For a game that made its debut nearly twenty years ago, Double Dragon still packs quite a punch. True, the beat-‘em genre may not hold the same impact like it once did all those years ago, beating people senseless continues to be a quick fix, especially when it comes to a game of this quality. Developer Million has taken the granddaddy of all beat-‘em-ups and brought it into the modern era in style.
Several changes were wisely made to the original, with the graphics getting the better part of the upgrade. Ditching the pretty boy rocker look, Double Dragon Advance goes for a more anime-themed graphical style to great results. Characters are more detailed and better animated than ever before. The story, on the other hand, still retains all the cheesiness it’s famous for. Even the new cut scenes after each stage can’t save the plot from itself.
We all know the GBA is capable of putting out some decent tunes and fans of the arcade classic will be right at home, humming along to the unforgettable music (the final level theme is still a wonderful piece) as they knee foes in the face without remorse. Hits are just as sickeningly loud as ever and while I was hopeful that the platform jump would be bring some voice, only the standard grunts and groans are present.
Not all the changes were merely aesthetic, though. Billy and Jimmy have a few new moves to their standard punch, kick, and jump repertoire. They can now assault downed foes with a mean chest stomp, do a running jump kick or punch, and sit on the unfortunate baddy’s chest to continue the beating. You can no longer breeze through the game with the coin-op’s ‘elbow of death’, either. Enemies are aplenty and smarter then ever, so make use of those new moves.