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What does Muramasa, Guardian Heroes, Castle Crashers, and just for a whim, Capcom Dungeons and Dragons have in common? They’re all better than Double Dragon for the NES. Though Double Dragon, in my opinion, brought the first RPG crossover mechanic you see in today’s action games.
With the beat em up and rpg genre evolving and turning into action adventure, Double Dragon holds a special recognition that the other games don’t share. Beside the music, the construction cheat, the cheap deaths and the major slow down, it was the console(s) version of the game that were better than the arcade counterpart. With Wayforward bringing out a new version, I wonder would that small mechanic play a part?
It’s hard to imagine that little things like that can make a game playable yet frustrating. Since Chrono Trigger introduce the New Game+ in RPG’s, the heart moves in Double Dragon made retro players remember when gaining them were a achievement to progress through the game. Seeing that scores have almost vanish, the mechanic has evolved to collecting a currency or actual experience to buy or unlock the next power for that particular character (and yes, this includes Fable……ugh).
One thing that has really separated these games is that Double Dragon is a complete beat em up. Pure and simple. While other elements like style and over the top violence are notice more in modern games, Double Dragon just have the simple punch and kick attack. Instead of the dumb Renegade style kick from the arcade, you can use the simple attacks to get through the game and be satisfied. No bells and whistles needed.
I miss Double Dragon’s simple mechanic and hope to see it come back. Many modern gamers won’t know it but those who have endure the fun and simplicity of Double Dragon can understand. (sound effects of receiving a new heart) Cheers Double Dragon. Cheers!