Poor old Jimmy and Billy Dragon. Their lot is not a happy one. Not only do they keep having to nip around all over the world to rescue their "babe", but they have also got the most inappropriate names in a beat-'em-up ever - Jimmy and Billy. Very butch. Might as well just call them Smeg and Bep. Or John and Norma. An unhappy lot indeed.
Well they ain't out of the fire yet. Despite having finally dumped their kidnap-prone missus, they are still "doing the business" and kicking rear ends all over the globe. The reason? Stones. Yes, it seems that they have bumped into some wizened old gypsy dude who told them to risk life and limb and go and fetch some spooky bricks back from various foreign climes. And being stupid gets, Jimmy and Billy go along with it. Pillocks.
Now this could be my imagination, but aren't there a series of really crap adverts for a certain brand of bitter in which two jolly northern working men's club types travel the world and talk about - gasp - Stones?
Could be this the world's first bitter-'em-up? Is there a bonus level where you have to earn extra lives by making unimaginative semi-racist jokes at the locals' expense and laughing in loud raucous tones? Er, actually no. Thank God.
It is, pop pickers, merely a beat-'em-up. Plain and simple. Various joystick manoeuvres twist our heroes into a selection of fighting moves, all of which bring a tear to the eye and a twang to the underwear. Weapons can be purchased from shops, as can extra lives, energy and special moves. The shop sections try to inject a little bit of novelty into the proceedings, but fail in no uncertain terms. The instructions mention nothing of the shops, so there's no way of knowing what weapons you'll get, or what moves, or anything. It is all hit and miss until you can suss out what you will get for yer money.
The instructions really are dismal. They tell you how to perform the various moves, but there is no mention how to get extra coins, or what special actions are available. It seems a bit pointless to include a feature like the shop in the game and then not explain it. I don't know. Grumble, grumble. That aside, DD3 is a competent beat-'em-up. It is nothing we have not seen a hundred times before, but it is slick and smooth so we will let that pass. Things have been planned well, so there is none of your Final Fight "finish it in half an hour" malarkey here.
And so we come to those last few "summing up" paragraphs. The graphics could have been better. The backgrounds are detailed and there are plenty of boxes and things to leap about on. The sprites look suitably, er, spritely and they skip about in a jolyy, if somewhat mincing, fashion. But they lack that extra "shazam" that makes you go "Ooh look at the shazam on those sprites".
Sound is restricted to a rather nice trickling stream/tune at the beginning and some solid FX. As with the graphics, the sound is good but not good enough to leave an impression.
To be fair, Double Dragon 3 is a lot better than most of the lacklustre beat-'em-ups that the software houses churn out. Unfortunately, it is not different enough to make you go "Oh yeh, Double Dragon 3. That's the one with the famous cottage cheese sub-section". Instead, you will probably go "Oh yeh, Double Dragon . That's another Double Dragon game isn't it?" Ah well, another day, another beat- 'em-up.