It is a crossover of both Technos Japan's Double Dragon and Rare's own Battletoads game franchises, although Technos had little or no credited involvement in the production of the game outside of the Double Dragon license.
After being defeated by the Battletoads , the humiliated Dark Queen flees to the outer reaches of the universe. The 'toads and their mentor get on with their lives. However, one day the Earth's military is neutralized and a giant spaceship called 'Colossus' emerges from the moon. Apparently the Dark Queen is back, in another plan to dominate the galaxy. The villain teams up with the arch-enemy of the Dragon Twins, the Shadow Boss.
The game features the characters from the famous Double Dragon series, Billy and Jimmy Lee, two young martial arts experts. Also included are three humanoid toads from the Battletoads game. The enemies are from the Battletoads and Double Dragon games while others are original. The game's engine and design are directly based upon the Battletoads series
The player has a choice of five playable characters: Billy and Jimmy Lee (from Double Dragon), or Zitz, Pimple and Rash from Battletoads. The player must then proceed through seven stages, kicking and punching each enemy which comes onscreen. A boss is included at the end of each stage, which challenges the player before they can progress to a higher level of the game.
The Mega Drive/Genesis and Super Nintendo versions of the game are quite similar, the only differences being the Super Nintendo version has better graphics and higher quality sound, while the Mega Drive/Genesis version runs smoother, features more music tracks, and has sharper sprites for the toads and more comical reactions from defeated enemies.
The NES version of the game features 3D scrolling and other advanced special effects not commonly found on the console.
The Game Boy version is similar to the NES version, but it is only for one player and the sprites are the same size although the screen is smaller, leaving less room for movement.
With two players, the continues are overlapping. Whenever one player continues, then both players have to start at the beginning of the level. This is the opposite of games like Contra, where a strong player can tow a weak player along to advanced levels. In Battletoads & Double Dragon, a weak player will hold a strong player back.
Although the game uses Double Dragon license (which Tradewest owned at the time), the original developers of the franchise (Technos Japan) were not directly involved with the development of the game. As a result, there are several inconsistencies between enemies from the Double Dragon series that were featured in this game and how they're usually presented in Technos Japan's canon. With the exception of Abobo and Linda (who is given the surname Lash), almost all the Double Dragon enemies are either misnamed or original creations passed off as Double Dragon characters.
- While the Shadow Boss was Jimmy Lee's title in the NES version of Double Dragon, the Shadow Boss in this game is an original character. However, this character bears a passing resemblance to Burnov, the first stage boss from Double Dragon II. Like Burnov, the Shadow Boss wears shoulder pads along with a mask that conceals his face. When defeated, the Shadow Boss leaves behind only his mask, just like Burnov. Unlike Burnov, the Shadow Boss is lean and muscled, whereas Burnov is merely fat.
- Linda is given the surname Lash in the game. While not used in any of the Double Dragon games, the name would show up again in the live-action Double Dragon film released during the following year.
- Roper, the boss of Stage 3, is actually a misnamed Willy, the machine gun toting final boss in the original Double Dragon.
- Ironically, a character resembling the real Roper appears as a common enemy in Stage 2 named Guido.
- A fodder enemy named Lopar (which itself, was an alternate romanization of Roper's name used in the manual for the NES game) appears in Stage 5. This character attacks by doing cartwheels and throwing knives, similar to Williams in Double Dragon II.
- The Shadow Marines, Doorman and Windowman of Doom and the Ryders are not characters from any previous Double Dragon and were created specifically for this game.