The NES version's title screen.Double Dragon II
is the second Double Dragon
game. This is basically the only similarity the various ports share, other than that the Excuse Plot
is about Marian (your love interest from the first game) getting shot and killed by the same gang. With that in mind, the Lee brothers set out to avenge her death by kicking as much ass as possible.
The arcade version (subtitled The Revenge
) was a simple Mission Pack Sequel
, changing the control scheme for the attacks, adding new levels, changing the Lee brothers' attire, and changing the game's workings so that the elbow attack was no longer a Game Breaker
. It's still well-regarded, but not quite as much as the original, simply because it didn't bring anything new to the table.
The NES version, on the other hand, changed the game drastically. The most notable feature is that the Co-Op Multiplayer
was kept in, and this alone was likely what led to the game becoming a classic. There were also nine stages (much more than the arcade version's four), exploring a variety of environments, as well as difficulty settings that altered which level the game ended on.
Most later ports were based off this one.
Of special note is the Game Boy
version, which was actually a Dolled-Up Installment
of a Kunio Kun
game for the same platform.
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-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.
- 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 names, but those two are just elite mooks and not unique characters.
- 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 Bolo and Willy from the original title also appear in the arcade version, but Bolo in that game underwent a complete sprite swap, no longer sporting his original Mr. T-style look that his poster depicted him with.