Double Dragon 2
ST Format Review
For this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I used Automation disk 219, which also includes Alf: The First Adventure. Yep, a game around the TV show Alf. I might have to try it out for shits and giggles. It’s an ok intro – not enormously exciting technically, but it gets the job done.
Going into the game, we have a logo screen, press fire and get some sampled music while the game loads, and then arrive at a level which I swear looks even uglier than Double Dragon 1.
With that said, the enemies come in rather more acrobatically rather than slowly shuffling across the screen, though the frame rate would drive our 60FPS obsessives round the bend. The moveset seems similar to the original, with a jump executed with fire and up/up-diagonal, a flying kick executed with fire and the direction you’re facing, and a punch executed with fire. We seem to have lost the headbutt sadly, and I’m sure the first game had a throw which is also missing.
As usual you can pick weapons up by pressing fire. I tried to break a crate with a whip but this didn’t work – I blame Streets Of Rage for making me think that all crates contained useful things. On a second playthrough I remembered that you could pick up barrels in the first game, and tried picking up the crate and found that worked. You’re treated to sampled grunts and smacks, but otherwise sound is sparse.
Ladders remain climbable, though I would advise against it as it’s easy to fall off roofs that tend not to have any guardrail (such bad health and safety because we hadn’t invented that in the 1980s). As always you have the traditional giant blokes for mid and end of level bosses, and as usual doors in the background will generally open up as you pass for an enemy to emerge. This can cause problems as the point at which you push scrolling is far too close to the edge of the screen (by which I mean that scrolling doesn’t happen til you’re right at the edge, so you can’t see what’s coming, where scrolling more from the middle would give you more warning of what was coming).
Loading level two I’m dropped straight in and hit by a guy before I’ve had a chance to do anything (see above), and once caught in that trap it’s impossible to get out as you get up, get hit again, and so on, due to lack of invincibility frames. Quite why they couldn’t have this enemy walk on is anyone’s guess but it’s cheap to do that straight from the screen appearing. Add to that some hits simply not registering and you do often feel like the game is taking the piss.
The final straw is a combine harvester randomly moves the roller towards you without itself moving.. by that point I had simply had enough.
It’s all perfectly servicable but feels a bit lacklustre, like they couldn’t really be bothered, and the game never really pushes any boundaries. There are games of that time period that look far better than this.