Read the review here.
“This is a prototypical, straightforward, genre-defining beat-’em-up title.”
– from the full review, which you can read here.
I think we take Double Dragon for granted.
I think it had a profound impact on gaming, from the foundation-laying work for titles like Streets of Rage and Goldenaxe, to the fight-game influence on combos and the titular Street Fighting scene, even to the way video games are produced, marketed, and sequeled.
Double Dragon is THE original beat-’em-up title, the prototype that set the mold (well, along with Renegade). It spawned a classic series that is close to my heart, and still echoes in the ripples seen in gameplay today. You could make the argument that the modern action RPG, or “Western RPG,” is modeled after the gameplay set down by Double Dragon in 1988, whereas better moves were earned in real time as Billy battled the bad guys.
Even if I think the pacing for the first game was not quite perfected, and I admit the controls for the second game are odd (although it is my favorite), and the third is rather difficult, I still really like the Double Dragon games.
NES Gameplay Tips for Double Dragon: Always take advantages of the items, especially always take advantage of putting enemies into bottomless pits, and memorize enemy spawn points in subsequent playthroughs. Do not develop the habit of relying on the jump kick, as it is a weaker attack.
But the true key to mastering Double Dragon is understanding range. Knowing exactly to the pixel how far Billy can punch and kick, before the foe can ever make contact, makes the difference between winning a bout and taking damage. Timing is important, such as when enemies get up from the ground, come out of doors, swing, and throw weapons, sure; but range is what will enable victory. Knowing where to stand next to a fallen guy to lead them into your punches; conversely, know how close you can get to guys without taking damage. With the bulky characters like Abobo and Willy the Mad Machine-Gunner, you can actually stand right on top of them, and their punches, kicks, and gunshots will travel right through you, the hit detection missing as their limbs and bullets extend too far to make contact with your hitbox. Take advantage of this, keep it close, and deal major damage. From there, it is just a matter of practice.