Double Dragon was released in August 1987 in Japan.
Double Dragon may not have been the world's first side-scrolling beat-em-up to feature depth-movement (that accolade belongs to its predecessor, "Renegade
", released in 1986) but it is the world's first CO-OPERATIVE fighting game and as such completely revolutionized its genre.
The varied, multi-colored sprites and hugely detailed backdrops - married to instinctive, one or two-player game-play - was something that had never really been seen in the fighting game before and Double Dragon quickly became a legend in its own right. The game would be the inspiration for an entire genre and classics such as Capcom's "Final Fight
" owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Technos legend. The game was such a huge hit, that when the home versions finally came out, the rear side of the package advertised, 'You'll never have to stand in line to play Double Dragon again!'.
Double Dragon's hugely innovative game-play and superb graphics proved to be too ambitious for the host Technos hardware and the game was plagued with the now notorious 'slowdown', that occurred whenever a large number of fighters appeared on-screen.
The game's director, Yoshihisa Kishimoto, reportedly conceived his initial idea for Double Dragon around the date of July 20th in 1986, the 13th anniversary of Bruce Lee's death.
Director Yoshihisa Kishimoto got the idea of picking up an enemy's weapon from his previous game, "Renegade
" ("Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun
" in Japan). During the first stage of Renegade, he noticed that the armed enemy characters were not holding their weapons when they were on the ground.
On the first stage of the game, a billboard for "Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun
" (the Japanese version of "Renegade
") can be seen atop a building prior to the first boss battle.
The car at Billy and Jimmy's garage resembles the interceptor from the laserdisc game "Road Blaster
", which was one of director Yoshihisa Kishimoto's previous games at Data East before he left the company to work for Technos.
The three kanji (Chinese characters) on the title screen, which is normally read as "Sou-Setsu-Ryuu", literally means "Twin Interception Dragon". This is an example of 'gikun', in which a kanji is used for their meaning and not their phonetic value.
The fictional martial arts practiced by the Lee brothers is called Sousetsuken or 'Twin Interception Fist', which is described as a combination of Shaolin Temple Kung Fu, Karate and Tai Chi Chuan. The name is derived from Bruce Lee's own martial arts style Jeet Kune Do, or Sekkendou in Japanese, which is known as the 'Way of the Intercepting Fist'.
The Lee brothers, along with the recurring enemy characters Williams and Rowper, were named after the three main heroes from the 1973 Bruce Lee film, 'Enter the Dragon'.
Double Dragon contained a number of bugs, most of which were never fixed despite several revisions of the ROM. The best known is a bug in the way enemies attack the player. Sportingly, enemies will not attack the player from behind, but will instead walk up to them and try to move past so they can attack from the front. Thus, by standing with your back to an enemy, it was possible to wait for them to get close and then elbow them in the face, without fear of being attacked. Another common bug was the 'infinite bouncing' bug. Due to the fixed way in which objects in the game would bounce off walls, trees etc., it was possible to drop an item between two tree stumps on the forest level, and it would bounce back and forth forever. In the first version of the game, this could happen to player characters who fell off either stump, the only way to continue the game being to allow the timer to run down. Another less serious bug was the ability to throw weapons from one level to the next. Usually, weapons were discarded at the end of a level. On some levels however, the transition to the next level was achieved simply by scrolling the screen one whole screen to the right, or down a cliff. By standing at the extreme right of the level and jumping just as it ended, the players character would drop their weapon in mid air, throwing it far enough to be picked up again once the screen had scrolled on.
Jason Wilson holds the official record for this game with 171,210 points on July 24, 1999.
Apollon Music released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Original Sound of Double Dragon - KHY-1026) in cassette format on 21/02/1988. Also released the soundtrack album in CD format (Original Sound of Double Dragon - BY12-5028) on 16/12/1988.
Scitron released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Legend of Game Music 2 ~Platinum Box~ - SCDC-00473~82) on 18/01/2006
A Double Dragon unit appears in the abysmal 1994 movie 'Double Dragon'.
A Double Dragon unit can be seen in Drake and Josh episode 'Movie Job', but the marquee reads 'Dragon'.
Tiger Electronics released a board-game based on this video game (same name) in 1989: The winner is the first player to successfully fight his or her way around the game board to Jimmy's Hideout to rescue Marian. You will pass through the slum section, the industrial section, the forest section and the hideout section on the rocky road to victory.
Comic Book: Six-issue limited series published by Marvel Comics in 1991. (cover dated from July to December). Written by Dwayne McDuffie for the first four issues and by Tom Brevoort and Mike Kanterovich for the final two. In this comic, Billy and Jimmy Lee were the twin inheritors of the 'Dragon Force', a mystical force that granted the Lee brothers their powers, as they fought against the occult crime lord Nightfall. Marian is reimagined as a policewoman (a depiction later featured in the cartoon series) and Stan Lee appears as Billy and Jimmy's long-lost father.
Cartoon: TV series produced by DIC Entertainment and Bohbot Entertainment, which lasted two 13-episodes seasons in 1993 and 1994. In the series, Billy and Jimmy are twin brothers who were separated at birth, with Billy being raised by his father's sensei, the Oldest Dragon, while Jimmy was raised by the evil Shadow Master to become his successor, the Shadow Boss. After the second episode, Jimmy realizes the evils of his way and joins his brother, becoming the Double Dragons. Inspired the 1994 home console fighting game "Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls".
Live-Action Movie: Released in 1994 by Imperial Entertainment. Starred Scott Wolf as Billy, Mark Dacascos as Jimmy, Alysa Milano as Marian and Robert Patrick as original villain Koga Shuko. Directed by James Yukich, with a screenplay written by Paul Dini (of Batman: The Animated Series) and Neal Shusterman. In the movie, Billy and Jimmy are young twin brothers who possess one half of a magical medallion, with the other half possessed by crime lord Shuko. It inspired the 1995 Neo-Geo game "Double Dragon