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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Lemmings

Lemmings

1990 Amiga computer game developed by DMA Design and published by Psygnosis, was one of the most popular computer games of its time. Several games magazines of the time awarded the game maximum review scores.

Psygnosis, traditionally known for producing games with good graphics but with poor gameplay, had its greatest success in Lemmings. The game was unique and based around concepts previously untried. The player had to guide a group of up to 100 lemmings home by telling individual lemmings to climb, explode, build, block, dig, bash, and mine. (The "lemmings" of the game — small, green-haired beings that mindlessly walk en masse into any danger in their path — are not the same as real-life lemmings, although they were named for the popular myth that real lemmings behave in a similar fashion.)

Of the numerous sequels the only one to achieve the success of the first was Lemmings 2: The Tribes, which added twelve specialist tribes of lemmings, each with their own type of level and specialist workers.

Despite its innovations and popularity at the time, the game did not give rise to a new genre.

Gameplay
The gameplay in Lemmings was radically new for its time. Rather than controlling the actions of the tribe of lemmings, the player must choose from a list of preset options. True to Newton's laws, lemmings continue to do whatever they are doing until something begins to act on them. That is, a walker will continue to walk until he is assigned an order (or dies).

The main difficulty in surmounting the puzzles of Lemmings is not solving the puzzles, but more in executing them in an efficient way. Some levels are easy to see and plan but when actually attempted become more formidable than first expected.

There are 8 orders to give to lemmings:

Climber: For the remainder of the level, the lemming will climb up walls it encounters.
Floater: For the remainder of the level, the lemming will parachute down falls (without splatting).
Bomber: After five seconds, the lemming will explode and carve a small chunk from the surrounding terrain.
Blocker: For the remainder of the level, the lemming will hold his position and act as a wall.
Builder: The lemming will build a 12-step-long bridge upwards and sideways.
Basher: The lemming will dig horizontally through the wall he is touching.
Miner: The lemming will dig diagonally down through the floor he is on.
Digger: The lemming will dig directly down through the floor he is on.
There is also a further "genocide" order which allows the player to rapidly set all the lemmings to "bomber". This order can be used to restart the level if the player realises failure is imminent, or to bring the level quickly to a close if enough lemmings have already been saved.

A lemming who has been set as both a "climber" and a "floater" is referred to as an Athlete.

Lemmings are very delicate creatures and will die when any of the following occur:

Fall down from too great a height.
Fall off the map.
Walk into water, lava, or goo.
Step into a trap, such as a spring-loaded trap, compressor, etc.
Ordered to explode.
Each level has a certain quota to be achieved in terms of lemming percentage. If the player can save the required number of lemmings, he wins and moves on to the next level.

The original Amiga Lemmings also had 20 two-player levels. This took advantage of the Amiga's ability to handle two mice simultaneously. Each player would be presented with their own view of the map (vertical split screen), could only control their own lemmings (green or blue), and had their own base. The goal was to save more lemmings (colour irrelevant) than the other player. Gameplay would cycle through the 20 levels until neither player got any lemmings home.


Ports
The popularity of the game on the Amiga led to its rapid porting to other platforms, and is considered to be the most widely-ported video game of all time. Known ports include: 3DO, Acorn Archimedes, Amstrad CPC, Arcade (prototype only), Atari Lynx, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga CD32, Commodore CDTV, DOS, Macintosh, Nintendo Famicom (NES), Nintendo Game Boy, TI-83 plus, Nintendo Game Boy Color, Nintendo Super Famicom (SNES), OS/2, Palm, Philips CD-I, SAM Coupé, Sega Game Gear, Sega Master System, Sega Megadrive (Genesis), Sinclair Spectrum, Sony PlayStation, and Windows.


NES (1992) Atari Lynx (1992) SMS (1992) Game Boy (1994)


Two-player levels were ported only to some of the other systems, including the Super NES, the Sega Genesis and the Atari ST.


Sequels
Xmas Lemmings (1991) - Holiday Lemmings in North America, expansion
Oh No! More Lemmings (1991) - expansion
Lemmings 2: The Tribes (1993)
All New World of Lemmings (1994) - The Lemmings Chronicles in North America, a.k.a. Lemmings 3
3D Lemmings (1995)
Lemmings Paintball (1996)
The Adventures of Lomax (1996)
Lemmings Revolution (2000)

Allusions
In the original Lemmings title, each difficulty level (Fun, Tricky, Taxing, and Mayhem) had one level with its own unique graphics and music. Each of these levels borrowed the graphics and music from another Psygnosis title. The levels are:

Fun: "A Beast of a Level" used the graphics from Shadow of the Beast.
Tricky: "MENACING!!!" used the graphics from Menace.
Taxing: "What an AWESOME Level" was based on Awesome.
Mayhem: "A Beast II of a Level" was taken from Shadow of the Beast 2.
The unique levels were removed from later versions (Lemmings for Windows, Lemmings for Game Boy Color, and the Lemmings which came with Lemmings Paintball).

In the expansion/sequel Oh No! More Lemmings, many of the level titles were allusions to pop culture.


Similar games
Pingus is an open-source game inspired by Lemmings.
Mormels is a freeware game inspired by Lemmings.
Pikmin is a Nintendo game some people claim to be similar to Lemmings.

External links
Lemmings Universe (http://lemmings.dreamhosters.com/) - Lemmings Info and Discussion
Garjen Lemmings Website (http://www.garjen.co.uk/Lemmings.php)
Lemmings on the web (http://193.151.73.87/games/lemmings/)

3:07 AM | 41 comments

Double Dragon

Double Dragon (spelled in kanji as 双截龍) is a classic beat 'em up video game series initially developed by Technos Japan Corporation, who also developed the Nekketsu Kouha: Kunio-Kun series. The original game was designed by a man named Yoshihisa Kishimoto, who originally conceived the game as a Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun sequel using the localized version (Renegade) as a basis. The game was heavily influenced by martial arts films, especially those of Bruce Lee's such as Enter the Dragon. The recently released Double Dragon Advance was planned by Muneki Ebinuma, who previously designed Super Double Dragon and was also involved in Double Dragon '95 as a fight choreographer.

The series stars twin brothers, Billy and Jimmy Lee, who are masters of a fictional martial arts called Sou-Setsu-Ken (双截拳) as they fight against various adversaries and rivals. Double Dragon has had several sequels and has been ported to several different platforms. Due to the popularity of the game series, a cartoon and movie adaptation have also been produced.

Contents [showhide]
1 Characters

2 Double Dragon Game Series (official games)

2.1 Double Dragon (1987)
2.2 Double Dragon II: The Revenge (1988)
2.3 Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone (1990)
2.4 Super Double Dragon (1992)
2.5 Double Dragon (1995)
2.6 Double Dragon Advance (2003)


3 Unofficial Games

3.1 BattleToads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team (1993)
3.2 Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls (1994)
3.3 Rage of the Dragons (2002)


4 Double Dragon Adaptations

4.1 Comic Book
4.2 Cartoon
4.3 Live-Action Movie


5 See also

6 External links


Characters
Billy Lee - The hero of the series. Billy began his martial arts training along with his brother at an early age, mastering several fighting styles and techniques as he grew up until he reached adulthood, when he became the Sou-Setsu-Ken succesor. Since he's the main character, Billy's role is often assigned to the first player and usually wears a blue outfit. He had blond hair in the original Arcade versions, but was subsequently changed to brown hair in the main home versions. According to the instruction manual in the Japanese version of Super Double Dragon, Billy is a master of the Southern-style of Sou-Setsu-Ken, which teaches flexible techniques. Billy's favorite weapon is the nunchaku.
Jimmy Lee - Billy's older twin brother and the assistant instructor of their dojo, where they teach the Sou-Setsu-Ken art form to students. In the original Double Dragon, Jimmy was secretly in love with Billy's girlfriend, Marian, a rivalry which would lead to a battle between the brothers at the end of the game. Jimmy's role in the series is usually that of the second player and wears a red outfit. He originally had brown hair in the Arcade versions, but was changed to blond hair in the home versions. He was also given a different hairstyle to set the character apart visually from Billy. In Super Double Dragon, Jimmy uses the Northern-style of Sou-Setsu-Ken, which specializes in strong techniques. His preferred weapons are the bo and kali sticks.
Marian Kelly - Billy's girlfriend. The earlier games originally conceived Marian as a female martial arts instructor, but her abilities were rarely shown and she usually played the role of a damsel in distress within the games. Later games in the series made her into a policewoman and then as a leader of a positive street gang, based on her portrayal in the Double Dragon cartoon and movie respectively. Her canonical full name, Marian Kelly, is revealed in the Japanese version of Super Double Dragon (Return of Double Dragon) through the manual.
Willy - Leader and "Big Boss" of the Black Warriors and the final boss of the first Double Dragon and of the arcade version of Double Dragon II. Unlike other enemies in the series who fight the Lee's with martial arts or melee weapons, Willy is armed with a machine gun. His gang is renamed the Shadow Warriors in Double Dragon Advance.
Mysterious Warrior - In the NES version of Double Dragon II he is the leader of an armed group (sometime referred as the Shadow Warriors in the localized versions) which includes the remnants of the Black Warriors. He uses the deadly fighting style of Gen-Satsu-Ken (幻殺拳), an evil counterpart of Sou-Setsu-Ken.
Duke - In Super Double Dragon, he leads the Shadow Warriors and is a former childhood friend of the Lee brothers.

Double Dragon Game Series (official games)

Double Dragon (1987)

Double Dragon (arcade)The arcade version of the game was originally developed by Technos released in 1987 and distributed worldwide by Taito (who are often mistakenly credited for creating the game). The original Double Dragon was one of the earliest beat-em-ups or side-scrolling fighting games in which a player fights against a swarm of adversaries using martial arts or other close-combat techniques. Set in a post-apocalyptic version of New York, the goal in Double Dragon was to rescue your character's kidnapped girlfriend, Marian, from a gang known as the "Black Warriors". A single player would play as the game's hero, Billy Lee (in blue, who earned the unofficial nickname of Hammer by Taito), while a second player could join in as his brother, Jimmy Lee (in red, nicknamed Spike by Taito). The enemies in the game would use several techniques against the player, including the usage of weapons, which during such a case the enemy could be disarmed and have his or her weapon taken by the player. There were total of four stages or "missions" in the game, each with a different boss waiting at the end of the stage. The leader of the Black Warriors and the final boss in the game was Willy, who fought using a machine gun against the player. If two players manage to beat the game together, the game would force both of them to fight against each other and see who would win Marian.

Technos Japan developed their own home versions of the game for the Famicom/NES in 1988 and Game Boy in 1990. Both of these versions were localized and published worldwide by a video game company named Tradewest (a subsidiary of LeLand Corp.), which also earned them a worldwide license for the Double Dragon brand (excluding Japan). The NES version in particular took various liberties with the game. The level designs were redone abit (more platform-oriented areas such as a cave and a mountain were added), a learning system was added (player could no longer perform all their techniques from the start, but had to earn them through experience points) and most notably of all, two players could no longer play simultaneously in the main game, but instead they had to alternate turns. Jimmy Lee, the character originally assigned to the second player in the Arcade version, appears as the final boss after the player defeats Willy (the explanation provided by the developers explained that Jimmy was the true mastermind behind the Black Warriors and Marian's kidnapping). To compensate for the lack of a proper 2-Player Mode, Technos added a new versus mode featuring large-sized characters in which the player could choose between the Lee brothers and five of the enemies in the game (the mode was limited to "mirror matches" however).

The Game Boy version of the game was based on the NES version, however the learning system was dropped and the player no longer fought Jimmy at the end of the game (despite the misleading information Tradewest provided in the manual of the localized version).

In addition, due to Double Dragon's popularity, various licensed versions of the game has been produced by different companies over the years. Sega managed to get a license directly from Technos Japan to produce a version for their Master System game console. This version was very close to the Arcade game and has sometime been compared favorably over Technos Japan's own NES version.

Tradewest themselves handed out the license to various western developers such as Accolade, Virgin Games and Telegames, resulting in creation of various home versions for various platforms such as the Sega Genesis, Atari 2600 and Atari Lynx over the years, although most of them were usually seen as being of pretty poor quality. A common trait between these versions is that even though they were intentionally based on the arcade game, they often used the (loosely) translated storyline and character information for the packaging and manual of the localized NES version (such as depicting Jimmy as a bad guy) from Tradewest, which they reused despite the discrepancies between the Arcade and NES versions.

In 2004, Million Corp. (the current copyrights holder of the Double Dragon) handed the license to Bandai's wireless division to produce a Mobile Phone version of the original Double Dragon.


Double Dragon II: The Revenge (1988)

Screenshot of Double Dragon II (Arcade)
Box cover of Double Dragon II for Megadrive (the NES version was censored due to the skin Marian is showing)Due to the success of the first Double Dragon game, an arcade sequel was made by Technos in 1988. The premise of the game this time have Billy and Jimmy going after Marian's killers, who is murdered right in the beginning of the game. The Arcade version was essentially an updated version of the first game, although the conventional punch and kick control set-up was abandoned and replaced in favor of a two-way attacking system (inspired by Technos Japan's previous beat-em-up, Renegade) in which the functions of the attack buttons depended on the direction the character was facing. Many of the returning characters were given major facelifts (some more noticeable than others), while Billy and Jimmy traded their original blue and red outfits for black and white respectively.

Technos Japan developed a home version for the Famicom/NES (released at the end of 1989) just like did with the first game. This time, the 2-Player simultaneous mode was kept (Jimmy's betrayal in the first NES version of the game was conveniently ignored), with the option to turn the friendly fire on or off, however even more liberties were made in this conversion. Cut-scenes were added which served to narrate the storyline through text and static images, the stages were completely changed (with the NES version featuring twice the amount of stages of the Arcade version) and new enemy characters were added (Willy, the main bad guy in the Arcade version was removed and a nameless character takes his place as the main villain and the new end-boss). The NES version also featured a different ending in which Marian is restored to life. The worldwide publishing rights for the NES version went to Acclaim this time, who made a few minor changes made to the localized version.

Technos Japan also made a Game Boy version of Double Dragon II in 1991, which was unrelated to the Arcade and NES versions and was published by Acclaim for the western market. This was actually a heavily localized version of the Japanese-only game, Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun: Bangai Rantou-hen, with the game's graphics and sound altered to fit in with Double Dragon's style.

Licensed adaptations of the game were made for the Sega Mega Drive by Pal Soft (based on the Arcade version) and for the PC Engine by Naxat Soft (based on the Famicom version). Neither of these versions were released outside of Japan. Even though Tradewest lost the worldwide console rights to Acclaim, they still managed to keep the PC rights for themselves and thus they ported the game to various PC platforms with Virgin Games' cooperation.





Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone (1990)
In 1990, Technos released the third game of the series. The Arcade version of the game was not made in-house by Technos, but instead Technos contracted another company (East Technology, makers of Silent Dragon, Operation: Wolf 3 and Gigandes) to develop the game for them. The premise of the game has the Lee brothers going on a world tour in search of the Rosetta Stones with the help of a fortune teller named Hiruko . The engine from the first two Double Dragon arcade games was not used, but instead East Technology remade the game from scratch with a new engine, revamped graphics and a 3-Players co-op mode (the third player controlled Sonny, a previously unseen third member of the Lee brothers). Its most notable and controversial feature allowed the player to purchase power-ups at certain shops by inserting additional tokens (credits) to the machine. Player could purchase new characters (which would serve as extra men when the player's character dies), weapons (they could no longer be taken from enemies like in previous games), energy (up to 150% the default amount), attack power (which actually increased your character's speed and agility) and tricks (the whirlwind kick and a special overhead technique would be unlocked for the player). Double Dragon 3 was not as popular as the previous two titles partly because of this feature, although it was only included in the US and Worldwide versions of the game. A later Japanese version of the Arcade game dropped the shopping system altogether in favor of a more conventional character select mode, in which the player could choose between the four character types presented in the game (Lee, Chin, Ooyama and Urquidez brothers) from the very start. The player began with all their special moves as default techniques as well and weapons were merely found lying on the floor, waiting to be picked up by the player.

Once again, Technos Japan produced a Famicom/NES version of the game in 1991, although this time it was developed internally by Technos themselves. The premise of the game was kept, but several major changes were made to enhance the gameplay. The player now began with an optional weapon which could be used anytime in additional to your character's primary fighting method (although it had limited uses), while additional characters could be played as in addition to the Lee brothers after defeating them as bosses (the player could now change characters anytime during gameplay). Once again, Acclaim published the NES version outside of Japan and made some major changes in the localized version (released under the title of Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones), most notably increased difficulty and a completely altered storyline.

Acclaim also made their own home versions of Double Dragon 3 for the Sega Genesis and Game Boy based on the Arcade version under the title Double Dragon 3: The Arcade Game. Both of these versions are generally seen as poor in quality. In addition, Tradewest produced ports of the Arcade version to PC platforms, similar to the ones they did for the first two games.


Super Double Dragon (1992)
Released in 1992 for the Super Famicom/SNES platform, Super Double Dragon (originally titled Return of Double Dragon: "Sleeping Dragon" has Awoken in Japan) was the first true Double Dragon title made specifically for the home market. The game played similarly to the first two Double Dragon games, however the player could now block enemy's attacks and grab their fists and a Power Gauge was also added which allowed the player to perform special techniques by filling the gauge while holding the shoulder buttons. One of the most unique aspects of Super Double Dragon involved the Lee brothers' appearances (the characters now head-swapped, making them more distinct) and their techniques, in which their basic techniques differed from each other (the Japanese version explained that Billy and Jimmy mastered different factions of their martial arts-style, Sou-Setsu-Ken). Technos Japan developed the game internally and the worldwide publishing right was once again handed to Tradewest. Despite the nearly simultaneous release, the localized version by Tradewest was based on a much earlier build than the Japanese version (which featured more music, refined gameplay and the latter half of the final stage, missing in the localized version).

The developers originally intended to include cut-scenes similar to those found in the NES versions of Double Dragon II and III, but they were left out due to time constraints despite the fact that most of the necessary data was already inserted to the ROM. As a result, the policewoman Marian (who is mentioned in the game's packaging and manual) never actually appears in the game, while the main villain, Duke, had his backstory left a mystery (he was originally written to be a former childhood friend of the Lee brothers).


Double Dragon (1995)
Also known as Double Dragon '95, this was a competitive fighting game released for the Neo-Geo platform in all three formats (MVS, AES and CD-ROM). The game was produced as a tie-in for the Japanese release of the Double Dragon live-action movie and thus various aspects from the game (such as Billy and Jimmy's transformation technique) were derived from the movie. The game played like any typical fighting game at the time, with the most notable features being the lack of specific punch and kick buttons and a charge meter for super moves which required less capacity as the player's energy decreased. There were up ten immediately playable characters and two unlockable bosses. Billy, Jimmy, Marian (who was now a female gang leader like in the movie), Abobo and Burnov were the only immediate characters from the previous games, with Burnov (a fat masked man originally from Double Dragon II) being the only character not featured in the movie. A revised version of Koga Shuko (the movie's antagonist) served as the game's final opponent, with Duke (the main villain in Super Double Dragon) was reimagined as Koga's bodyguard. The rest of the characters were made specifically for this game.

A PlayStation version of this game was released in Japan by Urban Plant.


Double Dragon Advance (2003)
Developed by Million Corp. (a company founded by ex-Technos employees) for the Game Boy Advance and published by Atlus. Double Dragon Advance was a remake of the original Arcade version of Double Dragon which featured new stages, techniques, weapons and enemy characters (most of them derived from the subsequent) in addition to those found in the original game.


Unofficial Games
When Tradewest received the worldwide license for the Double Dragon brand, the company was initially involved in nothing more than merely localizing Technos Japan's home versions of the original for the NES and Game Boy (and later Super Double Dragon) or producing their own versions for other platforms. However, as the years went by, Tradewest eventually began taking more liberties with the license, lending the Double Dragon brand to various tie-ins such as comic books, a cartoon series, and a motion picture (see Double Dragon Adaptions), as well as any merchandise spun by those products. Eventually, this led to the production of two Double Dragon games without Technos Japan's direct involvement, essentially making them unofficial installments.


BattleToads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team (1993)
Developed by Rare under contract by Tradewest (who also held the exclusive worldwide rights to the Battletoads license) and released in 1993. The game was initially released for the NES and was followed by versions for the SNES, Genesis and Game Boy, although they're all virtually identical (excluding superficial aspects). The game features Billy and Jimmy teaming up with the Battletoads to fight off the evil attack on earth made by Colossus, a large battleship. The game mechanics and style heavily favored Battletoads' more comical style in contrast to the darker and serious mood of the Double Dragon games. The Double Dragon characters in this game (particularly the villains) were very out of character: the boss named Roper was actually a misnamed Willy and the "Shadow Boss" was nothing more than a character by Rare created specifically for this game, despite being touted as the Double Dragon's main adversary. The characters of this game were mostly from Battletoads series.


Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls (1994)
Based closely on the Double Dragon cartoon series that was airing at the time, this "fifth" installment in the Double Dragon series was a competitive fighting game developed by Tradewest's parent company, Leland Interactive Media. Double Dragon V was critically panned by both, critics and Double Dragon fans for its poor presentation (including their out-of-character potrayal of the Lee brothers) and completely derative gameplay. Double Dragon V was released for the SNES, Genesis and Atari Jaguar platforms, with each version generally recognized as becoming progressively worse.


Rage of the Dragons (2002)
A Japanese/Mexican co-production between Noise Factory and Evoga, Rage of the Dragons was originally conceived as a sequel to the Neo-Geo version of Double Dragon, but the rights were unavailable to the developers. As a result, Billy and Jimmy had their surname changed to Lewis and Abobo was renamed Abubo. The game was a competitive fighting game which featured a tag-team system similar to the one found in Capcom's "Versus" series. However, Rage of the Dragons is a Double Dragon game by association only.


Double Dragon Adaptations
Due to the popularity of the Double Dragon games, Tradewest lent the brand name to various tie-ins in the US, including adaptions of the game in media outside of the games themselves. Unfortunately, these adaptions strayed from their source material and were very unpopular as a result, with the Lee brothers often depicted as superheroes who inherited their powers from artifacts such as swords or amulets (depending on the adaption) instead of being skilled martial artists like in the games.


Comic Book
During the latter half of 1991, Marvel Comics published a six-issue limited series (22 pages each) based on Double Dragon. This was the first of several Double Dragon tie-ins produced in the US under license by Tradewest. Written by Dwayne McDuffie for the first four issues and by Tom Brevoort and Mike Kanterovich during the last two issues. In the comic, Billy and Jimmy were the inheritor of a supernatural force known as the "Dragon Force" and the first twins to share this power. Their main adversary in the comic was a demonic mob boss named Nightfall, who was previously a close friend of their parents and was responsible for their mother's death. The comic also featured Marian as a policewoman, a role she would later take in Super Double Dragon, as well as in the cartoon series. The most humorous or saddest aspect of the comic book, depending on how you look at it, was the introduction of Billy and Jimmy's long-lost father, a character by the name of Stan who bears the likeness of Stan Lee, although Stan's full name is never mentioned in the comic.


Cartoon
The Double Dragon cartoon was produced by DiC Entertainment and ran for 26 half-hour episodes between 1993 and 1995. The premise of the show had the Lee brothers separated at birth, with Billy being raised by a wiseman known as the Eldest Dragon. In contrast, his brother Jimmy was raised by the evil Shadow Master to become his right-hand man. As a result, the Lee brothers met each other as adversaries after being reunited as adults. However, by the end of the second episode, Jimmy is betrayed by the Shadow Master, which leads the brothers to set aside their difference and fight against the greater evil. The Lee brothers made use of magical swords which contained special powers and added dragon masks to the brothers' outfit. During the course of the series, the brothers recruited allies in their war agasint the Shadow Master. The voice of Billy and Jimmy were provided by Michael Donovan and Scott McNeil respectively.


Live-Action Movie
In 1994, a live-action Double Dragon movie was produced starring Mark Dacascos as Jimmy Lee and Scott Wolf as Billy Lee. It was directed by James Yukich and written by the team of Paul Dini (of Batman: The Animated Series and others) and Neal Shusterman. A review of the movie by the Washington Post was not complimentary.

The Jackie Chan movie Twin Dragons (1992) includes "Double Dragon" as an alternate title, according to the Internet Movie Database, although it is completely unrelated to the video game series.


See also
Battletoads & Double Dragon

External links
The KLOV entry on Double Dragon (http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?letter=D&game_id=7619)
The KLOV entry for Double Dragon II (http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?game_id=7623&letter=D)
The KLOV entry for Double Dragon III (http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?game_id=7622&letter=D)
Double Dragon Advance from Atlus.com (http://www.atlus.com/dda/index.html)
The Double Dragon Dojo (http://www.classicgaming.com/doubledragon/index.htm)
IMDb entry on the Double Dragon movie (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106761/)

3:04 AM | 2 comments

Desert Strike

Strike series

Strike is the common name of a series of video games created by Mike Posehn released originally between 1991 and 1997 by Electronic Arts for a number of systems, but most notably for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis where the first three titles were released with great success. In the game, the player controls a helicopter (although in the following titles some levels require the player to successfully control other vehicles such as a Hovercraft, a Stealth bomber, a Motorcycle and even on foot). The series are composed by five games, and despite their high popularity during the 16-bit era no plans for a revival exist.

Contents [showhide]
1 Overview

2 Games in the series

2.1 Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf
2.2 Jungle Strike
2.3 Urban Strike
2.4 Soviet Strike
2.5 Nuclear Strike


3 External links


Overview
The game is very simplistic in its nature. The player controls a helicopter equipped with three ammunition types, and limited fuel and defense capacity. While there are refits for all items scattered around the map, armor is more easily repaired by capturing and delivering POWs or allied soldiers to a drop point. If either armor or fuel reach zero, the aircraft crashes and a life is lost.

Levels are composed of several missions that must be completed sequentially, as the defenses of more advanced objectives are much stronger. A typical level starts by requiring the player to rescue a MIA soldier who carries information, then destroy a radar or power facility, followed by disabling the defenses that were serviced by the target of the previous mission, then capturing an enemy general for additional information and finally destroying another building. Between the levels, cut-scenes with the story developing take place.

There are several kinds of enemies, from foot soldiers armed with nothing more than a handgun to powerful Anti-aircraft artillery and enemy helicopters. Each enemy has its own damage per round and firing speed capacities, and the player must balance their ammo, fuel, the target's ability and decide if it's better to deploy a powerful missile (such as a Hellfire in Desert Strike) to destroy an opponent, or save them and use the chain gun or weaker missiles to disable it. Other than the occasional (usually useless) soldier, the player has no backup, and must deal with the opponents on his own.

The player can lose a game in several ways; by losing all lives, destroying the main drop point, killing an important person (allied or enemy) or failing to complete a mission in a specified time.


Games in the series

Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf

Firing a missile at a Radar dish in Desert StrikeReleased originally in 1992 for the Amiga, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System and SNES, and later (1994) for DOS Personal Computers. It was also released for most portable platforms; the Atari Lynx was the first, in 1993, followed by the Game Gear (1994), Game Boy (1995) and finally Game Boy Advance versions, the final in 2002.

The story follows the player, a AH-64 Apache pilot in a conflict inspired by the Gulf War. A year after the Gulf War, General Kilbaba takes over a small Arab Emirate and plans to start World War III, and the player must open way for ground troops by disabling most of his defense and offense, and finally take on the "Madman" himself.


Jungle Strike
This time, the player is at the controls of a RAH-66 Comanche in a crusade against the son of General Kilbaba, who allies with a notable drug baron to take his revenge on the United States.

Although called Jungle Strike, the first mission is played in Washington D.C., where the player must protect the presidential motorcade from terrorists infiltrated into the city. Later in the game, the player is also able to drive a hovercraft, a motorcycle and a stolen F-117 Nighthawk. In a double ending, the player returns to Washington to be decorated by Bill Clinton (who is actually credited in the ending sequence), and must deal with the threat inside the city for a second time.

Released originally for the Mega Drive/Genesis and the SNES in 1993, it was later ported to the Amiga (1994) and finally DOS, Game Gear and Game Boy in 1995.


Urban Strike
The final 2D title, it was released in 1994 for the Mega Drive/Genesis, one year later for SNES and the Game Gear, and finally in 1995 for the Game Boy.

In a fictional 2001, a millionaire, former presidential candidate and fanatic cult leader named H. R. Malone plans on toppling the government using a super weapon being constructed, and the player must deal with the threat again.

Like Jungle Strike, Urban Strike starts on a completely different setting than the name suggests, this time in Hawaii. The biggest new feature were foot missions, where the player was required to actually drop at one point and proceed without the helicopter from there.


Soviet Strike
Released in 1996 for the Sega Saturn and the Sony Playstation.

Set after Desert Strike and before Urban Strike. (whether it occurs before or after Jungle Strike is unknown)

Upon the fall of the Soviet Union, an ex-KGB leader, known only as "The Shadowman", gathers a large military force to attempt to start a nuclear war, capturing various territories along the former communist bloc, and setting up various military installations.

The player this time must free these territories and destroy the increasingly more dangerous weapons across five stages, ending with a climatic encounter with the villain in Moscow as he takes control of the May Day Parade and attempts to assassinate president Boris Yeltsin and the entire Russian cabinet, whilst at the same time launching nuclear weapons from the heart of the Kremlin.

This is the first Strike game to feature cinematic cut-scenes, introducing new characters such as General Earle, "Hack", Andrea Grey and Nick Arnold, your co-pilot - who seems to get into more trouble than he stops.

This section is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Strike_series&action=edit).




Nuclear Strike
Released in 1997 for the Sony Playstation and Personal computers, and in 1999 for the Nintendo 64.

This section is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Strike_series&action=edit).




External links
MobyGames series page (http://www.mobygames.com/game_group/sheet/gameGroupId,134/)
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strike_series"
Categories: Section stubs | Computer and video game franchises

3:00 AM | 1 comments

Comix Zone

Comix Zone

Screenshot from the start of Comix ZoneComix Zone is a 1995 action game for Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. Play involves defeating enemies with punches, kicks, and holds, managing your inventory, and solving puzzles.

The game's most remarkable feature is that it is set within the "panels" of a comic book. Each level consists of two "pages", and secrets are discovered by shredding the "paper" and revealing items. Dialogue is rendered within talk bubbles with the typical comic font. sprites and backgrounds possess the bright colors and dynamic drawing style favored by superhero comics.

The plot concerns Sketch Turner, a cartoonist that is trapped in his own comic book. The villain of his story gained life due to an unusual thunderstorm, and decided to entrap him in his world. Inside the comic book, he meets General Alissa Cyan, who believes he's a superhero that came to save their post-apocalyptic world from the evil.

The game is hidden within the Japanese version of Sonic Mega Collection and is locked part of all region versions of Sonic Mega Collection Plus, which is unlockable with having a Sonic Heroes game save, or is unlocked over time.

2:58 AM | 1 comments

Bubsy

Bubsy was the star character in a series of video games released by Accolade for the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Atari Jaguar, the personal computer and Sony PlayStation in the early and mid-1990s.

Though the games were platform games similar to Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog, the bobcat never came close to the popularity level of the two bigger name mascots.

Bubsy was however popular enough to appear in a pilot episode for an animated cartoon in 1993.

Contents

1 Bubsy's abilities

2 List of games

2.1 Bubsy in: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind


2.1.1 The basics
2.1.2 Game mechanics


2.2 Bubsy in: Fractured Furry Tales
2.3 Bubsy II


2.3.1 The basics


2.4 Bubsy 3D


2.4.1 The basics
2.4.2 Game Mechanics


3 Glitches

3.1 Bubsy in: Claws encounters of the furred kind
3.2 Bubsy 3D


4 External links


Bubsy's abilities
Bubsy has two key abilities.

Jumping - Bubsy can jump more than twice his own height.
Gliding - Bubsy can glide, which cuts his acceleration by 1/4, allowing him to cross large gaps. Gliding can also be used to prevent losing a life from great falls and, when used on certain objects, allows him to bounce up much higher than a regular jump could.

List of games

Bubsy in: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind

The basics
The first release of Bubsy was in 1993. The game features five main worlds with three levels in each and a final level after completion of the first 15 levels. Bubsy collects yarn balls coming in four different colors. There are at least 500 yarn balls in each level, some with over 1000. Bubsy's enemies are primarily woolies, rabbit-like beings of a tan color from the planet Rayon. Bubsy, however, cannot go into water. This game has a medium difficulty.

The game is like a cartoon where, if you run into a wall at high speed, Bubsy becomes dizzy with birds flying around his head. There are several such cartoon-like animations in the game.


Game mechanics
The game has fairly simple mechanics. You move Bubsy left and right along the screen with the D-pad and jump with the B button and glide with the A button (these controls can be swapped in the options menu). Enemies are defeated by simply jumping on top of them. Touching an enemy while not falling will cause Bubsy to lose a life. You score points for collecting yarn balls, defeating enemies, and finishing the level. Gliding allows Bubsy to cross large gaps and, if used correctly on certain objects, can allow for up to 4 times the height. There are plenty of powerups around, in the form of a T-shirt, mainly extra lives. The game has quite a few glitches, the most noticeable one is the background scenery.


Bubsy in: Fractured Furry Tales
Bubsy in: Fractured Furry Tales was released in 1994.


Bubsy II

The basics
Bubsy II features five zones and it also features three levels of difficulty. Bubsy II was released in 1994. Bubsy collects trading cards in which he can use to buy various items. The game mechanics are much different from Bubsy in: Claws encounters of the furred kind. Bubsy II is just as cartoony as the games that have been released.




This section is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bubsy&action=edit).




Bubsy 3D

The basics
Bubsy 3D is the first and only of his games in 3D. It was released in 1996. Bubsy 3D is a sequel to the original in terms of the story and takes place on the woolies' home planet, Rayon. Bubsy 3D has 16 main levels and two boss levels. Bubsy has to collect 32 rockets, which are not neccessary to finish the game, in order to escape from planet Rayon. He also collects atoms. The graphics are very simple in their nature, even for the time era the game was made in. A dense fog covers the entire area. Bubsy actively speaks throughout the game at random times based on various actions you do. Bubsy's goal is to defeat the two queens of Rayon, Poly and Esther. Bubsy 3D is medium-hard in difficulty.


Game Mechanics
Bubsy can jump very high, he can glide, and, in some levels, swim. Bubsy defeats his enemies by simply jumping on top of them. There are plenty of platforms around, some of which move around. The controls are fairly simple, however, except in the water levels where it can be quite confusing.


Glitches

Bubsy in: Claws encounters of the furred kind
If Bubsy falls any faster than 32 pixels per frame, the foreground objects disappear by row or get copied always in the direction Bubsy is going in. The only way to obtain such speed is by gliding onto the eggs repeatedly for a very long time (best done in levels 4 and 5).
The backgrounds have misplaced pixels making them scroll horizontally incorrectly and unrealistically.
In level 8, there's a spot by a giant exclamation point with a woolie just to the left of it that, if you die and return to here, you'll continually die forever until you run out of lives.
You cannot pass 80 lives, otherwise all lives and the score get reset once you die or complete a level.
In the first level, where the water slides are up high and near a wall toward the end of the level, Bubsy can become dizzy from slamming into the wall and slide down the slide at slow motion.
In level 1, where the bridge crosses a large pool of water at the end of the level, if you just walk into the water from here, Bubsy will stay put on the bridge showing the secret of the drown animation.
At the very beginning of level 2, jump and fall over the edge and try to land on a steep cliff without gliding. Bubsy will tumble, then, when just about out of bounds, splashes into water that you cannot see.

Bubsy 3D
In level 2, on the second fan from the end of the level near the rocket, if you glide facing the mountains while beneath the platform, Bubsy will fly up incredibly high, so high that you can't see the level below. This trick can be applied to in two other levels, but you don't get as high.
If Bubsy goes out of bounds, he dies from water or slime, even though there isn't any present.
In one of the dome levels, if Bubsy gets in the right spot near a wall, he'll go inside the terrain and everything disappears. It's very hard to return to normal.
In level 2, if you pause the game while jumping up into a UFO, various sound tracks play continuously, including some otherwise hidden in the game. This trick is very hard to accomplish.
With the coordinates cheat code active, entering a coordinate that does not exist or is out of bounds causes the game to freeze.

External links
A Bubsy fan site (http://www.bluies-island.com/BubsyHQ/)
Mobygames' entry for the series (http://www.mobygames.com/game_group/sheet/gameGroupId,794/)

2:57 AM | 0 comments

Blockout

The original Blockout game was created by California Dreams in 1989, designed by Alexander Ustaszewski and Mirek Zablocki. Blockout is the first official Tetris clone not directly published by Spectrum Holobyte. To imagine what the game looks like, picture regular Tetris board and add a third dimension to it. It is seen from top view, so instead of falling down the y-axis, the blocks fall down the z-axis (that is, "into" the screen). You are allowed to move the blocks in the x and y axes, and move forward in the z-axis. Your goal is to fill 3D layers (starting from the further-most one) with blocks. Unlike in most Tetris clones, here you are allowed to rotate the pieces in any way imaginable (including the z-dimension).

Don't be fooled by the slow pace in which the blocks fall in early levels - it's quite difficult even then. In fact, the game would be quite tricky even if the blocks didn't advance at all. Filling the squares can become rather impossible, especially if you play with the optional 3D pieces feature (normally you play with regular Tetris pieces).

However, the difficulty of the game is not due to poor design like some believe and there is very little luck involved in the game-play. It requires a strong grasp of the 3D world, coordination, strategy and concentration.

The game was playable on many different types of machines due to multiple graphics mode and efficient code. And the graphics are quite good for the time! That is, they include perspective, Backface Culling, and smooth rotation.


The game allows to configure a pit and set of pieces, but most players play preset modes that are known to be most strategic:

Flat Fun: Uses the standard Tetris set of pieces and a 5x5x12 pit. This mode is easiest to learn but can still be rather challenging if played for a high score (the speeds after level 5 or so make it absolutely vital for the player to think of the perfect placement for a piece as soon as it appears). The best strategy on this mode is to fill 5 whole layers while leaving a hole somewhere near the centre and then filling it with a 5-block piece.

3D Mania: This is the mode most commonly played by experts. It is set in a 3x3x10 pit, and includes odd 3D pieces that make it absolutely necessery to think in pure 3D. Each piece is carefully designed to be usable in numerous ways based on rotation. The expert's way of playing this mode involves building 2 layers with a single hole in the middle and then closing them with a 3-block L shaped piece. However, playing like this is very risky since it may be a long time until such a piece appears. This is why it may be a good idea to play this mode one layer at a time.

Out of Control: An interesting and challenging game, but not as strategic as 3D Mania. In this mode you will see pieces from both the previous modes (3D pieces and standard pieces) and also some 'extended' ones. This means a standard piece with some sort of an extention. For example, a _|_ piece can be extended in the x, y or z direction. Uses a 5x5x10 pit.

Other features of the game inculde:

Demo Mode: This is not a pre-recorded game of an expert playing but a well programmed bot that plays a perfect game at any given setup (including user specified ones).

Practice Mode: A game where the pieces are not moving downward with time. It can be applied to any mode and is very useful for beginners and experts who want to improve their strategy. Just like with music, it's always a good idea to start slow and move your way up. Needless to say that practice mode scores are not recorded in the High Scores file.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_out"

2:56 AM | 0 comments

Battletoads

Battletoads

An animated series called Battletoads (upon which the games were based) was made by DiC Entertainment in the early 1990s.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NES Title ScreenBattletoads is a video game franchise. The first game, entitled simply "Battletoads", is a 2D scrolling video game from Rare Ltd. for the Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Game Boy (as Ragnarok's World), and the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was released in 1991. It was arguably the most graphically advanced video game for the NES, at a time when the game market was turning to Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.

An arcade version of this game was released in 1994 by Rare, but developed by Electronic Arts.

The distinctive music of the Battletoads series was composed by David Wise.

Contents [showhide]
1 Story

2 Gameplay

3 List of Games

3.1 Comeback


4 External links


Story
Three teenaged, mutant toads affectionately named after skin disorders (Zitz, Pimple and Rash) have to save Princess Angelica from the evil Dark Queen, ruler of Planet Ragnarok, with the assistance of Professor T. Bird and his space ship, The Vulture.


Gameplay
Play consists of three different types of levels: racing, "snake", climbing/falling, and water. In the racing levels, half the battle is memorizing all the obstacles that are ahead of you. "Snake" levels involve climbing twisting, twirling snakes to the exit. Climbing/falling levels are a race to the top or bottom of the level through deadly, complicated obstacles. There is also a water level full of sharks, electric eels and other baddies.

The game is a balance of challenge and skill: it is very challenging but not impossible, and luck plays almost no part.


List of Games
There are several other games in the franchise, for Nintendo and Sega consoles:

Battletoads (Game Boy): game for Game Boy. Takes place chronologically before the first Battletoads game, and features levels and some characters not seen in other Battletoads games.
Battletoads & Double Dragon: very similar to the first game, a semi-official crossover with the characters from the Double Dragon series with a few liberties taken. Released in 1993 for the NES, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, and Super NES.
Battletoads in Battlemaniacs: game for Super NES and Sega Master System. The characters are bigger and the graphics are better. Also starring Pimple, Zitz and Rash. Released in 1993.
Super Battletoads: arcade version released in 1994
Battletoads in Ragnarok's World: Game Boy version of the original game, Released in 1993.

Comeback
In 2004 the lead designer of Rare's Game Boy Advance team's lead designer stated that 'a Battletoads game would be really cool on the GBA - there's nothing to confirm at the moment, but hopefully we can do one in the future.' [1] (http://www.rareware.co.uk/extra/tepidseat/gbateam/index.html) in response to a question whether a new Battletoads game was in development.


External links
The KLOV entry on Battletoads (http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?letter=B&game_id=7058)
MobyGame's entry on the Battletoads series (http://www.mobygames.com/game_group/sheet/gameGroupId,551/)
ClassicGaming - The World of Battletoads (http://www.classicgaming.com/battletoads/index.html)

2:55 AM | 0 comments

Art of Fighting

Art of Fighting (yūko no Ken, in Japan and in video game music archives), or AOF (or RnK in video game music archives) for short, is a fighting game series created by SNK. It is one of the many SNK series that ties into The King of Fighters.

Contents
1 Gameplay

2 Story

3 Games

3.1 Art of Fighting series
3.2 Other games involving characters from Art of Fighting


4 Characters

4.1 Characters From Fatal Fury
4.2 Characters With Appearances Outside this Series
4.3 Other Characters


5 External links


Gameplay
Art of Fighting was the first fighting game with a super bar, and introduced the "spirit gauge" and "desperation move" (the equivalent of "super combo", often used with SNK fighting games) into the fighting game vernacular. A spirit gauge is a manually charged super combo gauge where all special moves will utilize and drain, with greater amounts of power dealing greater amounts of damage.


Story
The central story of the original Art of Fighting is a typical damsel-in-distress story set in the fictitious city of South Town (a common setting among SNK video games), where the duo of Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia try to rescue Ryo's sister and Robert's love interest, Yuri Sakazaki. It takes place before the Fatal Fury series, since Jeff Bogard, father of Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury, is alive at the time Art of Fighting took place, according to what Takuma Sakazaki said during the ending.

Although the story starts this way, future games would focus more on the struggles of the Sakazaki family and their fictitious style of karate known as Kyokugen-ryuu (meaning "Extreme style"). The more recent games containing the Sakazaki family are outside the Art of Fighting series, mostly the King of Fighters series.

On its own, the Art of Fighting series seems to take place in the late 1970's or early 1980's, judging by the birthdates of its characters (Ryo's AoF birthyear is 1957). When SNK Playmore brought the characters from its many games together for the King of Fighters, they adjusted the birthdates (moving Ryo's to 1971, for example) to have the characters interact with each other without having to remake character sprites to account for age. This does create a discrepancy within Takuma Sakazaki's history, as he was originally a contemporary of Jeff Bogard, who is killed in the early to mid 1980's. The actual-aged Ryo can be seen in Buriki One.


Games

Art of Fighting series
Art of Fighting
Art of Fighting 2
Art of Fighting 3 - The Path of the Warrior (Ryuuko no Ken Gaiden in Japan)

Other games involving characters from Art of Fighting
Fatal Fury Special - Ryo Sakazaki appears as a secret boss
The King of Fighters '94
The King of Fighters '95
The King of Fighters '96
The King of Fighters '97
The King of Fighters '98 - The Slugfest
The King of Figthers '99: The Millennium Battle
Capcom Vs. SNK - Millennium Fight 2000
Capcom Vs. SNK 2 - Mark of the Millennium 2001
The King of Fighters 2000
The King of Fighters 2001
The King of Fighters 2002: Challenge to the Ultimate Battle
The King of Fighters 2003

Characters

Characters From Fatal Fury
Geese Howard

Characters With Appearances Outside this Series
These include characters that have appeared in The King of Fighters as well as the SNK VS. Series.

Eiji Kisaragi
Kasumi Todoh
King
Mr. Big
Robert Garcia
Ryo Sakazaki
Ryuhaku Todoh
Takuma Sakazaki
Takuma or Ryo may also appear in their alter-ego form of Mr. Karate.
Yuri Sakazaki

Other Characters
Jack Turner
Jin Fuha
John Crawley: Inspired by Guile of Street Fighter.
Karman Cole
Lee Pai Long
Lenny Creston
Micky Rodgers
Rody Birts
Sinclair
Temjin
Wang Koh-San
Wyler

External links
GameFAQs entry for Art of Fighting (http://gamefaqs.com/console/neogeo/data/7366.html)
GameFAQs entry for Art of Fighting 2 (http://gamefaqs.com/console/neogeo/data/7367.html)
GameFAQs entry for Art of Fighting 3 (http://gamefaqs.com/console/neogeo/data/7368.html)

2:54 AM | 2 comments

Alex Kidd

Alex Kidd is a monkey-like boy hero who prior to Sonic the Hedgehog was Sega's former mascot.

His games were on the Sega Master System and the Sega Megadrive and Sega Genesis systems.

His first game, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, was released in 1986. Many fans of the system consider his first game to be a true classic.

His other games:

Alex Kidd and the Lost Stars, 1986, arcade, and 1989, Master System
Alex Kidd BMX Trial, 1987, Master System
Alex Kidd in High-Tech World, 1989, Master System (known as Anmitsu Hime in Japan - the game was originally based off of the Anmitsu Hime anime and manga)
Alex Kidd and the Enchanted Castle, 1989, Megadrive & Sega Genesis
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World, 1990, Master System
After 1990, Sega ditched Alex Kidd in favor of Sonic the Hedgehog as their mascot.

2:51 AM | 0 comments

Monday, March 07, 2005

Ecco the Dolphin

Ecco the Dolphin


Screenshot of Ecco The Dolphin for the Sega Megadrive and Sega Genesis.Ecco the Dolphin is a series of Japanese action games taking place underwater for the Sega Mega Drive (in Japan and Europe), the Sega Genesis (in North America), and the Sega Dreamcast (worldwide). These games have been ported numerous times. The games are named after their main character, Ecco. They are known for being highly difficult.

The Ecco the Dolphin games hinge on the idea that cetaceans are sapient beings and have their own society under the waves. In the Mega Drive/Genesis games, humans are barely acknowledged and never by name. The cetaceans also call themselves "Singers." In the Dreamcast game, dolphins and presumably other cetaceans have united with humans in a cross-species society.

Contents [showhide]
1 Storylines and ports

2 Ecco the character

3 Mega Drive/Genesis storyline

3.1 Ecco the Dolphin


3.1.1 Ecco the Dolphin gameplay
3.1.2 Ecco the Dolphin storyline


3.2 Ecco: The Tides of Time


3.2.1 Tides of Time gameplay
3.2.2 Tides of Time storyline


3.3 Ecco Jr.


4 Sega Dreamcast storyline

4.1 Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future


4.1.1 Defender of the Future gameplay
4.1.2 Defender of the Future storyline


4.1.2.1 Isle of Tranquility
4.1.2.2 Man's Nightmare
4.1.2.3 Dolphin's Nightmare
4.1.2.4 Domain of the Enemy



Storylines and ports
The Ecco the Dolphin games can be divided into two distinct storylines: the Mega Drive/Genesis games (Ecco the Dolphin, Ecco: The Tides of Time, and Ecco Jr.) and the Sega Dreamcast game (Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future).

Ecco the Dolphin and Ecco: The Tides of Time were both re-released on the Sega CD and Game Gear, and Defender of the Future was re-released on the Sony PlayStation 2. Ecco the Dolphin was also re-released on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance as part of the fourth Sega Smash Pack, along with Sonic Spinball and Golden Axe. However, this port is often looked down upon by Ecco fans, who were annoyed that almost all the music was taken out of the Ecco port — only a roughly 30-second loop of a song remained.

Ecco the character
Ecco is a young adult bottlenose dolphin. He is very strong and intelligent, even for a cetacean. He is also able to use many unusual powers, such as shapechanging and using his sonar as a weapon. He has five distinct markings on his head; they are stars that form the constellation Delphinus.

Mega Drive/Genesis storyline

Ecco the Dolphin

Ecco the Dolphin gameplay
The original Ecco the Dolphin was a game released in 1992 for the Sega Mega Drive and Sega Genesis. It was developed by Novotrade. The gameplay was essentially side-scrolling, although it scrolled vertically as well, since Ecco is a swimming creature. Attacking enemies was accomplished by making Ecco ram into them at high speeds. Swimming could be made progressively faster by tapping a certain button, and the speed could be maintained by holding it down. Players could perform a purely aesthetic spin in the air when jumping out of the water. Two unique features of the game played on actual dolphin habits. One was a sonar map that could be brought up by making Ecco "sing" (this was also how he talked to other Singers as well as interact with certain things such as clams and Glyphs) and then holding the button down to make the "song" return to him, a la echolocation in real dolphins. The other was the fact that Ecco, being a mammal, had to surface periodically for air, or else find an air vent. Ecco would drown if his 'air meter' ran out. His health was measured by a separate meter; it was depleted by enemies or when his air meter had run out, and it was recharged by eating fish, "singing" to clams, or, later in the game, singing to special Glyphs and statues. Ecco's song could be optionally 'upgraded' at two points in the game; one allowed it to be used in combination with a charge as a long-range weapon, and the other made singing at a shark temporarily disorient it.

The Glyphs were crystals that would respond somehow if Ecco sang to or touched them. Some blocked paths, and a 'key Glyph' had to be found in such cases to pass. Others gave information, and a few in later levels would replenish health and air and give Ecco temporary invulnerability.

The original Ecco had what is considered by many to have a very high level of difficulty. Among many other things, the twisting underwater passages in many levels, combined with the air limit, often led to death and frustration. Many jumps out of the water, over small islands and ruined buildings, were also difficult. Some levels featured moving obstacle courses where a mistimed movement meant instant death. The game featured infinite tries and levels divided up with a password system.


Ecco the Dolphin storyline
The storyline followed young Ecco as he searched for his pod, who were ripped from the sea by a mysterious storm. At first, he was searching for the Big Blue, a gigantic blue whale, on a tip from an orca that the Big Blue might know where his pod had gone. The Big Blue happened to live near the North Pole, and so Ecco went to the frozen north. On finding the Big Blue, he was disappointed; all that the whale knew was that storms of the kind that had taken Ecco's pod had been occurring every 500 years. The Big Blue pointed him in the direction of a being known as the Asterite.

Ecco left the frozen north and found the Asterite. The Asterite probably communicated telepathically; as the Big Blue put it, "We feel great energy of thought from the Asterite, but it will not sing to us." The Asterite made Ecco a deal. First, Ecco had to use a time machine built by the Atlanteans to go back in time and find the Asterite's missing globe. Then, empowered by this globe, the Asterite could help Ecco.

So, Ecco swam to the sunken city of Atlantis. There, besides the time machine, Ecco found a library. He learned the cause of the storm; it was a harvest of Earth's waters that was conducted every 500 years by the Vortex life forms. The Vortex had lost their ability to make their own food; and so, every 500 years, they would harvest from the waters of Earth.

Ecco travelled back in time 65 million years with the Atlantean time machine. The game originally was going to have him meet ancient cetaceans, before they came into the sea, as part of the story, but this scene was taken out of the final game due to time constraints. However, the messages can still be found in the prehistoric levels.

Ecco fought the Asterite of the past (the young Asterite was apparently considerably less trusting than the older version) and stole one of its globes. For whatever reason, this opened a time portal and Ecco was flung back into his present. He gave the Asterite its missing globe and in return received the power to turn his sonar into a deadly weapon against the Vortex (that is, without combining it with a charge attack), as well as the ability to breathe while underwater. Ecco made a return trip to Atlantis to travel back to the hour of the Vortex harvest, going with his pod this time. The final three levels were an upward-scrolling obstacle course, a scrolling maze that killed Ecco if he could not keep up with the scrolling, and a final fight with the Vortex Queen. Keeping with the high difficulty level set by the rest of the game, losing to the Vortex Queen meant going through the long and difficult previous level.

Eventually, the Vortex Queen was vanquished and Ecco rescued his pod. Exactly how they got back to Earth is never explained, but get back they did, and there was

Ecco: The Tides of Time

Title screen of Ecco: Tides of Time[edit]
Tides of Time gameplay
Tides of Time was the direct sequel to the original Ecco, released in 1995, again developed by Novotrade. The controls for the first game were kept, and Tides of Time maintained the same high level of difficulty as its predecessor. New puzzles were added, such as following another dolphin around and a 'scavenger hunt' of sorts later in the game. One of the more unique additions was the Metaspheres, which could transform Ecco into different animals. The transformations were level-specific, and included a seagull, a jellyfish, a shark, a school of fish, and at one point a Vortex drone. A few quasi-3D levels were also added into the game. The health meter, the air meter, and the Glyphs returned in Tides of Time. Both the "charge song" and the "confusion song" upgrades returned from Ecco the Dolphin and were usable from the start of the game.

Tides of Time storyline
Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.
Tides of Time picked up right where the original Ecco the Dolphin left off. It turned out that the Vortex Queen was far from vanquished, and had in fact followed Ecco to Earth to build a new hive for herself. Ecco lost his powers from the Asterite early on, and soon after met a dolphin with unusually long fins. She was his descendant, Trellia, and had come to take him to her present in Ecco's distant future.

Trellia's future was a dolphin paradise. The dolphins had evolved helium sacs, and could thus fly; they also displayed limited telekinetic powers. The ocean had developed its own mind, and waterways that floated through the skies (called the Skyway in Tides of Time and reproduced as the Hanging Waters in Defender of the Future) apparently connected all the more normal waters of Earth. There were also a few floating basins of water. Ecco travelled through this future for a while, and found the Asterite.

The Asterite told Ecco that something was amiss. When Ecco used the time machine to save his pod, he split the stream of time in two. One possible future for Earth was this bright, happy future of flying dolphins; the other was a dead, mechanical world, sucked dry by the Vortex. The Asterite itself had been 'killed' in the past by the Vortex Queen; how it was talking to Ecco then wasn't explained until later. The Asterite sent Ecco back to his own time after their conversation.

Back in his own time, Ecco ended up having to piece the Asterite together by bringing the globes that made up the creature back together. The final pair of globes had been taken by the Vortex to their future; thus, Ecco had to get there and retrieve them before the Asterite could help him defeat the Vortex once and for all. The Atlantean time machine was not an option; it could only go into the past. The problem was solved when two Vortex drones captured Ecco and took him to their own future.

The Vortex future was full of strange machines reminiscent of the final levels of Ecco the Dolphin. None of these levels auto-scrolled, however. One of the more unique levels was Gravitor Box, in which gravity was manipulated in unusual ways. Ecco did eventually find the Asterite's last two globes, and once the player beat the boss guarding them, another time portal opened to Ecco's present.

With the Asterite complete again, it was able to bestow Ecco with the same powers as it had last time — breathing underwater and a song that could destroy the Vortex. It also called all of Ecco's fellow Singers to help with the fight against the Vortex. Ecco himself fought the Vortex Queen; however, she again escaped, reverting to a larval state and bolting for the Atlantean time machine. Ecco followed her into the past. The Vortex Queen found creatures she could not rule over, and eventually the Vortex kind was forced to simply integrate into the ecosystems of Earth. Ecco was never heard from again, lost in the tides of time.

There was a third game in the series planned that would have continued this storyline, but it was never released. Both Ecco the Dolphin and Ecco: The Tides of Time were ported to the Sega Game Gear.


Ecco Jr.
Ecco Jr. was something of a side game, released in 1995. It had the controls and basic gameplay of the other two Mega Drive/Genesis titles, but was very much geared towards younger players, lacking the extreme difficulty of Ecco the Dolphin and Ecco: The Tides of Time. The story was that a younger version of Ecco went to see the Big Blue, completing tasks such as herding seahorses, swimming through rings, and finding lost balls for sea lions along the way. Two other playable characters were introduced: Kitenee the baby dolphin and Tara the orca. They were interchangeable with Ecco and each other at any time; every character had a different voice but not much else was different between them. The game had a password system, though all the passwords were included in the instruction manual, and a "Parent's Menu" that had, among other things, facts about real dolphins.


Sega Dreamcast storyline

Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future

Defender of the Future gameplay
Defender of the Future was essentially the old Genesis/Mega Drive gameplay put into three dimensions. It was released in 2000 for the Sega Dreamcast, again developed by Novotrade; they had by then changed their name to Appaloosa Interactive. Ecco's sonar was kept as a means of interaction with other cetaceans (no longer called Singers in the game) and certain environmental objects, and a sonar map could be brought up but was often regarded as being inferior to the old 2-D version. The same style of movement was kept with slight alterations for the demands of a 3-D game. The control stick now only changed the direction Ecco was facing; pressing left and right changed the direction he faced horizontally, and pressing up and down changed the vertical direction. To actually move foreword, the player had to tap a button to gain speed and hold the same button down to maintain it. Out of the water, Ecco could perform the purely aesthetic flips in the air from the original games. Charging foes was kept as Ecco's standard attack, though the designers added a homing feature. The health and air meters also returned, though the health meter could be increased by collecting power-ups called Vitalits, and the meters had a slightly different look compared to the Genesis games.

Some new moves were introduced in Defender of the Future. One was a quick 180º turn, useful for battles. Another was a means of stopping quickly; when Ecco had already stopped, the same buttons would make him swim backwards. A third new move was the tailwalk; Ecco would raise his upper body out of the water and was able to look at things above the surface; this had limited use in gameplay but was a good way to see small graphical details.

The graphics of the game are generally regarded as being some of the most realistic ever used in a Dreamcast game. Many reviewers have commented that Ecco looks like a real dolphin. One of the most major complaints against the graphics is the high level of fog; other reviewers have pointed out that visibility in the ocean is often much reduced from what it is above the surface. There were also some pop-up problems with distant objects. The few cutscenes used the in-game graphical engine.

Defender of the Future continued the legacy of high difficulty set by its predecessors. The levels were again divided up, but the password system was dropped in favor of a memory card save file. The game has few loading times in the levels; the levels were loaded all in one go just before they started, and these load times could be moderately long.

The "charge song" and "confusion song" returned in Defender of the Future, but in different forms. The "charge song" was given a name, the Power of Sonar, and was part of a set of five temporary power-ups that could be activated by collecting icons. The powers were:

Power of Vigor (Ecco moved faster and did more damage when charging enemies)
Power of Sonar (Sonar did damage to enemies)
Power of Air (The air meter was temporarily doubled)
Power of Endurance (The health meter was maxed out to double the normal maximum; it couldn't be replenished it reached the level the player had already obtained, and would be lost if the player made it to the next level of the game)
Power of Stealth (Ecco became temporarily invisible)
The "confusion song" was named the Song of the Shark, and it too was part of a larger set of songs. These songs were permanent and activated by singing at the right thing. They were:

Song of the Shark (confused sharks)
Song of the Turtle (turtles would follow Ecco around)
Song of the Fish (schools of fish would follow Ecco around)
Song of the Ray (made manta rays go in the direction the song pointed; made smaller sting rays panic and flee)
Song of the Plant (made a certain kind of plant spray ink)
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Defender of the Future storyline
Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.
Defender of the Future bore a different storyline from that of the Mega Drive/Genesis games; it is generally regarded as an alternate universe. The story was written by science fiction author David Brin, who had already written a few stories about intelligent dolphins. The storyline and game were divided into four parts:

Isle of Tranquility
At the dawn of the 30th Century, dolphins and humans had been together in a cross-species society for 500 years. Together, they had set out to explore space, offering peace and friendship to all who would welcome it. But space had its dangers; a violent species known as the Foe decided Earth was a good planet to take over. However, the dolphins and humans drove them to the brink of defeat, and so the Foe sought vengeance on Earth. The few caretaker dolphins who had been left behind on Earth were not entirely defenseless; they were protected by a creation of theirs they called the Guardian. It was a gigantic, sentient being made of a crystalline substance; it projected a force field over the entire planet. Undeterred, the Foe began making suicide attacks on the field, searching for a weak point.

The player was given this background information before being thrown into the game. Soon after the game started, the Foe found their weak point, destroying the field and breaking the Guardian. Isle of Tranquility followed Ecco around until he managed to get to the dolphin city of Atlantis (apparently different from the Atlantis of legend) and repair the Guardian. He accessed the city when no other dolphin could by temporarily becoming a fish using the Ancient Power of Metamorphosis (obviously an homage to the Metaspheres). He was too late to stop the Foe invasion.

A Foe ship caused a rip in the time continuum and headed back in time in order to stop dolphins and humans from uniting into one society. Ecco was caught in the wake of the time vortex, and ended up witnessing the Foe steal the Noble Dolphin Traits of Intelligence, Ambition, Compassion, Wisdom and Humility. Ecco used the Ancient Power of Metamorphosis to become a flying Foe unit and destroy the ship; this scattered the globes containing the Noble Traits across history. With the traits gone, however, the future was already changed. Dolphins became weak and gullible; humans enslaved and exploited them. When Ecco returned to 'his' present, 500 years after the Foe attack, humans had already gone extinct and dolphins were barely sentient animals.

Man's Nightmare
The Man's Nightmare levels were based around human technology, with heavily polluted water. The dolphins Ecco met were divided into three subtypes: the Crimson, dolphins with red paint worn on their flippers; the Circle, white dolphins who showed an eagerness to operate machinery; and the Movers, orange and white dolphins with the build of orcas that had once apparently been the muscle of the dolphins when they had been enslaved. The dolphins didn't know humans were extinct. Some of them thought they had been left to test their loyalty, and spoke of a great Engine of Salvation that the Chosen One would activate with the Labor Harness. Ecco managed to put on the Labor Harness, which allowed him to control human machines by singing at them, and headed off to activate the Engine of Salvation while looking for the globes that contained the Noble Traits.

After Ecco managed to find the Noble Trait of Intelligence and touch it, it was sent back in time and began affecting the Circle, Movers and Crimson. They figured out the truth of man's extinction and his "Engine of Salvation"; it was really a weapon that had been designed to fight the Foe, but man and the Foe had destroyed one another before the weapon had been completed. The player's new task became stopping the weapon from activating; the reward was the Noble Trait of Ambition and progress into the next section of the game.

Dolphin's Nightmare
With Intelligence and Ambition both sent back, history changed. Dolphins became aggressive creatures and forced humans from the seas, never to return. They built their own independent society under the waves, and some above them; this level set featured the Hanging Waters as an homage to the Skyway from Tides of Time. The dolphins seen in this section of the game were divided into two subtypes; the Clan dolphins were militaristic orange-and-white (lower ranking) or black-and-white (higher ranking) creatures who lorded over the green Outcasts. Both subtypes looked down their beaks at whales; the Clan, for instance, used a pair of captured humpback whales as living power generators for their Hanging Waters.

The level set started by throwing Ecco into an Outcast village that had been cut off from their food supply by the Clan. After getting fish back to them, one villager helped him reach the nearby Clan outpost. There, Ecco found and rescued the leader of a secret resistance group that had formed in the Outcast village. The Resistance, it turned out, had been keeping watch over the Noble Trait of Compassion, but were afraid to touch the globe. The Clan had their own Trait which was later discovered to be Wisdom; they wanted the Resistance's globe for themselves. Ecco sent Compassion back and infiltrated a large Clan base. He tattooed himself with the rank of general and managed to get the Hanging Waters activated so he could fight the Clan's leaders, the three Exalted Ones. The third Exalted One had the globe of Wisdom; Ecco sent it back, and history changed again.

Domain of the Enemy
With all but one of their traits restored, dolphins (evidently) united with humans. However, without the final Trait of Humility, the society was heedless of the Foe's danger, and was defeated. Earth was taken over, and the Foe Queen herself became the guardian of Humility. There was not a lot of plot development in this final stretch; all that happened plot wise was that Ecco destroyed a Foe hatchery and slew the Foe Queen to gain back Humility and restore his own future.

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Double Dragon

Double Dragon

(Redirected from Double Dragon II: The Revenge)
Double Dragon (spelled in kanji as 双截龍) is a classic beat 'em up video game series initially developed by Technos Japan Corporation, who also developed the Nekketsu Kouha: Kunio-Kun series. The original game was designed by a man named Yoshihisa Kishimoto, who originally conceived the game as a Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun sequel using the localized version (Renegade) as a basis. The game was heavily influenced by martial arts films, especially those of Bruce Lee's such as Enter the Dragon. The recently released Double Dragon Advance was planned by Muneki Ebinuma, who previously designed Super Double Dragon and was also involved in Double Dragon '95 as a fight choreographer.

The series stars twin brothers, Billy and Jimmy Lee, who are masters of a fictional martial arts called Sou-Setsu-Ken (双截拳) as they fight against various adversaries and rivals. Double Dragon has had several sequels and has been ported to several different platforms. Due to the popularity of the game series, a cartoon and movie adaptation have also been produced.

Contents [showhide]
1 Characters

2 Double Dragon Game Series (official games)

2.1 Double Dragon (1987)
2.2 Double Dragon II: The Revenge (1988)
2.3 Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone (1990)
2.4 Super Double Dragon (1992)
2.5 Double Dragon (1995)
2.6 Double Dragon Advance (2003)


3 Unofficial Games

3.1 BattleToads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team (1993)
3.2 Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls (1994)
3.3 Rage of the Dragons (2002)


4 Double Dragon Adaptations

4.1 Comic Book
4.2 Cartoon
4.3 Live-Action Movie


5 See also

6 External links

[edit]
Characters
Billy Lee - The hero of the series. Billy began his martial arts training along with his brother at an early age, mastering several fighting styles and techniques as he grew up until he reached adulthood, when he became the Sou-Setsu-Ken succesor. Since he's the main character, Billy's role is often assigned to the first player and usually wears a blue outfit. He had blond hair in the original Arcade versions, but was subsequently changed to brown hair in the main home versions. According to the instruction manual in the Japanese version of Super Double Dragon, Billy is a master of the Southern-style of Sou-Setsu-Ken, which teaches flexible techniques. Billy's favorite weapon is the nunchaku.
Jimmy Lee - Billy's older twin brother and the assistant instructor of their dojo, where they teach the Sou-Setsu-Ken art form to students. In the original Double Dragon, Jimmy was secretly in love with Billy's girlfriend, Marian, a rivalry which would lead to a battle between the brothers at the end of the game. Jimmy's role in the series is usually that of the second player and wears a red outfit. He originally had brown hair in the Arcade versions, but was changed to blond hair in the home versions. He was also given a different hairstyle to set the character apart visually from Billy. In Super Double Dragon, Jimmy uses the Northern-style of Sou-Setsu-Ken, which specializes in strong techniques. His preferred weapons are the bo and kali sticks.
Marian Kelly - Billy's girlfriend. The earlier games originally conceived Marian as a female martial arts instructor, but her abilities were rarely shown and she usually played the role of a damsel in distress within the games. Later games in the series made her into a policewoman and then as a leader of a positive street gang, based on her portrayal in the Double Dragon cartoon and movie respectively. Her canonical full name, Marian Kelly, is revealed in the Japanese version of Super Double Dragon (Return of Double Dragon) through the manual.
Willy - Leader and "Big Boss" of the Black Warriors and the final boss of the first Double Dragon and of the arcade version of Double Dragon II. Unlike other enemies in the series who fight the Lee's with martial arts or melee weapons, Willy is armed with a machine gun. His gang is renamed the Shadow Warriors in Double Dragon Advance.
Mysterious Warrior - In the NES version of Double Dragon II he is the leader of an armed group (sometime referred as the Shadow Warriors in the localized versions) which includes the remnants of the Black Warriors. He uses the deadly fighting style of Gen-Satsu-Ken (幻殺拳), an evil counterpart of Sou-Setsu-Ken.
Duke - In Super Double Dragon, he leads the Shadow Warriors and is a former childhood friend of the Lee brothers.
[edit]
Double Dragon Game Series (official games)
[edit]
Double Dragon (1987)

Double Dragon (arcade)The arcade version of the game was originally developed by Technos released in 1987 and distributed worldwide by Taito (who are often mistakenly credited for creating the game). The original Double Dragon was one of the earliest beat-em-ups or side-scrolling fighting games in which a player fights against a swarm of adversaries using martial arts or other close-combat techniques. Set in a post-apocalyptic version of New York, the goal in Double Dragon was to rescue your character's kidnapped girlfriend, Marian, from a gang known as the "Black Warriors". A single player would play as the game's hero, Billy Lee (in blue, who earned the unofficial nickname of Hammer by Taito), while a second player could join in as his brother, Jimmy Lee (in red, nicknamed Spike by Taito). The enemies in the game would use several techniques against the player, including the usage of weapons, which during such a case the enemy could be disarmed and have his or her weapon taken by the player. There were total of four stages or "missions" in the game, each with a different boss waiting at the end of the stage. The leader of the Black Warriors and the final boss in the game was Willy, who fought using a machine gun against the player. If two players manage to beat the game together, the game would force both of them to fight against each other and see who would win Marian.

Technos Japan developed their own home versions of the game for the Famicom/NES in 1988 and Game Boy in 1990. Both of these versions were localized and published worldwide by a video game company named Tradewest (a subsidiary of LeLand Corp.), which also earned them a worldwide license for the Double Dragon brand (excluding Japan). The NES version in particular took various liberties with the game. The level designs were redone abit (more platform-oriented areas such as a cave and a mountain were added), a learning system was added (player could no longer perform all their techniques from the start, but had to earn them through experience points) and most notably of all, two players could no longer play simultaneously in the main game, but instead they had to alternate turns. Jimmy Lee, the character originally assigned to the second player in the Arcade version, appears as the final boss after the player defeats Willy (the explanation provided by the developers explained that Jimmy was the true mastermind behind the Black Warriors and Marian's kidnapping). To compensate for the lack of a proper 2-Player Mode, Technos added a new versus mode featuring large-sized characters in which the player could choose between the Lee brothers and five of the enemies in the game (the mode was limited to "mirror matches" however).

The Game Boy version of the game was based on the NES version, however the learning system was dropped and the player no longer fought Jimmy at the end of the game (despite the misleading information Tradewest provided in the manual of the localized version).

In addition, due to Double Dragon's popularity, various licensed versions of the game has been produced by different companies over the years. Sega managed to get a license directly from Technos Japan to produce a version for their Master System game console. This version was very close to the Arcade game and has sometime been compared favorably over Technos Japan's own NES version.

Tradewest themselves handed out the license to various western developers such as Accolade, Virgin Games and Telegames, resulting in creation of various home versions for various platforms such as the Sega Genesis, Atari 2600 and Atari Lynx over the years, although most of them were usually seen as being of pretty poor quality. A common trait between these versions is that even though they were intentionally based on the arcade game, they often used the (loosely) translated storyline and character information for the packaging and manual of the localized NES version (such as depicting Jimmy as a bad guy) from Tradewest, which they reused despite the discrepancies between the Arcade and NES versions.

In 2004, Million Corp. (the current copyrights holder of the Double Dragon) handed the license to Bandai's wireless division to produce a Mobile Phone version of the original Double Dragon.

[edit]
Double Dragon II: The Revenge (1988)

Screenshot of Double Dragon II (Arcade Game)
Box cover of Double Dragon II for Megadrive (the NES version was censored due to the skin Marian is showing)Due to the success of the first Double Dragon game, an arcade sequel was made by Technos in 1988. The premise of the game this time have Billy and Jimmy going after Marian's killers, who is murdered right in the beginning of the game. The Arcade version was essentially an updated version of the first game, although the conventional punch and kick control set-up was abandoned and replaced in favor of a two-way attacking system (inspired by Technos Japan's previous beat-em-up, Renegade) in which the functions of the attack buttons depended on the direction the character was facing. Many of the returning characters were given major facelifts (some more noticeable than others), while Billy and Jimmy traded their original blue and red outfits for black and white respectively.

Technos Japan developed a home version for the Famicom/NES (released at the end of 1989) just like did with the first game. This time, the 2-Player simultaneous mode was kept (Jimmy's betrayal in the first NES version of the game was conveniently ignored), with the option to turn the friendly fire on or off, however even more liberties were made in this conversion. Cut-scenes were added which served to narrate the storyline through text and static images, the stages were completely changed (with the NES version featuring twice the amount of stages of the Arcade version) and new enemy characters were added (Willy, the main bad guy in the Arcade version was removed and a nameless character takes his place as the main villain and the new end-boss). The NES version also featured a different ending in which Marian is restored to life. The worldwide publishing rights for the NES version went to Acclaim this time, who made a few minor changes made to the localized version.

Technos Japan also made a Game Boy version of Double Dragon II in 1991, which was unrelated to the Arcade and NES versions and was published by Acclaim for the western market. This was actually a heavily localized version of the Japanese-only game, Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun: Bangai Rantou-hen, with the game's graphics and sound altered to fit in with Double Dragon's style.

Licensed adaptations of the game were made for the Sega Mega Drive by Pal Soft (based on the Arcade version) and for the PC Engine by Naxat Soft (based on the Famicom version). Neither of these versions were released outside of Japan. Even though Tradewest lost the worldwide console rights to Acclaim, they still managed to keep the PC rights for themselves and thus they ported the game to various PC platforms with Virgin Games' cooperation.


Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone (1990)
In 1990, Technos released the third game of the series. The Arcade version of the game was not made in-house by Technos, but instead Technos contracted another company (East Technology, makers of Silent Dragon, Operation: Wolf 3 and Gigandes) to develop the game for them. The premise of the game has the Lee brothers going on a world tour in search of the Rosetta Stones with the help of a fortune teller named Hiruko . The engine from the first two Double Dragon arcade games was not used, but instead East Technology remade the game from scratch with a new engine, revamped graphics and a 3-Players co-op mode (the third player controlled Sonny, a previously unseen third member of the Lee brothers). Its most notable and controversial feature allowed the player to purchase power-ups at certain shops by inserting additional tokens (credits) to the machine. Player could purchase new characters (which would serve as extra men when the player's character dies), weapons (they could no longer be taken from enemies like in previous games), energy (up to 150% the default amount), attack power (which actually increased your character's speed and agility) and tricks (the whirlwind kick and a special overhead technique would be unlocked for the player). Double Dragon 3 was not as popular as the previous two titles partly because of this feature, although it was only included in the US and Worldwide versions of the game. A later Japanese version of the Arcade game dropped the shopping system altogether in favor of a more conventional character select mode, in which the player could choose between the four character types presented in the game (Lee, Chin, Ooyama and Urquidez brothers) from the very start. The player began with all their special moves as default techniques as well and weapons were merely found lying on the floor, waiting to be picked up by the player.

Once again, Technos Japan produced a Famicom/NES version of the game in 1991, although this time it was developed internally by Technos themselves. The premise of the game was kept, but several major changes were made to enhance the gameplay. The player now began with an optional weapon which could be used anytime in additional to your character's primary fighting method (although it had limited uses), while additional characters could be played as in addition to the Lee brothers after defeating them as bosses (the player could now change characters anytime during gameplay). Once again, Acclaim published the NES version outside of Japan and made some major changes in the localized version (released under the title of Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones), most notably increased difficulty and a completely altered storyline.

Acclaim also made their own home versions of Double Dragon 3 for the Sega Genesis and Game Boy based on the Arcade version under the title Double Dragon 3: The Arcade Game. Both of these versions are generally seen as poor in quality. In addition, Tradewest produced ports of the Arcade version to PC platforms, similar to the ones they did for the first two games.


Super Double Dragon (1992)
Released in 1992 for the Super Famicom/SNES platform, Super Double Dragon (originally titled Return of Double Dragon: "Sleeping Dragon" has Awoken in Japan) was the first true Double Dragon title made specifically for the home market. The game played similarly to the first two Double Dragon games, however the player could now block enemy's attacks and grab their fists and a Power Gauge was also added which allowed the player to perform special techniques by filling the gauge while holding the shoulder buttons. One of the most unique aspects of Super Double Dragon involved the Lee brothers' appearances (the characters now head-swapped, making them more distinct) and their techniques, in which their basic techniques differed from each other (the Japanese version explained that Billy and Jimmy mastered different factions of their martial arts-style, Sou-Setsu-Ken). Technos Japan developed the game internally and the worldwide publishing right was once again handed to Tradewest. Despite the nearly simultaneous release, the localized version by Tradewest was based on a much earlier build than the Japanese version (which featured more music, refined gameplay and the latter half of the final stage, missing in the localized version).

The developers originally intended to include cut-scenes similar to those found in the NES versions of Double Dragon II and III, but they were left out due to time constraints despite the fact that most of the necessary data was already inserted to the ROM. As a result, the policewoman Marian (who is mentioned in the game's packaging and manual) never actually appears in the game, while the main villain, Duke, had his backstory left a mystery (he was originally written to be a former childhood friend of the Lee brothers).


Double Dragon (1995)
Also known as Double Dragon '95, this was a competitive fighting game released for the Neo-Geo platform in all three formats (MVS, AES and CD-ROM). The game was produced as a tie-in for the Japanese release of the Double Dragon live-action movie and thus various aspects from the game (such as Billy and Jimmy's transformation technique) were derived from the movie. The game played like any typical fighting game at the time, with the most notable features being the lack of specific punch and kick buttons and a charge meter for super moves which required less capacity as the player's energy decreased. There were up ten immediately playable characters and two unlockable bosses. Billy, Jimmy, Marian (who was now a female gang leader like in the movie), Abobo and Burnov were the only immediate characters from the previous games, with Burnov (a fat masked man originally from Double Dragon II) being the only character not featured in the movie. A revised version of Koga Shuko (the movie's antagonist) served as the game's final opponent, with Duke (the main villain in Super Double Dragon) was reimagined as Koga's bodyguard. The rest of the characters were made specifically for this game.

A PlayStation version of this game was released in Japan by Urban Plant.


Double Dragon Advance (2003)
Developed by Million Corp. (a company founded by ex-Technos employees) for the Game Boy Advance and published by Atlus. Double Dragon Advance was a remake of the original Arcade version of Double Dragon which featured new stages, techniques, weapons and enemy characters (most of them derived from the subsequent) in addition to those found in the original game.


Unofficial Games
When Tradewest received the worldwide license for the Double Dragon brand, the company was initially involved in nothing more than merely localizing Technos Japan's home versions of the original for the NES and Game Boy (and later Super Double Dragon) or producing their own versions for other platforms. However, as the years went by, Tradewest eventually began taking more liberties with the license, lending the Double Dragon brand to various tie-ins such as comic books, a cartoon series, and a motion picture (see Double Dragon Adaptions), as well as any merchandise spun by those products. Eventually, this led to the production of two Double Dragon games without Technos Japan's direct involvement, essentially making them unofficial installments.

[edit]
BattleToads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team (1993)
Developed by Rare under contract by Tradewest (who also held the exclusive worldwide rights to the Battletoads license) and released in 1993. The game was initially released for the NES and was followed by versions for the SNES, Genesis and Game Boy, although they're all virtually identical (excluding superficial aspects). The game features Billy and Jimmy teaming up with the Battletoads to fight off the evil attack on earth made by Colossus, a large battleship. The game mechanics and style heavily favored Battletoads' more comical style in contrast to the darker and serious mood of the Double Dragon games. The Double Dragon characters in this game (particularly the villains) were very out of character: the boss named Roper was actually a misnamed Willy and the "Shadow Boss" was nothing more than a character by Rare created specifically for this game, despite being touted as the Double Dragon's main adversary. The characters of this game were mostly from Battletoads series.


Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls (1994)
Based closely on the Double Dragon cartoon series that was airing at the time, this "fifth" installment in the Double Dragon series was a competitive fighting game developed by Tradewest's parent company, Leland Interactive Media. Double Dragon V was critically panned by both, critics and Double Dragon fans for its poor presentation (including their out-of-character potrayal of the Lee brothers) and completely derative gameplay. Double Dragon V was released for the SNES, Genesis and Atari Jaguar platforms, with each version generally recognized as becoming progressively worse.


Rage of the Dragons (2002)
A Japanese/Mexican co-production between Noise Factory and Evoga, Rage of the Dragons was originally conceived as a sequel to the Neo-Geo version of Double Dragon, but the rights were unavailable to the developers. As a result, Billy and Jimmy had their surname changed to Lewis and Abobo was renamed Abubo. The game was a competitive fighting game which featured a tag-team system similar to the one found in Capcom's "Versus" series. However, Rage of the Dragons is a Double Dragon game by association only.


Double Dragon Adaptations
Due to the popularity of the Double Dragon games, Tradewest lent the brand name to various tie-ins in the US, including adaptions of the game in media outside of the games themselves. Unfortunately, these adaptions strayed from their source material and were very unpopular as a result, with the Lee brothers often depicted as superheroes who inherited their powers from artifacts such as swords or amulets (depending on the adaption) instead of being skilled martial artists like in the games.

[edit]
Comic Book
During the latter half of 1991, Marvel Comics published a six-issue limited series (22 pages each) based on Double Dragon. This was the first of several Double Dragon tie-ins produced in the US under license by Tradewest. Written by Dwayne McDuffie for the first four issues and by Tom Brevoort and Mike Kanterovich during the last two issues. In the comic, Billy and Jimmy were the inheritor of a supernatural force known as the "Dragon Force" and the first twins to share this power. Their main adversary in the comic was a demonic mob boss named Nightfall, who was previously a close friend of their parents and was responsible for their mother's death. The comic also featured Marian as a policewoman, a role she would later take in Super Double Dragon, as well as in the cartoon series. The most humorous or saddest aspect of the comic book, depending on how you look at it, was the introduction of Billy and Jimmy's long-lost father, a character by the name of Stan who bears the likeness of Stan Lee, although Stan's full name is never mentioned in the comic.


Cartoon
The Double Dragon cartoon was produced by DiC Entertainment and ran for 26 half-hour episodes between 1993 and 1995. The premise of the show had the Lee brothers separated at birth, with Billy being raised by a wiseman known as the Eldest Dragon. In contrast, his brother Jimmy was raised by the evil Shadow Master to become his right-hand man. As a result, the Lee brothers met each other as adversaries after being reunited as adults. However, by the end of the second episode, Jimmy is betrayed by the Shadow Master, which leads the brothers to set aside their difference and fight against the greater evil. The Lee brothers made use of magical swords which contained special powers and added dragon masks to the brothers' outfit. During the course of the series, the brothers recruited allies in their war agasint the Shadow Master. The voice of Billy and Jimmy were provided by Michael Donovan and Scott McNeil respectively.


Live-Action Movie
In 1994, a live-action Double Dragon movie was produced starring Mark Dacascos as Jimmy Lee and Scott Wolf as Billy Lee. It was directed by James Yukich and written by the team of Paul Dini (of Batman: The Animated Series and others) and Neal Shusterman. A review of the movie by the Washington Post was not complimentary.

The Jackie Chan movie Twin Dragons (1992) includes "Double Dragon" as an alternate title, according to the Internet Movie Database, although it is completely unrelated to the video game series.

See also
Battletoads & Double Dragon
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External links
The KLOV entry on Double Dragon (http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?letter=D&game_id=7619)
The KLOV entry for Double Dragon II (http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?game_id=7623&letter=D)
The KLOV entry for Double Dragon III (http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?game_id=7622&letter=D)
Double Dragon Advance from Atlus.com (http://www.atlus.com/dda/index.html)
The Double Dragon Dojo (http://www.classicgaming.com/doubledragon/index.htm)
IMDb entry on the Double Dragon movie (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106761/)
Category at ODP (http://dmoz.org/Games/Video_Games/Fighting/Double_Dragon_Series/)

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