Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tales of the Famiclone - How I Discovered Beat 'em Ups.

I wouldn't get my own famiclone (we kids just called it the Micro Genius) until late 1993 and by then the Super NES (not to mention the Sega Mega Drive) would have been in full swing.

But I'm getting slightly ahead of myself. Rewind back a year to 1992. It was the new school term, I was in Standard 5 and there was a new kid in my class. His name was Azmi and a bunch of us was chummy with him. He had a Micro Genius with a bunch of games and invited us to come to his house and play.

When a bunch of people come over to play video games, the games of choice would of course be multiplayer games and so one of the games we played was Double Dragon II.


To say the game blew me away was an understatement. The games I had played prior to this were simple one-screen games like Donkey Kong, Popeye, Tetris and like I mentioned in my previous post, Battle City.

Double Dragon II had a story (which I could not understand due to it being in Japanese) told in cutscenes, something those other games I played didn't have! Unfortunately my friends had the tendency to skip over by pressing Start. I was always a little annoyed by that because I really wanted to savour the delicious anime-styled cutscenes. To this day, I don't skip cutscenes... ever.

And the gameplay. Down right addictive. Press one button to punch this way, punch another button to kick that way, press both to jump and off we go! Yeah! I was some dude in red, my friend was the dude in blue and everyone else needed to be punched to death and that was all we needed to know. It was exhilarating. We played that game over and over until the music kept playing in my mind days after.

We didn't finish the game in that day's session, so for sure we would visit Azmi again another day to try beat the game. And beat it we did, eventually.

Reaching the ending was oh-so-sweet, never mind the fact we didn't understand what was going on. We just knew we won and we were some kind of heroes... and there was a girl. Or something. We didn't really pay attention.


I didn't think about it at the time but I was definitely impressed with how some scenes were set in that game. Fighting through the mean back alleys, climbing pipes to get to the rooftops, only for the bad guy to escape on a helicopter.

But in the ensuing cutscene, it turns out the heroes manage to climb on to the helicopter anyway and that sets another memorable scene - the fight in the helicopter. The screen is remarkably smaller, only about three quarters of the usual game screen to show the cramped space in the helicopter.


If that wasn't already bad enough, the door in the corner of the screen kept opening and shutting and every time it opened, it would drag everyone, heroes and enemies included, towards it. So it became a sort of strategy to try get the bad guys knocked down and wouldn't have time to get back to their feet before they got sucked out. It felt like I was in an Eighties Action Movie and I was the Star.

To this day, I occasionally load up the Double Dragon II Arranged soundtrack and get transported back to a simpler time. Of course, I could just load up the game itself and play it myself but I don't have a NES, Famicom or famiclone anymore and playing on an emulator just isn't the same.


Double Dragon II was my first beat 'em up game and I was interested to play more games like it after we had played it to death. I asked Azmi, "Any other games similar to this?"

"Wanna try Double Dragon III?" he said.

"They made a sequel???"

"It's not as good..."

"I don't care! I wanna play it!"

But that was when Azmi's mum came home from work, which was my cue to leave.

So another day, another Double Dragon, and I guess, another blog post!

No comments:

Post a Comment