Double Dragon

Platforms: Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Game Boy, IBM PC/Compatibles, MSX, NES / Famicom, Sega Genesis / Mega Drive, Sega Master System, ZX Spectrum


Main Genre:
Visual Presentation:
Scrolling (Horizontal or Vertical)


IBM EGA version of Double Dragon
IBM EGA version of Double Dragon
Double Dragon is a side scrolling beat-em-up game originally released in arcades in August, 1987 by Technos Japan and was later ported to numerous home computers and game consoles. The game was one of the first highly successful games in the fighting genre and spawned several sequels as well as inspired many other beat-em-up's developed by other companies. Double Dragon included several features that were innovative for the time including the ability for two players to play simultaneously.


In Double Dragon the players Billy and Jimmy Lee, two martial arts masters. Billy's girlfriend, Marian, has been kidnapped by Willy, the leader of a deadly gang known as the Black Warriors. It is up to Billy and Jimmy to rescue her; to do so, players will need to fight the members of the Black Warriors through four different missions. Each mission consists of a large area that the screen scrolls over; the missions takes players through a city slum, a factory, a forrest, and finally the gangs hideout. Along the way different members of the Black Warriors attack players and need to be defeated before continuing further. Often numerous enemies will attack at once, however some of the home versions limit this to two enemies due to system limitations. There are several different types of members in the gang, each of which have different fighting capabilities and appearances. The enemies encountered may vary slightly depending on which version of the game is being played and include the following:
  • Williams: Has a strong jump kick. Additionally, Williams will occasionally use weapons including a baseball bat, knives, and dynamite. Williams is the first enemy encountered and is also the most commonly occuring enemy in the game.
  • Roper: Also known as Rowper or Loper depending on the translation. Another low ranking member, Roper will use the same weapons as Williams and additionally is able to throw large objects including oil drums and boxes.
  • Linda: The only female character in the game and also the only character who carries a whip for attacks.
  • Abobo: A very tall, bald, big-muscled gang member who can throw heavy objects. Due to his size, Abobo's attacks reach further and cause more damage.
  • Bolo: An end of level boss appearing in the first and third stages, Bolo is similar to Abobo in capabilities.
  • Jeff: A boss in the game that mirrors the capabilities of Billy and Jimmy.
  • Willy: The leader of the gang and final boss of the game (he's not encountered until the very end of the game). Willy carries a machine gun which will instantaly kill Billy or Jimmy if hit. Additionally, unlike other characters, Willy never drops his weapon if he's knocked down.
To attack and defend players have a variety of fighting skills availble. This includes kicks, punches, elbow strikes, jumps, and head-butts. When facing opponents carrying a weapon, players can also pick up and use the weapon themselves if the enemy carrying it is knocked down. The original arcade version of Double Dragon provided each player with a joystick and three buttons to execute the variety of attacks available. Due to limitations most home systems had in their available controllers, home ports of the game typically modified the controls to use a combination of buttons and joystick movements to execute attacks. To defeat enemies, players need to use attacks to reduce the opponents energy until they are knocked down; once they have been knocked down several times they'll disappear from the screen. In some cases there are gaps in the terrain and enemies can be knocked off the edge of a platform which immediately eliminates them (however players need to be careful that they don't fall off the screen as well).

Players begin the game with a limited number of lives; each time they are hit, the life meter loses one or more blocks. When the meter is completely empty a life is lost, and the game ends when all players have run out of lives.


Platform: Atari 2600
Developed by: Imagineering
Directed by: Dan Kitchen
Programmed by: Donald Han
Artwork by: Mike Sullivan
Audio by: Alex DeMeo
Produced by: Perry Rodgers
Product testing by: Steve Imes
Product management by: John Crompton
Player's Guide by: Hunter Cone
Platform: Atari 7800
Developed by: Imagineering, Inc.
Directed by: Alex DeMeo
Programmed by: Tommy Han
Artwork by: Jesse Kapili
Audio by: Alex DeMeo
Produced by: Perry Rodgers
Product testing by: Steve Imes, Gary Barth, Mike Norton
Product management by: John Crompton
Player's Guide by: Hunter Cone
Additional programming by: Alex DeMeo, Donald Han
Platform: Game Boy
Programming by: Masahiro Yoshihara
Programmed Advised by: Hidetoshi Kashiwaya
Character Designed by: Masao Shiroto
B. G. Designed by: Shinichi Saitō
Sound Composed by: Kazunaka Yamane
Sound Programmed by: Michiya Hirasawa
Graphic Designed by: Kumiko Mukai
Directed by: Shinichi Saitō
Special Thanks to: Yoshihisa Kishimoto, Koji Kai, Koji Ogata, Takashi Shōji, Mariko Kido
Cover Artwork (Japanese version): Kazumi Kakizaki


Click on a picture below to view a larger version.
Double Dragon
Arcade Version


Instruction Manual
Atari 2600
Instruction Manual
Atari 7800
Instruction Manual
Commodore 64


Product catalogs, magazines, flyers, or other documentation Double Dragon has appeared in.
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Arcadia April 1989 magazine ad

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