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...Too bad I'm not a kid anymore, or else I'd just play the way I've been playing, one session every day after school for however many weeks it took for me to finally win. As it is I think I have to give up on this game (which was very fun otherwise); that ending cutscene isn't worth the tedious hours it would take me to reach it. But I'm still curious.
I don't know if I've beaten him on one life or not, but I have beaten the entire game without continues (usually a one-hit deathtrap or the final boss eats a spare life). The part where he's invisible is the roughest as it's possible for him to hit you with that attack that chews up half your health without you seeing it coming.
It's been a while since I played, but if I recall, during the invisible phase I found it best to jump around doing Cyclone Kick -> Hyper Uppercut on landing -> repeat, and hope to hit him. He'd eventually run into them enough that he'd get to the final phase of the fight where he remains visible. Then, I think it's just a matter of treating him like an Abobo. Get near him and below him, execute a normal jump-kick (I find it works better for faking enemies into ducking than a Cyclone Kick). He'll naturally move down to your height and duck the attack, as enemies usually do when you jump kick, and that leave him wide open for a Hyper Uppercut as soon as you land.
Enemies will usually duck a jump kick or Cyclone Kick, but as soon as you land you can reliably Hyper Uppercut them. Works great for the clone fight before the final boss too. Note that Hyper Knee hits a bit less reliably than Hyper Uppercut, and the damage is pretty much the same, so you should try to favour the Hyper Uppercut. Practice to learn the timing (hit the punch button just as you hit the ground, you need to press it earlier than for the Hyper Knee).
I've not tried this method so I don't know how reliable it is or easy to execute in 1P mode, but this speedrun simply uses punches to kill him:
ALL RIGHT I did it. I just couldn't stay away. I think a few more tries would really have done me in for a while but I won it before that happened. :)
The above advice gave me a couple of new things to try, specifically using up-down motion to get close to the boss, and also using the uppercut. I was familiar with the uppercut, but it happened to have been the last of the special moves I learned so I'd never gotten into the habit of using it much. Also the uppercut and the knee can be done at roughly the same times, so it seemed like you should usually stick with the one that's harder to do and that makes the cooler sound because obviously that one must be better. :)
Anyway I tried this stuff when I reached the boss but it didn't seem to help. Maybe I wasn't doing it right. I lost, that time.
On my latest attempt, I got in with one life lost (had some unusual trouble with the Arnold Schwarzenegger in the mirrored-floor stage) and didn't expect to win. I don't really know how I did. The one new technique I consciously tried was to use plain jumps to set myself up for the knee. Usually I use a cyclone kick for that, so that I have a chance of hitting the enemy during the jump too, but maybe on this boss it's better to keep your jumps short, so as to maximize your control over yourself. I was trying to get more control over where I landed, and also over my ability to step out of the way of the spinning fist attack. I learned that because this guy moves so fast, you can actually sometimes set yourself up for a knee by jumping AWAY from him. I feel like you can hit him fairly reliably with the knee if you happen to land in the right spot--I don't think I've seen him duck it much, maybe not at all. It's just hard for me to do that move when I'm under that much stress. It seems to have worked out well enough this time, though (although my last hit was actually a desperate uppercut!).
Oh and the other thing I tried was to really beat him up with normal punches when I was just starting on a new life. I think I got a few crucial points of damage in that way. I suppose you could use special attacks then as well, but then he might dodge and use up your invincibility time; he doesn't seem to dodge normal punches at all (which makes sense, since he's normally very good at simply stopping you from doing them).
Now on to Double Dragon III.
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