Double Dragon Review (3DS, Virtual Console)

Double Dragon 3DS Virtual Console
On December 12th 2013, Double Dragon was re-released on the 3DS virtual console with download play capabilities. Is the download play feature enough to make you get this game? Or should you rely on the old memories that scream inside your head? Find out in this Double Dragon virtual console review for Nintendo 3DS!

Double Dragon is evocative of a typical 80's film. It's no surprise since the game was released back in 1988 for the NES.

The story revolves around Billy Lee, a martial arts expert. His girlfriend, Marian, was kidnapped by a group called the "Black Warriors", they intend to use her as ransom in exchange for Billy's secret martial arts technique. Billy won't bite in to their trick though, and decided to take on them by himself. Very impressive (pun intended).

Double Dragon is essentially a beat'em up game. It's one of the pioneers in this genre and undeniably one of the most successful franchise. It has not been very popular lately though.

Like any other NES games, the game was limited to two buttons (A, B). They are mapped with the A button for punching, and X/B for kicking. Pressing on both the punch and kick commands will deliver a "flying kick", which I'm sure many of you who played the game tried to imitate when they were young.

Double Dragon Gameplay

As with more advanced side-scrolling beat'em up games like Streets of Rage, the game world is partially shown to you little by little as you keep moving right. Enemies start showing up as well, so sometimes you will want to delay moving forward until you've finished all enemies that are visible on the screen at the time. The worst thing you can do is get yourself surrounded.

The virtual console restore point feature is a good way to lessen your frustration without breaking the game. It's not entirely life-saving, it helps more if you've at least made your first run-through of the game and you know of the dangerous areas that you think you'll fail. It doesn't help so much to play safe because you also have to race against time.

The enemies in Double Dragon are very smart. The same tactic you used on early levels might not work on more advanced levels. The enemies can dodge your moves, and they can effectively use zoning and wait for you to make a mistake.

Double Dragon VS Mode

One peculiar thing in this game is that you have to gain enough hearts (displayed on lower-left of the screen) to learn more moves. More hearts are acquired by defeating more enemies. There are seven moves that you can learn in total including the head butt, uppercut/roundhouse kick, flying kick, grab, elbow, tackle, and flying roundhouse kick.

You can pick up items that your enemies hold and use it against them. You can pick up a baseball bat for example hammer your enemy with it. Or you can also steal a knife from your enemy and send it flying him. It's a good way to please the crowd, assuming you have people watching over your back.

Double Dragon is one of those NES games that showcase a very detailed environment. Every pixel has been meticulously put in place. Take for instance the shadows that the pillars cast and the texture on the walls. On the other hand, perhaps because of the hardware limitations during that time, the character design isn't something you can call impressive.

As many virtual console games, Double Dragon is a bit too small to play on a regular 3DS. You'll be able to appreciate this game more if played on a 3DS XL.

Since Double Dragon was made during the 8-Bit era, the music is polyphonic but very powerful. It's like listening to Street Fighter II. There's a lot of action going on in there. It's not so bad to feel like you're playing Street Fighter while playing this game. Just don't forget that hadouken and dragon punch isn't present in here.

Aside from the nostalgic effect that this game brings, the download play feature might be one of the things that got you interested on this Virtual Console port. If you're looking into simultaneous play, I'm sorry to disappoint but you can only take turns in 2-Player mode for this game. There is no cooperative multiplayer. Also in versus mode, download play only allows you to select the same character.


Double Dragon, the game as it is is a gratifying experience. However, if you're looking for something fun to play with someone else, the two player download play does not justify the steep price tag. Unless you're a fan of the classic game, be sure to think twice before purchasing.

Rating for Double Dragon (3DS, Virtual Console)
Fun Factor:
Game Info:Platform: Nintendo 3DS (eShop)
Release Date: 12/12/2013
Price: $4.99
Rating: E10+
No. of players: 2
The Good
  • Familiar beat'em up mechanics
  • Weapon pick ups
  • Versus mode
The Bad
  • Silly character progression system
  • The really powerful moves are random
  • No cooperative multiplayer
  • Only one character can be chosen by both players in versus mode
  • Extremely difficult

This Double Dragon virtual console Review was based on the North American digital version and played on Nintendo 3DS XL. The download play capabilities were tested with a regular Nintendo 3DS. If you liked the review, please like it on Facebook or share on Twitter! It will really help a lot.

1 comment:

  1. Played this a lot back in my NES days. :)