by Fred Gray, Mike Lamb, Ronnie Fowles, Bob Wakelin
Imagine Software Ltd
Crash Issue 44, Sep 1987   page(s) 34,35

Producer: Ocean
Retail Price: £7.95
Author: Mike Lamb

The things you do for girls... Having arranged to meet Lucy across town, you find yourself getting off a train at a station filled with disreputable types intent on mugging you - or worse.

So to reach your lady love you must negotiate five Landscapes of action: the station, the pier, the seedy back streets, the streets near your meeting place and the meeting place itself.

At each location you meet different gangs - unarmed muggers, chain-swinging Hell's Angels, whip-wielding females led by Big Bertha, and razor-waving thugs. Your only chance of getting through the night is to use your martial-arts skills and send your attackers reeling.

You can kick, knee and punch your opponents. Most assailants need to be downed twice before they're overcome, but some can be pushed to their destruction. Knocking out an opponent earns you points - the more effective the blow, the more points.

After you've defeated several thugs, the gang leader steps to the fore. Like you, he loses energy each time he's hit, and if his energy falls too low he and his gang are beaten.

Each level must be completed in a specified time, or you lose one of your three lives. And even when you reach your girlfriend Lucy, your moments of undying love are cut short as the gangs close in and your ordeal begins again…


Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: vivid and detailed
Sound: good title tune
Options: definable keys, high-score table

The graphics in Renegade are very good, and colour is used brightly. The difficulty needs a little tweaking, though - all the screens are really easy apart from the last. Still, this is one of the best beat-'em-ups around, with a lot of variety and a more definite objective than Way Of The Exploding Fist. Loads of fun!
MIKE [89%]

There's lots of detail in this fighting game, but it doesn't have the addictiveness of such beat-'em-ups as Barbarian. Still, the little features make up for most of it. It's very easy to involve yourself in Renegade, because of the tremendous atmosphere created by the superbly-animated characters and ornate backgrounds. Yes, after a few games the action can get boring, with the same move being carried out over and over again - so turn off the Spectrum and come back to it a few days later when you want to let out some aggression! The fun soon starts up again. Like Mikie, Renegade is pretty easy to finish, but it's quite competitive for high scoring.
PAUL [83%]

This just has to be the beat-'em-up to end them all, with its outstandingly detailed and colourful graphics, incredible playability and racy tune. Another beauty of Renegade is the control method, simple but highly effective. With up to eight opponents on the screen your task may seem formidable, but it's not impossible - they don't all attack at once. Breaking new ground in computer violence, Renegade may antagonise some, but for the pleasure and excitement it brings this game must not be missed.
RICKY [94%]

Presentation: 84%
Graphics: 89%
Playability: 89%
Addictive Qualities: 87%
Overall: 89%

Summary: General Rating: A beat-'em-up with real punch.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 74, Mar 1990   page(s) 48,49

The Hit Squad
£2.99 (rerelease)

No street is safe these days is it? All these beat 'em up games are full of nasty people who like nothing more than to bash you on the head with a metal bar or punch you where the sun doesn't shine! It's a bit of a pity then that your girl has arranged to meet you at the end of one of the toughest streets in the city, isn't it really?

Fight your way through levels of villains, drug pushers and thugs using your martial art skills to get to your date (isn't it always the same!).

This is the original Renegade game (after it game Target; Renegade and Renegade III: The Final Chapter) and I'd forgotten how slow it was. Compared to newer games this looks like Renegade has had one too many of the snail pills! The graphics are good though: excellently drawn and coloured backgrounds with detailed characters fighting it out underneath. Not only do you have to cope with people on foot attacking you, you also have to find some way of beating the motorcyclists who zoom past now and then trying to knock you over.

Each level in Renegade gets harder and harder, and the backgrounds change too. You start off in the subway then take a lift to come to the junk yard and street scenes. You can collect weapons found lying about to help you smash your way through each level, or if you'refeeling particularly nasty you get to beat up someone who has a chain or pipe and steal it.

Renegade is one of the classic Spectrum games and will always be known as an original beat 'em up: this is the one all the others copied!

Overall: 81%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 22, Oct 1987   page(s) 48,49

Mean, lean eating machine, Phil South took to the streets to beat his way through Imagine's Renegade.

Game: Renegade
Publisher: Imagine
Price: £7.95

Are you a rebel without a cause? Well, here's one that'll keep you on a knife edge for months to come. Imagine's Renegade is a new breed of game, a type of gutsy, streetfighting action movie set in the gangland ghettoes in which you play the starring role - a tough martial arts expert called Renegade. Based on the chart topping coin-op by Taito, its pure violence in graphic detail is a must for all closet reprobates.

The action takes place in bazzy Brooklyn, where else?, where our hero has to meet his girlfriend, Juicy Lucy, in the seediest part of town. As he steps out of the local subway station, he soon realises what a plonker he is to venture onto this turf. Greasy gangs of vigilantes have control of the neighbourhood, and armed thugs roam around, killing, maiming, butchering, pressing wild flowers and dribbling bits of probation officer all over the shop. Fortunately, Renegade isn't over-bothered about these baddies, 'cos he's a black belt in jitsu, karate, and just about every make of Japanese motorcycle ever made.

So he can bop his way through them, a kick in the teeth here, a knee to he wedding tackle there. If someone grabs him from behind he butts 'em in the gob, if they race motorbikes at him he does a flying kick, knocking them to the ground in a pool of their own ribena.

You, as the Renegade, must first fight off the gang who inhabit the subway station, then the motorcycle maniacs who hang out at the nearby docks, then a few of the working girls down a dark alley, to enable you to get to the street where Lucy lives. And if you think that sounds heavy, you've then got to carve up the gang chief who's holding Lucy captive in her house and this mean dude's armed with a gun! What's more he's posted four of his goons outside armed with razors!

The controls in Renegade are simple to handle, with up, down, left and right moving you around the screen and the same keys in combination with the fire button activating your various kicks, chops, butts and punches. One of the best bits about the game is it's so easy to play. Once you've got the hang of the few simple moves, you can wade into a crowd of thugs and come out smiling. A really skillful Renegade can negotiate the first five levels without any weirdos laying a glove on him! The graphics are so slick you really feel you're part of an action movie rather than just playing a game. Renegade is a must! Be a rebel with a cause and go out and buy it right now! It's hot, it's dangerous and it's yours for the beating!

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Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 9/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Overall: 9/10

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 50, Feb 1990   page(s) 46


A bumper New Year collection of cheapie rubbish (whoops!) from that king of the skin-flints, Marcus Berkmann, and his preppy pauper (ha ha) Jonathan Davies.

The Hit Squad
Reviewer: Marcus Berkmann

We may now have seen every conceivable permutation of the Renegade legend (Renegade 12: Chelsea v Millwall is in preparation, I understand) but the original remains highly playable and a bit of a laff basically. You are the usual tough-on-the-streets superhero, and you re on your way to meet your luscious young lovely/noxious boiler (delete as appropriate) of a girlfriend. Only problem - thugs, yobs, villains, and men with large scars and chainsaws stand in your way. To fight them, or to run? Well, I know what to do, but this is a computer game, so you fight them. Control is simple and effective, you are always given a chance (which probably has more to do with the game's initial success than anything else) and the graphics are excellent. Anyone who's played the later games may find it a little easy, but everyone else will have a ball. Another excellent release from Ocean's Hit Squad label.

Overall: 82%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 45, Oct 1987   page(s) 41


There's been an explosion in martial-arts sims since The Way Of The Exploding Fist, as RICKY EDDY and ROBIN CANDY observe in this good beat-'em-up guide. And the ninjas just won't lie down - all they want to do is...

They started three years ago, when Bug Byte revealed an interesting little number called Kung Fu. It was an admirable wireframe attempt to produce a martial-arts simulation - 'probably the most unusual game to be seen on the Spectrum for a long while,' said CRASH in amazement.

But sceptics thought the genre would never catch on. It took Melbourne House to show them the way - The Way Of The Exploding Fist, which sold more than 150,000 copies for the Spectrum and nearly half a million across all formats.

Since then, nothing's kept the combat games down. They've been grotesque (Barbarian), skillful (Fist) and downright silly (Ninja Hamster).

The genre soon caught the nickname 'beat-'em-ups', as the gameplay always involves a player beating up his opponent, whether the computer or another player.

And with the advent of the 128s and their improved sound chips, the fighting effects became more hideous - the most disturbing beat-'em-up sounds must be the animal squeals on Ninja Hamster.

But most of these martial-arts simulations are so unrealistic, set in pseudo-Oriental fantasy worlds, that it's just harmless surrogate violence - and everyone likes a bit of that.


89% Issue 33

RICKY: Definitely the best beat-'em-up! Renegade is an epic of nonstop fighting with some original scenario touches.

What is the cause of all this violence, though?

It's Lucy - not just any Lucy, but your luscious Lucy, the love of your life. You're off to meet her, but on your way you run into violent street gangs intent upon mugging and killing.

There are six locations to battle through, each featuring a different set of villains - such as bikers, mad women, gangsters and evil mobs.

Renegade isn't too difficult, and it's a game you play more for high scores than for reaching the last stage. Fight, beat an enjoy till you can smell the blood.

ROBIN: I was hard put to choose between this and The Way Of The Tiger as my favourite beat-'em-up - Renegade is just so good. It's not the hardest game in the world, but it's enjoyable.

Programmer Mike Lamb managed to escape from the one-opponent-at-a-time format typical of this genre, and presents the player with up to eight baddies onscreen to be defeated.

The presentation is very slick, it would be hard to fault the graphics and sound, and with plenty of gameplay this makes an excellent buy. Try to get Renegade AND The Way Of The Tiger!

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Overall (Robin Candy): 88%
Overall (Richard Eddy): 92%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 78, Jun 1992   page(s) 55


Summertime, summertime, summer, summer, summertime! Hurrah - summer is here! And what better way to celebrate the advent of sunny, carefree days than by locking yourself in your bedroom and playing a load of Speccy games? With the seemingly unstoppable spread of budget software, we here at YS thought it would be quite a wheeze to sort out the brass from the dross. So take your seats and upset your neighbour's popcorn as JON PILLAR whisks you with shameless bias through a roundup of the best £3.99ers around.


3. Renegade
Hit Squad/Issue 50
Reviewer: Jon Pillar

Designer violence on yer Speccy. Punch, flying-kick and knee your way through five villain-packed levels. People have complained it's too easy, but it's a splendid way to pass an afternoon without bothering your brain. If only it had a two-player option, he mused impishly.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 67, Oct 1987   page(s) 64,65

Label: Ocean
Author: Mike Lamb/Ronnie Fowles
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

This is going to sell zillions. Renegade - converted from the coin-op of the same name - is quite possibly the most visually violent computer game I've ever seen.

It has some of the characteristics of a martial arts game. Combinations of joystick movement and Fire button provide a number of attacking and defensive moves which can be used on an ever more cunning and dangerous series of opponents. The big difference is that where International Karate, say, allowed for a number of elegant and subtle throws and holds, Renegade is street violence at its dirtiest. This includes kicking people when they are down and booting them where it hurts.

Renegade is in various levels, all of which look like the subways, dingy run-down ghetto streets and derelict buildings on the fringes of some American city. Even on Level 1 - set in a tube station - things look bad. Just you, against half a dozen or more opponents. Some of them have what appear to be coshes, others just put the boot in.

Your joystick control provides such wonderful moves as flying leaps, kneeing in the groin, nutting and punching. The animation is excellent - comically realistic.

There's a new feature to the combat game, too - the members of the gang act together - one may grab you and hold you whilst another repeatedly punches your stomach. Alternatively, you may be slugging it out with one jeaned bully-boy only to find your battle cut short by a swipe around the head with a baseball bat from another.

Even if you manage to clear some of villains (difficult because they don't all stay down - some seem to need several knees where it hurts at least) this is only a minor victory. Your real opponent is the Boss who, after a certain point decides to join in the fray. The Boss is the toughest of the lot - his strength level is indicated by a bar alongside yours and he is very difficult to beat - partly because he is defended/supported by the remaining hoodlums.

Maybe, just maybe, you'll make it through to the next level in which it looks like you've stumbled into a Hells Angels party. Oh dear.

The bikers begin by zooming at you on their bikes - you tend to get run over a lot. There is, however, an almost sure-fire move - kick the Angels off their bikes with a flying leap. After that the whole gang comes for you and it's back to kicking and punching again.

Next up is a tribe of whip-wielding leather-clad women. Yep, that's what I said. Very bizarre it looks too.

Next level is a bunch of razor-wielding thugs and finally an interior scene with more thugs plus their leader with gun!

Graphics are reasonable but it's the animation that really scores. All this wanton violence would look like nothing were it not for the brilliant way the Spectrum's graphical possibilities have been used to best effect to give a realistic impression of some complex moves - you'll believe a sprite can hold its goolies and get nutted.

Criticisms? Not many - memory economies mean that a lot of the sprites are repeated (but then hoodlums all look the same really don't they?)

Generally though, it's superb implementation of the arcade game. It is irredeemably violent but never mind. I won't tell anybody if you don't.

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Overall: 8/10

Summary: Violent, beautifully animated conversion from street gang wars coin-op. You should buy it.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Issue 2, Nov 1987   page(s) 74

Imagine, £7.95cs
Amstrad version reviewed Issue 1 - ACE Rating 847.

This all-action conversion has identical gameplay to the Amstrad - and that means it's pretty hot stuff. Graphics are very good and the colour is very well used Keyboard response is a bit on the slow side but poses no major problems. If you liked the look of the Amstrad version then you should be happy with the Spectrum conversion - as long as you can cope with the violence.

Ace Rating: 845/1000

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 99, Feb 1990   page(s) 56

Hit Squad
Spectrum, Amstrad, C64 £2.99

Renegade is a real hard guy, and he's only happy when gangs of hoodlums kidnap his girlie, so that he can hunt 'em down and beat 'em up. So it comes as no surprise when you find out that's exactly what he's doing in Ocean's re-released cooin-op conversion. Do your stuff across the five areas of Subway, Pier, Sleazy Street, End Street and the interior of Mr Big's hideout, doling out the damage to a variety of yobbos which inhabit each level. Clear each stage before the time limit runs out, and make sure you don't lose all your three lives in the process - otherwise it's bye bye to you and yer gal.

Renegade was a smashing piece of fisticuff frolics when it was first released, and nothing has changed this time round. Still highly playable, the game keeps you on your toes from beginning to end with a mixture of fine graphics and absorbing gameplay. Don't miss it!

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Overall: 86%

Summary: Crisp, monochrome graphics work well in this well-programmed arcade beat 'em up, which is a snip at its new three pound price tag.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 1, Oct 1987   page(s) 54,55

Spectrum Cassette: £7.95
Amstrad CPC Cassette £8.95, Diskette: £14.95
Commodore 64 Cassette £8.95, Diskette: £12.95


Following their crop of Konami conversions, Imagine have been turning their attention to licences acquired from another Japanese coin-op company. Taito. After versions of Arkanoid and Slap Fight, comes Renegade, starring another pixellated avenger in the Charles Bronson mould.

The scene is set: travelling across town, late at night to reach your girl, Lucy, you encounter gangs of ruthless villains, crazed with bloodlust by the full moon. They're out in force, eager to dispose of anyone audacious enough to enter their territory, and you're wandering right through their patch...

The fighting action starts in a tube station, where a gang of muggers attack, some armed with pipes which they hit against their hands threateningly as they circle round your lone form in anticipation. Jumping, kicking, punching and ducking, the aim is to spill blood and dispose of all the muggers. When only three members of the gang remain, their Boss appears - and like all the Bosses, this dude is a lot tougher than his acolytes, capable of taking a lot of punishment before expiring.


Out in the open air next, strolling by the Pier where bikers zoom in for the attack, riding past and knocking you down unless a well-placed kick unsaddles them. Then a veritable choir of Hells Angels attacks en masse, attempting to pummel your frail form with their fists. A few arch-Angels are armed with chains, which they wield with painful accuracy.

After disposing of the biker Boss the route to Lucy takes you through the back-streets of Tinsel Town, where gangs of rough, tough women object to the presence of a mere male and show their disgust by attempting to flay your hide with clubs and whips! Big Bad Bertha is their Boss, a large lady who rushes around, elbowing you painfully until she's subdued with a few well-placed kicks.


Nearly in the arms of your beloved... but the final gauntlet has still to be run - the street leading to the meeting place, where a gang of razor-wielding thugs attempts to prevent progress. A single slash is more than painful - it's deadly. Surviving the close shave merchants, you enter the building where Lucy awaits along with a gang of the most vicious thugs yet encountered. And their leader isn't armed with a fuzzbox - he's got a gun. and he's not afraid to use it.


This violent little number, which allows you to hit a man when he'd down - you can kneel on a fallen assailant and smash his brains out, literally - isn't exactly mind-improving, but the violent touches add to the atmosphere and make Renegade all the more enjoyable to play.

The gangs encountered on the jaunt across town all have their favourite dirty tricks - for instance one thug grabs you from behind and holds you while another gang member beats you senseless, but graspers can be shaken off and then beaten to a pulp while they are down. You can fight dirty too, though, and can deliver a mean knee to the groin...

There are no plans for 16-bit or 8-bit disk versions of Renegade at the moment, and all versions with the exception of the 128 Amstrad CPC and Spectrum are four part multi-load. While the tape-based multi-load doesn't disrupt the flow of the action too badly, it can be frustrating when you have to reload, especially if you've reached the later levels before expiring.

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Overall: 82%

Summary: Apart from being a single load, the 128K version features an improved tune and the throw move, which is also found in the arcade original but isn't implemented in other versions. The graphics are surprisingly clear and detailed, and move extremely well, enhancing the overall feel - which is what makes Renegade so exciting to play. A worthy addition to your software library.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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