Publisher: Tradewest, Arc System Works
Platforms: NES, NSO NES, Double Dragon & Kunio-Kun Retro Brawler Bundle (PS4, NS)
Version Played: NSO NES, Double Dragon & Kunio-Kun Retro Brawler Bundle (NS)
Calling the NES version of Double Dragon an arcade port would be a bit misleading. The Genesis version is an arcade port. This is more like a reimagining. Unlike most other home versions, Double Dragon on NES isn't trying to replicate the arcade game, it's only using it as a guideline. This version alters the story, it has a leveling system, completely new areas, and even a VS mode. It's more like the game that bridges the Kunio-Kun and Double Dragon series' than anything else.
Double Dragon takes place in a post apocalyptic world that looks like 80s action movies meet Fist of the North Star. Some of the backgrounds look like New York City, some like the Coliseum in Rome, and characters have big boots, shoulder pads, and bracers on their forearms. The arcade game has Billy's girlfriend, Marian, get kidnapped by a gang led by a machine gun-wielding thug named Willy, but the NES version makes Billy's brother, Jimmy, the leader instead. The NES version doesn't have co-op, so I guess they just wanted to include him somehow. That must have made Double Dragon II awkward for them.
I love the art style that the Master System, Game Boy, and NES versions share. The characters kind of look like something in between Kunio-Kun and the Double Dragon arcade characters, which looked like a cross between Renegade and Fist of the North Star characters. I also love how the game uses the NES color palette and the awesome backgrounds. I especially love Mission 4, which must be inspired by the Colosseum in Rome, where the fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris took place in Way of the Dragon.