It's the time of the year when the days get shorter, retailers stay open longer, big games are released and there seems to be a holiday every other week. Defunct Games wants to ring in this festive season with a look at the most memorable video game themes of all time. For five weeks straight, Cyril Lachel and Kevin Bailey will share their thoughts on themes from the last thirty years. Join us every day between November 22 and December 25 for The 34 Game Themes of Christmas!
Double Dragon is one of the most influential games of all time. While not the first 2D brawler, it was definitely the one that captured the imaginations of mainstream. Perhaps it's because of the brutal violence against women at the beginning or the completely pointless brother-on-brother fight at the end, but something about Double Dragon spoke to the masses. It spawned way too many sequels, a Neo Geo fighting game, comic books and even a movie. Maybe this theme song will clue us in on why Double Dragon was such a phenomenon.
This Double Dragon theme is catchy, I'll give it that. It starts out strong, letting you know that it's building to something special. It even repeats three times, just to build the tension. Unfortunately, what comes next isn't worth the hype. The melody may be sweet, but it doesn't convey the machismo I expect from Double Dragon. After all, this is a game in which two knuckleheads battle thugs through countless stages before remembering that somebody is going home empty handed. This is the type of song I enjoy in the moment, only to immediately forget the melody mere minutes later. Either I've taken a few too many hits to the head or this Double Dragon theme isn't as memorable as it should be.
Double Dragon's theme is exactly what I'd expect for a theme song from the 80s. Not just for a video game, but in general. Hard rock and metal were in, and that's exactly what this song aims to be. Like many bands playing that style of music, this theme features two very active lead guitar sounds over a simple repeating eighth note bass pattern and similarly basic drums. The most interesting thing about this to me is how many notes the bass hits, suggesting that there are many more chords featured than in your standard song. The two busy guitar parts are of course what will really grab your attention, and despite the bass movement these parts are deceptively simple. Lots of arpeggios and pentatonic progressions. It's a fairly standard metal lead guitar that's catchy and exciting to draw you into the game.
The first game had a twist ending that people are still talking about. Tomorrow we'll take a look at the sequel, which doesn't have a memorable twist ending we're still talking about. We already know what is hiding just below the surface.