Double Dragon
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Taito
1987
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The spark that set the beat-em-up genre ablaze in the late 80s, Double Dragon pits martial artists Billy and Jimmy Lee (also known as Hammer and Spike) against the Black Warriors gang as they fight to rescue mutual love interest Marian. Though not the first game with beat-em-up mechanics, Double Dragon brought a gritty martial arts atmosphere inspired by Bruce Lee movies and more complex fighting mechanics to the genre, and was cited as an inspiration for Final Fight and other well-known beat-em-ups. Developed by Technos Japan and distributed in the US by Taito, the game spawned two sequels, a spinoff Neo Geo fighting game, an animated series and a live-action movie, and is still a classic for its simple yet satisfying style and gameplay.

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