Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone (ダブルドラゴン3 ザ・ロゼッタストーン Daburu Doragon 3: Za Rozetta Sutōn ) is a side-scrolling beat 'em up produced by Technōs Japan that was originally released as an arcade game in 1990. It is the third arcade game in the Double Dragon series.
After returning home from a two-year training mission, Billy and Jimmy Lee come across a fortune teller named Hiruko. The woman tells the Lee brothers that in order to challenge the world's strongest adversary, they must seek out the three Rosetta Stones that have been scattered around the world.
The game begins in the United States, where the Lee brothers must defeat the remnants of the Black Warriors gang from the previous games before they set off to find the stones. Afterward, the heroes must travel to China, Japan and Italy, where each of the stones are being guarded by formidable fighters unique to each country (such as swordsmen in Japan and archers in Italy) who will refuse to give them up without a fight. Once all three Rosetta Stones have been procured, the Lee brothers' journey reaches its final destination in Egypt, where they face all sorts of supernatural creatures as they enter Cleopatra's tomb to uncover the mystery surrounding the stones.
Double Dragon 3 can be set up to be played by up to two or three player simultaneously, similarly to The Combatribes. The first two players control returning heroes Billy and Jimmy Lee respectively, while the third player controls a new character named Sonny (a yellow-clad palette swap of the Lee brothers). The controls consists of an eight way joystick and three buttons once again, but the combat system has been greatly altered from previous games. The game discards the directional attack buttons from Double Dragon II: The Revenge, returning to the punch and kick format of the original Double Dragon. However, moves such as the elbow strike and the hair grab had been removed and new abilities were added in their place. The player can now run by pushing the joystick left or right twice and perform moves with a second player such as a back-to-back hurricane kick when standing near each other and a triangle jump kick when one player jumps towards the other. Other new moves include a running head-butt, a belly-to-back throw and a jumping knee drop.
At the start of certain stages, players will have access to an item shop where they can purchase in-game power-ups such as faster attack speed or new moves by using real money. The item selection vary between stages and each one cost a single credit.
One item, "Extra Guys", allows the player to control one of three new character types in addition to the Lee brothers (リー兄弟). These characters form other teams of fighting siblings as well, allowing each player to control a different member of the group. When the player's current fighter is killed, the new one will replace him, essentially substituting the extra lives system from previous games. These new fighters consists of the Urquidez brothers (ユキーデ兄弟) (mixed martial arts champions), the Chin brothers (陳兄弟) (tai chi experts) and the Ōyama brothers (大山兄弟) (karate masters). Each player can hold up to three extra fighters in reserve and availability of a fighter type varies depends on the stage.
The Japanese version of Double Dragon 3 was produced after the game was already distributed in North America and Europe and features drastic changes as a result. Most notably, the item shops were removed from the game and players can now choose which character to control at the start of the game, allowing the ability to start the game as any of three new fighter types (Urquidez, Chin and Ōyama) in addition to the Lee brothers. The player has access to his character's entire repertoire of moves, although the command input for the Hurricane Kick requires more precise timing in the Japanese version. Since weapons are no longer purchasable items, they can be found lying around on the floor in certain stages, waiting to be picked up by the player if he's controlling a Lee brother. The game was also made easier, with enemies doing 1/3 less damage than in the overseas releases.
The game was not internally developed by Technōs Japan, who were busy working on other projects at the time such as WWF Superstars and The Combatribes. Instead a company called East Technology, whose previous work was the 1989 arcade shoot-'em-up Gigandes, was contracted to develop the third game in the series, resulting in a sequel with a drastically different gameplay and graphic style than its predecessors. The game was controversial upon its release due to the addition of item shops where players acquire power-ups by inserting real money into the cabinet, which was removed from the later Japanese release after negative feedback from play-testers.
A version for the Nintendo Entertainment System titled Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones was released on February 1991, a few months after the arcade release. This version is not a port, but rather was actually a parallel project that was developed simultaneously with the arcade release. While the plot of the two versions are similar, the graphics, gameplay system and characters featured in the NES version are very different compared to the arcade version.
Double Dragon 3 would be ported to various platforms under license from Tradewest. Versions were released for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amiga and Atari ST in late 1991, followed by the IBM PC, Genesis and Game Boy in 1992. These versions of the game were developed by The Sales Curve, with the exception of the Genesis version (which was handled by Software Creations). The Game Boy and Genesis versions were published by Acclaim under the title of Double Dragon 3: The Arcade Game, distinguishing them from the earlier NES release.
Double Dragon 3 was re-released in 2013 alongside the first two arcade games in a compilation titled Double Dragon Trilogy produced by DotEmu, which was released on iOS, Android and Steam platforms. It only includes the overseas version of the game.
A CD album containing the soundtracks to Double Dragon 3 and The Combatribes was released by Pony Canyon in Japan, titled Double Dragon 3/The Combatribes. It was released on June 21, 1991 and its catalog number is PCCB-00065. Tracks 1 to 12 are taken from Double Dragon 3. The first track is a remix of the title theme, while Track 12 consists of assorted background music from the game mixed in with sound effects.
Julian Rignall, writing for Computer and Video Games, reacted positively to the game's change to a more realistic art style and recommended the game to fans of the series, scoring it an 83%.
- ↑ Double Dragon 3: The Arcade Game is a trademark of Technōs Japan Corporation. © 1990 Technōs Japan Corp. Licensed exclusively to Tradewest, Inc. Programmed by Software Creations, Ltd. Sublicensed to Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. Sega and Genesis are trademarks of Sega Enterprises Ltd. Flying Edge is a trademark of Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. © 1992 Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved. -- From the back box of the Genesis version