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Super Double Dragon - 31 years

Updated: Oct 14

The Sleeping Dragon has Awoke

Super Double Dragon Cover

Today marks the 31st anniversary of Super Double Dragon, released by Technos, this day in 1992. It's no secret that Super Double Dragon is one of our favorites here in The Alley and we even made it clear in one of our recent videos.

Super Double Dragon had a weird development story, although, you would be surprised to learn how many games had the same one. The game was rushed to release, but unfortunately, that's all we know about the circumstances of said rush. The Super Nintendo was in its prime days in 1992, and there was no real reason to release the unfinished game like it was in 1996. Thanks to this, the game's story was never implemented in the game, the enemy variety is ridiculously low, and Marian, who was supposed to be a cop, is nowhere to be seen in the game. Marian would later assume her role as a cop when Secret Base released Double Dragon Gaiden. Despite these problems, Super Double Dragon is a great beat 'em up. The more technical combat, where blocking and countering are some of your best tools, is extremely fulfilling, leading to a slower game, but nonetheless, a game that demands full attention from the player.

You are probably already aware of that, but Super Double Dragon has two distinct versions. The Western release and the Japanese release, called Return of Double Dragon. Released 8 days later, on October 16th, 1992, the game offered a revamped combat, where you could multi-hit the enemies with your cyclone kick, weapons had their damage rebalanced, and the boomerang could be caught after being thrown. But what really made the difference, and what makes the Japanese way superior, is the enemy A.I. In the Eastern version, enemies can dodge some of your attacks and quickly counter you, making the combat surprisingly more interesting. They also seem to surround you in smarter ways, using their moves to corner you at any cost.

Return of Double Dragon Enemy Dodging
Smarter Enemies Improved The Game Play.

Unique Dragons

One thing that you may not be aware of, is that Super Double Dragon was the first Double Dragon game where the brothers weren't just pallet swaps, they were now unique characters that, despite having the same moves, the animation of these movements were different, giving the brothers unique personalities. This was the power of the 16-bit!

Billy and Jimmy Sprites
Not The Same Anymore
Billy and Jimmy Super Double Dragon
Different Punch Animations


Cutted Tracks and Mixed Tapes

The soundtrack was also shuffled around a little, changing the order in which some of the tracks appeared. There are some unused tracks that were uncovered years later, thanks to the internet, that you can listen to below. There are in total seven tracks that were recovered, that goes from alternate versions of the Airport Track to an end-level fanfare.


Raiders of the Lost Sprites

Talking about unused stuff, there were some sprites that were intended to be used in-game and during the cut-scenes that were made available by the game's director, Muneki Ibinuma a few years ago.

Billy Portrait Super Double Dragon
Jimmy Portrait Super Double Dragon
Steve Portrait Super Double Dragon
Jackson Portrait Super Double Dragon

Here you can see the sprites that would be used during cutscenes. The first two are Billy and Jimmy respectively, while the last two are Steve (The boss from the first level) and Jackson (the boss from the second level) after being defeated. There are also some sprites showing the burning effect of the firebomb, flames, and a Japanese Kana table, that would have been used as text in the cutscenes.

Fire Effect Super Double Dragon
Fire Effect Super Double Dragon
Fire Effect Super Double Dragon
Kana Super Double Dragon


Return of Super Double Dragon

It is unlike that one day we will see a complete version of Super Double Dragon. Arc is releasing early next month a collection of all Double Dragon games released on Nintendo home consoles (no portable versions). Super Double Dragon is included but all we know so far is that the game will be the Japanese version, and also will have a 2x Speed Mode. And this is pretty interesting for one reason. One common complaint on the web about Super Double Dragon, is the game being too slow. I agree, although this was never a problem to me, this means that Arc has been paying attention to what people think about the game.

I don't think this means that the game will be complete, but maybe we can get a few extra bonuses.

Double Dragon Collection Cover
Double Dragon Collection Cover


Dragons Never Die

Incomplete, rushed to the markets, two different versions of the same game in the space of 8 days... Double Dragon's 16-bit entry had everything to be another forgotten game from the past, but the franchises' power, and honestly, the incredible gameplay, made this game a fan-favorite, even if these fans aren't found in vast numbers. But the ones you find, are huge fans. We don't hide that we count ourselves among these bigger fans, but we think no one surpasses our friend Mahcneto who has been creating an amazing Super Double Dragon game, called Ultimate Double Dragon. The game is being created in the Open BOR engine and offers incredibly deep combat and some really flashy combos. The game even had some help from Mr. Koji Ogata, the artist behind the designs of the original Double Dragon, among others. The demo can be downloaded here and runs in everything that supports the Open BOR launcher.

Ultimate Super Double Dragon


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