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Double Dragon Advance
  opened by paleface at 06:09:12 11/15/03  
  last modified by paleface at 12:27:18 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=GBA; cat=Beat_em_up; reg=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.
  paleface 16:05:01 03/15/23
Just one cheat code on GameFAQs:
Start with 10 credits
On the options screen, press and hold down the select button, then press:
L, R, Down, L, R, Down, L, R, Right.
You will hear a ring if you did it correctly.
  paleface 20:11:42 03/15/23

Well, this game is sweet. They got rid of most of the platforming and slowdown, added lots more enemies and moves and weapons--maybe it IS the best Double Dragon ever, even though it was technically made by Million, the company that formed to buy the IPs of original creators Technos Japan after Technos' bankruptcy.
It IS yet another remake of the original arcade Double Dragon (see entry 1361), but this time with some brand new and/or significantly redone stages; the Matrix agents maybe don't quite fit in with the rest of the cast, but The Matrix Reloaded had come out about six months earlier and I guess someone on the dev team really wanted to make a playable version of Morpheus' fight on top of the speeding semi truck. ; )
I'd forgotten about Survival mode; it's like the Tower mode that would come along in DDIV (see entry 1360), except with actual good mechanics, not that imitation NES stuff.
The game's planner, Muneki Ebinuma, also worked as planner for Technos' Super Double Dragon (SNES) and Double Dragon (the NeoGeo fighting game; see entry 906 for the PS1 port).
mGBA was chugging a bit by the end, you can see it in the jerky scrolling of the credits. I'd switched from Visual Boy Advance-M at the last minute 'cause it seemed like VBA-M was chugging just a tad from the start. Tried the no$GBA emulator I mentioned but yeah it doesn't want to run straight ROMs and anyway seems more focused on DS emulation. So back to VBA-M for next time; I got myself building my own executable with MSys2 from the latest code now, maybe that'll help. : )
Oh! The game I was trying to think of with art by Fist of the North Star artist Tetsuo Hara--whose style some of the later illustrations here were obviously trying to imitate--is Saturday Night Slam Masters! ^ _^ (See entry 1513.)
  paleface 00:08:13 03/16/23
Oh huh, Ebinuma also worked on Technos' Funaki Masakatsu Hybrid Wrestler (see entry 1535) as an assistant director ( ).
  paleface 00:27:37 03/16/23
That essay by Ebinuma is translated from . He says they had to work with the smallest size GBA cart, just 32 MB (he'd wanted the big one, 256 MB). But he says "We were constantly revising the game till we became satisfied with the quality despite the small size and limited time we were given."
'I wanted to stick as close as possible to the original premise of "Double Dragon," which is set in a world of unrefined violence, so I rejected suggestions that strayed too far from the original concept. My superiors, Mr. Taki and Mr. Mitsuhiro Yoshida (who was in charge of "River City Ransom") understood where I was going and defended my position.'
Interesting note about the unusual jump-kick pose:
'I always hated the "jump kick" pose from the arcade "Double Dragon." I gave the sprite designer a photograph of Bruce Lee delivering a jump kick to Abdul-Jabbar from my favorite movie, "The Game of Death," for reference to what I wanted the jump kick to look like. I laughed out loud when I saw the final jump-kick animation. I was very glad it turned out like that.'
Oh I got it mixed up the video, the mounted punch thing was from the NES, not Combatribes--that was the stomp:
'The "sit-on punch" was taken from the arcade game "Renegade" and the NES version of "Double Dragon." The "running punch" was also from "Renegade." The "stomping" technique was a move we took from the arcade game "The Combatribes." We wanted to include something from every Technos beat-'em-up made in order to honor the tradition of the old ways.'
'Now that I think about it, we added quite a bit of bold, new features and I'm pleased with how it turned out.'
Fist of the North Star reference:
'We planned to use an original animation for the "tae kwon do kick" when performed against Burnov, mimicking the battle between Kenshiro and Heart in the manga and anime series "Fist of the North Star," in which Billy's kicks or Jimmy's punches would be ineffective. Jimmy's rapid punch attack was not added in the final game for the same reasons as one would expect.'
Matrix reference:
'One of the new enemy characters is Steve, who was originally modeled after actor Jean-Claude Van Damme in "Super Double Dragon," where he specializes in kicking techniques, although it seems our designer has been watching "The Matrix" too many times because Steve's design is very similar to the Agent characters. Personally, the Van-Damme movie "Double Impact" was a favorite of mine.'
Bruce Lee reference (more in the Chinatown part of the article):
'The end of the stage features artwork of Bruce Lee doing his famous fighting stance from "Game of Death" on the back of a truck. The entire town was drawn to have a classic 1970s or 80s kung fu movie feel.'
· Arcade Archives Double Dragon (PS4)
· Double Dragon (NES)
· Double Dragon (GB)
· Double Dragon (PS1)
· Double Dragon IV (PS4)
· Funaki Masakatsu Hybrid Wrestler: Tougi Denshou (SNES)
· 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)
· Super Double Dragon (PC)

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