A highly popular arcade
game in the 80's, it was only natural that it would be ported to
Nintendo's popular gaming system. While the port did have its
flaws (most notably the lack of two-player simultaneous play), it still
upheld the legacy of the arcade classic well, and quickly became one of
the NES' best-selling games, continuing to rake in high sales even
after Double Dragon 2 had come out.
The game opens with Billy's girlfriend, Marion, being beaten up and
kidnapped by punks. In true martial artist fashion, that's his
cue to take to the streets and dispense some flashy punches, kicks and
headbutts in an attempt to get her back. From time to time you'll
also come across a dropped weapon you can use to more efficiently fell
enemies; the best of these are the throwing knives, which will destroy
most enemies in a single hit. They can also do serious damage to
you in the enemies' hands, so use caution.
Throwing a steel drum at the enemy is
Abobo, a recurring boss throughout the series, but perhaps seen most
prominently in this game; it's not uncommon to fight two of them at a
time in several places. Your first encounter with him is fairly
simple, though; just knock him down with a few kicks and let the
conveyor belt dump him into the pit, and you're off to Stage 2.
A feature not seen in the arcade version was the "leveling"
system. In the lower-left corner of the screen you'd have an
experience counter; each time this hits 1000 points you gain a new
Level 2 - Uppercut/High Kick. Pressing A or B when an enemy is
both nearby and stunned unleahses one of these powerful attacks.
Usually powerful enough to finish them off.
Level 3 - Jump Kick. Replaces your normal jump (A+B). Not
too powerful, but useful in that it can be used to knock enemies around.
Level 4 - Hair Grab - If the enemy is close to you, tap B
following a kick to grab them. You can then knee them in the face
(tap B) or throw them (tap A). For maximum damage, knee them four
times, then throw them.
Level 5 - Pin Punch. When an enemy is knocked to the ground,
press Down to kneel over them and then A to punch them
repeatedly. Not too useful, as they tend to throw you off before
you can finish them.
Level 6 - Elbow Smash. Press A when an opponent is behind you to
hit them with an elbow smash. This move is very powerful; weaker
enemies require only one hit, stronger ones (ie Abobo) usually fall in
4-5 hits. Has roughly the same range as a kick.
Level 7 - Roundhouse Kick. The standard three-kick combo now
finishes with a spinning kick that does massive damage. Very
useful against the final bosses.
Interestingly, this system is not seen in other home ports of the game;
in those you have all your moves available at the beginning.
The first two stages are pretty simple; enemies don't pose much of a
threat, and hazards are usually limited to a few thrown sticks of
dynamite and a pit or two. When stage three rolls around, though,
things get a lot tougher. Enemies throw knives (which chop off a
good third of your health bar), they duck attacks more frequently, and
they often appear near pits just to knock you in as soon as you jump
over (although you can avoid this if you're quick to side-step).
The toughest part begins when these two show up, though:
Two Abobos at once, and there's no
pit to save you this time. Just use your jump kicks or the elbow
smash until they're
I'm not sure whether it's due to a cruel programmer or a bug in the
game, but traveling to the right after beating them will take you back
to the start of the stage, which you'll have to fight all the way
through again. Instead, you'll want to enter the cave the Abobos
Falling stalactites and some good ol' platform hopping. Just try
to stay away from the edges of the platforms; it's easy to fall off
them. Stay centered, and leap straight up from the first platform
to reach the highest one, then leap once that platform is at the
farthest point to the right to reach the ledge.
Platform hopping, boulder-dodging,
and another Abobo scuffle, and you're still not even done with level 3
Level 4 is the toughest stage of the game; not so much for the fights
(make no mistake, they're plenty tough) but because it's more of a
large obstacle course than a conventional stage. You'll dodge
bricks jutitng out of a back wall, fight tons of enemies, and do quite
a bit of platform-hopping. On top of all that, there's a gauntlet
of every enemy from the game awaiting you at the end!
Don't waste your energy fighting this
Abobo; ignore him and climb up the cliff wall to the left
Lots of climbing to do. The Williams in this area will just keep
coming, so don't bother fighting them. Just knock them down
with jump kicks and then move on.
Doing battle with two of each enemy,
then Machine Gun Willy, then...
Your own brother, Jimmy Lee, is the final boss of the game. Quite
a twist from the original Arcade version, where he would be controlled
by the second player as you took on the enemies in the game. As
can be expected, he knows all of your moves, and can utilize them to
great effect. He's actually not very hard, but there are two
things working against you - you'll have to face thirteen enemies
before him (including the very deadly Machine Gun Willy), which can
easily wear down your health. There's also the fact that the same
199-second timer is counting down during all of these fights; run out
of time and you'll lose a life. And should you be unfortunate
enough to die before beating Machine Gun Willy, you'll have to start
the entire gauntlet over again.
Here's a bug you can exploit for easy experience. In
stage 2, after climbing down the ledge from the fence on the right
side, two Rowpers will appear. Lure one nearby the girders in the
background, then climb back up the fence and walk all the way back to
the left. Now walk back to the right and the Rowpers will have
vanished. Jump down and swing at where the one near the girders
was standing; it will register as a hit and you'll gain points and
experience. Keep swinging until you've maxed out your level!
Now for some boss strategies:
: Just use jumpkicks in the early stages; 16 hits should
fell them. Later on, you can elect to stand with your back to him
and elbow him as he gets close; you'll probably take a hit or two with
this method, but four hits of your own will fell them. This is
also very helpful for saving time on the final gauntlet.
: If you really
want to duke it out with him, just kick at
him until he's felled. An easier method is just to go back down
the tower once he appears; once you climb back down the ladders and
scroll him offscreen, you'll finish the stage. When you face him
again later, just use your kicks followed by a hair pull -> knee
-> throw combo. Two of these should drop him.
Machine Gun Willy
Definitely the toughest fight in the game; you'll want to preserve as
much of your health as possible for this fight. As for now to
beat him, don't try to go toe-to-toe with him or he'll just shoot you
for 4-5 units of health. The best tactic I've found is
highlighted in the images below.
This technique takes a bit of practice, but properly done you can beat
him without getting hit!
: He's got all your moves,
can't be grabbed, and he's good at
countering your elbow smash. No fancy tricks here, just kick at
him from as far away as your reach will allow. When you knock him
down, get just close enough to kick him again once he gets back up; get
too close and you'll end up trading blows, too far and he'll just
jump-kick you. He'll probably get in a few hits, but if you have
at least half a health bar left over from the previous fights you
should be able to outlast him. If you have an extra life, this
becomes a cake walk; if you die against Jimmy you will skip straight to
him, and you'll have a full life bar and timer.
Thanks to Sly Dog Studios' hint
some of these strategies.
One-line Synopsis: Still fun
nearly 20 years later in spite of its unforgiving difficulty.