£9.99 cass/£14.99 disk
Reviewer: Sean Kelly
Hands up anyone who members the first Double Dragon on the Speccy then? Ah, good, quite a lot of you. Now, who gets a 'nice, warm, friendly glow' when they think about it? Hmm. Just as I thought. Not so many. Yes, it was a little bit of a disappointment (or at least, I thought it was).
Anyway here's the sequel, and I'm pleased to be able to tell you it's loads better. Virgin has spared no effort in the ol' 'pad it out with a scenario' stakes so even those of you who missed the first game will know what it s all about. Thus we are informed that our heroes Billy and Jimmy killed all the members of the Black Warrior gang, then rescued their hostage, Marion. But, hold on a minute that's not all! Yes, one girlie member of the Black Warriors (with the deceptively innocent name of Linda) survived, and vowed vengeance on the Double Dragon twins! Dan dan dan daaaah!
Now, being the only surviving member of a gang that's now shuttled off its collective mortal coil, what would you do? Retire to Bridlington for a quiet life? See the light and hand out leaflets on your chosen cause in town centres? Blimey no!! You'd travel east, learn lots of magic tricks, suss out how to raise the dead (neat trick, that one) and get the Black Warriors back together again so they can all take a stab at bashing up Billy and Jimmy one more time. And that, in a rather large nutshell, is exactly what our Linda has done.
Now, being dead didn't do much for the cunning nature of the Black Warriors, 'cos the first thing they did when Linda brought them back to life was kidnap Marion back again. Predictable or what? But wait, there's more! They also killed her this time! Yikes! Fortunately though, Billy and Jimmy don't let this deter them and set out once more to give the nasty Black Warriors a good whipping, hoping to 'rescue' (ie bring back to life) Marion before she gets too smelly.
Yup, it's horizontally scrolling beat-'em-up time livened up by a brilliant two player option. Billy and Jimmy have got all the usual moves kicking and punching, leaping and cartwheeling singing and dancing - you name it, the lads do it. They make the London Boys look like they've got wooden feet! Their figures are well drawn and smoothly animated and look kind of cartoony with their slightly exaggerated proportions.
Virgin has wisely gone for a monochrome screen display, and although it sometimes gets a little cluttered and difficult for you to establish what's going on (like when about four bad guys bundle in at once, for instance), for most of the time it works pretty well. Something which sets it apart from most beat-'em-ups is that boxes, rocks and just about anything else that's lying around can be picked up along the way and thrown at the bad guys. What a brilliant lark! The bad news is that they tend to throw them back at you pretty ruddy sharpish (so I often adopted the reasonably effective 'chuck it and scarper' approach). But on the whole its a brilliant addition to your standard beat-'em-up fare. There are also 'natural' hazards to be negotiated, such as holes and a fair amount of leaping, diving and climbing is required it you want to avoid dying, which (let's face it) you probably will.
The sound is alright, the usual sort of kicky, punchy, spring-aroundy types of noises, with some good crunchy bashing sounds on the 128. My only worry is that we've seen too much of this sort of thing already and (throwing option aside) it isn't different enough to distinguish itself from all the rest. I've already typed 'Dragon Ninja' in twice by mistake when writing this review so you see the problem! It's perfectly fine for passing the time in an arcade, but I doubt it'll get anyone massively excited in its Speccy incarnation.
Most of JON PILLAR's friends are old speccy games. No one else really understands him...
Reviewer: Jon Pillar
Another Fists game. Exactly the same as the original - team up with a pal and rush around aimlessly, thumping people a lot. Animation is jerky and the game play's stilted and repetitive. Kerrunchh! Kerpow! Kerrappp!
Whiffy, spiffy, tiffy and thoroughly nifty. Prey gentle molluscs, take your seats for the great YS roundup...
Reviewer: Rich Pelley
The world of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48/128K beat-'em-up can be a bit predictable at times. The reasons for this are that, firstly, there's a plot which seems to always concern someone seeking revenge against somebody else. Then there's the gameplay, which naturally consists of beating everyone up with a variety of kicks, punches and the odd special move. As for the graphics, there's the playing area which generally scrolls in a sort of 3D manner so that the usually monochrome, but well animated sprites can walk in in and out of the screen. Sometimes even two players can join in as well.
What we have here is Double Dragon 2 and all the above points apply, along with a few more as well. There's extra weapons like boxes, rocks, knives and anything else left lying bout can be picked up and used to your advantage. You can also climb ladders, go through doors, fall down holes and so on.
Should you, or should you not, buy this game? Well, there's little or nothing to set Double Dragon aside from many other beat-'em-ups. It's good, but it's not as good as Target Renegade. Still, it hasn't aged, it plays well and should still be high on the list of things to spend that annoying WH Smith's voucher on that you got from Auntie Molly at Christmas.
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