Double Dragon Wiki
Double Dragon Wiki
For the original arcade version, see Double Dragon (video game).
For other uses, see Double Dragon (disambiguation).

Double Dragon (ダブルドラゴン Daburu Doragon?) is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up video game developed by Technōs Japan for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was first published in Japan on April 8, 1988, followed by a North American release two months later by Tradewest. A Game Boy port was released in Japan, North America, and Europe in 1990. The game shares its title with the original arcade game, sharing the same plot while making several changes. Double Dragon has had numerous rereleases on various downloadable services on Nintendo consoles and several compilations.

Double Dragon was followed up by Double Dragon II: The Revenge in 1989.


Double Dragon is the story of Billy and Jimmy Lee, twin brothers who learned to fight on the cold, tough streets of their city. Their expert knowledge of the martial arts, combined with their street-smarts, have made them both formidable fighting machines.

But now Billy is faced with his greatest challenge: his girlfriend, Marian, has been kidnapped by the Black Warriors, the savage street gang of the mysterious Shadow Boss! Using whatever weapons come to hand - knives, whips, bats, rocks, oil drums, even dynamite - Billy must pursue the gang through the slums, factories, and wooded outskirts of the city to reach the hideout for his final confrontation with the Shadow Boss... his brother Jimmy!


NES version[]

The most notable difference the NES version has from the arcade game is the omission of the arcade's two players cooperative game mode. Instead, the two-players mode in the main game ("Mode A") is done by alternating, although both players take control of Billy. In this version, Jimmy Lee (the Player 2 character in the arcade version), serves as the main antagonist. After defeating Willy, the original final boss from the arcade game, Jimmy will appear before the player for the true final battle.

Due to the technical limitations of the NES, the game can only generate two enemies on-screen to confront the player and both enemies are the same character. Additionally, weapons cannot be brought to the next fight if the original enemy carrying it is defeated. A level-up system was also implemented. The player begins the game with only the basic punches and kicks available to their character, gaining the more powerful ones after acquiring the experience points needed to use them. The player has a total of seven skill levels that they can achieve throughout the game.

The level designs are very different, with some stages featuring new areas (notably the cavern section in Mission 3) that features greater emphasis on jumping over platforms or evading traps. All of the enemies from the arcade game also appear, with the exception of Jeff and Jick, the mohawk version of Abobo, the two head swap characters from the arcade game. A new enemy named Chin Taimei appears in this version as the second stage boss.

The NES version features a bonus game mode (dubbed "Mode B") where the player can choose between Billy or one of five enemy characters from the main game and compete against a clone of their character controlled by the computer or a second player in a one-on-one match. Matches against the computer are handicapped in favor of the computer-controlled character, while certain characters will get a chance to wield a weapon in the 2-Players matches.

Game Boy version[]

The Game Boy version features gameplay similar to the NES version, but all the of main character's moves are available from the start, without the need of having to accumulate points to unlock them. The roster of enemies is also the same as the NES version, but some of the characters were given new techniques (such as Abobo and Chintai). The levels are also the same as the NES version, although some of their layouts were redesigned to more properly accommodate the Game Boy's hardware, with some levels even featuring a few extra rooms.

The main game mode is still single player. Unlike the NES version, the game ends after the fight with Willy, with Jimmy not appearing in the main story. A two player game is available via the Game Boy's Game Link Cable, although players must alternate turns like in the NES game. Likewise, a two-player Versus Mode is included, but the only characters available to play as are the Lee brothers.


Mission Name Boss Music
1 City Slums Abobo "City Slums - The Black Warriors Arrive"
2 Industrial Area Chin Taimei "Factory - Big Brawl"
3 The Woods None "The Woods"
4 The Hideout Willy and Jimmy Lee "The Hideout - Willy the Nemesis", "Double Dragon Theme", and "City Slums - The Black Warriors Arrive"


NES credits[]

  • Director: Yoshibo Saiko (as Yoshibo Saiko!!!)
  • Character Design: Koji Ogata (as Hin Hin Kohjik)
  • Background Design: Shinichi Saitō (as GBSS Joe Saito)
  • Programmers: Genei Fukuhara (as Zet Gen), Shintaro Kumagai (as Shintaro), M. Nomura (as Sharmy Nomura), Naritaka Nishimura (as Tokimeki Taka San), and Atsushi Tanimoto (as Tommy Tani)
  • Music: Kazunaka Yamane (as Lasalu Yamne)
  • Package Design: Masao Shiroto (as Shirochan)
  • Special Thanks: Tsutomu Andō (as Sleepy Aado), Michiya Hirasawa (as -Point Hirasawa), Ikegami (as Aizome Ikegami), and Kumiko Mukai (as Kumiko ☻)
  • Presented by: Technos Japan Corp.

Game Boy credits[]

  • Director and Background Designer: Shinichi Saitō
  • Programmer: Masahiro Yoshihara
  • Programmer Adviser: Hidetoshi Kashiwaya
  • Character Designer: Masao Shiroto
  • Graphic Designer: Kumiko Mukai
  • Sound Composer: Kazunaka Yamane
  • Sound Programmer: Michiya Hirasawa
  • Japanese Cover Artwork: Kazumi Kakizaki
  • Special Thanks: Koji Kai, Yoshihisa Kishimoto, Mariko Kido, Koji Ogata, and Takashi Shōji

Virtual Console[]

The NES version was re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console in Europe on April 25, 2008 and in North America on April 28, 2008.


Toys "R" Us reported that the NES's Double Dragon was sold out in its first two weeks on sale in the United States,[1] making it a top seller by July 1988.[2] The title sold 100,000 US copies within 30 days of release, where it drew controversy concerning video game violence.[3] With a demand for one million cartridges, Double Dragon, along with Super Mario Bros. 2 and Zelda II, was among the most in-demand games through Christmas 1988.[4]

The NES version of Double Dragon was highly praised. Computer and Video Games first rated the game on May 1988, giving it 80%. It concludes, "All in all Double Dragon has some very tasty graphics and has got a good solid feel to it (although it does flicker in places!) sound does tend to grate on a bit but is bearable."[5] The magazine reviewed the game a second time on December, with Julian Rignall rating it with an 83%. He stated that, "The Nintendo unfortunately lacks the two-player option, but more than makes up for this deficiency with an extra one-on-one Street Fighter-style game included on the ROM."[6]

On 1989's "Player's Choice Awards", Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded Double Dragon "Best Video Game of the Year" for 1988.[7]

The Editors of Electronic Gaming Monthly was given 28 points out of 40 for their assessment of the Game Boy port on July 1990, calling it a near-perfect version of the arcade.[8]

Three months later, Rik Haynes of ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) would commend the handheld title for being much easier to play than the coin-op. Giving a final score of 863 points out of 1000, he wrote, "Double Dragon is easily the best beat 'em-up released on the Gameboy thus far. Sprite and backdrop graphics are intricate with a high degree of detail. Boss sprites are big, the vertical and horizontal scrolling is smooth. Soundtracks can became rather irritating, but the sound effects have punchy impact. Sure, this version is easy to complete - but you'll have lots of fun in the process. The link-up mode is just beyond the beat. Double Dragon - get ready to take it out."[9]

Issue #9 of RAZE praised Double Dragon for its detailed backdrops, up-beat tunes, Game Link compatibility, and large number of fighting moves. However, the magazine did criticize the blurry effects that make somewhat difficult to see what character is being controlled. With a rating of 78%, the Game Boy version was declared as good as any other variant of the game.[10]


  • The cover artwork of the Famicom version of this game features a similar artstyle to Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star).
  • In the 1989's cult following film The Wizard, a Double Dragon NES version is shown as one of the games played.

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