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Double Dragon (Atari 2600) artwork

Double Dragon (Atari 2600) review


"Certain types of games are just totally inappropriate for certain platforms. Would you want to play Resident Evil on your Texas Instruments calculator? How about Doom on your NES? On the same token the thought of a Double Dragon port for the Atari 2600 is just plain bizarre. Double Dragon was a state of the art 1987 arcade game with three action buttons. The Atari 2600 was a dated and decaying console from 1977 with a single action button. Clearly there were going to be some porting problems. &#..."



Certain types of games are just totally inappropriate for certain platforms. Would you want to play Resident Evil on your Texas Instruments calculator? How about Doom on your NES? On the same token the thought of a Double Dragon port for the Atari 2600 is just plain bizarre. Double Dragon was a state of the art 1987 arcade game with three action buttons. The Atari 2600 was a dated and decaying console from 1977 with a single action button. Clearly there were going to be some porting problems. 



Activision's Double Dragon is technically a ''beat 'em up'', but the name of this game is ''beat you up''; those who mock the lack of realism of a single man kicking the asses of hundreds will find solace here. From second one you're surrounded by two nearly invincible goons who beat you mercilessly until you're dead. On the ground? They don't care. This is the real world, chum; you pick fights with gangs and you pay. If you somehow manage to kill the first two toughs, two more nearly unbeatable hoodlums await just ahead. 



At first it's kinda funny watching them slam your head on the pavement over and over. Then, for a brief moment I felt frustration, realizing that there'd be no way to see more of the game, but I quickly resigned to knowing that this is one of the worst games ever made and there was nothing I could do about it. 



If you have a friend you hate, you can challenge him to simultaneous play. If you're looking to exact revenge by surrounding the computer controlled thugs and viciously stamping your feet into their faces, you'll be sadly disappointed. Due to hardware limitations you each fight a thug at a time on different parts of the screen. What a rip-off. There's also a two player one-on-one mode, but that all comes down to who can grab the pole from the middle of the screen first. 



Surprisingly, despite the obviously limited input scheme, Activision did an admirable job with the controls. With various joystick motions and the button it's possible for a satisfactory range of punches and kicks. Additionally, Double Dragon boasts what are likely the best graphics for the system; it's too bad you'll never get to see them. 



Double Dragon represents the biggest shame in gaming. It's obvious this game could have been fun but wasn't for silly reasons. Had Activision toned down the ridiculous artificial intelligence, Double Dragon would be playable. Sure it may have been rendered too easy for some, but that's certainly better than the totally unplayable state that resulted. Activision had a great port on their hands and messed up on a few routines in difficulty control.

Rating: 2/10

whelkman's avatar
Community review by whelkman (May 26, 2008)

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