|The arcade version of Double Dragon had a simple premise: helpless Marian had been kidnapped by thugs, and twin martial artist brothers Jimmy Lee (blonde hair) and Billy Lee (dark hair) beat up a lot of people to get her back. It wasn’t much to work with in making a cartoon series, but compared to the arcade version of Pac-Man, this was Shakespeare.
In the animated Double Dragon, Billy and Jimmy were separated at birth. Billy grew up under the tutelage of the Oldest Dragon, leader of the crimefighting ninja clan known as the Dragonmasters. Operating out of Metro City’s Chinatown, the Dragonmasters battled the evil Shadowboss and his henchmen (including everyone’s favorite 7’2” big-head thug, Abobo).
By his eighteenth birthday, Billy was a special Metro City deputy and an instructor in the Dragonmasters’ martial arts school. One evening, long-lost Jimmy Lee burst into the school, claiming the Shadowboss was after him. Actually, Jimmy was the Shadowboss, a fact that set off several episodes of violent sibling rivalry. Neither brother could actually kill the other, because each felt the other’s pain.
Before long, things were patched up between the two, and they teamed up to fight the real enemy, the ultra-evil Shadowmaster. Aside from the martial arts moves and street weapons of the video game, the rival gangs also had at their disposal a large supply of battle vehicles and laser guns. Another change from the video game was Marian’s character. No longer a damsel in distress, she was now a Metro City police officer and could kick her own share of buttocks.
Double Dragon was packaged into DIC/Bohbot’s weekend package Amazin’ Adventures for its syndicated run. While the cartoon wasn’t a phenomenal success, the video game continued to spin out sequels, becoming one of the most influential games of its time.