Video Game: Double Dragon II
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 nature.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:
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The Arcade Version
- Boss Rush: Mission 4 features twin clones of each of the previous bosses (Burnov, Abore, and Chin) before the battle against Willy.
- Bittersweet Ending: Marian stays dead, unlike the later NES adaptation.
- Captain Ersatz: 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.
- Color-Coded Multiplayer: Billy and Jimmy wear black and white, rather than their usual blue and red.
- Covers Always Lie: The flyer art shows Marian alive, despite being killed in the beginning of the game (the happy ending where Marian is brought back to life wasn't in the arcade 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: 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 enemies from the first game appear as standard grunts rather than the end bosses they originally were.
- Dual Boss: The twin Burnovs at the end of Mission 3, plus twin versions of all the prior bosses in Mission 4.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: After defeating Machine Gun Willy, creepy music starts playing and the player's purple Evil Twin rises out of his shadow and attacks him. The game has no supernatural elements prior to this (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, the Mission 2 boss.
- Just for the Heli of It: Mirroring the first game's opening, the Lee brothers 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 Mission 4.
- Mission Pack Sequel: The arcade version is essentially an improved version of the first game , 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.
- Nostalgia Level: The entirety of the game, 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 different background.
- 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 plot of the game. It's even part of the title.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: The bosses are stronger than the ones in the first game, only partial health recovery is given between stages (as opposed to full health recovery like in the first game), and extra lives are completely eliminated (you're stuck with what you start with). Moreover the game's time limit is adjustable and the default settings has the timer on the second fastest speed 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.
- Shovel Strike: Shovels replaces baseball bats from the original.
- 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.
- Temple of Doom: Mission 4.
- 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 right next to the elevator.
The NES and PC Engine versions
- Back from the Dead: Marian in this version.
- Barrier-Busting Blow: The Lee brothers do this in the intro of the PC-Engine version.
- Boss-Only Level: Mission 9 is nary more than the Final Boss.
- Color-Coded Multiplayer: Billy and Jimmy return to their standard blue and red outfits.
- Composite Character: Abore, who has the same moves as his namesake in the arcade version, but more closely resembles the arcade-exclusive enemy character O'Hara.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Subverted. The ninjas that appear near the end of Mission 8 are just as tough as the boss version you fight in Mission 2.
- Demoted to Extra: Chin, the double stick-wielding fighter who was an overpowered boss is the arcade version, is merely a glorified mook in the NES version.
- 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 for the NES version is a censored version of the original arcade flyer art. Marian's thigh-revealing skirt was lengthened and her flesh-colored tank top was recolored red.
- Dual Boss: The ninjas at the end of Mission 2. The game will also thrown in a second Lee brother clone at the end of Mission 8 if two players are present.
- Easy Level Trick: In the helicopter, you can make the Bolo 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: The NES version only allows the entire game to be played on the "Supreme Master" setting — "Practice" only lasts the first three stages, while "Warrior" ends just before the final battle. The PC Engine version takes it a step further by allowing all nine stages to be played on any difficulty, changing only the ending instead.
- Fingerless Gloves: All the "right arm" thugs wears a pair .
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: All the cutscenes in the game only shows Billy Lee, regardless if a second player is present or not. The only exception is the cutscene prior to the final boss fight: it shows Billy, Jimmy or both depending who is playing.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The difficulty settings in the NES game are Practice, Warrior and Supreme Master. The Famicom version had more conventional settings (Easy, Normal and Difficult).
- Just for the Heli of It: Unlike the arcade version, the helicopters are not just there for scenery. There's two choppers in particular in Mission 2: the first will fly by and attack the Lee brothers by firing its gun at them and then dropping a batch of mooks. The second is a getaway chopper where the entire of Mission 3 takes place.
- Ninja: Two of them serve as bosses, while the rest are elite mooks that appear prior to the boss fight at Mission 8.
- No Name Given: The final boss, who is simply known as the "mysterious warrior".
- Revised Ending: Unlike the arcade version, Marian lives.
- Temple of Doom: Missions 6-9 are set in the same "Mansion of Terror."
- Theme Music Power-Up: A variant - once the final boss is low on health, the creepy theme is replaced by a more epic theme.
- Triumphant Reprise: In the intro to the PC Engine version, a somber version of the Double Dragon theme plays as Marian dies in Billy's arms, before going to the main theme tune as Billy and Jimmy Lee head out to fight the Shadow Warriors.
- Underwater Base: Mission 4, which is even titled the "Undersea Base."