Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone (ダブルドラゴン3 The Rosetta Stone) is a side-scrolling beat 'em up produced by Technos Japan Corp. that was originally released as a coin-operated arcade game in 1991. It is the second sequel to Double Dragon for the arcades, following Double Dragon II: The Revenge. A Nintendo Entertainment System game loosely based on the arcade version was released, along with conversions for the Genesis, Game Boy, and various computer platforms.
An attract sequence from the arcade version showing three player characters fighting off against enemies.The premise of Double Dragon 3 is explained on the game's attract sequence: while returning to their home from a training trip, Billy and Jimmy Lee cross paths with a fortune teller named Hiruko. The fortune teller cryptically tells the brothers that they must collect the three "Rosetta Stones" scattered around the world in order to face a mysterious new adversary awaiting them in Egypt. Depending on the game's configuration, up to two or three players can play the game (similar to The Combatribes, another beat-'em-up by Technos released during the same year). As usual, the first two players take control of Billy and Jimmy in that order, while the third player assumes the role of Sonny, a yellow-clad palette swap of the Lee brothers.
The game uses a three-button control configuration like the previous titles, but discards the directional-based attack buttons from Double Dragon II, reverting back to the "Punch" and "Kick" setup of the first game. Most of the techniques from the first two titles are not featured in this installment such as the elbow punch and the hair pull, although new ones were added in their place such as a belly-to-back throw and a running head-butt. There are also techniques that be performed with another player character such as a back-to-back hurricane kick and a triangle jump kick. The player can also jump over fallen enemies.
Certain areas in the game feature weapon shops where the player can gain additional power-ups for their character such as new moves, agility, energy, and weapons, by inserting additional credits into the game. The player can also purchase new playable characters that will replace their current character when they're killed. There are at least three additional character types in addition to the default one that the player starts the game with: the Urquidez brothers, the Chin brothers, and the Oyama brothers.
The game is divided into five stages, each taking place in a different country: America, China, Japan, Italy, and Egypt. Each stage feature their own enemy characters that fit with the setting and motif (i.e: the enemies in Japan are swordsmen in a castle, with a ninja as the boss).
The Player Select screen from the Japanese arcade version.The Japanese version of the Double Dragon 3 arcade game differs from the western release in that the player can select their character before starting the game. Players can choose between a Lee brother character or any of the other three featured character types (Urquidez, Chin, or Oyama). The weapon shops from the western release are not featured in the Japanese version, thus the two extra moves that could be purchased by the player in the western version (the hurricane kick and the one-armed headbutt) are available by default (although the hurricane kick is slightly more difficult to perform), while weapons can be found lying on the ground in certain stages (although, only the Lee brothers can use weapons).
Nintendo Entertainment System
Screenshot of the NES version of Double Dragon III.A Nintendo Entertainment System game loosely based on the arcade game, titled Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones (or Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone in Japan) was released on February 22, 1991 in Japan and North America. As with the NES version of the second game, it was published by Technos in Japan and by Acclaim Entertainment in North America and the PAL region.
The NES version of Double Dragon III follows the same premise as the arcade version. However, the game's script was completely rewritten for its English localization, with Billy and Jimmy being given a motive to help out Hiruko search for the Sacred Stones by having Marion (the heroine from previous games) disappear again. The final boss, originally a revived Cleopatra in the arcade and Famicom versions, is now identified as a possessed version of Marion named Queen Noiram.
The NES version features different gameplay than its arcade counterpart. The player can now switch characters through a sub-screen. The player starts out as Billy or Jimmy Lee, but gains two additional characters after defeating them as bosses thorough the course of the game: Chin Seimei (a Chinese martial artist) and Yagyu Ranzou (a Japanese ninja). Each character has a secondary weapon that can be used for a limited time after equipping it from the sub-menu. In addition, the player can also use weapons from enemies like previous Double Dragon games. Each character has only one life and the game ends when all of them die (a single continue is available for the last two missions).
The NES version of Double Dragon III is notable for its typo of Billy's name as "Bimmy" in the opening intro of the 2 Players Mode.
A 1988 handheld conversion.In addition to the NES game, Acclaim also released two home versions of Double Dragon 3 in North American and Europe that were direction conversions of the arcade game. The Game Boy version (developed by Sales Curve) was released on August 1992, while the Genesis port (developed by Software Creations) was released on December 1992.
Computer ports of the Double Dragon 3 arcade game were also released in 1991 for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, and IBM PC, which were all developed by Sales Curve and published by Tradewest.