Review: Double Dragon II – The Revenge (NES)

By Drew Wilson

IN this review, we check out a port sequel in what would ultimately be a series – Double Dragon II – The Revenge. We look at whether or not this action beat ’em up sequel builds on what was started by the first Double Dragon game or simply falls into the shadow of its predecessor.

This sequel was released in 1990. It would be what was followed up the first mediocre game, Double Dragon.

The plot follows that after Marian was rescued in the first game, she was killed in this sequel and the warriors must fight against a mystery warrior responsible.

The game operates much like the first game. You can pick up weapons you knocked out of your opponents hands and use those weapons against them. Typically, you find against two opponents at a time. To get from one area to another, you have to defeat all of the opponents on the screen in most cases. Once you defeat all of the opponents in a fixed location, you’ll get a hand that points to where you need to go next.

One key difference from the previous game is that you don’t have experience points to work up your moves. All of your moves seem to be available right away. Another key difference is that your attack buttons determine which direction (left or right) you strike. What is similar, though, is the fact that pressing both a and b will allow you to execute a jump kick. Using a direction can also allow you to perform a powerful knee kick as well which knocks back opponents clear across the screen.

One interesting element is the slides that show between levels that advances the plot. I thought this was a nice addition to the game as it gives you a sort of comic book feel to the game. Overall, that element was positive and helped to make the game much more than a standard fare beat ’em up game.

Like the previous game, levels get increasingly more complex. Levels will gradually contain obstacles like bottomless pits, spiked ceilings and an assortment of traps that will reduce your health. At the end of the levels are bosses that you must defeat. Some bosses are simply overpowering larger opponents. Other times, you go up against a pair of opponents with weapons.

You have three lives only in this game, but you can have your health restored after completing a level. So, as long as you don’t die by, say, accidentally jumping off of a sky scraper, then you should be able to carry your lives over from level to level.

There are three modes – Practice, Warrior, and Warrior Master. They are essentially easy, medium, and hard respectively. The caveat of these difficulties is the fact that the harder the mode you select, the more levels you are permitted to play. The final mission is only available on the hardest setting.

Generally, it’s hard for me to really get into beat ’em up games as a general rule. Having said that, I thought this game was, while somewhat difficult, enjoyable to play. Even though I died trying to complete the game most of the time, it was still enjoyable to try and get further the next time, learning from my mistakes from my previous attempt.

Graphically, this game does improve from the previous game. Unfortunately, by this time, there are games with much better graphics. The in between pictures does spruce up the game somewhat, but I don’t think it’s enough to really rate the games graphics as anything above average here.

The music was, overall, well done. While not jaw dropping amazing, it was pretty good overall and did help make this game a more enjoyable experience. The sound effects, I found, were well done for a game available on the NES. Good overall.

Overall, if you want to get in this series, I’d say you could do worse than starting with Double Dragon II. If you are into beat ’em up games, I’d say that this game is a recommendation to try if you haven’t played this game already. For average gamers, this game is certainly an approachable and enjoyable game all around and worth a play through if yo are curious about the genre. A good game.


Furthest point in game: Completed the game on Warrior. Made it to the water level on Warrior Master.

General gameplay: 18/25
Replay value: 8/10
Graphics: 6/10
Audio: 4/5

Overall rating: 72%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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