Double Dragon is an all-time classic, bar-setting, beat 'em up game developed in 1987 for the arcades by Technos Japan and later converted to almost every home computer and video games console. The Sega Master System version was developed in 1988.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Double Dragon is a "kick and punch everything that moves" style game, in which you take control of Billy Lee or Jimmy Lee, two young brothers that sport high martial arts skills. The Lee brothers were born and raised in a very dangerous city that's now swarmed by gangs that pummel the neighborhoods and jeopardize peace. The story starts when some members of a gang called "Black Warriors" punch and kidnap Billy's love interest, Marian. Furious by the incident, Billy sets off to find them, kick their heads off, eliminate their leader and finally save his beautiful girlfriend. But his journey is very tough, since Billy (and Jimmy) must beat up multiple enemies of various sizes and strengths, depending strongly on his fighting skills plus some weapons he gathers by eliminating armed foes (like knives, baseball bats and more). Billy must also confront big bosses and avoid traps that can instantly kill him. The martial art techniques range from basic punches and kicks to elbow hits and hair grabbing. When in 2-player (co-op) mode, one player can assist the other by catching the opponent from behind. Note that, Double Dragon was a pioneer to the co-operative gameplay in beat 'em up games back in the 80s! It's an addictive game with only one cons: it's quite slowand hard to play in single player mode, as the foes will always try to surround and beat you! Also, the controls are very annoying at times, due to the button limitation of the Master System (and NES) control pads. To jump kick, you have to press A and B at the same time and this often does not work! Note that, this port surely differs a lot from the NES. The Master System port is more faithful to the original offering the same stage layouts and gameplay styles, while the NES port differs in several points.
GRAPHICS / SOUND The graphics on the Master System are very good, with nice colors, and offering most of the original stage details. Character animation is fine too and the sprites are nicely shaded. The sound features the original introductory theme and an excellent gameplay tune (which by the way is the intro tune in the Amiga and Atari ST conversions!). The sound FX are typical though, with punching, kicking and jumping "cheesy" sounds. Actually, no matter how you hit an enemy, you'll always have the same sound effect.
In-game music sample:
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CPU: 8-bit Zilog Z80A at 3.546893 MHz for PAL/SECAM, 3.579545 MHz for NTSC MEMORY: Boot ROM: 64 kbit (8 KB) to 2048 kbit (256 KB) Main RAM: 64 kbit (8 KB), can be supplemented by game cartridges Video RAM: 128 kbit (16 KB) GRAPHICS: Texas Instruments TMS9918A Up to 32 colors on screen (one 16-color palette for sprites or background, an additional 16-color palette for background only) from a palette of 64 (can also show 64 simultaneous colors using programming tricks) Screen resolutions 256x192 and 256x224. PAL/SECAM also supports 256x240 8x8 pixel characters, max 463 (due to VRAM space limitation) 8x8 or 8×16 pixel sprites, max 64 Horizontal, vertical, and partial screen scrolling SOUND: Texas Instruments SN76489, 4 Texas Instruments SN76489, 4 channel mono sound Yamaha YM2413, mono FM synthesis