Approximate Release Month: October 1992
When it gets going, the combat in Super Double Dragon is exquisite.
There’s a flow to fighting bad guys here that isn’t found in most brawlers. Enemies take quite the beating in Super Double Dragon before blinking out of existence, so even the most basic foes take more time to down than in, say, Final Fight. Switching up punching and kicking gets through defenses, and the B button blocks for a brief moment. If you time the block correctly, you can grab the bad guy and smack him around. I feel like I only have a basic understanding of the combo system, but it feels great.
… but you keep doing it.
Brawlers all have this problem. How can things keep feeling fresh in a genre that’s as limited in scope as a beat-’em-up game? After all, you walk from one side of the screen to the other, punching and kicking everything you can. There’s not a lot of room for depth there, so some games will have gimmicks to spice things up. Super Double Dragon doesn’t bother. It bets that the deep fighting engine will distract players from the repetition. I don’t think it’s successful. After the third or fourth wave of three similar-looking enemies, two on one side of you and one on the other, the game starts to drag.
Another issue, this one unique to this game, is how when an enemy lands a hit, invariably it will stun you for a second. It’s beyond frustrating to be fighting a group of enemies, have one barely punch you, and suddenly the enemies are unleashing a full combo on you and there’s no way to recover. And if you get stunned on top of a grenade, you’re dead. Giving the player more ways to bounce back from those kinds of situations would have benefited Super Double Dragon greatly.
I’m not a huge fan of brawlers in the first place, but maybe I would be if more games had as much apparent technical depth in the combat as Super Double Dragon seems to. I just wish I didn’t get my fill of the game by the end of the first stage.
Tomorrow: There’s no George Foreman likeness on the box, so maybe TKO Super Championship Boxing will be okay.