How careless can you get? Marion, the girl from previous Double Dragon games, has been kidnapped again! This is the third time running, folks! Perhaps she should be locked up for her own good. Nick Roberts read the ransom note.
£11.99 cassette, £15.99 disk
She's done it again! Not content with a peaceful home life, Marion, girlfriend of Billy Lee, has let herself be kidnapped once more. Don't the Brothers Lee have jobs to do? They seem to be making a full-time career out of rescuing this girl! in my opinion, if Marion keeps getting kidnapped it spells trouble - give her the 'Big E', Bill!
This time their task is to search for the Rosetta Stones and hand them over to the kidnappers. Luckily, a soothsayer chum promises to lead them to the stones so things should be a doddle. Ha, you must be joking!
This dangerous mission takes the brothers through America, China, Japan, Italy and Egypt levels, then for a short holiday in Wales (well they've got to have a 'leak'somewhere, haven't they? - Ed). Having emptied their bladders and smashed hell out of loadsa unpleasant personages, they might rescue Marion and find the truth behind the strange stones.
Each level has various streetfighting stages featuring wave after wave of scum to beat up. To add a little variety, a weapons shop has been added, where Billy and Jimmy can equip themselves with such items as nunchukas, grenades, missiles, knuckledusters and swords, plus extra energy and lives.
Money collected in the streets can be invested in new moves. The Locking Head Squeeze, Handstand Ankleflip and One-Armed Headbutt should all come in handy. The great thing about beating up blokes using these skills is the player gains the expertise of any chap they defeat, as a sign of respect for their superior mastery of the fighting arts (bootlick, creep, smarm etc).
GOOD GAME, GOOD GAME!
Double Dragon III brings you detailed background scenery from exotic places all over the world. But apart from looking good, you can use objects lying around or use the backdrop to catapult yourself onto an oncoming tough guy. Crates can be picked up and slung at whoever you fancy (but if you fancy 'em it'd be a bit silly to chuck a crate at 'em - Ed).
As beat-'em-ups go, Double Dragon Ill isn't bad, it's just we've seen it all before - time and time again. All the background graphics are excellent, but the sprites are a bit dodgy - if you knock a baddy flying you don I expect him to grow a few inches when he hits the floor! But if you fancy a bit of a bash, DD III could be for you. Don't forget your knuckle-dusters!
Oh lordy, when will software companies stop producing boring sequels to yawny games. Beat-'em-ups have been around since the dawn of the Speccy and these days a 'bash the crap out of the baddies' game has to be something really special to impress. To be fair, Double Dragon III is pretty good, graphically. Though monochrome, the backgrounds are fairly detailed, which is more than can be said for the character sprites. Some of the baddies look barely sentient (que? - Ed), let alone human. Double Dragon III may appeal to fans of the trilogy, but personally I'd rather watch Warren picking his nose (and judging by the size of it, that could take years).
They're feisty, they're furious, they've got trend-setting haircuts. The Dragon Brothers are back, and this time they're looking for pebbles.
Billy's girlfriend Marion, evidently a little groggy after being raised from the dead in Part Two, has wandered off and been kidnapped (again). Being somewhat discerning sophisticates, her captors have demanded the priceless and altogether spooky Rosetta Stones as ransom. The story of these stones is a strange and disturbing one starting in the wild China of myth and lumbering on until, ooh, the end of this column at least. If you squat down beside me on this hand-woven mat, I'll tell you their tale.
Way back in the mists of time, the gods threw the five Rosetta Stones out of heaven after mistaking them for loaded dice. Legend spoke of their mystic energy, and that if they were ever brought together, they would confer mickle powers on their owner. Sadly, no-one got a chance to test this theory as the stones were scattered across the world by a series of excessively noisy natural disasters. They lay in secret places for countless centuries, undiscovered despite the intense efforts of the wisest scholars and the most Scandinavian of tourists. Then, by chance, the First Emperor Ming stumbled over one while pottering in the garden. Unfortunately, as he consequently fell into an ornamental pond and drowned, they remained undiscovered for several more centuries. And then a couple more after that. At last, in 1963 one turned up in the house of famed historian and academic Professor Duncan Pog. He had been using it as a doorstop. Hiruko the soothsayer, Duncan's close and wizened friend, speedily deduced where the others were but refused to tell as he feared they may fall into the wrong hands. Since then, many have gone in search of the stones but none have returned, mainly because they got lost.
Well my pretties, that's the story. Marion's, captors want the stones, and you can bet your last peseta it isn't because Arthur Negus is coming to tea. Still, what's the fate of the world when compared with that of your gal? Ah, true lurve! Without a second thought you pack an overnight bag, look up Hiruko in the Yellow Pages and persuade him to help with a heartfelt plea and a lumpy club.
MINE'S A DOUBLE
Double Dragon 3 is something of a rarity - it isn't a licenced conversion. Storm evidently relish the freedom of an original game, as they've gone overboard on the features. For starters, the action takes place over fourteen stages, spanning five countries and three continents - quite a step up from the dingy back-alleys of the first two games. Starting on the streets of New York, our intrepid pair are confronted by a gang of villains that make most baddies look like gingerbread men. These guys take an awful lot of fancy fistwork to overpower, and there are always more ready to take their place. Before long you'll be getting fed up with your basic jumpy-punchy skils and will be on the look-out for extra weapons. However, in a daring break with tradition, Storm have dispensed with the weapons-left-in-the-street approach. Instead, you'll find bijou armouries dotted about the levels, 'cos in this game you pay your way. Not only that, and this is the really devious bit, you also pay with your credits. So the temptation to get those matching spiked batons or that instruction pamphlet on deadly nose-poking has to be weighed against continuing the game when you pop your pixie boots. You can almost hear the programmers cackling as you ponder.
Make it past the cream if America's street gangs and you face the obilgartory end-of-level baddy. Defeat him and Hiruko will point you toward the next stone. And so it goes on, with out heroes racing across the world, travelling to ancient and exotic cultures and beating up the locals. Before the game's end you'll have been matched against mad bikers, fur-clad Chinese wrestlers, graceful samurai lords, phantom ninjas and, erm, lots of other people.
As you've probably guessed, I like Double Dragon 3 rather a lot. To be honest, after the total disasters of the first two I wasn't expecting a much, so the sheer spankiness of the game came as a jolly nice surprise. Although it seems slow at first you'll find the gameplpay perfectly paced, with the two-player option a bonus rather than a necessity. The variety of the baddies and strategies keeps interest from flagging - you're never quite sire what the game is going to throw at you next. On the presentation side, the graphics are eye-gogglingly good, with excellent detail and a real feeling of weight to the sprites. The backgrounds are of an equally high quality, atmospherically recreating the countries you visit.
For all this, the game isn't Megagame material. It's 128k only, but there's still a heck of a lot of multiloading. Then there's the difficulty level. In an effort to provide a meaty challenge, Storm have made the game too tough. If you get hemmed in by your opponents -. something that's hard to avoid - it seems to be up to Lady Luck whether you escape or not. Even so, you should put this game on your shopping list. It more than makes amends for the preceding Double Dragons and almost topples Target Renegade from the number one beat-'em-up spot.
Ever fancied a spot of globe trotting with a pair of fab and furious fighting freaks from the free world? Well, if so Double Dragon 3 could be the answer to your yearnings. Put simply, it's absolutely fab - in a nutty, Ninja sort of way of course!
Billy and Jimmy, neither of whom are from Glasgow, have a new quest to fulfil, namely recovering the highly valuable Rosetta stones from their hidden resting place in Egypt to pay for the release of careless Marion who has been kidnapped again. Oh no, poor old Marion. (Double Dragon fans will realise that she makes a bit of habit of this). Guided by their friend Hiruko the soothsayer, they must journey through live continents and do battle with the most ferocious enemies they have ever encountered.
In Double Dragon 3 our happy heroes travel to the USA, China, Japan, Italy and Egypt and with four extension game scenarios on the last mission, this gives a grand total of nine furious all action levels. Difficulty is gradually built into the game and as you progress onto later levels it becomes more difficult to manage with only one player so the two player mode is not only very good it's very essential too!
Looking at Double Dragon 3 you begin to wonder why everything on the Spectrum can't be programmed as accurately and beautifully. Unfortunately the screens are all monochrome but this does mean that memory isn't wasted on colour which to be honest would make the game look messy. Other recent examples of this train of thought include Rodland and Pang both of which have most excellent mono graphics. The sprites here are big and very well drawn, in fact you'd almost think they were from an Amiga, which of course they are - and mahhn do they look good!
If you've seen the arcade game you'd instantly recognise all the enemies and end of level baddies which include Hell's Angels bikers, Samurai, mutant tree men and fat sumo wrestlers made of rock.
At the end of the game you must face the ultimate challenge and defeat the Stones' guardian - a mummy who turns out to be none other than Cleopatra (fwooor!)
Double Dragon 3 is faithful to the coin op, and has retained nearly all it's features. The action is gripping and the game lacks the sort of dodgy sprite detection and collisions that often hamper the playability of this sort of game.
If anyone harbours doubts about the Spectrum's capabilities then show them DD3. This game's gonna kick some software butt this Christmas. Hold onto your Pizza's - the boys are back!
Price: £11.99 Tape
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes
GARTH: Double Dragon 3 is the best looking beat 'em up that I've seen in ages. The graphics really are superb and the gameplay and action complement the detail in the screens superbly.
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