Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.

Transcript:

Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day!

Let’s head back to the 80’s today to talk about a game that heavily influenced the popular retro genre, the beat ‘em up. These games aren’t very common today but in the late 80’s and 90’s, they were quarter-munching monstrosities with frequent entries in arcades and home consoles alike. While today’s game isn’t the first in the genre, it is arguably the first to be a success and would cement many of the foundations that beat ‘em ups would be built on going forward. Today’s game is Double Dragon, developed by Technos Japan and released in arcades in 1987. 

Double Dragon has players play as martial artist twins, Billy Lee and Jimmy, as they fight to rescue Billy’s girlfriend, Marian, who has been kidnapped by the Black Warriors gang. The plot is paper thin but that’s to be expected in an arcade beat ‘em up and this gives us plenty of reason to beat the snot out of hundreds of generic looking baddies.

Double Dragon is a side-scroller but does give players freedom of movement in all directions, allowing players to move up and down as well as just left and right. The game has three buttons: jump, punch, and kick. These buttons can be pressed in certain combinations to perform special attacks as well. By hitting enemies in the back in specific ways, players can also grab enemies, allowing their co-op companion to beat on them freely. Some enemies carry melee weapons, such as baseball bats and whips. If the enemy is defeated, players can pick up the weapons and use them for a limited time.

Players have four levels to fight through in order to rescue Marian with a number of bosses to defeat along the way. Double Dragon can be played through with a single player but one of the big selling points was being able to play through with a friend simultaneously. If the game is won in co-op, both players must then fight against each other to win the affections of Marian. Seems like a bad ending to me to have Billy finally save his girlfriend just to have his twin brother beat him up for her but hey, that’s 80’s video game plots for ya.

Double Dragon was incredibly popular in the arcades, with cabinets often forming long lines to get to play it. It wasn’t long until the game was ported to a number of home consoles and PC platforms. The NES version is certainly the most popular in the west but there were also versions made for the Sega Master System, the Game Boy, Amiga, Commodore 64, and even the Atari 2600. The arcade game has since been remade on Game Boy Advance, Xbox 360, PC, and mobile devices in various forms. The easiest way to play it these days is in the Double Dragon Trilogy pack available on mobile and Steam. 

Thank you so much for listening and thank you to Geoff for requesting today’s episode. If you haven’t left a review for the show on Amazon, I’d really appreciate you taking a minute to let people know what you think. It helps bring folks into the show and gives me an idea of how to improve going forward. Thank you so much in advance for taking the time! Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!

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