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The Double Dragon name is synonymous with side-scrolling beat-'em-ups, and this third installment in the series — a port of the arcade title of the same name — doesn't deviate far from its well-known style of gameplay. The Lee brothers, Billy and Jimmy Lee, make their way home from a martial arts training excursion and encounter a fortuneteller named Hiruko. This little old lady informs them that their greatest (and nameless) challenge awaits them in Egypt.
They must first, however, retrieve the three Rosetta Stones from countries across the world before combating this force. From the USA to China, through Japan, Italy and finally Egypt, Billy and Jimmy will encounter a veritable army of both human and supernatural enemies, combating them with an array of martial arts maneuvers and deadly weapons. New additions to this installment in the series include eight selectable characters, additional moves such as the wall-jump kick and headstand, and the ability to purchase weapons.
Upon starting Double Dragon 3: The Arcade Game, you're given the option of plunging directly into the action or visiting the options menu; pressing A, B and C simultaneously brings this up, where you can adjust the amount of coins, listen to the tunes and sound effects, choose the starting characters or toggle the game's background music on and off.
As stated before, gameplay is of the traditional beat-'em-up variety, so each character moves from left to right, dispatching waves of foes with a variety of attacks. Four characters for each player may be selected, half of which are palette swaps; Billy and Jimmy Lee are the lead protagonists, decked out in jeans, boots and vests — the same trademark garb they've always worn.
Roney and Sunny could be described as muscle-bound versions of the Lees, minus the shirts. Masao and Nunio are the stereotypical Karate fighters, sporting blue and red gis, while Seime and Taime are best described as a cap-wearing Sammo Hung, with their rotund physiques and recognizable fighting stance.
All the characters share the same basic kicks, punches, jumps and other moves, but with a slightly different style. Yet some such as Roney and Sunny have more range in their attacks, but cannot jump as far or move as quickly as their smaller allies.
A second player can jump in at any time, watching your back and allowing you to perform tag-team maneuvers. Shops located at the start of most levels may be entered, in which you can purchase other playable characters, weapons fitting the theme of that level and extra health, each coin spent raising it by one-hundred percent.
Entering the USA, you'll take on biker opponents; decked out in leather jackets or T-shirts and jeans, these foes come in two varieties: tiny and obese. The same rings true for other levels, with big and small opponents; China pits you against a gaggle of Bruce Lee look-alikes; Japan has an army of Samurai; Italy features Roman warriors decked out in armor and wielding bows, while the supernatural evil lurking in Egypt is best left as a surprise.
While attempting to fend off the attacks of your foes, you must also avoid territorial hazards, such as spiked floors, flying arrows, thrusting spears and motorcycle or horse-mounted riders attempting to knock you down. And of course, it wouldn't be a Double Dragon title without conveyer belts — a series staple.
In addition to this, you're also under a strict time constraint, in which you must reach the end of the level and take out its boss. Bosses range from a beer-bellied biker with orange hair, to an explosive-lobbing Ninja, who splits into three duplicates of himself and bears a strong resemblance to Joe Musashi of Shinobi fame. ~ Geoffrey Douglas Smith, All Game Guide