Originally released in 1988 as an arcade game, Double Dragon II: The Revenge is the sequel to Double Dragon, which was released in 1987. Double Dragon II once again stars Jimmy and Billy Lee as they investigate the murder of Marian, the love interest of the series. Marian was shot to death by a group known as the Black Warriors. Other than the original arcade release, there have been a variety of home console versions, including releases for the NES, Game Boy, Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, and Amiga. These versions all differ in a variety of ways, from minor elements to major gameplay changes.
On March 10, 1990, Meldac released the soundtrack of Double Dragon II: The Revenge in Japan. Featuring new renditions of the songs from the NES version of the game, including arranged songs and a pop remix of the opening theme, with vocals sung by Manami Morozumi. The soundtrack, composed by Kazuhiro Hara and Nobuhito Tanahashi, contains 13 songs, two of which are different renditions of the same song (Dead or Alive, one with lyrics and one without).
The original arcade release is essentially the same as its predecessor. The game is a side scrolling beat-em-up, in which players can fight enemies across a four stages: an airport, lumberhouse, a field, and the base of operations for the Black Warriors. The largest differences between the original Double Dragon and Double Dragon II are improved moves, range of attack, and control scheme. In Double Dragon, players could either kick or punch. Double Dragon II changes this, and opts instead for directional based attacks (e.g. if the player is facing to the right, one button will send out a flurry of punches and the other button will have the character kick from the back).
In addition to friendly characters, all of the enemies have received significant makeovers as well. As well as a range of new enemy characters (including the final boss, Willy, leader of the Black Warriors), enemies now have new weapons to carry around and use, including shovels and hand grenades. Enemy attacks are also modified, including a new range of combos and special attacks (to combat the new moves that Jimmy and Billy have received, such as the Hurricane Kick).
Possibly the most well known version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge, the NES version was originally released on December 23, 1989 in Japan, and then later released in North America during January of 1990. Published by Acclaim Entertainment and developed by Technos, Double Dragon II for the NES is very different from the arcade version on which it is based. Similar to the previous NES game, Double Dragon, this NES game is a one to two player side scrolling beat-em-up, although this was the first version of a Double Dragon game on the NES that could be played by two players simultaneously in co-op. The game has an expanded story, including cutscenes before each stage (of which there are nine). In addition, there is a separate final boss in the NES version, which can only be fought on the hardest difficult level. Upon being defeated, Marian is brought back to life (unlike the arcade version).
The Lee brothers retain the bi-directional attacks from the arcade version (with B and A on the NES pad corresponding to Left and Right attacks, respectively) as well as the spinning Hurricane Kick special move. In addition, they can execute "hyper" uppercut and "hyper" flying knee attacks, which send enemies flying skyward and backwards, respectively. The latter move is particularly useful for making quick work of enemies (including boss characters) when fighting near a bottomless pit area. While the Hurricane Kick can be executed on the fly by jumping and then tapping both buttons at the peak of the jump, the latter two must be executed by timing button presses almost perfectly when the player character is just exiting his kneeling frame of animation (initiated by either landing from a jump or getting up from a fall), making them slightly more complex moves to pull off.
Stage design (as well as several new stages with story sequences playing out before each one), modes, and the plot changes are all among the differences between the arcade and NES versions of Double Dragon II. Arguably the largest change is the addition of a two-player "Mode B", where the players can damage each other during the game - this factor was subsequently used to discover a number of exploits and shortcuts by the speedrun community. (Another side effect of "Mode B" was that if one player killed another, the first player would gain the life that the other player lost, something that could be used to give a single player up to 7 lives.) Additionally, Double Dragon II on the NES adds five new stages, differing enemies, radically different stage design, and a new final boss (named the Mysterious Warrior).
Other than the well-known arcade and NES versions, there have been a variety of other ports of Double Dragon II: The Revenge. Two other home console ports were produced in 1991 and 1993 (both exclusively in Japan) for the Sega Mega Drive and the PC Engine respectively. The Mega Drive version is largely unchanged from the arcade game, only slightly altering the second stage. The PC Engine version featured upgraded graphics (including the story sequences from the NES version, which are redone for this version), new music, slightly altered stage design, and voice acting for the main characters, including Billy, Jimmy, and Marian.
Several ports were released for PC platforms as well, with Virgin Mastertronic and Binary Design handling ports to the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, IBM PC, Commodore Amiga, Amstrad CPC, and Atari ST in 1989. These companies were the same companies to handle the PC ports of the original Double Dragon as well.
- Dead or Alive (2:48)
- The Vengeful Demon has Begun to Move (3:37)
- A Quiet Pursuit (3:01)
- Tension at the Night Sky (1:43)
- Advancing Towards Sunset (2:25)
- Escape to the Forest (3:43)
- Wicked God (1:25)
- Breaking the Barrier (2:37)
- Enter to the Enemy's Base (3:19)
- Roar of the Twin Dragons (3:55)
- Miracle of the Twin Dragons (1:25)
- Sweet Memories (3:13)