Review: Double Dragon (Atari 7800)

In this review, we ready ourselves for a rescue mission in the Atari 7800 game, Double Dragon. We find out how well this beat ’em up game plays.

This game was released in 1989. It is a port from an arcade game. Previously, we reviewed the NES version of Double Dragon. That port was released a year earlier. So, we decided to try this port to see if it is any better.

Since this game is largely the same game as the NES port, this review will focus on some of the differences.

One of the immediately noticeable differences is the fact that the game is much more difficult. One of the reasons it is more difficult is the fact that enemies have more health than in the NES port.

Another reason this version is more difficult is because enemies tend to swarm the player. In the NES version, they often hold back if you are fighting another opponent. In this game, that bit of behavior is removed entirely. Now, every opponent on the screen simply attacks you directly.

to make matters even more difficult, there are more enemies to contend with. In the NES port, you had all of two or three enemies to contend with at a time on the first level. In this version, you’ll easily run into 4 on one combat.

Some weapons are seemingly removed in this version. In the NES port, there are weapons like the giant oil drum. This is removed completely (at least, removed in the first level).

The first boss you encounter in the game is thrown in much earlier. You encounter him on the outside streets. He is also accompanied by several regular opponents at the same time, further ramping up the difficulty. In the NES version, you face him one on one in a separate room.

As a result of the ramped up difficulty, I barely made it to the last part of level 1. In the NES version, I could at least make it to the pink caves. It felt a little more unfair at times to say the least.

Generally speaking, this port is a bit more stripped down and far more difficult. Because of the difficulty increase, it becomes far less approachable from a general gamers perspective.

The graphics are also dramatically scaled back. The only real improvement is the fact that enemies don’t disappear as often. Beyond that, everything in the graphics department is greatly simplified. There isn’t even any intro to any level, you are just placed right into the action. The scaled graphics alone sets this game back a fair bit, that’s for sure.

In terms of audio, the sound effects are much more simplified. To further scale things back, the in-level music is basically stripped out. The only music I heard was in the intro. After that, you are left with just the sound effects that have been left in the game.

Overall, this port, released a year later, is a much more scaled back version of the NES port. The AI is much more difficult and the number of enemies are far more numerous. Some of the weapons have been removed as well. The graphics are dramatically scaled back in quality. A lot of the music was also scaled back or stripped out completely. The sound effects are also significantly simplified. As it was, I had a hard time getting into this game. This port simply smacks of, “well, we tried!”. Not worth it. Stick to the NES version.

Furthest point in game: Nearly knocked out the first boss. High score: 9100 points.

General gameplay: 14/25
Replay value: 2/10
Graphics: 4/10
Audio: 2/5

Overall rating: 44%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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