Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls was the fifth game to be released in the Double Dragon franchise. No longer property of Technos Japan Corporation, Double Dragon V is very different from previous games in the franchise. Double Dragon V was released on August 5, 1994 in North America (for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis) and April 5, 1995 for the Atari Jaguar (by Telegames). Developed by Leland Interactive Media and published by Tradewest, Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls is a 2D fighting game based on the Double Dragon cartoon series, rather than being a side-scrolling beat-em-up like its predecessors.
The game's plot loosely follows the Double Dragon cartoon series that was also produced by Tradewest. In the game, the Shadow Master creates a virus known as the Shadow Plague. In order to prevent the Shadow Master from unleashing the virus into Metro City, Billy Lee and Jimmy Lee must fight a variety of characters in one-on-one tournament battles.
Capitalizing on the incredible popularity of the tournament fighting genre in the 1990s (originating from Street Fighter II), Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls is similar to many other fighting games from that time period. Players can use weak, medium, or strong punches and kicks to dispatch their opponents, utilizing a six-button layout similar to Street Fighter II. The Genesis version allows for a three-button layout, where allowing players to press the start button to switch between kicking and punching.
Special moves are activated by holding down one direction, and then quickly shifting directions and hitting a certain button (e.g. holding left for two seconds, quickly pressing down and punch simultaneously will unleash a special attack from Jimmy Lee). This combination of button inputs was criticized by fans and critics who found it strange to have to quickly switch directions without sliding the control pad.
There are several modes available in Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls. Tournament Mode is the default single player fighting mode, in which the player can fight through every character in the game in a random order. The multiplayer mode, VS. Mode, is a traditional two-player arena fighting mode, allowing players to choose whichever character they want. There is a second single player mode, Quest Mode, which adds a story, but is essentially the same as Tournament Mode. Quest Mode has two stories available; the Lee brothers fighting the Shadow Master, or one of the Shadow Warriors fighting to become his apprentice. Additionally, there is a mode that allows players to choose two computer controlled characters, and watch them fight each other.
Another feature of Double Dragon V are Overkills, which are finishing moves that give a different losing animation for the defeated character. Each character has a special animation, triggered when they are killed with a specific attack. For example, the Lee brothers' Overkill is a flash of light, leaving the Lee brothers as a skeleton, with only their sword remaining.
Born on October 23, 1969, Billy Lee likes milk and doesn't like the Shadow Master. He is one of the two Lee brothers fighting against the threat of the Shadow Plague, a virus that the Shadow Master has threatened to unleash on the city. His Overkill involves a flash of light, ending with him as a skeleton with only his sword remaining. He was raised by the Oldest Dragon, and left to find his brother after learning the art of fighting.
Also born on October 23, 1969, Jimmy Lee like video games and doesn't like bad hair days. The second of the Le twins, Jimmy Lee is the fair-haired brother. His Overkill is the same as his brother's; he transforms into a skeleton after a flash of light. Jimmy was raised by the Shadow Master, who deceived him into believing that the Shadow Master was his father. When he realizes the truth, he joins his brother Billy to become one of the Double Dragons.
Born on March 23, 1963, Jawbreaker likes food, but doesn't like flossing. Originally from Des Moines, Jawbreaker practices the art of Che-Zit-Tsu. In Jawbreaker's Overkill, he falls to the ground after all of the teeth in his mouth fall out. Naturally, he loves eating, and thus his moves center around this.
Born on February 20, 1965, Icepick likes Eskimo pies, but doesn't like the greenhouse effect. From Nome, Alaska, Icepick is well-trained in the fighting style of Icekido. In his Overkill, he is chopped in half and then collapses into a pile of ice. Icepick is the most intelligent member of the Shadow Warriors, as well as the team's computer expert.
Literally a skeleton, Bones is as old as dust. He likes Marrowlyn Monroe and dislikes dogs. Well-versed in the art of sticks and stones, Bones is also equipped with a laser gun. His Overkill involves his body collapsing into a pile of bones as his head rolls away. Bones is also heavily influenced by rock and roll music. Bones is one of four original characters created for the game.
Born on July 23, 1964, Sickle enjoys styling mousse, but he dislikes dull knives. Originating in Hollywood, he practices the fighting style of Su Gin. Equipped with two large, red sickles, his attacks center around slicing his opponents. In his Overkill, his twists around so fast that he drills into the ground.
Born on September 7, 1969, Blade likes gourmet cuisine, but dislikes fast food. Literally heartless (he is a cyborg without a heart), Blade is skilled in the art of slice and dice. One of four characters created specifically for the game, Blade's Overkill has him melting into a puddle of slime. He is one of the four characters created specifically for Double Dragon V.
Born on April 21, 1959, Trigger Happy likes crew cuts, but dislikes ballet. His fighting style, lock and load, mostly involves the usage of a large cannon on his right hand. In his Overkill, the aforementioned cannon explodes, killing Trigger Happy.
A cyborg, Countdown's date of birth is listed as Cyborg Type 0041 Alpha. He like New Year's Eve, but dislikes DMV eye tests. Originally from New Orleans, his fighting style is the ancient art of dissin'. Countdown was a rejected cyborg from a bionics lab, purchased by a high profile video game company. In his Overkill, he glows until his entire body explodes.
Another cyborg, Sekka was born on May 21, 1970. She likes talk shows, but hates commercials. With her Wolverine-like claws, she is adept in the art of Re-Boot-Tsu. In her Overkill, she begins to glow until she disappears completely, leaving only her clothes behind. As a child, she kept getting biotic implants, such as armor plated skin and claws. She is one of the four characters created specifically for Double Dragon V.
A dangerous woman, Dominique's birthdate is unknown. In her Overkill, she transforms into a pile of maggots. Dominique uses a variety of whip, knife, and high heel based attacks. Dominique is one of four characters created especially for Double Dragon V, as well as one of two secret unlockable characters.
The mortal enemy of the Double Dragons and the leader of the Shadow Warriors, the Shadow Master was born centuries ago. His goal is to take over the entire world, something which he attempts in Double Dragon V. He has a variety of abilities, such as teleportation, shape-shifting, and two powerful weapons (a scythe and a sword). The Shadow Master's Overkill involves him melting into a pile of ashes.