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Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone (Arcade)

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Title Screen

Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone

Developer: East Technology
Publishers: Tecmo[1] (JP), American Technos (US)
Platform: Arcade (The Combatribes hardware)
Released internationally: November 1990[2]


CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.


PrereleaseIcon.png This game has a prerelease article

Billy and Jimmy's third arcade outing, in which they are joined by their long-lost brother Sonny (wouldn't that make them the Triple Dragons then?).

It continues the tradition of Technos' properties innovating gaming, this time in a controversial way though: it introduced shops where players could gain access to characters, moves, and weapons... by putting even more quarters into the machine. Basically, microtransactions, years before they were a thing.

Hmmm...
To do:
There seem to be a few unused voice clips for the shopkeepers.

Sub-Page

Read about prerelease information and/or media for this game.
Prerelease Info

Exception Handler

DDragon3Arcade-crash.png
If the game ever crashes, it'll display this exception handler.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused Graphics

Early (Mockup) Final
Dd3ac early select player screen.PNG Dd3ac player select.png

Graphic tiles for an early version of the character select screen that was implemented in the later-released Japanese version can be found in the US version, revealing the original plans for the character roster.

As seen on the recreation on the left, the roster originally consisted of Billy and Jimmy Lee (top left and top right respectively), plus the three new fighters: Roney Urquidez (center), Chin Seimei (lower left), and Masahiko Oyama (lower right). In the finalized game, this idea evolved into four groups of palette-swapped siblings (Lee Brothers, Chin Brothers, Urquidez Brothers, Oyama Brothers) in order to allow multiple players to control the same character type. As result, the fifth portrait, meant for Jimmy, went unused in the finalized character select screen since Billy's portrait is used to represent both Lee Brothers (plus Sonny in 3-players mode, a third sibling who didn't exist in previous games). Also, the karate fighter was renamed from Masahiko to Masao in the final game.

The unique "Select Player" banner on the top of the screen also went unused in favor of having the words spelled using a standard font set. The Japanese writings used to spell each character's full name are partially used (albeit, loaded from a separate tile set) alongside a pair of Kyoudai (兄弟) tiles (the kanji characters for brothers) that are loaded as sprite layers rather than as background tiles like the rest of the characters. If you look closely at the Japanese text for the Lee Brothers (リー兄弟), you can see half of the interpunct from back when the text originally spelled out Billy Lee (ビリー・リー).

Dd3ac 1P 2P cursors.PNG
There are tiles for early 1P and 2P cursors that are more detailed than the finalized versions. Inexplicably, the color-coding is reversed from the usual pattern of having Player 1 as blue and Player 2 as red (the palette data is shared for both unused cursors). There is no 3P cursor in this set, which seems to suggest that these were made before the decision to add 3-players support to the game.

Dd3ac japanese character profiles.PNG

Name Billy Lee Jimmy Lee Roney Urquidez Chin Seimei Oyama Masahiko
Description Successor to Sousetsuken Billy's older brother World's Martial Arts Champion Expert of Tai Chi Instructor of Seishin Karate
Height 175cm 178cm 197cm 169cm 174cm
Weight 65kg 70kg 83kg 84kg 64kg
Special Technique Head-to-Tail Dragon God Fist
(One-Armed Head Butt)
Flying Dragon Drop Spin Solid Foot Dragon Tail Spin
(Handstand Ankle Flip)
Both Eye and Ear
(Locking Head Squeeze)
Tiger Rotating Mountain
(Overhead Collar Throw)

A set of information for the playable fighters, possibly intended for a demo sequence of sorts. It consists of the name of each character, a one-line description, their height and weight, and the name of their signature move (each written in kanji with furigana underneath). Most of this information can be seen on the Japanese version's instruction card and flyer, but since Billy and Jimmy were planned to be separate characters, their data, including signature moves, differ from each other here. The alternate names in parentheses for each move are the localized names that were used on the US version's cabinet.

Hmmm...
To do:
Properly reconstruct the cut dojo building or see if there's a way to access it in the actual game.

Dd3ac sousetsuken dojo.PNG Dd3ac karate poster.PNG Dd3ac punksnotdead.PNG Dd3ac red car transparent.png
Billy and Jimmy's martial arts school, the Sou-Setsu-Ken Dojo, was planned to appear in Mission 1, as seen on a screenshot in the game's Japanese flyer. While the area was cut, the background tiles are still present in the data.

Dd3ac stone banner.png
A "STONE" indicator that can be seen in screenshots on the game's flyers, possibly intended to show the number of Rosetta Stones that the player have collected. It was replaced in the final version by the timer, but the graphics for it was kept in the tiles for the HUD.

Dd3ac stone.png
Various frames of one of the Rosetta Stones rotated at different angles. This set of tiles is stored among the graphics used for fonts and HUD. Only the second tile is used; in the second area of Mission 3, the Ashura statue in the background can be seen holding a stone until it disappears after the boss is defeated.

These unused graphics are specific to the Japanese version. Unlike the English version, which uses a font set to compose every message in the game, all the messages were written directly into the graphic tiles, likely in order to get around having to draw a whole new font set for a game with minimal dialogue. Almost everything is used, except for the following three messages:

Graphic Translation
Dd3ac jpn shop text.PNG You can power-up by entering shops
and inserting more coins.
Each item costs only one coin.
Note
Instructions on how to use item shops, similar to the one used in the American version of the attract mode. This suggests that the item shops were once planned to be kept for the Japanese version.
Alternate Used
Dd3ac jpn intro text.PNG Dd3ac used opening.png
Translations
But beware, no one has
ever come back alive.
Eeh hee hee hee!
If you're going to go, then it would
be better take along three fighters.
Eeh hee hee hee!
Note
This is Hiruko's last line in the attract mode opening. The alternate version is pretty close to the one in the US version and it was actually used in the Famicom game too. The used version replaces the creepy warning with a reference to the other 3 characters who join Billy and Jimmy in their quest for the stones, as they, as mentioned earlier, are now available from the outset of the game.
Alternate Used
Dd3ac unused rosetta message.png Dd3ac used rosetta message.png
Translations
Step on the ROSETTA
blocks in order!
Open the wall of ROSETTA
Note
The alternate version of the clue to solving the ROSETTA puzzle in Mission 5 is similar to the text in the US version. It was replaced with a more ambiguous hint.

Unused Music

ID Track Notes
001
The attract mode music lasts for a minute and 47 seconds, and then loops, but the game only allows about a minute and 12-28 seconds of the track to play before stopping the music once it has finished running the gameplay demos. How long it plays depends on game version and player count due to performance issues in the US version, especially with 3 players, causing slowdown during the gameplay demos, thus allowing the music to play for a longer time compared to the Japanese version.
017
It is unknown where exactly this track was supposed to play, but it is located between the music used for Missions 5-3 and 5-4. A rendition of this track is played in Mission 5-3 in the NES version.

Developer Credits

Present at 0x100 in the main CPU are some hidden developer credits.

****************************************************************
*     SYSTEM MAIN PROGRAM  << SYSTEM.S >>                      *
*Designed:    N.takioka         1990-06-15                     *
*Coded   :    N.takioka         1990-06-15                     *
*Copyright(C) 1990 Technos Japan Corp. All rights reserved     *
****************************************************************
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Regional Differences

Gameplay

  • The strength of enemy attacks is 50% greater in the US version (e.g. an attack that does 8 points of the damage in the Japanese version, does 12 in the US version).
  • The player starts each stage with temporary invincibility only in the Japanese version.
  • In the US version, the flying spiky disk on the third section of Mission 5 charges toward the players after side-hovering once. In the Japanese version, it charges the players after hovering 3 times.
    • Additionally, either intentionally or due to an oversight, said disk's hitbox is way larger than its sprite in the US version and covers the entire upper portion of the screen! This results in the most unfair hits the players can recieve in the game: even if the disk flies to the bottom left/right parts of the screen and the player is on the top-most parts, the players will still take a hit. In the Japanese version, the hitbox was reduced to the size of the disk's sprite.

Item Shops

DoubleDragon3ArcMission1ItemShop.png Dd3ac shopping menu china.png DoubleDragon3ArcMission3ItemShop.png

DoubleDragon3ArcMission5ItemShop.png

The biggest difference between the US and Japanese versions is the presence of item shops in the former. The US version features an item shop at the start of the first three stages and an additional fourth one in the middle of Mission 5. In these shops, the player can obtain all sorts of powerups by using more credits. Since these item shops are inaccessible in the Japanese version, the game was adjusted accordingly to accommodate their removal:

  • The US version only allows the player to start the game as one of the Lee brothers (Billy, Jimmy, or Sonny). The other character types (the Urquidez, Chin, and Oyama brothers) must be unlocked by purchasing the "Extra Guys" option from the item shops and each one can only be obtained from a specific stage (for example, the reserved fighter the player will get from the first stage will be an Urquidez brother), meaning that not all the character types can be used until the third stage. The new character will then appear when the current one dies (up to three fighters can be stock-up in reserve), but the player will default back to the Lee brother character if they run out of reserve fighters and use a credit to continue. The Japanese version allows the player to start the game as any character type and even change to another one when continuing.
  • The hurricane kick and jumping throw can only be performed in the US version by purchasing "Tricks" from the item shop. While these two techniques are transferred over from the player's current character to the next reserved fighter, the player will lose the ability to use them once all the reserved fighters have been lost, forcing the player to purchase them again to unlock these moves. In the Japanese version, both techniques are available by default but the input method for the hurricane kick was made trickier to pull off, requiring the player to push jump and then kick in very quick succession.
  • Weapons can be purchased in the US version from Mission 2 and onward while controlling a Lee brother, with the available options being a nunchaku in Mission 2 and a sword in Missions 3 and 5. In the Japanese version, weapons are instead found lying around in certain areas and the nunchaku can be obtained as early as the first area of Mission 1.

Dd3ac china shop us.png
As a result of their removal in the Japanese version, the "IN" indicator became unused and the shops in the stage backgrounds remained present but are no longer accessible, making them purely decorative. Additionally, the attract mode text (seen here) mentioning the shops was taken out and the gameplay demos were redone to exclude the item shops.

Stages

US Japan
Dd3ac weapon shop.png Dd3ac power records.png

In the US version, Mission 1 starts in front of the very first item shop. In the Japanese version, this portion of the area was cut and the starting point was moved to the front of the Power Records building that follows it, resulting in a smaller playing field.

US Japan
Dd3ac warehouse us.png Dd3ac warehouse jpn.png

The character-moving conveyor belts and the deadly pitfall in the second area of Mission 1 are absent in the Japanese version, leaving an unusual blank space at the bottom of the area.