When good box art goes bad, part 1

When I was seven or eight years old, I loved Double Dragon II on NES. Not only was it about beating people up (+1) with weapons (+2), not only did it change between 2D and 3D, but it was co-op (+1000). NES games with genuine multiplayer were like gold dust in those days, with many offering it up on the box specs only to produce a lame turn-taking mode. So Double Dragon II, alongside Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers, ruled the roost after school.

I later found out that what I thought was Double Dragon II is in fact very different from the original Double Dragon II arcade machine – not the least of which changes were the 2D sections that my younger self somehow enjoyed.

Anyway, the copy I had came in a box with this art. It’s fair enough, as far as B-movie action stills go, and even manages to get a few nods to the actual game in there. And I love the metallic sheen over the whole thing, like this is a city where baby oil is mandatory.

But then the other day, what should I see but something that makes the above look like a da Vinci. A true monstrosity. Virgin licensed the game for distribution on other platforms, and clearly the original art wasn’t part of the deal. So they came up with the amazing spam-face men. I think the only thing to admire about this is that it keeps the low-budget theme going by just not drawing one of the thugs. Note also presence of blood to indicate the Virgin brand’s ‘edginess’.

It makes you want to cry. Or at least vomit on Richard Branson. Still, £9.99 for the Spectrum cassette? Can’t complain.

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