Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones for the NES sucks. It sucks so bad it doesn't deserve to exist today.
Don't get me wrong, I finished the game solo, and felt it was wasted time. There's no reward, not even a catharsis in finishing it all the way through. It's not tough like Dark Souls or Demon's Souls where after achieving some victories, you can actually settle down, have a beer and feel good about yourself. No, nah, Double Dragon III sucks so bad it denies you the satisfaction that you've even beaten it.
Let's double down on the rant and finally add some context, shall we?
First off, the game starts pretty okay. You can do some pretty nifty moves that are hard to pull. There are only five levels in the game and each one is a gauntlet of fighting endless enemies. Some of them will be spawning off screen and hit you with a few cheap shots. You'll be fighting two or three at a time, and you can always expect more over the slightest scroll of the screen. (Not really, but you get the point.)
As if the gauntlet isn't already tough, there are no restorative items to nourish your health bar. You get to pick up the occasional knife to toss at your enemy but that's pretty much it.Ã
Though you get to equip weapons that you can use for a limited number of times. You'd have to decide whether to use those weapons on the gauntlet of enemies, or on the tougher douche bags, or the bosses. And while there are no health pickups, you at least get new characters with different skills to switch with. That's as good as restoring health, I suppose. Mind you, if that character dies, he's dead throughout the game.
Also, there's no continues save for the last two levels. You die once you have to retry from the beginning. In the last two levels you get one continue and then it's back from square one.
I can actually forgive all those nuisances. All of it. If it weren't for the final level. Right off the bat, the level layout if different from everything you've been trained to do in this game. From standard "beat 'em up" Double Dragon III suddenly turns into a platformer. There are multiple pitfalls that will kill you. And while you're trying to figure all of this, two enemies from the start jump into your face. The knock backs from enemy attacks are scary things as they can hurl you on the pit. I guess that's why the developers added one continue from there.
Then there's the final boss and her final form that can do a bunch of stupid crazy crap. Like Force Push you into walls and fireballs and has an insane amount of health.Ã
In the end Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones is hard and unforgiving because of some bad level designs, which is a shame since the combat mechanics are really tight. The Sacred Stones is so bad, that Double Dragon 's current holder, Arc System Works - best known for stuff like Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, Dragon Ball FighterZ, among others, created Double Dragon IV in 2017, which takes place after Double Dragon II.
The Sacred Stones deserves no love.