ダブルドラゴンII ザ・リベンジ ● Genre: Action・Fighting ● Release Date: 1991/12/20 ● Developer: PAL SOFT ● Publisher: PAL SOFT ● Media: 4Mbit ROM Cartridge ● System Specific: MEGA DRIVE
■DOUBLE DRAGON ON THE MEGA DRIVE, 'NUFF SAID.
Despite being a sub-par production from PAL SOFT, this direct conversion of the 80's arcade classic is still a blast to play on the Mega Drive.
I remember being really surprised when I saw DOUBLE DRAGON II on the Mega Drive games stand of this shop back in the early 90's. Today thanks to the internet I know that the game was released on December, 1991. But I think I must have got it half a year later after it came out, if not full year later. I honestly don't remember it that well since it was 20 years ago.
In any case, back then I had no idea that DOUBLE DRAGON II was coming to the MD. And if the game was ever previewed by somebody, somewhere, I clearly must have missed it.
It's worth mentioning that this was the only direct conversion of DOUBLE DRAGON II that was ever released on any Japanese gaming platform, so this version is at least unique in that aspect.
The first thing I'd like to get out of the way is that this is pretty lackluster, amateurish-even, conversion of the original DOUBLE DRAGON II arcade game.
The most immediate flaw you will notice about this 4 Mbit cartridge is of course the graphics. They are just way below of what one expected to see on the MD at that point in time. The colors and brightness are specially bad. And while it's not a secret to anyone that the MD had to make do with a rather limited color palette, this is again way below of the system's capabilities.
Gameplay-wise the only relevant issue are these slight pauses the game always makes whenever you dispatch some of the enemies. You sort of get used to them eventually but they're still pretty annoying nonetheless.
In spite of all the technical issues I'm not ashamed to say I've always liked this game, and in fact consider it one of my favorite action fighting games on the MD.
Why? because the game is still a lot of fun to play. And if anything else PAL SOFT managed to stay true to the unique style that characterized the TECHNOS JAPAN action fighting games of the 80's.
Stuff like the predictable and easily exploitable enemy behavior, the cheap deaths from falling off screen. Even the sudden framerate slowdowns and speed ups from the arcade version have been preserved here as if they were crucial part of the DOUBLE DRAGON experience.
Of course it could be argued that the game would have been a lot better if PAL SOFT had actually bothered to fix all that stuff. And sure, maybe the game would have played a lot better if they had done that. But personally I don't really mind that they didn't. After all that's how the arcade game played and it's an absolute classic.
Actually something that PAL SOFT did improved over the arcade version is the hit detection. It's a lot easier to hit the enemies now and thus even on the hard difficulty setting the game is easier and offers less frustration than the arcade game.
What's not so great however is all the stuff that didn't made it into this version, and unfortunately this includes a lot of background objects and background detail.
For example, in MISSION 1 you still can see the badass chopper from 「COBRA COMMAND」 inside the LEE BROS. garage, but the rest of the choppers that appeared throughout the stage in the arcade version are missing here.
One of the enemies 「JEFF」 (the guy in a red vest that's supposed to be from a rival martial arts school) is also M.I.A.
MISSION 2 has also been edited and extended, but in contrast MISSION 3 has been cut out a bit since you now start directly in the wheat fields.
Personally I don't like they way they splitted the game's missions. It completely ruined the original「route of revenge」 experience, and how cool it was to walk from your garage all the way to the enemy's base without any breaks in the arcade game.
It's just impossible to deny that this was not a pretty lousy arcade conversion. The MD deserved a much better DOUBLE DRAGON experience than this.
And it gets even more tragic when we take into account that this was the only DOUBLE DRAGON game that was ever released for the MD in Japan since the original DOUBLE DRAGON and 「DOUBLE DRAGON 3 : THE ROSETTA STONE」only came out in North America and Europe.
Still, the original DOUBLE DRAGON II was so awesome than even a lowly conversion like this one is still fun to play.
I think it would've been a lot better for everyone if PAL SOFT had released this version on a lower-end system like the GAME GEAR. They had their hearts in the right place for sure, but they just lacked either the budget or the programming skill to deliver a product worthy of a 16-bit game system.
For what it's worth, this version of DD2 was at least better than the Genesis port of DD3 for the fact that the hit detection worked and they didn't mess with the button inputs to much.
I'm going to take issue with your comment that the MD version is easier than the arcade one though. The only thing wrong with the arcade version were the overpowered bosses, enemy respawns, and the strict time limit in the final two stages. The hit detection was never much of a problem. On the other hand, the MD version has a cheaply placed converyor belt next to a pitfall in Mission 2 and the weed trimming trap in Mission 3 moves a lot faster to the point that it's impossible to avoid.