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Video Game / Double Dragon II

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After the success of the original Double Dragon in arcades and on the NES, Technos Japan Corp. decided to follow it up with a sequel: Double Dragon II: The Revenge, released for the arcades in 1988 (only a year after the first entry). The Black Warriors, humiliated by their defeat at the hands of the Lee brothers, retaliate by murdering Marian. With their beloved now gone, Billy and Jimmy set off to defeat the Black Warriors, this time for good.

The game itself was an upgraded version of the original. The control scheme was changed (it replaced the original's punch/kick setup with direction-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 getting completely nerfed. The game was a modest success in the arcades, but didn't have the same longevity as its predecessor due to its Mission-Pack Sequel nature.

The NES version, released in the end of 1989 and published by Acclaim in the West, was much like its NES predecessor: more of an adaptation of its arcade counterpart than a direct port. The basic premise remained the same, but this time the story was told through comic book-esque interludes between stages. Technos had more experience with the NES hardware this time around—a result of working on several titles since the original Double Dragon, including the cult classic River City Ransom—so it was able to retain co-op multiplayer and toss in the option to disable "friendly fire" damage. The level designs were much more elaborate than the arcade version (with nine missions instead of the arcade's four), and a new final boss replaced Machine Gun Willy as the main antagonist.

Two other console versions of Double Dragon II were also made, but were released only in Japan: a Mega Drive version (closer to the arcade game, but with severely downgraded visuals and smaller character sprites) and a PC Engine Super CD-ROM2 version (closer to the NES game but with 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 by critics for its poor gameplay and cheap visuals. (This remake also came out shortly after the better-received Double Dragon Neon, which didn't help matters.) 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.

Double Dragon II: The Revenge provides examples of:

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    The Arcade Version 
  • Boss Rush: Mission 4 features twin clones of the previous bosses (Burnov, Abore, and Chin) before the battle against Willy.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Black Warriors are done, but Marian is still dead. The ending battle with the shadow brothers implies that Billy and Jimmy have come to terms with her death and can move on.
  • Canon Immigrant: If the manuals for the console versions are to be believed, the double stick fighter who serves as the Mission 3 boss is none other than Chin Taimei, the shirtless Chinese fighter from the first NES game.
  • Captain Ersatz: Mission 1 boss Burnov resembles Kinnikuman character Neptuneman, while Mission 2 boss Abore is a cross between The Terminator and AndrĂ© 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 one of the Lee brothers grabbing Marian around his arm, protecting her from danger, even though she dies as soon as the player inserts the first credit and starts the game. Unlike the NES version, there's no sudden happy ending where she is miraculously brought back to life.
  • 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. Players more accustomed to the original game might take some time getting used to this, especially since one button does the standard punch combo and the other does 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 instead of end bosses.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Although Willy is the one who killed Marian, he is actually the penulatimate boss instead of the last one this time around. The final boss is an evil Lee brother clone, with a second one present during 2-players play.
  • Dual Boss: The twin Burnovs at the end of Mission 3 and the twin versions of all prior bosses in Mission 4 both qualify.
  • Evil Laugh: When Burnov makes his entry at the end of the first stage, he utters one of these. He also does it if he manages to grab Billy or Jimmy, and if you're fighting 2 of them at once, the one that can revive itself after dying will utter the same evil laugh when he does so.
  • 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, 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: In a reference to the first game's opening, the Lee brothers come out of a garage with a helicopter inside it.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: The evil clones throw these at sufficient distance.
  • Mirror Boss: The Lee brothers must fight their own shadows at the end of Mission 4.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: The arcade version is an improved version of the first game, but with a different attack system, new graphics and moves for most of the returning enemies, and new bosses for each stage. Technos also fine-tuned the difficulty to prevent players from completing it with just the elbow strike.
  • Nostalgia Level: While the entirety of the game world is essentially set in a redesigned version of the first game's map, Mission 2 is almost identical to its counterpart in the first game, with the same pitfalls, climbable fence, stacked construction materials and even a conveyor belt at the end.
  • 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).
  • Punch-Kick Layout: Played With; the previous game established the series' punch and kick buttons. This game mixes up the formula by going with a directionally-sensitive punch & kick scheme, where you either punch in front or throw out a rear kick depending on which way Billy or Jimmy is facing. This takes some getting used to, especially if you're fresh off any other games in the series, but once you have it down it becomes a bit easier to protect your flank from sneak attacks.
  • Revenge: As the title suggests, this is the driving force behind the game's plot.
  • Shovel Strike: Shovels replaces baseball bats from the original.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Sort-of. The manual for the microcomputer ports by Binary Design describe that the Lee brothers are capable of enacting a Shinto ritual to restore Marian back to life, none of this is actually shown in these ports, which plays out the same ending sequence as the arcade version.
  • Temple of Doom: Mission 4
  • "Wanted!" Poster: The wanted posters for Willy and Jack from the first game can be seen next to the elevator at the start of Mission 2.

    The NES and PC Engine versions 
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: Unlike the arcade version, Marian lives.
  • Adapted Out: Machine Gun Willy is nowhere to be seen in the NES version, despite being the one who guns down Marian in the arcade game (the new opening implies she got stabbed by a ninja, as the actual deed is never shown). However, he makes an unannounced appearance (in the sense that he is not listed in the manual) in the PC Engine version.
    • Likewise, the Ninjas and Right-Hand Men never appear in the PC Engine version, even though they have full sprite sets that are never used.
  • Back from the Dead: Marian miraculously returns to life after the final boss is defeated.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: The Lee brothers do this in the intro of the PC Engine version.
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: After the True Final Boss takes enough damage, the arena goes from a Final Boss, New Dimension to a church-like altar.
  • Boss-Only Level: Mission 9 is little more than the fight against the Mysterious Warrior.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Billy and Jimmy return to their standard blue and red outfits.
  • Composite Character: Abore 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 as tough as the boss versions you fight in Mission 2.
  • Demoted to Extra: Chin the twin stick-wielder, who was one of the cheapest boss in the arcade version (capable of emptying your life bar in seconds), is merely another 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 (see Easy Mode Mockery below). 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, too: traps are much easier in the Famicom version's normal difficult than in the NES version's equivalent (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 Lees face off against two ninjas at the end of Mission 2. The game will throw in a second Lee brother clone at the end of Mission 8 if two players are present.
  • Easy Level Trick: In Mission 3, you can make the Bolo twins go out the door by themselves by walking towards the bottom right corner—but you have to time the move right, as you put yourself at risk of getting sucked out.
  • 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 and "Warrior" ends just before the final battle). The PC Engine version allows all nine stages to be played on any difficulty, but changes the ending based on which difficulty level is chosen.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: All the cutscenes in the NES show only Billy Lee, regardless of whether a second player is present. The only exception to this is the cutscene prior to the final boss fight: depending who is playing, it shows either Billy, Jimmy, or both Lee brothers. The PC Engine version averts this by showing both brothers regardless of how many players are 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. In Mission 2, there are two choppers: the first will fly by and attack the Lee brothers by firing its gun at them, then drop off a batch of mooks. The second is a getaway chopper where the entirety 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 of Mission 8.
  • Mirror Boss: The Shadow Clone is back, except it's the penultimate boss instead of the last one.
  • No Name Given: The final boss is known only as the "Mysterious Warrior".
  • Story Reset: The Famicom/NES version conveniently ignores the fact that Jimmy was the antagonist in the first game on the console. The manual for the Japanese version goes as far as to suggest that both Lee brothers fought the Black Warriors together, while the English version just ignores the first game altogether. This was not much of an issue in the PC Engine version, since the first game was never available on that platform.
  • Sudden Name Change/Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The long-haired version of Abobo is given the name Bolo in the Japanese manual. The manual for the Mega Drive version still calls him "Abobo" though.
  • Temple of Doom: Missions 6 through 9 are set in a so-called "Mansion of Terror".
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Once the final boss is low on health, the creepy final boss 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 back to the main theme tune as Billy and Jimmy Lee head out to fight the Gen Satsu Ken clan.
  • Underwater Base: Mission 4 is titled the "Undersea Base".
  • The Walls Have Eyes: A large, sinister pair opens in the wall of the Mansion of Terror and stares directly at the player, for no particular reason aside from Rule of Scary.

Alternative Title(s): Double Dragon 2, Double Dragon II The Revenge