Discuss your latest vintage Amiga finds!
User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:12 pm

For some time now I've heard stories - often typed in hushed voices and attitudes of awe - when it came to the Amiga version of Double Dragon II.

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.
Double Dragon II for Amiga - never opened still in the shrink wrap ever since it was made in 1989.
Back cover of Double Dragon II for Amiga. None of the screenshots show the flawless Amiga version, which is beyond bizarre as it is likely the best arcade conversion ever made during the time it was released.
Double Dragon II for Amiga was made for the most basic Amiga standards. It fit on one single floppy disk, was not hard drive installable, and - apparently - was not copyable, either.

In any case, I decided to finally break it free of its cellophane tomb and give it a go.
The unboxing begins.
This type of unboxing evokes a weird mixture of giddy pleasure and guilt whenever I do it. More the former, though.

I was slightly surprised at how much paperwork came in the box.
The box included more than just a disk and an advertisement for other stuff. Funny: it had a card on the controls, and a manual with the same damned instructions (with, like, 2 pages between a very nice cover).

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:
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)
The new Agnus?

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...
Intro title screen that appears briefly during the gorgeous theme music.

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.
The game looks and plays BEAUTIFULLY. It's like the arcade game right in your home. In 1989, this must have made some dudes totally crap their pants. If only all arcade ports looked and sounded like this.

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!
User avatar
Zippy Zapp

by Zippy Zapp posted Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:07 pm

The game could just be a trackloader with copy protection that won't allow it to read under workbench. Many games are this way. Glad you got it working.
User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:43 pm

I got the same error on the 2000 regardless if it was run from WB or on boot. From WB it give me the disk errors. On a boot attempt it would Guru Meditate and crash. Total mess.

But I see what you mean. Someone on Twitter posited the interesting idea that perhaps the copy protection itself is causing this issue. Regardless, I'd heard the notorious stories around this game for some time. I am glad I got it to work, too.

It does make me wonder a few things...

Like, I wonder if I tried to copy it using the 500 if that ADF would work on a similar 500? If so, that profile could be used in emulation, for example, for the tons of folks who simply want to play the game but can't jump through the hardware hoops.

I'm guessing it won't allow itself to be copied under any circumstances, though, or I think we'd see its file floating around out there somewhere.
User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:10 pm

It is worth noting that this game was created for WHDLoad in 2012.

I don't typically use WHDLoad and only have it installed on 1 machine, which is not my daily. I'm not judging here, it's just not really my cup of tea most of the time. But for those that just want to play this game that is a very fine option indeed and probably the most practical. It also has a ton of the original bugs repaired, which is really nice. Getting ahold of a working original floppy is no simple task.
User avatar
Zippy Zapp

by Zippy Zapp posted Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:04 am

Interesting. So I have seen a few games over the years that would not work on an A2000 with the newer revisions 1MB chip RAM. Some games just don't like more then 512k RAM and for some reason, whether it be copy protection or the way it was coded it just won't work. What version of Kickstart is your 500 and 2000 running as it looks like 1.3? This should be fine too. Back then we tried and with some success degrader apps that would hid extra RAM and floppy drives as some games refuse to boot if you have more then one. Crazy stuff in the early days when they were coding strictly for A1000 and later A500. But usually game past 1989/1990 started to be more compatible with 2.0 coming out.

I don't use WHDLoad either I prefer the floppies but to each his own.
User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:13 am

Yeah, the 2000 is definitely 1.3. I believe the 500 is as well.

I've read about the degrader utilities but haven't used them. Well, I've used Relokick on my 1200, but it never solved any problems for me. It's always been easier for me to just move the 1200 off my desk and use my 2000. (Albeit, it takes a little muscle.) :lol:

But relockick doesn't affect RAM et al like you describe.
User avatar
Richard Aplin

by Richard Aplin posted Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:40 am

The original uncracked disk of DD2 probably won't work on all that much post-A500; the copy protection was a bit crazy on that game and did indeed break compatibility with some systems. However I think it all got fixed between then and nowadays; I'd assume the WHDLoad version works on a variety of the later Amigas...
User avatar
Worksop/ UK

by ptyerman posted Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:15 am

WOW! Richard Aplin himself appears here on the forum. Good day to you. Your works of the past are still greatly appreciated.
User avatar
Richard Aplin

by Richard Aplin posted Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:09 pm

Thanks! Writing games was a great way to mis-spend my youth (well, one of the ways...) :D

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests