Double Dragon III was one of the first games I can remember that had media hype. I remember seeing a commercial for it and being blown away. 40 moves! Multiple characters! Non-stop fighting action. I was instantly sold. I begged and worked super hard in school to earn this game.
Boy was I (ONCE AGAIN) disappointed.
It’s not that DD III was a bad game. It certainly had the moves, and the characters and the action, the problem was it was one of the hardest games I’ve ever played. I mean I was lucky as a kid to get out of the first screen let alone the first level. Even now after playing it as an adult I was really pressed to beat regular enemies, let alone the bosses. Double Dragon III for the NES reminds me a lot of Bayou Billy. It’s a fun game and I want it to be a fun game, but you make one mistake or get caught in between two enemies and it’s practially over. The game’s graphics and fun gameply are marred by the difficulty and it just makes me want to play Double Dragon II which I believe it the best one.
I also feel I should take a minute and comment on the controls of this game. With all the moves I always start out excited about trying all the different attacks and my favorite has always been the flip/hair pull. However, I always feel like more than half the time the moves just do not work. I’ve been playing this game for a long time. I know how to do the spin kick which by the way is the only attack you really need to do. Just spin kick and pray for your life. Half the time I can’t pull it off and it always seems to happen when I really need it. This would be my second biggest complaint about this game. I’d rather have the leveling system of Double Dragon 1 any day.
Lastly with Double Dragon III came two interesting systems. Weapons, and Characters. In the previous games, you only played as Billy (Bimmy) and Jimmy. In this game you can add two more characters to your arsenal. Chin who is a fat businessman who moves super slow but has extra health, and Ranzou who is a super fast ninja that hits like a wet noodle. During the game you can switch anytime which is important to remember. Each character has their own health bar and you NEVER want one of your characters to completely die. If they die (as far as I know) you lose them for the remainder of the game. I usually swap at the 33% mark so I can have them in an emergency.
Weapons are also a new addition to the game in that each character has their own unique weapon. Each weapon is good for 5 attacks. Yeah you read that right, 5. I always just save them for the boss fight.
After we played the NES version we swapped in our brand new Famicom AV and tried out the Famicom version of Double Dragon III. I had heard the famicom version was a lot better. To be honest I did feel it played better and I was having an easier time fighting, but it was still super hard. I kind of went in expecting the changes I saw from Bayou Billy to Mad City and in this case it was a lot less in depth. My character felt a little less weak, and sometimes I felt like the controls were a little more responsive, but the game was still super hard. The limited weapons is a pain and overall I just kept wanting to play Double Dragon II.
In the end Double Dragon III is a good buy for both NES and Famicom. It is still a great looking game and one I can’t say isn’t fun. It’s just really difficult, and I feel you’ll end up feeling the same level of frustration we did.