Super Double Dragon is like a Christmas tree in the toilet—every time you think you got it figured out, all the pine needles fall off…and then grandma decides that NOW is a good time to take care of them prune pancakes she had for breakfast. It’s a bloody mess (at best), and, for the healthy-minded individual, every trace of the event is wiped from history the minute it’s over. Super Double Dragon is a lot like that image of grandma sitting high above the family, and it definitely plays like the Angel of the Lord enema she frighteningly does not seem to mind.
Maybe, if you can quit thinking about grandma accepting wood on the toilet for just a fucking minute, you’ve gathered by now that the outlook for Super Double Dragon is not good. The game is pitiful. It’s a misguided, sloppy, boorish example of rushing a game out to salvage profits. I can’t dump on Technos too badly for producing this chunk of goat’s bladder; there was a lot more planned to be done with this game before they ran out of time to do it, and the side-scrolling fighting market had changed some years earlier in no small thanks to something called Final Fight. Rather than conform to Capcom’s regime and produce a Final Fight clone with DD characters standing in for Cody, they chose to stick to their guns and produce a game that was undoubtedly Double Dragon.
That, by the way, is nothing more than an optimistic guess. I’m only hoping there’s a reason behind this game’s slow, unrewardingly tough gameplay.
Either way, it doesn’t pay off on screen. Handicap or not, Super Double Dragon is not worth the effort. This game is ridiculously slow (even for early SNES standards) and has nothing to it that Final Fight or, god help me, Rival Turf didn’t do already and better. There WAS a story to this game, but it was omitted from the English release (you can definitely guess what it is, though), so you’re just plowing through an unusually small variety of the same stereotyped urban biker gang members you ALWAYS fought in the early 90s—for no good goshdarn reason whatsoever.
Let’s talk about the good qualities this game has. (Turning this sentence into a paragraph will be my greatest writing challenge to date). It is somewhat refreshing, if you’ve been raised on Capcom beat-’em-ups like me, that there’s more to fighting enemies in this game than simply doing the same one-two-three punch combo over and over. You get a punch combo and a kick combo that you can extend into throws and grabs to kick the admirably proficient enemies aside. You get to manually block and intercept enemy punches and smack them around with some cool moves. The big new draw (I guess) is that there is a battle meter you can fill up to unleash a more powerful attack. Occasional items will pop up in the stage layouts to help curb repetition. This includes fighting on an elevator, hitting punching bags to hit other enemies, and fighting on a moving truck with some unique dangers to it.
That’s pretty much it.
And even the good things about this game come with major drawbacks. Yes, you get a more complicated way to beat up enemies, but why? The hit detection and overall difficulty make it a total pain in the ass. If you thought getting surrounded by enemies in other beat-’em-ups sucked, you’ve never tried it from a DD perspective. The few weapons you get help, but there’s nothing to them, either. The occasional items I was talking about are crocks of shit. The punching bag NEVER works in your favor, at least not when I played it. Some of them are just plain lame; there’s one part of a stage where the big stage gimmick is—are you ready?—a RAIL.
Add it all up, and you get a game where getting halfway through it means you have endurance and not enough to do. I really don’t like to dump on games at all, which makes me hate Super Double Dragon even more for making me do it! ROAR! I’m going to finish this review with low numbers and then I’m going to take the angriest shower in the whole wide world!