I always thought, "Really? The beat-em-up brawler?"
But my curiosity had been piqued. I knew Golden Axe was basically the same game but of a different theme. And Axe definitely had it's moments (especially the special magic attacks). When you had 2-player going, it was a lot of mindless fun.
So, I started looking a while back. And everywhere I looked (the usual places) I always ran into the same things: the game was un-copyable. No one had ever cracked it. I downloaded ADFs from various locations and they were all the same. When I tried to load them on my A2000 running WB 1.3, the ADFs simply didn't work. None of them.
This had happened to me before - multiple times - when I'd been running exclusively on my A1200 on 3.1. I'd run across several classic titles that were only coded for 1000s or 500s on the most basic hardware and OSes.
Determined, I turned my gaze towards Ebay. And holy smoke did I get lucky. I found a never opened, shrink-wrapped copy for $25. It had a Buy It Now option, and I quickly pulled the trigger. When I finally got it in my hands, I couldn't believe this old gem from 1989 had never been played on an Amiga machine. Double Dragon II? The arcade classic.
In any case, I decided to finally break it free of its cellophane tomb and give it a go.
I was slightly surprised at how much paperwork came in the box.
Best of all was the contest promo. God I'd love to mail this in if the address was even real anymore.
And then, with all old software, the moment of truth. Although, in my own experience whenever I find NOS NIB games for Amiga, I've never had one ever fail on me (knock on wood). I might get the occasional read error, but on Retry it has always worked. I inserted the disk in my A2000 from the Workbench screen.
And then... the dreaded Diskdoctor message.
I was stunned. And a bit sad. I was really looking forward to playing this game with my soon-to-be 8 year-old son. I'd already pumped up the game a bit. He came rushing into my study after a while and asked, "Is it ready yet?" And I had to tell him, "It doesn't work. It's broken for some reason." He looked down after saying, "Oh" and left the room.
Later in the afternoon, out of boredom, I started searching Google. Then I ran across one really old text document off the comp.sys.amiga.hardware newsgroup from 1992 cached on an German FTP server. It had been written by Colin Gould of Stanford using a Stanford email address (an awesome email address, too: amigaman@leland.Stanford.EDU). The post concerned "troubleshooting & DIY repair files", and was extremely long. Two-thirds of the way down in the text, Gould wrote:
The new Agnus?iv-3. Compatibility
To date (20-Oct-91, 18:11EST) I have personally tested at least 400 pieces of software with the new Agnus. I have found three programs which do not work :
* Double Dragon II (Completely screwed up)
My A2000 very well could have the "new" Agnus. And I'm pretty sure none of my 1200s would suffice, either.
I did have an A500 - completely stock and never upgraded or modded, which was a gift to me from a dear friend when I first started my obsession. Most of the time it sits in its original box. But today I decided to pull it out - as an experiment.
I plugged it into my currently unused stereo Commodore 1084S monitor. Then I plugged in two joysticks. Just in case.
I put the disk into the old yellowed 500's floppy drive and flicked on the power. I waited. It started crunching. Then, for maybe half a second, a flash of garbled characters flashed on the screen and disappeared. The drive kept crunching. And then...
Some of the most incredible music I've ever heard come out of an Amiga flooded the room. The theme music, along with the title graphics, sprang to life for the first time in nearly 30 years off this ancient disk and lonely 500. Suddenly, they were young again. And I was, too.
The music is so amazing, I recorded it and have uploaded a very raw video to YouTube for your enjoyment.
This game will be in the [url-https://amigalove.com/games.php]Games Library[/url] soon. Part of me is proud to have gotten this game to work. And yet part of me is also a bit sad that this game was never fully cracked (not to my knowledge, at least) because it means a very small handful have ever experienced the glory of the Amiga version.
Later this evening, my son and I sat down side by side and played it together. It really is arcade perfect. The only downside at this stage is I haven't figured out how to add more credits! And, it seems to be 2-player only. But for me, that's perfect, too. Check out the theme music - it's amazing. Unfortunately, the YouTube compression crunch doesn't do it justice. I'll see if I can find a more lossless way to share the tunes in the near future.
It really is a damned shame this game was only coded for one (or two) models of Amiga back in the day. But if you've got an un-modded Agnus Amiga on 1.3... damn, son, do it just for the music if nothing else! Better yet, call a buddy over to your house, or a young niece or nephew, and get to kickin' some butt!