The late 80s early 90s was full of brawlers known as beat ’em up games. One such game I find myself constantly going back to is Double Dragon 2 for the NES. Now this is a port from the Arcade release, but I must say I personally find this to be a superior version to the arcade version. Everything about Double Dragon 2 feels so fun and fresh. Most games of this genre seem to suffer a fate of repetition. What Double Dragon 2 does right is essentially always engage the gamer with fresh ideas.
This is due to the steller level design and music of the NES release. Each level feels new and unique from the last. The first level has you climbing a building and spin-kicking enemies to their graves and the next has you jumping over platforms on rivers and climbing vines. Each level never feels too long or repetitious. One might argue that the latter levels are a bit much as they have you jumping over spikes and moving conveyer belts, but it adds a nice level of challenge and is a change of pace from the prior more straightforward levels.
The music is a nice touch as well. The NES sound chip was really put to good use in this NES conversion and you may hear a few familiar tunes. The second level has an upbeat tune, which clearly gives a nod to the music by Phil Collins; the 5th level gives off a haunting tune, which complements the temple you explore in; and the final battle the music really gives you a sense adrenaline making you feel like this really is all or nothing.
Whether you play this game by yourself or multiplayer the experience will be more than satisfactory. Although, it is more difficult to complete on the highest difficulty level without a partner it should not hamper the overall experience. Once your lives are depleted it is game over. It would be nice if they did add a few continues in this game, but apparently that wasn’t in the cards I suppose
What is there left to say about Double Dragon 2 rather than it is simple and – most of all – fun. I would go on and say that this is probably one of the best games ever coded, but maybe that is going a bit too far. The sequel Double Dragon 3 is something I probably will not do a write-up on in the near future since it seems to receive a lot of backlash. The sequel is also a fun game but it is difficult for all the wrong reasons. The game design is not nearly as good as Double Dragon 2 or even the first 1, but it does contain charming characters and interesting locations to explore as you fight your way to conquer evil once again.