Jun 242015


An extensive look at the seminal beat em up series, including the NES originals, spin offs and Neon.

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0:00:00 – Double Dragon (Double Dragon)
0:14:02 – The Black Warriors Arrive (Double Dragon)
0:16:39 – Riot (Double Dragon)
0:18:04 – Woods (Double Dragon)
0:20:29 – Old Nemesis Willy (Double Dragon)
0:31:54 – Unleashing the Vengeful Oni (Double Dragon II: The Revenge)
0:34:04 – Silent Pursuit (Double Dragon II: The Revenge)
0:35:45 – Roar of the Twin Dragons (Double Dragon II: The Revenge)
0:44:38 – Streets of USA (Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones)
0:46:03 – USA Boss (Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones)
0:46:42 – Italy (Coliseum) (Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones)
0:53:47 – Train Ride / Casino (Super Double Dragon)
0:55:28 – Character Select (Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls)
0:56:48 – Boss Battle (Double Dragon Advance)
1:09:46 – Mango Tango – Neon Jungle (Double Dragon Neon)
1:13:22 – Skullmageddon (Double Dragon Neon)
1:15:59 – Billy and the Breaks – Firebird (Double Dragon Neon)
1:19:46 – Pick Yourself Up and Dance (Double Dragon Neon)
1:36:17 – Dared to Dream (Double Dragon Neon)

  45 Responses to “VGMpire 95 – Double Dragon Diatribe”

  1. What, no Battletoads?

  2. Awwwwww Yeah! This is the best thing i could have asked for this morning! You can’t stop Bimmy And Jimmy!

  3. “My day job’s Capcom, but I try and keep it out of the VGMpire stuff.”

    I just died inside a little

    • It’s like saying, “I work with rock bands, so I’m not going to put rock music in my music podcast.” Capcom was one of the top two music makers in games, avoiding them is foolish.

      • It’s more because, including it could look like favoritism, OR be weird because I’m doing reverent Capcom work outside of the office. Meanwhile, NOT including them is considered foolish. Either way the fact I work there causes some level of weirdness that I have to either avoid or address.

        Personally I have no issue covering the games but have no idea how an audience will perceive an episode based around, say, Final Fight. If I gush about the music am I towing the company line? No clue how some will see it.

        The BoF episode I was “along for the ride,” so to speak. But at this point I’m considering just doing it.

        • Brett, I can’t remember ever seeing any listener comment that you should keep Capcom out of the podcast. By contrast, everybody, almost weekly, comments on how you should play Capcom music.

          I posted my opinion last episode, but here it is again: If you don’t want to do it because you are worried about how your employer might feel, than I totally respect that. But if you’re keeping Capcom out of your show because you’re concerned about US thinking you’re playing favorites, then you’ve gotta play the damn music because every one of us who’s ever said anything about it is saying PLAY THE DAMN MUSIC! 🙂 We know you’re a fair guy and you work hard to make the show fair.

          Why don’t you do a poll just to make it official?

          • I agree about the only reason he shouldn’t do Capcom music is if Capcom says not to. But how can he avoid something as perfect as Rockmantober, for us fans?

        • I don’t care WHAT it would look like!

          If I don’t get a Mega Man or Street Fighter Rocktober I’m going to set myself on fire!

        • Another thing to consider is what is more ethical in his coverage? lol It sucks sure but it’s his show so it doesn’t bother me. I’m just happy I got a Twisted Metal show.

        • But think about Rockman Rocktober! It sounds like destiny!

    • You guys talked about how 2 was “more post-apocalyptic”, but the series is actually that from the beginning.

      Most people seem to think that Double Dragon is supposed to be, like, an urban street brawler, but it’s actually always been post-apocalyptic. Folks think the setting is like The Warriors, but it’s actually more Fist of the North Star.

      This fact usually gets downplayed in NA.

      • I think it persists in NA because the first DD didn’t come across all that post-apocalyptic. The NY area was much more crime-and-drug-ridden in the late 70s and early 80s, so most NA-ers of the 80s (incl. me) probably saw DD and thought “oh, so like New York.”

        Then as it gentrified, DD continued its original aesthetic, which to us probably “suddenly” became this apocalypse-looking thing. Either way, an interesting discussion to have 🙂

  4. You guys have made me SO HAPPY
    This morning when I got up for work, not only did you make my day with a much-needed new episode, but completely came from left field with a classic series that pioneered a genre. I saw the Episode title and I just nostalgia-ed in my pants.

    Knowing that Brett would likely focus on the Nintendo series, I was prepared to drop a bit of knowledge on the Master System version. But dammit, Patrick did some major homework and totally took the wind out of my sails 😀 Since I was that annoying Sega Kid that Retronauts’ Jeremy Parish talked about in his Zillion Micro Episode, it warmed my heart to get that feeling of inclusion here. (not that I don’t find that elsewhere on VGMpire, just that the SMS is not VGMpire’s childhood. DD is one hell of an obscurity and it’s rare these days to find anyone who even knew it existed)

    So many memories! I first saw and played Double Dragon in the 7-Eleven in my neighborhood, which also exposed me to Shinobi, Super Mario Bros., and Bubble Bobble. To this day I can’t think of the arcade version without smelling molten nacho cheese and rolling hot dogs.

    My other memory is that when my friend Darwin Fong would come over, we’d play Rambo and Double Dragon on my Master System(The SMS version had better, albeit flickery graphics, but the best trump card it had vs. the Nintendo version was its 2-player simultaneous play). Darwin was always better than me at anything involving motor coordination and twitch reflexes, whether it was physical games like soccer, tennis or basketball, or Videogames like Contra, Super Spike Vball, and especially Street Fighter II. And his big brother was a little better still. Anyway, Darwin was not only good but also very competitive and a little mischievous. He could always handle himself against the bad guys, so he would make it more interesting by “accidentally” hitting my guy whenever he felt like it…throwing the barrel just a little too far, or whipping a whole cluster of bad guys when I was in the middle. It frustrated me to no end, but if I tried retaliating, he’d win anyway, so I usually just put up with it.

    Once during one of these DD sessions, I was in a particularly foul mood, and I lost it and punched him square in the jaw. In an instant he leapt up with his fist cocked and I knew he was going to pound the crap out of me. I put my hands up and hollered “I’m sorry” as fast as I could, knowing full well that I deserved his wrath. He stood there stroking his jaw for a few seconds, glaring at me, then silently sat back down and continued to play. He did lay off the cheap shots for a week or two.

    Incidentally, rips of the FM SMS DD may be impossible to find, but the OST is on Youtube for anyone interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D44vVl_uD3g

    • Gonna try to remember this and do an SMS ep one day

      • And I thought I couldn’t get any happier today.

        Incidentally, my dad drove (local) truck route. He never brought rental games home though, just cases of Minute Maid OJ juice boxes and Crepes.

  5. Okay, apologies for being a comment hog….but I didn’t comment the last time you guys brought up Transformers: The Movie and its music. I was in the 4th grade when Optimus Prime died and I am glad the theater was dark because there was a lot of water in my eyes. That music is sooo good. One of my prouder moments as a father has been passing on the love of the G1 Transformers cartoon to my kids(thank you Netflix). They also love the movie.

    As for the musical themes, I concur Unicron’s theme is one of the baddest themes ever. So much so that when I made a hip hop album in the late 90’s(it’s what all pasty white suburban kids do), and needed an intense opening track, well of course I sampled the hell out of the Unicron theme. Also the 3 Amigos soundtrack but that’s neither here nor there(also neither here nor there is the fact that Siri thought I was saying “Eunuch Ron”).

    That DD Neon soundtrack is incredible. I’m buying it as I type this. Lastly, it’s sad Tim never had nostalgic memories attached to Super Castlevania IV. It’s easily my favorite in the series, and in my opinion is one of the greatest soundtracks for the SNES. To me, it’s one of the prime examples that Konami made the best music of the 16-bit era overall.

  6. I just have to ask about the stereo mix of Double Dragon 2 music. The purist in me says WTF, but the listener in me says, hey that’s neat. I haven’t finished listening to the episode yet, so if you didn’t go over that in the episode would you care to explain/elaborate?

    • I asked about that in a previous episode. Background: It is possible, and from what I hear easy, to get into the guts of the NES and add panning pots to each oscillator. People will pan certain channels a little bit to one side or the other, so when the audio comes out it’s in stereo. It’s also easy to do this when ripping tunes off of a ROM, so sometimes when you get the files to an OST, the person who ripped the track added their own personal stereo effect.

      I feel the same way as you: On the one hand, it’s not how the composers intended it. On the other hand, it sounds nice and, if done judiciously, it can improve the listening experience.

      • I provided the music for this episode. Prior to the podcast I noticed the MP3 rips of Double Dragon 2’s music I had weren’t very good, so I grabbed an NSF from Zophar.net, converted it to NSFE, and then noticed that the Level 1 music was crackly once the main melody came in when converting to MP3 through Foobar. This drove me nuts, so I tried it in Winamp instead and there was no crackle. The issue however, was that the volume simply sounded too low in Winamp, so I had to fiddle with some settings in the NotSoFatso plugin to make it sound a little louder. I guess I didn’t notice that this was done in stereo? But I think you’re right, whoever ripped the NSF for Zophar must have added that effect to it. I didn’t realize it at all until you mentioned it to me >_>

        I definitely prefer that over the faint crackly garbage I kept hearing when playing it through Foobar. We should listen to some of the YouTube uploads of that track and see if they have that crackling.

  7. I rented DD and thought it was okay, and liked DD2 when I rented that. I asked my mom for Dragon Warrior 2 for Christmas, and in true video-game-players’-mom fashion, she got me Double Dragon 2 instead, remembering the Dragon but forgetting the rest. While I liked that game, it wasn’t what I was looking for, so I traded it for Megaman 3. At least she got me a decent game, usually these sorts of stories involve being stuck with total crap.

  8. I still think the game boy version has better versions of the original tunes (its also the better game; the platforming is much worse, but it doesn’t have all that leveling nonsense). That version has an area in the beginning of stage 4 that has the full version of the nes level intro song, which is excellent and has the best remix in Neon.

  9. Brett,

    Another great episode. I’m donating to Patreon pretty much because of how good VGMpire is. So thanks and keep up the fantastic work.

    One question – Can you recommend any books on video games, what are your favorites?

    • Thanks! VGM isn’t really part of the Patreon but I’m sure they appreciate it. I do use all the same equipment so it’s kinda related 😛

      Ummm the only music book I’ve read is Maestro Mario (got on Kindle), though I also liked Service Games and you p much have to read Game Over: Press Start to Continue.

  10. Why wasn’t there a post of a new VGM Empire on Lasertime’s main page? I found this new episode by looking through Lasertime’s Facebook page.

  11. I had no idea this series was so prolific, I only played 2 with my friend YEARS after it came out, after there were other options like the eternal classic, Fighting Force. Great music that I was missing out on, sounds like I need to try out Neon to get all the context for that awesome soundtrack. Great episode, always good to get another set of opinions on a series!

  12. Love DD. This is great.

  13. I never played DD, but I’ve been weirdly familiar with the NES music for years. It was in my 1996 MIDI (good lawd) collection of game music, but the file name didn’t clue me in to the fact that it came from Double Dragon. Mystery solved! I loved the guests on this episode, by the way–they really knew their shiz and talked about the games with fun reverence.

  14. This episode hits all the right notes for me. I’ve always been a HUGE fan of Double Dragon, mostly because of 2 on the NES, which was an amazing beat em up (notorious platforms aside.) I remember the original arcade, but I encountered it when it was already a little dated, along with Ninja Gaiden Arcade, so neither of them impressed me much on first encounter. But that second NES game. Oh man… Dare I even say it, I liked DD2 better than Final Fight, even despite those huge, gorgeous sprites of Capcom’s brawler. The mechanics were just deeper in Double Dragon, you had more ways of disposing of enemies and creative flairs like knocking goons off ledges, kicking them up spiky ceilings, tossing them out helicopter doors, into dynamite, etc. The game also had amazing music and neat little cutscenes to book end each stage. And I’m glad you guys brought up that poster! Such amazing artwork that totally embodied the pulpy neon goodness of the Warriors/Streets of Fire/Fist of The North Star era. All in all, one of my all time favorite NES titles.

    Then came Double Dragon 3 and it was a CRUSHING disappointment. Luckily it was just a rental, but it left me disgusted and certainly ranks amongst the most anti-climactic gaming experiences from my old school gaming days.

    Overall Double Dragon was a frustrating franchise to be a fan of. It was always such a fractured property, with seemingly zero consistency in art style, continuously switching development teams, misguided Americanized adaptations and no clear sense of direction. As a kid I just felt that many of the games were “fake”, or that the cover artwork just wasn’t right. Even as a great fan of the Battletoads, I was a little iffy on the depictions of the Lee brothers on that game, since it felt much more like a RARE game than a “genuine” adventure. For my money, the last time we saw the “real” brothers was probably back in Super Double Dragon. Actually a neat game, but a very early SNES title and marred with choppy animation and lack of polish compared to Capcom’s fighters. Since then I personally think the Double Dragon remake on IOS is probably the closest we’ve gotten to the original art style of the first 3 games. I appreciate DD: NEON and what it did, even if it felt more like a jokey tribute to the franchise than a “real” entry.

    And on a side note. My mind was blown when I learned that director Yoshihisa Kishimoto also created “Road Avenger”, another Mad Max inspired favorite, and that the red car from that game is that same iconic Camaro/Corvette thing parked in the Lee brother’s garage. And to bring it full circle… The animation on Road Avenger was supervised by the same person that oversaw Transformers: The Movie! Because all awesome things are related. 🙂

    Enough ramblings. Much love for Double Dragon, much love for Yoshihisa Kishimoto and much love for VGMpire, a great podcast indeed! Keep up the awesome work and thanks for highlighting a series that I wish to see reborn one day. Here’s hoping Arc System Works does a good job with the reboot!

  15. For those interested here is the arraigned album. It’s hot stuff!

  16. Great episode! I grew up with regular NES Double Dragon.

  17. Hey all,
    I picked up the DD Neon Soundtrack over the weekend. Very hot stuff! Incidentally, the “Pick yourself up and dance” track totally sounds like replay music from Sega Rally or Sonic R.

    Anyway, you guys should pick this one up. It’s available on Bandcamp via a donation amount of your choice and I believe it mostly goes into Jake Kaufman’s pocket.

  18. Now, there is the Double Dragon fighting game based on the movie, but there’s another unofficial game made by the folks over at SNK called Rage of the Dragons. The story is kind of based on DD 2 from the sounds of it; Marion is killed so JImmy goes off to do his Sabin thing and Billy stays behind to become a cop. No clue what the rest of the story is about, sorry. It’s a 2-on-2 fighter, and most of the new characters actually look cool. Plus, the music isn’t all that bad either. Here is the soundtrack plus some voice samples.

    Thanks for the episode as always!

  19. I totally forgot a lot of the Double Dragon music, but once that level 1 music started for DD1 I could hum along with it note for note.

    However, my most vivid memory of the series comes from Double Dragon II. During my childhood, whenever I visited my dad every other weekend we would often eat breakfast at a local International House of Pancakes, which had a Double Dragon II arcade machine. I think they set the machine up to turn the music off entirely, but the sound effects still worked. For that game, Billy/Jimmy didn’t do a traditional jump kick. It would be a standing jump kick that hit guys behind them. I would always remember this because the Michael Jacksonesque sound effect they used for the move was horribly out of place and hilarious.

  20. Always liked the DD NES stuff (That title theme from DD1 will be forever burned into my brain) but had no idea the Double Dragon: Neon soundtrack was so amazing! Definitely gonna have to pick the game up on Steam one of these days.

  21. Late to the party here, but Double Dragon’s music is exquisite. Most beat-em-ups have great music, in fact. Got to pump up the adrenaline levels to somehow defeat dozens of mooks without your own stamina dropping!

  22. Bought the DD Neon Soundtrack because of this episode – I did not realize it was by virtjk. Great soundtrack, a must have! Also: THX for your great work with vgmpire!

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