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North America

Double Dragon Advance

by Ty Shughart - November 24, 2003, 11:07 pm EST


It's also better than the movie, in which the Lee "twins" happened to be different ethnicities.

You know, I'm still feeling too many adverse effects from having too many 3D platform games where I collect things thrown at me. I don't care about searching out bafmodads or gold spiders or three different colors of coins. Those games are like menial labor now. I want to punch guys and throw dynamite and fall off of trucks and die. In those respects, Double Dragon Advance delivers.

At first glance, Double Dragon Advance might look like somebody's childhood being repackaged and sold back to them, again, but in reality it's pretty much a brand new Double Dragon game that combines elements from all prior Double Dragon games (probably excepting that fruity one that was based on the cartoon). For the first minute or or so, it looks like a prettier Double Dragon 1, sure enough, with the awesome original music remixed, too (I've been able to place a few songs from Double Dragon II as well). Then, each level afterwards is either new or entirely different, with maybe a couple familiar elements here and there. It's not the same game you played 15 years ago. For example, level 2 looks the same on the first screen, but before you know it, the level is a wacky new combination of part of the old level 1, level 2, and a whole mess of entirely new elements.

It has pretty much every move from the old Double Dragon games with some crazy juggle moves thrown in. Maybe the control felt sluggish back on the NES, but moves here are easy to perform. There's probably around 20 different moves, and pretty much all of them need to be utilized for getting out of insanely tricky situations throughout the game, especially with 6 or 7 enemies onscreen at once. It wouldn't be Double Dragon if it were easy, would it? There are lots of cool weapons, too - bats, knives, axes, dynamite, nunchaku, kali sticks, and two kinds of whips.

Old enemies are back, like William, Linda Lash, and Abobo (sometimes appearing with a fantastic Fro-Bobo hairstyle). I think the disappearing fat guy here is from Double Dragon II. There's a part where you fight 'agent' goons on the back of a moving semi - sure, there was a level just like that in Super Double Dragon, but I'm also pretty sure it's a reference to Matrix: Reloaded. Or a really wacky coincidence. In any case, there's something about it that makes it an awesome experience, especially with one of the coolest songs from Double Dragon II added in. There are also a bunch of subtle things that make the game look like it's from the 1980's (never mind that the goofy plot sets it in the future) - maybe it's the car in the garage, or the goons in pink shirts and bleached jeans, or maybe even that the agents' shades look like Max Headroom's, or something.

Also, there's new guys aplenty, including Kali stick-wielding monks, the aforementioned "agents", and even samurai. None of them will ever become as cool as Fro-Bobo, but they can sure try. The final enemy is fairly lame, sadly. I was hoping for a dramatic showdown between the Lee twins...

There are a couple of other nice goodies in this game. There are storyline sequences in-between each level, although, actually, they're cheesier than a delicious grilled cheese sandwich. There's a survival mode, which is great for playing a quick game rather than a lengthy trek through the whole game, and also for further challenging yourself after finishing expert mode. Of course, there's a link mode for two player cooperative, and even a bizarre single-player mode in which you switch between on-screen Lee twins as if it were a two-player game.

And, well, there you have it. That's the whole game: an arcade mode that takes an hour or two to get through and the little bonus features. It's no ten-thousand-hour item-finding level-gaining marathon, just an honest arcade-style game. Beat it, and you're done. I can't speak for everyone, but it was worth 30 dollars to me, even for only like 10 hours of play. It's a great game, and I'll probably keep playing it.


Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
8 8.5 9 9 4 8

It kind of captures an 80's sort of look without looking old. Tons of enemies on screen at once, too. The sprites are nicely drawn, although they don't exactly have a hundred frames of animation.


Classic music remixed. There's even a secret code to get into a sound test.


Many, many moves from the entire history of Double Dragon. Easy to perform, too.


Old-school fighting. Brutal fighting until you can't fight anymore. The threat of instant, horrible death from ledges keeps you on your toes. Difficulty is adjustable. So, hey, if you like a tough old-school brawler, what's not to like?


To be honest, it's actually really short, but sweet. It's still short, though. I consider myself a hardened pro and it took a number of tries to (barely) beat expert mode. It might take other people longer...


This is great as a nostalgic fun-fest. Non-brawler philistines or people looking for a long game for their money can look elsewhere, though.


  • Awesome soundtrack
  • ...but an entirely new game in another
  • Challenging
  • Nostalgic in one way...
  • Storyline sequences
  • Tons of moves and lots of cool weapons
  • Pretty short, excepting potentially endless failed attempts at 'Expert'
  • The new storyline is completely cheesy and probably not that close to the original at all, but hey, at least it's there, I guess
  • Woefully undramatic end boss
Review Page 2: Conclusion

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Genre Action
Developer Atlus
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Double Dragon Advance
Release Nov 14, 2003
jpn: Double Dragon Advance
Release Mar 05, 2004

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