The two Double Dragon games on NES are markedly different from their arcade counterparts — and a great deal of fun in their own right.
Double Dragon II: The Revenge plays up the platform game elements quite considerably — and also introduces the simultaneous two-player mode that was absent from the original NES game. It’s a great brawler well worth spending some time with today.
Retro gaming has been growing increasingly popular over the course of the last few years; as we move further and further away from gaming’s earliest days, it seems people are becoming more and more keen to know the medium’s roots.
This is absolutely great, as there are lots of different aspects you can explore the history of through retro gaming. You can see how storytelling has developed over the course of numerous generations of RPGs and adventure games. You can see the rise and fall of numerous mechanical genres. You can even see how now-famous creators got started!
There’s a growing problem, however; as retro gaming — and by this I mean “officially sanctioned” retro gaming, rather than the legal grey area that is emulation and ROM downloads — becomes more popular, it also becomes more difficult and more expensive to get involved with.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Mario Bros. ever since I first encountered it — not on a Nintendo platform, as you might expect, but on the Atari 8-bit range of computers.
This 1983 arcade game from Nintendo isn’t the most fondly remembered installment in the portly plumber’s long-running adventures — but revisiting it today reveals it to still be a lot of fun and eminently worth playing.
Plus, if you have a Nintendo Switch Online membership, it is, at the time of writing, one of the many NES games you get included as part of your subscription.
I’ve always enjoyed games that subvert your expectations in one way or another — be it narratively, mechanically or both. And Tecmo’s Mighty Bomb Jack from 1987 is nothing if not charmingly fast and loose with the definition of what you might expect from a NES-era platform game.
I wasn’t familiar with Mighty Bomb Jack back when it was “current”, but I did have a soft spot for Elite’s solid Atari ST port of the 1984 original arcade game. That was a much simpler game; what Mighty Bomb Jack does is take the base mechanics from its predecessor and apply them in an interesting and unusual new way.
I’d never heard of it prior to my first encounter with it yesterday, when I was attracted by the box art I saw in my Launchbox library. No-one I’ve spoken to about it today has ever heard of it. I’ve found very little information about or discussion of it online, save for a few YouTube commenters on gameplay videos reminiscing about how much they enjoyed playing this game back in the day. And I’ve never seen it come up in articles about retro collections or “hidden gems of the NES library”.
The game I’m talking about is Arkista’s Ring, developed by Nihon Micom Kaihatsu (aka NMK), published by the American arm of Sammy Corporation (without crediting NMK) and released exclusively in North America in 1990.