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Super Double Dragon, known in Japan as Return of Double Dragon (リターン・オブ・双截龍 Ritān Obu Daburu Doragon?), or Return of Double Dragon: Sleeping Dragon has Awoke,[sic] is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in October 1992. It was published by Technōs Japan in Japan and by Tradewest in North America and the PAL region. Super Double Dragon is the fourth console game in the Double Dragon series developed by Technōs Japan, following previous titles for the NES, although unlike the NES games, Super Double Dragon is an original title and not based on any preceding arcade version.

In 2018, a slightly enhanced Japanese version, Return of Double Dragon, was re-released by Tommo in Japan and under its Retroism brand in North America.[1] Despite being officially licensed, this release is only guaranteed to work on third-party hardware.

Super Double Dragon was followed up in 1993 by the releases of Battletoads/Double Dragon and Double Dragon: The Revenge of Billy Lee.


Billy Lee and Jimmy Lee return in an all-new adventure. Marian, a martial arts student and policewoman of the narcotics division, has disappeared while investigating a criminal mob known as the Black Shadow Warriors. The Lee brothers must use their newly acquired fighting skills to take on a new cast of ruthless enemies and rescue Marian.


As with previous installments of the series, the player takes control of martial artists Billy and Jimmy Lee in their fight against the Shadow Warriors gang. The objective is to proceed through each stage and defeat all enemies, including a boss at the end. The game consists of seven stages, which include a casino, an airport, a martial arts gym, a fight atop a moving truck, a city slum, a forest, and the hideout of the boss.

In addition to the traditional punch, kick, and jump buttons, the player now has a guard button for blocking attacks. If the player times the guard button right, their character can not only defend against an enemy's punch, but they can also put certain enemies in an arm grab, leaving them vulnerable to a couple of unique attacks.

The game also introduces the "Dragon Power Gauge" mechanic, which is a power bar located under the player's life gauge and which can be filled by holding down L or R buttons. While the gauge is filling up, the player can perform special techniques which vary depending on how much power the player has accumulated. The available special techniques the player can perform include:

  • Round Back Fist: Fill up the power gauge before it reaches the halfway point and press the Punch button. The character performs a backward spinning punch that will instantly put enemies in a dizzy state and open to following attacks (some of which can only be performed while the enemy is in this state, such as the hair grab).
  • Jumping Round Kick: Fill up the power gauge before it reaches the halfway point and press the Kick button. The character performs a powerful flying forward round kick that will knock down enemies in a single attack (even bosses).
  • Hurricane Kick: Fill up the power gauge past the halfway point, but before it fully fills up, and press the Kick button. The character performs the Dragons' trademark hurricane kick, although this time instead of remaining in one place, the player charges forward spinning and kicking for a determined distance.
  • If the power gauge is completely filled, then the player's regular attacks will gain extra strength for a limited period of time. Punches are replaced by quick and powerful hook punches and kicks to the face, all which will knock down enemies in a single attack (even bosses).

In contrast to previous Double Dragon games, Jimmy Lee (the Player 2 character) has different punching attacks than Billy (Player 1).


There are two playable characters and eleven enemy characters in the game. Multiple enemies of the same type (clones) may come at you simultaneously. Player 1 controls Billy Lee while Player 2 controls Billy's older twin brother Jimmy Lee. In 1-Player mode, only Billy Lee takes on the Shadow Warriors. Billy began training in the Martial Arts at the age of 12 and completed his training, becoming heir to the Southern-style of Sou-Setsu-Ken at the age of 20. Jimmy, his older brother, relies on the Northern-style of Sou-Setsu-Ken, and together the Double Dragons operate a training dojo in Los Angeles, California.

There are four non-boss enemy characters the Lee twins have to deal with:

  • Williams, a street thug who utilizes martial arts and brute force, and tends to bring knives, boomerangs, firebombs, nunchaku, and konbo sticks into the fight. There are three color variations of this enemy.
  • Roper, another street thug with identical fighting abilities to those of Williams, except that he can handle slightly more abuse before staying down. In addition to wielding knives, boomerangs, firebombs, nunchaku, and konbo sticks, Roper is also known to throw drum cans and large rocks. There are four color variations of this enemy.
  • Baker, an expert at wielding Chinese swords, always carries a sword in each hand and never lets go of them. He tends to get knocked down more easily than anyone else, making it difficult to set him up for a finishing strike. There are three color variations of this enemy.
  • Jeff, the supervisor of the Shadow Warriors, dresses exactly like the Double Dragons, except that he favors green rather than Billy's blue or Jimmy's red. Jeff is able to mimic several of the Lee twins' martial arts attacks and usually brings a weapon such as a knife, konbo stick, or nunchaku into the fight.

There are seven boss characters that stand in the way of the Double Dragons, and defeated bosses often return for a rematch as the game progresses:

  • Steve, the boss of Mission 1, is dressed in a suit which comes in three different colors depending on when you fight him. He is an informant to the Shadow Warriors. He often strikes with a roundhouse jump-kick.
  • Jackson, the boss of Mission 2, is a former heavyweight boxing champion who comes in three different color variations. His favorite attack is a lightning-quick jab and ferocious uppercut combo.
  • Chen Ron Fu and his brother Chen Ron Pyo are the bosses of Mission 3. Together, they teach Chinese Martial Arts at Duke's Dojo in Chinatown (the setting of Mission 3). Chen Ron-Fu, a master of the combat form, has declared that he and his brother are the real Double Dragons. He dresses in either blue or orange. Chen Ron-Pyo has a severe scar over his right eye, having received it in a past death match. He dresses in either green or orange.
  • McGuire, the boss of Mission 4 and Mission 5, is a huge, egg-shaped enemy who dresses much like a clown. His stomach, although quite fat, is able to absorb many attacks, and he is also able to fly through the air in a whirling motion to take out his enemies.
  • Carlem, the boss of Mission 6, is the mysterious gatekeeper of Duke's Mansion. His fighting form is similar to karate, and he can take a lot of abuse before staying down. He comes in two different color variations.
  • Duke, the dictatorial leader of the Shadow Warriors, has taken over several training dojos by force. He wields the broadest range of fighting techniques of any enemy character, plus his speed on foot makes him all the more formidable. It is impossible to knock Duke out before all of his fellow Shadow Warriors. His background is a mystery.


Mission Name Boss Music
1 Las Vegas Steve "Casino" (JP)
"Duke's Trap" (NA)
2 The Airport Jackson "Airport"
3 Chinatown Chen Ron Fu and Chen Ron Pyo "Streets and Dojo" (JP)
"City Slums" (NA)
4 Golden Gate Bridge None "Duke's Trap" (JP)
"Duke's Hideout" (NA)
5 The Slums McGuire "City Slums" (JP)
"Double Dragon Theme" (NA)
6 Forest & Mountain Carlem "Forest"
7 Duke's Headquarters Duke "Duke's Hideout" and "Double Dragon Theme" (JP)
"Cutscene Theme - Unused Song 2" (NA)


  • Planners: Muneki Ebinuma and Atsuyuki Nishizawa
  • Direct Adviser: Yoshihisa Kishimoto
  • Object Designers: Koji Ogata, Yasuhiro Ohi, Koji Sakuma, Junichirō Sekikawa, and Makoto Shirai
  • Background Designers: Takehisa Izumiyama and Toshiyuki Ōsumi
  • Main Programmer: Genei Fukuhara
  • Action Programmer: Naritaka Nishimura
  • Programmers: Genei Fukuhara, Teruhiro Maeda, and Naritaka Nishimura
  • Audio Composer: Kazunaka Yamane
  • Audio Programmer: Robert C. Ashworth
  • PR. Dept: Kumiko Mukai, Hideaki Sakamoto, and Akiko Yamane
  • Fight Choreography: Muneki Ebinuma, Koji Ogata, and Naritaka Nishimura
  • JP Package Designer: Tsutomu Andō
  • US/EU Cover Artwork: Greg Winters

1992 Technōs Japan Corp.


According to a commentary by the game's planner, Muneki Ebinuma, the game was planned to feature more elaborate stage designs than the ones in the finished version of the game.[2] Additionally, story sequences similar to the second NES game were planned for the game, but they were either removed or not included due to time constraints and a fear of bugs.[3] Marian, the damsel-in-distress from previous games, was planned to be featured in the game as a policewoman who was to assist the Lee brothers, but her presence was cut in the final release (she is only mentioned in the box cover and the manual, which contains a few artworks of her). The game was also supposed to feature another opponent after the battle with Duke (presumably, his own shadow).[4]


Early enemy concepts. Note the unused gunman Steiner and different designs for characters like McGuire, Duke and Jackson.

Concept sprite-work shows early concepts for the enemy characters, many of which look very different from the final product. One of the enemies is an average-sized man with a pistol. According to Ebinuma, this enemy was called "Steiner" and wielded a Beretta pistol as well as a Parker (presumably referring to a Parker Hale PDW).[5]

Kazunaka Yamane recorded numerous tracks on a previous lost demo tape when planning out the soundtrack for Super Double Dragon.[6] Seven of these songs were discarded while a couple that did make it into the sound test were simply left unused.

Unusual in the industry on games that were developed in Japan, the game was first released in North America and eight days later in Japan. Having more time to polish the product, the game was tweaked in some aspects (such as the addition of extra animations), although, interestingly enough, it kept others more relevant only to Western audiences, such as the name of the rival gang being called the "Shadow Warriors" –a name coined years ago during the localization of Double Dragon II on the NES and used strictly on export releases until then– instead of "Black Warriors".

Regional differences[]

The Japanese release, Return of Double Dragon, features several significant differences from its western counterpart:

  • When the game is launched, the Technōs Japan logo is displayed with a spinning visual effect (the US version displays the Tradewest and American Technos logos with a simple fade in/fade out effect).
  • On the title screen, the twin dragons are presented with a spinning visual effect and it doesn't display the elaborate Japanese "Double Dragon" 双截龍 logo like in the US version.
  • The game has the in-game subtitle "Sleeping Dragon has Awoke".[sic]
  • Most of the background music themes are either shuffled around or changed:
    • The "Double Dragon Theme" replaces the original theme on the title screen.
    • A previously unused theme is played during Mission 1.
    • A previously unused theme is played during Mission 3.
    • The Mission 1 theme from the US version is now played during Mission 4.
    • The Mission 3 theme from the US version is now played during Mission 5.
    • The Mission 4 theme from the US version is now played during Mission 7.
    • The Mission 5 theme from the US version ("Double Dragon Theme") is now played in Duke's boss room at the end of Mission 7.
  • An Option Mode is included, allowing the player to adjust the game's difficulty setting, number of continues, and listen to the game's music and sound effects.
  • The player can perform certain actions that cannot be done in the US version:
    • Jimmy's Roundhouse Kick is different than Billy's.
    • The hurricane kick can hit an opponent multiple times, as opposed to knocking them down with a single hit.
    • If carrying a weapon, the player can pick up and switch it for any others lying around as many times as they want.
    • After throwing a boomerang, the player will automatically catch it again on its way back, allowing them to keep using it until they fail to catch it.
    • When an enemy or another player throws a knife, the player can either punch or kick it in midair to deflect it back at them (in the US version, the weapon just drops to the ground).
  • Enemies have less HP in general, even on the Hard difficulty setting.
  • The enemies placement is different in each version.
  • Enemies can randomly crouch during combat, even if they are in a staggered or dizzy state, frequently preventing the player from finishing combos.
  • Certain enemies have new attack animations, such as a new slide attack for the basic enemies.
  • Weapons do less damage than they do in the western version:
    • The knife takes 1/4 of the health bar instead of 1/2 like in the US version.
    • The incendiary bomb takes 1/3 of the health bar instead of instantly killing the character like in the US version.
  • During Mission 3, the Chen brothers attack together instead of each on a different floor like in the US version.
  • The final stage, Mission 7, features two additional areas before the final battle.
  • The ending text is removed and the staff credits roll right after defeating Duke.


Super Double Dragon was fairly well received by gaming critics. On October 1992, George and Rob from Nintendo Power gave the game 13.6 point out of 20.[7] They praised the graphics, variety of move, and enemy challenge, while also admitting how similar it was compared to the previous titles in terms of plot and formula. GameFan Magazine debuted its first ever issue that same month, rewarding the title 96.5 points out of 100. The magazine highlighted the game's move set, use of bright colors, and SNES sound.[8]

On December 1992, Control ranked Super Double Dragon 64%, concluding that it was, "A fun beat'em-up and certainly the highlight of the Double Dragon series, but one best left for a fan of the genre." N-Force rated the title 70% for their January 1993 issue, commending its good animations, simple controls, and array of attacks.[9] Paul Rand and Paul Anglin of Computer and Video Games gave Super Double Dragon 79 out of 100. They enjoyed the game's colorful sprites, background artwork, and new moves, but they also felt that it was a little too easy to complete.[10]

The staff of U.K. magazine Super Action gave and overall score of 90% for the title, calling it "Excellent stuff and a worthy successor to Final Fight. Doesn't quite have the comedy appeal of Sonic Blast Man, but it certainly beats it in terms of sheer, gripping action. An involving, refreshing and surprisingly complex kick ’em up. Well done Technos!"[11]

IGN ranked the game at 92nd in their "Top 100 SNES Games of All Time".[12]

AllGame rated Super Double Dragon an overall rating of 2.5 out of a possible 5 stars.


Concept art[]

Promotional artworks[]




  • The Japanese version of the game, Return of Double Dragon, features an English subtitle with a notorious misspelling, reading "Sleeping Dragon has Awoke", while the correct spelling would be "Sleeping Dragon has Awaken". This error even appears on the game's cover art and printed documentation.
  • In Return of Double Dragon, the ability to deflect an enemy's thrown knife back at them by hitting it in midair is probably a reference to a scene in the 1971 martial arts action film The Big Boss, starred by Bruce Lee. In the film, the hero Cheng Chao-an defeats the main antagonist, Hsiao Mi, by kicking back a knife thrown by the latter, which fatally wounds him. However, this is just speculation.
  • A fan named Mau Herrera developed an OpenBor remake called The Legend of The Double Dragon that reinserts missing features that were meant to be in the original game.[14] Herrera later created another expanded project entitled Ultimate Double Dragon that includes more selectable characters, new enemies, three different fighting styles, and branching paths during the final stage. Herrera has even enlisted help from former Technōs artist Koji Ogata, who contributed with additional sprite work and cutscenes.[15] Version 3.0 was released on February 12, 2024.[16]

Related products[]


  1. "Retroism to bring Return of Double Dragon to Super NES this summer" at Gaming Age (July 2018)
  2. "Return of/Super Double Dragon: The True Story" at Double Dragon Dojo.
  3. "Double Dragon's inside story, provided by Ebi-san!" at Tk City Web Service (Japanese) (Archived March 5, 2001)
  4. "Return of Dragon: The True Story" at Game Kommander (Japanese)
  5. The Way of Double Dragon Advance at Double Dragon Dojo.
  6. "Super Double Dragon - 31 years" at Brawlers Alley (October 8, 2023) (Archived: December 10, 2023)
  7. "Now Playing: Super Double Dragon", Nintendo Power, Vol. 41, pp. 102–105 (October 1992)
  8. "Super Double Dragon", GameFan Magazine, pp. 7, 36 (October 1992)
  9. "Super Double Dragon", N-Force, pp. 92-93 (January 1993)
  10. "Super Double Dragon", Computer and Video Games, No. 134, pp. 82–83. (January 1993)
  11. "Super Review: Super Double Dragon," Super Action, No. 4, pp. 16-19, (January 1993)
  12. "Super Double Dragon #92 - Top 100 SNES Games of All Time" at IGN (June 2017)
  13. Restored by Jefferson Taylor. @JTaylorPro at Twitter (January 5, 2023).
  14. "Super Double Dragon Receives Fanmade Remake With The Help Of Technōs Artist" at Time Extension (December 13, 2022)
  15. "Fan Remake of Super Double Dragon In The Works With The Help Of Technōs Artist" at Real Otaku Gamer (December 16, 2022)
  16. Ultimate Double Dragon Ver. 3.0 at GalaXiqq OpenBOR - The beat'em ups Outer Heaven (February 12, 2024)

External links[]

Standard links[]

Double Dragon Dojo links[]