Retro Thursday: Double Dragon

Welcome to Retro Thursday, Leviathyn’s spotlight on retro gaming. Join us as we take a stroll down memory lane and pay homage to our roots by highlighting the classics of yesteryear.

Thursday, June 14:


The premier 2D side-scrolling brawler of the 80’s arcade games, Double Dragon was one of the first games to incorporate seamless co-op gameplay.

Players take control of Billy Lee, a martial arts expert who seems to have fallen to the plight of so many heroes in that age: his girlfriend’s been kidnapped by the Black Warrior gang, and it’s up to him to save her. The gang offers him a ransom notice for her safe return, but Billy decides to take the much more reasonable route and sets off to beat up every single member of the gang he comes across until Marian is rescued.

With a wide array of attacks and fighting moves, Billy is able to punch, kick, and after gaining additional power-ups and upgrading moves, he learns alternate abilities such as a  jump kick and even ways to throw his enemies around. Should a friend choose to help you on your punk beatdown, they’ll take control of Billy’s twin (and equally as adept at fighting) brother Jimmy. Weapons are even used to some extent in the game, available to pick up in certain areas and aid you as you rain down punishment on the Black Warriors.

The game was wildly popular in the 80’s, and gained a massive fan base and following after its initial release. Since its humble beginnings, Double Dragon has seen numerous ports, sequels, crossovers, and spin-offs. There was even a live action movie made after the game…and it was, you know, a live action movie based on a video game from the 80’s.

But despite its successors, the original Double Dragon continues to be a bright spot on the arcade titles of the 80’s. The great, great grandaddy of 2D side-scrolling beat-’em-ups, the game is, and continues to be, a runaway success and standout classic in retro gaming.