DoubleDragon Review

By , on March 7, 2011

Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Original Double Dragon with a modern flair; new combos to upgrade and master.
  • Detailed 2D sprites; remains faithful while still looking slick.
  • Local co-op play via Bluetooth.
  • Unlockable characters.


  • Old-school beat'em-up means old-school woes; brutal collision detection for combat and hazards.
  • Irritating background music; old-school remix doesn't need to mean low quality or ear-splitting.


For some, the changes to Double Dragon might be enough to consider it anathema, but the updated gameplay, graphics and unlockable features adds a depth not available in the original while still remaining faithful to its roots.

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If you're going to talk about Arcade beat'em-ups, you have to talk about Double Dragon - not only is it easily one of the most recognizable titles in the genre, it helped to define future titles thanks to its bone-crunching gameplay. Many consoles including the humble Atari 2600 were graced with adaptions of the game, but now iPhone gamers can claim something truly special - a full update of the game including improved graphics and additional gameplay and features.

Players are locked in to a virtual-dpad and button setup, however new combat abilities and combinations have necessitated the addition of an extra button in the standard setup. While the original title had many clever ways to mix up the fighting with just a jump, punch and kick button, new combos will require the addition of the special/crouch button along with holding up or down to unlock powerful maneuvers. The longer you remain untouched, the more likely you are to fill up a new 'Limit Gauge' bar, eventually popping your player in to a 'Limit Break' mode that increases your offense and defense, making it easier to finish levels without wasting lives.

An 'Auto' mode reduces the button count to three while still providing access to powerful moves, making the game easier to approach for those not used to beat'em-ups. Unfortunately all the usual frustrating tropes have been left in place as well, including attacks whiffling by enemies if they're a pixel or three too far above or below you and instant-death environment objects and traps.

New levels as well as unlockable playable characters and combos have also been added to encourage replays, but the real treat is jumping in to a game with a friend (via Bluetooth) to relive those arcade-days all over again.

Ultimately, Double Dragon for iOS devices doesn't really add to the genre, but it'd be hard for the game to remain faithful to the original if too many changes were made to the gameplay. While some flaws have carried over, it's still a classic and a blast to play by yourself or with a friend.


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