Super Double Dragon, known in Japan as Return of Double Dragon (リターン・オブ・双截龍 Ritān Obu Daburu Doragon), is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1992. It was published by Technōs Japan in Japan and by Tradewest in North America and the PAL region. Super Double Dragon is the fourth console game in the Double Dragon series developed by Technōs Japan, following previous titles for the NES, although unlike the NES games, Super Double Dragon is an original title and not based on any preceding arcade version.
As with previous installments of the series, the player takes control of martial artists Billy and Jimmy Lee in their fight against the Shadow Warriors gang. The objective is to proceed through each stage and defeat all enemies, including a boss. The game consists of seven stages, which includes a casino, an airport, a martial arts gym, a fight atop a moving truck, a city slum, a forest, and the hideout of the boss.
In addition to the punch, kick, and jump buttons, the player now has a guard button for blocking attacks. If the player times the guard button right, their character can not only defend against an enemy's punch, they can also put certain enemies in an arm grab, leaving the enemy vulnerable to successive attacks. There's also a "Dragon Power" gauge under the life gauge, which the player can fill by holding down L or R buttons. While the gauge is filling up, the player can perform special attacks which vary depending on how much power the player has accumulated, which includes a flying hurricane kick. If the power gauge is completely filled, then the player's regular attacks will gain extra strength for a limited period. In contrast to previous Double Dragon games, Jimmy Lee (the Player 2 character) has different punching attacks than Billy Lee (Player 1). In the Japanese version, his Roundhouse Kick is also different.
There are two playable characters and eleven enemy characters in the game. Multiple enemies of the same type (clones) may come at you simultaneously. Player 1 controls Billy Lee while Player 2 controls Billy's older twin brother Jimmy Lee. In 1-Player mode, only Billy Lee takes on the Shadow Warriors. Billy began training in the Martial Arts at the age of 12 and completed his training, becoming heir to the Southern-style of Sou-Setsu-Ken at the age of 20. Jimmy, his older brother, relies on the Northern-style of Sou-Setsu-Ken, and together the Double Dragons operate a training dojo in Los Angeles, California.
There are four non-boss enemy characters the Lee twins have to deal with:
- Williams, a street thug who utilizes martial arts and brute force, and tends to bring knives, boomerangs, firebombs, nunchaku, and konbo sticks into the fight. There are three color variations of this enemy.
- Roper, another street thug with identical fighting abilities to those of Williams, except that he can handle slightly more abuse before staying down. In addition to wielding knives, boomerangs, firebombs, nunchaku, and konbo sticks, Roper is also known to throw drum cans and large rocks. There are four color variations of this enemy.
- Baker, an expert at wielding Chinese swords, always carries a sword in each hand and never lets go of them. He tends to get knocked down more easily than anyone else, making it difficult to set him up for a finishing strike. There are three color variations of this enemy.
- Jeff, the supervisor of the Shadow Warriors, dresses exactly like the Double Dragons, except that he favors green rather than Billy's blue or Jimmy's red. Jeff is able to mimic several of the Lee Twins' Martial Arts attacks, and usually brings a weapon such as a knife, konbo stick, or nunchaku into the fight.
There are seven boss characters that stand in the way of the Double Dragons, and defeated bosses often return for a rematch as the game progresses:
- Steve, the boss of Mission 1, is dressed in a suit which comes in three different colors depending on when you fight him. He is an informant to the Shadow Warriors. He often strikes with a roundhouse jump-kick.
- Jackson, the boss of Mission 2, is a former heavyweight boxing champion who comes in three different color variations. His favorite attack is a lightning-quick jab and ferocious uppercut combo.
- Chen Ron-Fu and his brother Chen Ron-Pyo are the bosses of Mission 3. Together, they teach Chinese Martial Arts at Duke's Dojo in Chinatown (the setting of Mission 3). Chen Ron-Fu, a master of the combat form, has declared that he and his brother are the real Double Dragons. He dresses in either blue or orange. Chen Ron-Pyo has a severe scar over his right eye, having received it in a past death match. He dresses in either green or orange.
- McGuire, the boss of Mission 4 and Mission 5, is a huge, egg-shaped enemy who dresses much like a clown. His stomach, although quite fat, is able to absorb many attacks, and he is also able to fly through the air in a whirling motion to take out his enemies.
- Carlem, the boss of Mission 6, is the mysterious gatekeeper of Duke's Mansion. His fighting form is similar to karate, and he can take a lot of abuse before staying down. He comes in two different color variations.
- Duke, the dictatorial leader of the Shadow Warriors, has taken over several training dojos by force. He wields the broadest range of fighting techniques of any enemy character, plus his speed on foot makes him all the more formidable. It is impossible to knock Duke out before all of his fellow Shadow Warriors. His background is a mystery.
According to a commentary by the game's planner, Muneki Ebinuma, the game was planned to feature more elaborate stage designs than the ones in the finished version of the game. Additionally, story sequences similar to the second NES game were planned for the game, but were not included due to time constraints. Marian, the heroine from previous games, was planned to be featured in the game as a policewoman who assists the Lee brothers, but her presence was cut (her character is only mentioned in the manual). The game was also supposed to feature another opponent after the battle with Duke.
The Japanese release, Return of Double Dragon, features several significant differences from its western counterpart:
- The title theme and most of the background music are shuffled around (e.g. the Mission 1 theme from the western version is played during Mission 4 in the Japanese version).
- The player can perform certain actions which cannot be done in the western version:
- After throwing a boomerang, the player can catch it when it returns.
- The hurricane kick can hit an opponent more than once successively, as opposed to knocking them down with a single hit.
- When an enemy throws a knife, the player can punch it to deflect it back at the enemy.
- The enemy placement is different in each version.
- Weapons such as knives and incendiary bombs do less damage than they do in the western version.
- Enemies can duck end combo blows, thus preventing the player from finishing their combos.
- Certain enemies have new attack animations, such as a new slide attack for the basic enemies.
- The final mission features two additional levels before the final battle.
- An Option Mode is included, allowing the player to adjust the game's difficulty setting as well as listen to the game's music and sound effects.
Allgame rated Super Double Dragon an overall rating of 2.5 out of a possible 5 stars.
- Super Double Dragon at MobyGames