#190 – Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones

A depressing sequel to one of the greatest co-op games on the NES.
Even the cover is a step backwards.
Danger: this game sucks.

PLAYERS: 1-2 simultaneous



GENRE: Beat-em-up

RELEASE DATE: February 1991

Kidney stones? Gallstones? Stones upside your head? Biblical stoning? Double Dragon III brings the pain with little regard to the player attempting to beat the game. Not only are the foes a great deal harder in this entry, but you only have one life. Let me write that again: you only have one life and the game begins like you started on expert mode. Having another player join the fray is like taking a couple aspirin when you have a migraine: any sort of relief you feel is a placebo effect. The real trick to this game is learning the vast array of moves (surprisingly vast) and repeating them ad nauseum until you say, “This is silly. I shouldn’t have to repeat these powerful moves over and over again simply to beat some peon. I’m turning this off and playing Double Dragon II.” My personal favorite move was the mid-air somersault. If I pulled off two or three of those, my foe would be vanquished, as opposed to the five to six times I’d have to punch/kick his face. I have no problem with a game series increasing its difficulty, but Double Dragon III does it poorly. The game would still be difficult if you gave the player three lives and left the computer AI the same. Couldn’t the one-life option be for the super hardcore players? Here’s the real issue: maybe with time, energy, and patience, you could destroy this game, but it’s still not as memorable as Double Dragon II. After the blockbuster epic-ness of the latter, Double Dragon III is a real kick in the stones.


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14 replies on “#190 – Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones”

I remember playing this game super carefully once and actually making it to (I think it was) the final boss…who went on the severely beat me :@

I didn’t HATE this game, I think that it’s predecessors simply built up expectations that this game didn’t deliver on – And yeah it’s really challenging.

I just finished my review for this game and I noticed something that no one else has. They didn’t just mispell Billy’s name, they also screwed up Marian’s name too. They spelled it Marion, the masculine form of the name. How can a developer make such careless mistakes?

Anyway, great review. I’m glad you consulted GameFaqs and were able to appreciate it more than most.

Actually, Marion works for females just fine. Marion Davies (silent film actress, extremely popular in the ’20s), Marion Crane (Janet Leigh’s character in PSYCHO), and Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen’s character in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK) for starters.

I totally agree. This game was just too difficult. One of the major tastes of difficulty you face is when you beat Chin Seimei and go to Japan… to be confronted by Ninjas! You’d think Chin would be able to fare better, but he gets his a** kicked just as much as Billy… and I think the somersault attack doesn’t work against them 🙁
The fifth level is even more of a nightmare, where Yagyu Ranzou gets his a** whipped against his own former henchmen. But the worst has to be that final boss (a possessed Marion?), with her invisible long distance attacks and everything. I somehow defeated her a few times, but instead of getting any “thank you” or “congratulations”, all I got was three stones on the screen.

I don’t remember if we had actually beat this or not . . a lot more fun with a second player, and I remember that if you beat a boss, he would join your team and then you could play the boss and use his special moves, which I thought was pretty cool.

this game had good ideas but was obviously lazy or rushed in its execution. The new bosses becoming playable characters and the new moves were good but they removed some moves from DD2 and the head grab plus knee bashing was so slow and way less satisfying. At least you could kick forward this time. The laziness were less levels with boring level design. You’d think playing as a ninja would be cool but you were more likely to run off a platform and plunge to your death in Egypt. But fighting the mummies and final boss is a highlight. As a kid I always thought the music during the mummy fights was scary and creepy.

Being able to kick forward was cool, on the other hand you were no longer able to attack enemies sneaking up behind you.

ok you all just suck, I recently started playing and got far right off the bat. I used the spin kick and Chins punches are strong against the ninjas. I found the game excellent and most people that beat it agree. only those that are too sucky to get passed first couple stages say it sucks.

I’ve made it through this game through sheer will and determination (because that’s what you did back in the day when you got a game for your birthday and had to convince yourself it was good).

There is no way i would ever call this a good game… It doesn’t even come close to the previous 2 entries.

You think this game was hard? Imagine me making it to the end boss, seeing a girl, and thinking I had saved Marion and beat the game. I let go of my controller started celebrating then looked back in time to see myself get obliterated. After that I never played again. Not my finest gaming moment.

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