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[PSN Review] Double Dragon

Double Dragon Features:

● A rare fighting game classic based on the Double Dragon franchise returns via the PlayStation®Network
● Unique fighting gameplay with character transformations and a position-based approach to combat
● 10 selectable fighters with two hidden boss characters
● 1 or 2-player modes (local only)

OK, sit down for this one so that you understand what this game is all about: Double Dragon is a port of a Neo-Geo game adaptation of the Double Dragon movie which was based on the original Double Dragon game… oh, and it’s a fighting game and NOT a Beat-em-up, and this version was only released in Japan. Still with me? Great!

Since this is a PSOne import, the game is presented “as is” with no extras or changes made on the original release. Since this is a fighting game, there isn’t much story to read, and thus seeing it in Japanese is not a problem. To get you in the mood for some fighting, the intro movie shows clips from the Double Dragon feature film along with footage of the in-game battles… with characters who look nothing like those shown on the movie.

If you can separate the basis for this game and just focus on the fighting, you will find an able fighting game that mimics some of the great ones from back in the day (for example, Billy and Jimmy are modeled after Ryu and Ken, as was the case for 99% of all fighting games during the 90s) while also introducing new ideas into the mix.

Each character has a set of special moves, punches and kicks in their arsenal, but they also have a special Charge attack that is activated differently for each character, but which is obtained in the same way by everyone. As you land hits and special moves on your opponent, a blue bar will start to fill, and once said blue bar reaches your current health total, you can activate the Charge move. Since Billy and Jimmy are the stars of the franchise, their Charge move is a bit overpowered since it actually has two effects: when activated, they’re engulfed by a strange energy and then do a high jump before emerging with a new outfit and powered-up special moves… and the energy burst from said transformation can damage your opponent. The rest of the characters get powered-up versions of their special moves, but with a single use vs. Billy and Jimmy being awesome after transforming.

Other than that, you have the nimble and able fighter (Marian), the muscle (Abobo), the weird character (Cheng-Fu and his drunk monkey fighting style), the big guy (Burnov), and a freaking Ninja (Amon), to name a few. Doing a full run of all fights would take you about 20-30 minutes depending on skill… if it weren’t for the cheap arcade-token-sucking end boss. You will spend a lot of time trying to defeat the last boss in the game unless you can figure out his attack pattern in order to trick him into looping a move that leaves him vulnerable every single time (and no, I’m not telling!).

There is an extra mode called “Tiny 3D” where you fight on a single stage which can be manipulated to have a different point of view on the action, which is a nice bonus novelty that is good for a fight or two before it’s charm is gone.

Double Dragon on PSOne is an interesting take on the franchise, and I believe that being only LOOSELY based on the awful live action movie is a pro and not a con for this release. If you like PSOne Imports, then MonkeyPaw Games is there for you. Look for more reviews on their import games here on as they release!

[review pros=”Different take on Double Dragon
Lots of characters
Good fighting system
” cons=”Cheap final boss
Some slowdown
” score=75]

This review is based on a copy of Double Dragon provided by MonkeyPaw Games.