The Import Fighter You Never Knew Existed
There are games that aren’t wonderful but are still enjoyable because they have something fun or neat about them. There are ones that are just awful because they are busted in a way that they are fun to talk about. Then there is the Double Dragon import fighting game for the PS1, which is a game based off a movie based off a game. Not only did things get progressively worse in a way that would require Nobel winning Physicist—and oddly enough, a map—to graph, it successfully manages to make something that is actively so bad it is becomes almost a work of beauty.
It took me about fifteen minutes to find what I could consider a bug hidden within the game. It is so apparent and present that during the live stream, which is posted at the end of the review, Zack and I start debating if it really is a bug or simply some kind of misunderstood feature that we just aren’t getting—that is kind of like two doctors coming across someone so wounded they thought he might have been disabled. Aside from some glaring issues the game mostly manages to function as intended, even if it does so in a genre that had already establish better ways and a more fluid control language a handful of years before.
The upside is that the pixel work isn’t the worst thing that appeared on this generation of systems and some of the stages are almost impressively destructible. For a game that came out close to the launch of the PSOne the graphics both manage to be not awful and less impressive than that of Battle Arena Toshinden. It seems interesting that a game that went fully down the 2D development pipeline felt the urge to make a 3D mode where all the characters play as if they are paper cutouts bouncing around in a low quality child’s diorama. I don’t know who’s idea this was to include it in the game, but it does seem to show that the design mentality of the game was simply add whatever you can before the game has to ship later that week.
Double Dragon isn’t the worst fighting game that I have ever played, that honor goes to some throwaway freeware PC title I have long since forgotten the name of (it involved kung fu rabbits), but that doesn’t mean it sure didn’t seem like it didn’t try at a couple key points. There are so many things that you could say about Double Dragon, that every part of this trilogy of horror managed to change the genre along the way to how thinking too long about this game makes my head hurt in much the same way the I am told trepanning does, the truth is that Double Dragon is something that needs to be experienced. For people that are fans of the awful, the bad, and the impressively forgotten this is the game that you should be playing.
A special thanks goes out to MonkeyPaw for putting forth the effort in getting this PSOne import title released on PSN.