Double Dragon Trilogy Review
Live the code- the code of the Dragon! Double Dragon Trilogy brings with it all of the punching, hopping, grimacing action of the original side-scrolling beat ‘em up. Modern gamers have grown hungry for somewhat more sophisticated gameplay than what you’d find in the ’80s, so know that your satisfaction with Double Dragon Trilogy may be directly tied to your nostalgia factor, and how radically heinous or un-heinous you are.
Double Dragon Trilogy is, as the name would imply, three games in one: Double Dragon, Double Dragon II: The Revenge, and Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone. These aren’t ports of the NES games, but ports of the Double Dragon arcade games, so expect a slightly better-looking experience than what you’d find on an 8-bit console. Each game offers three difficulty modes – Mobile, a lesser difficulty modified for mobile devices, Original, the default difficulty, and Expert, which significantly ramps up the enemies’ aggressiveness. The nice thing about these difficulty modes is that they don’t just change enemy health and damage, they change their tactics to give skilled players a different experience than they’d normally have… one that’s probably going to have them getting their asses kicked, a lot.
The first Double Dragon opens with that classic (and pretty misogynistic), scene of your girlfriend getting punched in the tum-tum and kidnapped. From there Jimmy and Bimmy… whoops, Jimmy and Billy Lee, traverse the cityscape to rescue her, battling countless thugs, dominatrixes, and Abobos. The combat’s simple and effective, but may not hold much interest for anyone too young to have played the original.
Double Dragon II ramps up everything from the first installment — including the misogyny. Rather than kidnap your lady friend, the bad guys appear and mow her down with a machine gun without either side exchanging a word. Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone, brings the most complexity to the gameplay, but a wonkier difficulty curve and level design hamper this from being as strong of a Double Dragon experience.
The virtual touchpad works well in all three games, and the options menu gives you a bevy of choices on how to best play. You can resize each button and drag them around to your heart’s content, ensuring that you, dear gamer, can play the way you want to. There are a few graphical options as well, two different versions of the soundtrack to choose from, and some nice bits of history regarding the Double Dragon series. If you’re a fan of the originals, it’s hard to complain about how much content you’re ending up with.
When Double Dragon beat its way onto the scene it was a seminal piece of gaming, helping foster an entirely new genre — “Beat ‘em ups”. Thirty years later, however, and these games haven’t aged as well. They’re definitely not without their fun, and boy do you get a lot of content for your buck, but if you’re looking for complexity you may be disappointed. If you’re looking for an ass-beating, ’80s-infused good time that’s playable on your iOS device, however, look no further.