Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Double Dragon, Technos' tough streetfighting game has Deen in the arcades for nearly two years, and only now has appeared on the home consoles.
The game puts one or two players in the roles of denim-clad street fighters, who have to go and rescue a girl who's been kidnapped by a rival gang. This means an excursion to the wrong side of town, and every step is fraught with danger.
At the start, an introductory sequence shows the girl being abducted by the gang - a notorious-looking bunch of hoodlums. Then the action begins with the player(s) walking onto the scene. Immediately gang members attack, and attempt to wear down the plover's energy bars with well-aimed kicks and punches. The heroes can reciprocate with their arsenal of mid-kicks, uppercuts, head-butts, high kicks and punches. Most opponents nave to be floored several times before they give up the ghost.
As the combatants walk across the horizontally scrolling landscape, the opponents become more hostile, and start attacking with weapons like baseball bats, petrol bombs and whips. If they're dropped, the player can pick them up and use them against the enemy - useful!
At the end of the level is a big bruiser, who is defeated to move onto the next level. As the players progress through the game, the opposing gang members become increasingly ferocious, and the mission ends with a fight to the death with the gang leader himself. Will the girl be rescued? That's up to you.
Considering that these are conversions of the same arcade game, there are quite a few differences between Sega and Nintendo Double Dragon. The first thing that instantly strikes you are the graphics. On the first level both versions adhere pretty well to the arcade original, but from then on it seems that the designers have added their own artistic touches, and both differ quite considerably. Overall, the Nintendo has the edge over the Sega, with more detailed and colourful graphics. The sprites are also different on both versions, with the Nintendo's looking typically cuter, compared with the squatter Sega counterparts.
Another major difference between Sega and Nintendo is the screen size; the Nintendo is practically full-screen, whereas the Sega is chopped of the top and bottom, leaving unsightly black borders, rather like a Postbox format film on telly.
Both versions suffer from sprite flicker - the Sega's particularly badly bad, and it's often difficult to tell the hero apart from the enemy. The Nintendo doesn't flicker so often, but the bottom halves of sprites disappear occasionally when things get busy.
On their own merits, both versions are competent. I think that the Sega version could have been a little better, as it doesn't play quite as well as the Nintendo, but nevertheless it'll satisfy Double Dragon fans.
The Nintendo unfortunately lacks the two-player option, but more than makes up for this deficiency with an extra one-on-one Street Fighter-style game included on the ROM. As a solo game it's engrossing and fun - it's a shame it won't be available until next year.