Return of Double Dragon - Superior Japanese version of Super Double Dragon gets a Cart release

Super Double Dragon on SNES was definitely a hit but never considered a classic like the original. Maybe if the superior Japanese version hadn't been butchered on release in the west it might have been. Thankfully the people at Retroism are releasing Return of Double Dragon on NTSC cartridge. Join me as I recap on why Return of Double Dragon was so good, and why Tradewest are a bunch of shysters.

Being a Double Dragon nerd, I've played and seen everything adorned with a Double Dragon title. Oh the wonders and horrors I have witnessed (let's not speak about the 1994 film or the Cartoon series, it still hurts), but Super Double Dragon still stands out as a high point in the series and one of the finer Beat Em Ups on the SNES (which was absolutely saturated with the things so that was no mean feat). Why did Super DD stick out? Well it had a big movie set and lots of variety, something often lacking in scrolling beat em ups (for example it had a block button, even the hallowed Streets of Rage 2 doesn't have that little nugget). On top of that it was funny as fook.

However, some questionable edits took place when the game was released in Europe/US one year later by Tradewest. The end level was shortened by two segments. Options were removed so there was no sound test and difficulty setting, but even more importantly core gameplay elements were messed with for no good reason. I call sabotage, someone on the team was clearly a Final Fight fan. Maybe Tradewest was actually named that because they 'traded' things off in their ports to western consoles. The shysters.

So the go to version for me has always been Technos Japan's original Return of Double Dragon. Why? The combat is so much better. Subtle differences such as how a spinning kick inflicts combo hits rather than knocking an opponent down like in Super DD. The enemy placement and AI is much improved. Enemies will often dodge your attacks. Weapon combat is also vastly better, with the unfair insta-kill damage of knives and grenades reduced, and the ability to swap weapons while holding one making more of a difference to the flow of the game than you'd think. The coolest example of this is the fact that you can actually catch a thrown boomerang, the fundamental reason that a boomerang is not a stick.

Something that the shysters (that's right... shysters) at Tradewest had missed on their last trip to Australia.

So in conclusion, a quarter of a century is too long to wait for a physical release of the best version of this often forgotten gem, but better late than never. We've all learnt a valuable lesson about Tradewest. A lesson we should have learnt when they sent us hurtling down that bastard Turbo Tunnel in Battletoads. That they're absolute fooking shysters (yeah, I know that it's technically Rare's fault for programming it, but I'm riding the beef train with Tradewest).

Return of Double Dragon is released on August 21st and you can buy it here. You can find Christmas Milling hurling unfounded abuse at beloved software publishers on Twitter @GamesInBits.

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