Double Dragon

Double Dragon III

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 skills 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.

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