flurries of punches and kicks. More of a parody than a rip-off really, it's amusing to see them straighten their tie after they rattle off a big combo. And, like most of the enemies here, they are just so satisfying to take down. I like to do it with the bat, personally.
The game doesn't save scores or anything else, which is a shame, but not as big a problem as it would be for, say, a shooter, since generally you just play this for for the challenge of surviving to beat the final boss and... there was something else... oh yes, rescue the girl. Can't forget that part.
Best beat-em-up of all time? Man, it's sure in the running. I'd really like to play it two-player one of these days but even just going it solo, this games kicks an unbelievable amount of heiny. You almost never ever see a remake with genuine inspiration and still in keeping with the spirit of the original, especially not when reaching back this far in gaming history, but developer "Million" has pulled it off, and then some.
  paleface 02:51:01 05/25/04
Download added: grey.jpg (49377 bytes)
  "Grey Abobo will crush them all!"
Two-player mode has some issues, mostly stemming from not being able to turn off friendly fire. The two brothers have such nasty attacks that they become their own worst enemies--even if they try to avoid each other, they'll hit each other accidentally pretty frequently. This also kills the chances of getting cool dual combos going, or much real teamwork for that matter, because you have to be careful to stay on the opposite side of the screen from the other player, lest one of you knock the other down.
Ferinstance, you grapple people if you move up behind them. So of course it makes sense that you would want to grapple with your brother if you move up behind them, right? So the bad guys can pummel them while you hold them? Of course! Oh, and you could try hitting a guy that your brother is grappling for you, but chances are that you'll hit both brother and baddie at the same time.
Another annoying thing that happens continually, especially in the later levels, is that you have to scroll the screen along by walking right up against the side of the screen--so any badguy who is coming up can sock you one as you blunder into them. And then there are the bottomless pits they like to hide right at the bottom of the screen, that you drop right down in to without warning if you're trying to mvoe around down there.
On the plus side, I can definitely confirm that the game has miles and miles of ass-kicking (against the bad guys, even).
  paleface 15:14:40 09/17/05
I like this game better on the Game Boy Player (see entry 86) than I do on a regular GBA, 'cause I'm not quite down with using the shoulder buttons for vital moves in a beat-em-up; here, R is block/parry and L is jump.
· Double Dragon (NES)
· Double Dragon (GB)
· Kunio-Kun Nekketsu Collection 1 (GBA)
· Kunio-kun: The World Classics Collection (PS4)
· Oretachi Game Center: Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun (PS2)
· River City Ransom EX (GBA)
· Super Dodge Ball Advance (GBA)

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