One of the wonderful things about mobile gaming is that it’s powerful enough to render complex graphics, but the controls are flexible enough to essentially become any controller. So it is with Double Dragon Trilogy… but how does a classic arcade game translate to mobile?
Feels Like The First Time
When you boot the game, it might feel a bit like a flashback. The original arcade graphics are there, largely unchanged; they feel a bit cleaned up and the animation is smoother than you might remember, but there are Billy and Jimmy, the oddly named martial arts experts, in all their blocky glory. In a nice touch, the graphics change with the cabinet that you use; Double Dragon III will look a lot better than the first one when you fire it up.
A Fighting Story
This is, to some degree, the Double Dragon ’80s and ’90s kids remember from the arcade days, and it can even be played straight through, just like the maddening original series of games. But if you don’t hate yourself, you can also opt for a “story” mode that unlocks levels and includes achievements.
In a nice touch, you can also tweak the difficulty; “mobile” is the easiest, albeit slightly condescending, difficulty. Those who chucked controllers the first time around will be happy to have the option.
Out Of Control
The main problem is the controls. We tried this game on a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and an iPhone 5, and in both cases, they left something to be desired. They weren’t as laggy as other games but you’re going to have to look to press the right button, and in a game this hard, that can kill you. A controller will solve this problem, but if you don’t have one, or just want to play the game on the bus, you’re up the creek. Still, if you’re nostalgic for an arcade classic, this is worth the $3 to get all three games.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.