Double Dragon Advance

Game Boy Advance

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 8

With the entire genre it started in hibdernation, Double Dragon doesn't seem to fit into todays gaming market. It's too basic for the mainstream to understand the appeal and its repetitiveness will turn off anyone not familiar with this style of game. Fans of the series, well, they have their game back in fantastic form.

If you're even a mild fan of this series (in any of it's incarnations), this is an update that you'll be quite pleased with. Four stages have been lifted from the first game, one from Super Double Dragon on the SNES, one from Double Dragon II, and two completely original creations. Everything looks better, though it's hard to believe it's pushing the system. Everything has a dissapointing dark gloss to it that dillutes the detail. The character sprites look like they've been taken from the Genesis port about 10 years back. It's not bad and it certainly helps keep bring back warm feelings of nostalgia. New cinema screens have been included, but there's nothing spectacular here and they only serve to remind the player of their mission.

The Lee brothers have combined everything they've learned over the years for this romp. The amount of included movies is insane, especially for a standard beat-em-up. There's nothing completely new, but chances are that if you liked a specific move in a previous DD, it's been included. You have to love sitting on someone's chest and beating their face in. Eveything could benefit from another level of animation. One annoying aspect is enemies are pushed back a bit when punched. This means that if you're not right next to the enemy you're combating, they could very well be out of range before you finish off the combo. It's annoying, yes, but the furhter into the game you get, the more you'll learn to ignore it.

AI has always been a problem for the series and nothing has been sacrificed or changed here either. Every opponent tries to get behind the hero and trap him in between another. It gets infuriating in later levels. The only new enemy character, a Mr. Smith Matrix rip-off, is the worst of the bunch and stage four (taking place on the top of a moving truck) could be enough to turn off newer gamers not used to this unfair AI. The game isn't particuarly difficult (unless the expert mode code is used). You'll just have to be ready for some cheap deaths.

The main saving grace of this title is it's soundtrack. Taking clips from the first and second games in the series, everything has been remixed to take advantage of the GBA's fairly powerful sound hardware. The classic music has never been better. The punch and kick sounds have been lifted from the first arcade rendition and are only hampered by the weak mono speaker inside the console. Headphones are a must.

Unless you've never played the series, there's more than enough action here to bring back a few memories. What it lacks in looks, it makes up for in classic gameplay and music. There's a survival mode to keep you coming back as well. If you're a longtime fan of the series, than this is a no-brainer from the start.

Tip: Want to hear all the music? Head into the options screen, hold select, and press RLRL. It may take a few tries, but it will appear on the bottom of the menu.


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Last updated: Saturday, June 11, 2005 06:22 AM