The NES version's title screen.
After the success of the original Double Dragon
on both, the arcades and the NES, it was only natural for Technos Japan Corp. to follow it up with a sequel.Double Dragon II: The Revenge
was released for the arcades in 1988, only a year after the first entry. The Black Warriors retaliate against the Lee brothers for their previous defeat by murdering their friend Marian. With their beloved now gone, Billy and Jimmy sets off to defeat the Black Warriors, this time for good. The game itself was essentially an upgraded version of the original. The control scheme was changed (replacing the original's punch/kick setup with directional-based attack buttons), the graphics were redrawn (backgrounds were entirely new and almost every returning character had a new design) and each stage now has a new end-boss. The difficulty was also increased significantly
, with health refills between stages being less generous and the elbow attack from the first game was nerfed
completely. The game was a modest success in the arcades, but it did not have the same longevity as its predecessor due to its mission pack sequel
The NES version, released in the end of 1989 and this time published by Acclaim
in the west, was more of an adaptation of its arcade counterpart than a port, much like its predecessor. The basic premise of the game remained the same, but this time the story was told through comic book-like interludes between stages. Technos, having more experience with the NES hardware this time as a result of working on several titles since the original Double Dragon
(including the cult classic River City Ransom
), was able to retain co-op multiplayer
this time, with the option to disable friendly damage added in for good measure. The level designs were also much more elaborate than the arcade version (with nine missions instead of the arcade's four) and a new final boss replaces Machine Gun Willy as the main antagonist.
Two console versions of Double Dragon II: The Revenge
were also made that were inexplicably released only in Japan
: a Mega Drive
version that is close to the arcade games (but with severely downgraded visuals and smaller character sprites) and a PC Engine
Super CD-ROM version based on the NES game that features improved visuals, a new soundtrack and anime-style cutscenes. There was also a full-on 3D "remake" for the Xbox 360
titled Double Dragon II: Wanders of the Dragons
by Korean developer Baruson Creative, which was universally panned and mocked by critics for its poor play mechanics and cheap visuals, having achieved a Metacritic score of 17% (it doesn't help the remake came out shortly after the much better-received Double Dragon Neon
An unrelated Game Boy
sequel was released in 1991 simply titled Double Dragon II
. It was actually a Kunio-kun
game with the graphics and music changed for the western release.
This game provides examples of:
- Back from the Dead: Marian in the NES version.
- Barrier-Busting Blow: The Lee brothers do this in the intro of the PC-Engine version.
- Bittersweet Ending: In the arcade version, Marian remains dead after the Lee Brothers defeat Machine Gun Willy.
- Boss-Only Level: Mission 9 of the NES version is nary more than the Final Boss.
- Captain Ersatz: The bosses in the arcade version. Particularly, Burnov (Mission 1 boss) resembles the Kinnikuman wrestler Neptuneman, while Abore (the Mission 2 boss) is a cross between The Terminator and André the Giant.
- Clean Dub Name: In the second NES game, the enemy gang was changed from the Black Warriors to the Shadow Warriors in the English version, presumably to avoid the Unfortunate Implications of the original name.
- Color-Coded Multiplayer: The arcade version made Billy and Jimmy black and white, respectively, rather than their normal red and blue.
- Composite Character: Abore in the NES game has the same moves as his namesake from the arcade version, but his appearance resembles that of Oharra's, an Abobo head-swap from the arcade version.
- Covers Always Lie: The promotional illustration for the arcade release shows Marian alive, despite being killed in the beginning of the game (the happy ending where Marian is brought back to life was not in the arcade version and was only added in the NES version). Even stranger is the fact that the artwork shows Marian embracing the Lee brother in red, when her boyfriend is established to be Billy, the Lee brother in blue (perhaps a result of Billy and Jimmy having switched hair colors in the console version).
- Damn You, Muscle Memory: Every version of the game uses a direction-based attack system where one button attacks to the left and the other to the right, which Technos previously employed with Renegade. This takes a while to get used to players more accustomed to the original game, since one button does the standard punch combo and the other a back kick depending on the direction the player character is facing.
- Degraded Boss: The head-swapped bosses from the first game appear only as sub-bosses.
- Difficulty By Region: The Famicom version allows the entire game to be played at any difficulty level, while the NES version restricts the game's length depending on the setting (3 stages on Practice, 8 on Warrior, and 9 on Supreme Master). The NES version also requires the player to input a cheat codes after getting a Game Over in order to continue, whereas the Famicom version had no such requirement. There are other specific differences between the two versions as well: traps are much easier in the Famicom version on the normal setting than in the NES version's equivalent setting (especially the disappearing platforms in Mission 6), but enemies have more health on the Famicom version's hardest setting.
- Digital Bikini: The cover artwork of the second NES game is the same one used in every other version, except Marian's thigh-revealing skirt was lengthened and her flesh-colored tank top was recolored red.
- Dolled-Up Installment: The Game Boy version was actually a Kunio-kun game that had its graphics, music and story changed for its overseas release.
- Dual Boss: The arcade version has the twin Burnovs at the end of Mission 3, plus twin versions of all the previous bosses in Mission 4.
- Meanwhile, the NES version has a fight against two ninjas, and both versions have the shadow Lee brothers when two people are playing.
- Easy Level Trick: In the helicopter, you can make the Abore twins go out through the door by themselves by walking towards the bottom right corner. You have to time the opening right though as you put yourself at risk of getting sucked out too.
- Easy-Mode Mockery: "Practice" mode ends three levels in, while the "Warrior" setting ends before the final stage.
- Fingerless Gloves: The "right arm" thugs who appear only in the NES version have these.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the NES version, all the cut-scenes between stages (as well as the opening and ending) only shows Billy, regardless of whether the game is being played alone (with either, Billy or Jimmy) or with both Lee brothers. The only exception is made with the cut-scene when the final boss appears: if both Lee brothers are being used, both of them will appear; but if Billy dies before the final stage and Jimmy survives, then Jimmy will appear in his brother's place.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: After defeating Machine Gun Willy in the end of Mission 4, creepy music starts playing and the player's purple Evil Twin rises out of his shadow and attacks him. The game has no other supernatural elements (except for Burnov, the Mission 1 boss who "teleports" after being defeated), nor does the end reference it in any way.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Abore in the arcade version.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The difficulty settings in the NES game - Practice, Warrior and Supreme Master.
- Just for the Heli of It: Mirroring the first game's opening, they come out of a garage with a helicopter inside this time, to the sound of rotor blades.
- Kamehame Hadoken: The evil clones throw these at sufficient distance.
- Mirror Boss: Taking a cue from Zelda II, the Lee brothers must fight their own shadows at the end of the game.
- Mission Pack Sequel: The second arcade game is essentially an improved version of the first one, but with a different attack system, new looks and moves for most the returning enemies and new bosses for each stage. The difficulty has also been fine-tuned to prevent players from completing it with just the elbow strike.
- Ninja: Two of them serve as bosses.
- No Name Given: The final boss in the NES version, who is simply known as the "mysterious warrior".
- The other two enemy characters exclusive to the NES version, "Ninja" and "Migiude" (which is Japanese for "right arm", or more appropriately "right-hand man"), only have official designations instead of proper names, but those two are just elite mooks and not unique characters.
- Nostalgia Level: The entirety of the arcade version, although it's specifically much more noticeable in the Mission 2, which is the least changed stage compared to the rest, as it has no new traps or structural change outside the background graphic.
- Production Throwback: The very beginning of the game features the helicopter from Thunder Storm (aka Cobra Command, Kishimoto's other FMV game he did with Data East).
- Revenge: The motive for the Lee brothers is to avenge Marian's death.
- Revised Ending: Marian stays dead in the original arcade version, while in the NES version she lives.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: The arcade version of II has more powerful bosses than the first game, only partial health recovery between stages (as opposed to full health recovery like in the first game), and no bonus lives (you're stuck with what you start with). Moreover the game's time limit is adjustable and the default settings has the game on the second fastest time limit with the second hardest difficulty and only two lives, which makes the third stage hard to complete on time and the fourth stage almost impossible. All the transition sequences between stages are now done by elevators, making it impossible to carry weapons between stages unlike in the first game.
- Shout-Out: The masked wrestler Burnov seems to be an expy of Kinnikuman wrestler Neptuneman◊.
- Shovel Strike: In the arcade version.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Marian, who was Killed Off for Real in the second arcade game, gets better in its NES (and later PC-Engine) adaptation.
- Stuffed In The Fridge: The arcade game begins exactly the same way as the first game... only instead of being kidnapped, Marian is gunned down to death by Machine Gun Willy. She did get better in the NES version.
- Temple of Doom: The final stage, more so in the NES version.
- Theme Music Power-Up: A variant - once the final boss of the NES version is low on health, the creepy theme is replaced by a more epic theme.
- Underwater Base: Mission 4 of the NES version.
- Wanted Poster: The wanted posters for Machine Gun Willy and the mohawked version of Abobo from the first game can be seen in the beginning of Mission 2 in the arcade version.