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Strictly average arcade action
The scrolling beat 'em up has fallen out of favour somewhat in recent years but in the 1980s and 1990s, titles like Renegade, Final Fight, Streets of Rage and Golden Axe ruled the roost. The Double Dragon series belongs to that era and while this third instalment doesn't exactly offer much innovation on the basic formula, it remains an enjoyable and challenging slice of action gaming. The heroes from previous games, Billy and Jimmy Lee, are on the trail of the legendary Rosetta Stone and the game sees them travelling around the world in pursuit of it so that they might use it against a mysterious new adversary whose power is growing rapidly. The story, such as it is, is about the only thing that is different from previous games and the gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has ever played a scrolling fighter before: using a variety of punches and kicks, players will engage in violent combat against a number of enemies in a series of side scrolling levels, making use of weapons and power-ups to help them out. The levels take them to countries including Egypt, Greece and Italy, with the enemies themed according to location while weapon shops also crop up where you can buy upgrades, extra lives and the like. In pretty much every way, Double Dragon 3 is a standard scrolling fighter and offers nothing new to the genre. Perhaps its main draw is the high difficulty level, which will appeal to veterans of this kind of game. The graphics, while adopting a supposedly more realistic tone over previous games, are nothing special and although the sprites are nice and chunky, the choppy animation renders things less than fluid. Overall, this is a strictly average fighter and Streets of Rage 2 remains the benchmark for this style of game.
Double Dragon 3 - a fast paced and violent beat em up
Released for DOS in 1991, this game was a favorite in the arcades where it was very well received. Luckily, on the IBM compatible the port was really well executed and the game remained fast paced, full of action and also graphically enticing. The Double Dragon recipe is however still the same. You scroll from left to right, if you're lucky you're going to find some weapons or some objects to throw at your enemies, but if that's not the case, you have to finish the opponents with your bare hands. While muscular, the character you're controlling doesn't need a lot to get damage and the health bar can deplete quite rapidly. However, the game allows you quite an impressive set of kicks, jumps, and other acrobatics. The real challenge will come with the bosses, which are scattered at about the end of every 2 levels. Be persistent enough and you will face increasingly hard to beat adversaries and even some, let's call them this way, though technically they're not, puzzles. All in all DD3 is a simple straightforward beat them up with really good graphics. If you're a fan of the genre give it a try, it won't disappoint