The port of Double Dragon 2 to the NES has been re-structured to be more 8-bit-friendly than the original arcade version, and like the first game, it is a serviceable beat-em-up with a solid fighting engine (and also finally offers the ability for two people to play at once). Unfortunately, there is very little challenge.

The one thing that might trip you up is that the punch and kick controls are a little odd - you press the button in the direction you are currently facing to punch, and the other to kick backwards, and this flips when you turn around. So, if facing right, you press A to punch forwards and B to kick backwards, and vice versa when facing left. Kind of an odd choice by the designers, but it works just fine once you get adjusted to it (which doesn't take long).

Difficulty is selectable, but setting it to the highest level (Supreme Master) doesn't make the enemies any smarter, more numerous or harder-hitting, it just ups their health by a small amount. The foes you face are dumb and few in number; levels are short even compared to the previous game.

The only challenge comes from jumping; towards the end of the game there are numerous segments where you must leap on moving platforms over spikes and bottomless pits that kill you instantly. Jumping is as clunky and cumbersome as it was in the first game, and really does not lend itself well to platforming action. So the only challenge in the game really comes from bad play control rather than good level design. The last boss is fairly tough, but it only makes things all the more pissy if you lose in the final level, since you have to go through the entirety of the game from the beginning when your complement of three lives runs out (no continues here).

Apparently the Japanese version was much tougher and they nerfed it for the round-eyes release, so that might be something to look into. It really is pretty decent for the most part, except for the jumping bits, it just seems like the level designers could have tried a bit harder. Still better than the arcade version though, and has some catchy chiptunes as well.

Links :

* Awesome arranged soundtrack (MP3)
* Go For Broak!

Videos :

Gameplay Video