Retail Price: £7.95 cassette, £14.95 disk
Author: Mike Lamb
The tragic death of your brother Matt, murdered while investigating the underworld dealings of gangland boss Mr Big, cannot go unavenged. Driven by a sense of burning injustice you make your way through the seedy streets of Scumville, a labyrinthine nest of crime and black market dealings, to a final show-down with the notorious gangster himself.
The adventure can be undertaken alone or with a companion (whose presence makes the competition doubly tough) over five multiloaded levels. The action shifts from a dangerous multistorey car park to seedy night time streets via a seemingly harmless city park and an overpopulated shopping mall, finally climaxing in Mr Big's headquarters in a sleazy bar.
The inhabitants of Scumville have little goodwill to spare: motor cyclists, skinheads, Beastie Boys fans and ladies of the night, often armed and always spoiling for a fight, attempt to thwart your progress through the sinister city streets.
You have spent a lot of time cultivating an athletic physique, however, which enables you to carry out various jumping, kicking and punching actions with relative ease. Knocking down a weapon-carrying opponent gives you the chance to pick up his club, axe or stick as it falls; an extra points bonus is awarded for making use of objects as well as fists.
Each time a blow is sustained, your health, indicated by an energy meter, is diminished. Complete loss of strength results in the loss of one of three lives.
Once all current opponents have been subdued in a section, a door opens on to the next urban battleground. Survive through to the final confrontation in the bar, beat your way past Mr Big's bodyguards and the gangland boss lies at your mercy. Succeed in destroying him and Matt's body can finally lie at rest in his Scumville grave.
Joystick: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: every participant is full of character, having his or her own particular moves and style. The backgrounds add real atmosphere to the game, bringing the action right into your home
Sound: rough 'n' tough title tune with assorted mean ditties at the start of each of the five levels. Average spot effects
Options: definable keys, one or two players (simultaneously), music on/off
Do you ever come home from school or work and feel like bashing the dog's head in? Well if you do, don't bother because you can take out all your tempers on the baddies in Target Renegade - and I think your dog will be relieved! This game has got to be the best bash 'em up of all time. It's packed full of great graphics, colour and sound and with five levels of pure addictiveness; you can't go wrong. Each level holds different backgrounds and baddies that range from motorbikers that try to run you down to dogs that insist on having your head for supper! The multiload spoils the excitement now and then but once the next level has loaded you soon get back into the swing of things. In most of the early levels you can just kick and punch your way through but as you progress the baddies get more cunning and begin to duck and dive away from your efforts. Level five was the worst with bald headed hard-men that beat you up with snooker cues and a boxer that could run for Mr Universe! Target Renegade is a great follow up to Renegade and deserves to do well.
Target Renegade is slickly presented, and features colourful and generally well defined graphics. The various guises of Scumville vice, from safety-pinned skinheads to brutal Beastie Boys fans, are threateningly menacing - especially when the villains headbutt you from behind! The sound is purely functional although the minimalist biffing and thumping noises add to the sinister atmosphere. The gameplay itself leaves very little to be desired; control of the various jumping, kicking and punching movements is extremely smooth. The number of opponents to beat and the variety of weapons to collect add spice to what might otherwise become an overly repetitious theme. One minor drawback is the jerky flick screen scrolling; the edge of one screen turns into the the centre of the next without warning and leaves you with a case of momentary disorientation. Don't let this put you off though - Target Renegade is as good as its predecessor, if not better. If you're after some exciting beat 'em up action this is a good excuse to part with your hard-earned cash.
Bish! Bash! Bosh! Now this is what I call a beat 'em up. Things sure have changed since Renegade (89%, Issue 44). The folks in the neighbourhood have taken a change for the worse - it's no longer safe to walk the streets, for fear of being bashed over the head by some axe-wielding Beastie Boy. But now you're fit and ready to take on any old bald bouncer with a snooker cue. The moves that you possess are beautifully animated and very smoothly carried out, though whether they'll be able to slice the rubber dresses off the busty women on Level Two is another matter entirely. Mike Lamb (he of Combat School fame) has done Imagine proud. Forget the aspirins, Target Renegade will soon get rid of that pent-up nervous tension.
The Hit Squad
Fight your way through five tough scenes of beat-'em-up action to meet Mr Big and give him a right good wacking. Target: Renegade is the second of the three games and provides some great action packed punch ups.
The game is set in the city of Scumville and each scene will bring different types of villains for you to deal with. You can attempt to battle through the game on your own or alternatively get a friend along for the ride. Two players can play simultaneously, each protecting the other. This way you stand a much better chance of surviving.
The baddies can pop up from anywhere. Some hide in doorways and others attempt to run you down on their motorbikes. They would be quite easy to kill with a well placed punch or kick if it weren't for the deadly weapons they carry. Mallets, axes and metal bars are just a few of the gruesome objects they use. Fortunately these weapons can be of use to you too.. Just punch the bod with the weapon and you can steal it from him.
Graphics are all well drawn, sprites are animated well and backgrounds have their fair share of colour. The levels get better as you progress, starting the multi-storey car park and going through the shopping mall to the bar where you can battle with Mr Big around a snooker table. I really enjoyed it when it was first released and it's got me hooked again. Target: Renegade is excellent, non-stop beat-'em-up action all the way.
£7.95 cass/£14.95 disk
Reviewer: David McCandless
I'm not really a sadistic, I-luv-violence sort of person. Honest! You don't believe me? Yeah? Fight 'bout it? You come 'ere an'say dat! Anyday mate! Ahem, well okay, I like vapourising the odd bug-eyed extra-terrestrial on my birthday, and, yes, I suppose I'm a martial-arts freak, but I tell ya, no matter how pacifistic, wimpy or down-right chicken you are, Target Renegade will awaken your most primeval instincts and have you drooling in violent ecstasy.
Scumville (sounds like a nice place), is a corrupt city, so corrupt in fact that even Guinness share-holders wouldn't touch it with a transatlantic cable. It's ruled by the modestly named gangster, Mr. Big (in the interest of good taste, I have omitted all "big parts of anatomy" jokes here). Your brother, Matt, obviously a suicidal cabbage-head, thought he'd investigate the malignant machinations (and bad alliterations), of Mr Big. Surprise! Surprise! Matt was later found underwater still wearing his trendy concrete Espadrilles, and you, Renegade, have only one thing on your mind - vengeance.
Since his last excursion, Renegade has grown up - he's taller now and glides smoothly over the screen like Wacko Jacko himself. Unfortunately, his numerous antagonists have also been at the steroids and are bigger, eviler, seedier and badder than ever before - and they get harder and harder (oo-er) to beat. From prostitutes to punks, breakdancers to bodyguards - all slide out to take turns in pulping you.
In this sequel, there are five loadable rough-tough, smelly city parts - the multi-storey car park, the street at night, the park, the shopping mall, and ultimately Mr Big's bar. Each has its own selection of burly, brick wall types (you know them, all weight-lifting and no conversation), who crowd in and attack you from all sides with punches, kicks or blunt instruments. All knock you dribbling to the floor and chop off a chunk of your energy.
To defend yourself, you have a simple, manageable range of karate moves. There's no "Oh-no! I've used the spinning front snap telescopic groin kick, instead of the jumping rotating side thrust punch!" - the moves are easy and effective. Foremost is the beautiful flying kick, then there's an elegant back-kick, followed by punches and the eye-wateringly realistic knee-in groin move.
Graphic variation in a game like this is obviously limited, but Dawn Drake's design of the enemy is brilliant and actually has character. Spiky-haired punks, stilletoed ladies of the night, and bulbous gnashing dogs, to name but some, must be reduced to recumbent bruises before you can progress. The five backdrops however are a bit primitive and stark, except for the park which has some excellently designed trees, but gameplay is so fierce you rarely notice.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you could be moaning, so what's new? - I've seen all this before in Renegade. Well quit moaning, you stroppy wimp (to coin one of my mother's eloquent phrases) There's a splattering of special snazzy features that'll throw the original into the shade.
For instance, you can now use weapons (axes, sledgehammers etc obtained by downing its owner), to batter your assailent into aqueous beetroot. But there's no way of knowing they're dead. So, you may scream "Hah-hah! Liquidized you, you punk!" - but boing! up jumps Mr Punk and nuts Mr Renegade, Concrete head syndrome I call it.
The new two player option is fun - jumping about all over the screen, bluntly kicking anything and everything including your fellow player. Unfortunately, double players means double enemies, and the play hots up accordingly.
Anyway, the attraction of Target is that it appeals to our more violent instincts and is wholly satisfying when you perform an exquisite flying kick and bash that punk into the pavement. It's addictively addictive and Mike Lamb has done a job and three quarters in coding it. Does the play ooze as several thousand breakdancers converge on you? Do you flicker when moving at high speed to dodge a bullet? Not a chance mate - find a fault and win a fiver (That's a rhetorical quezzie by the way!).
Difficulty, I think, is slightly unbalanced. I cruised through to level three and then suddenly level four punched me in the stomach and I couldn't get any further. But it just adds to the addictiveness.
The greatest beat 'em up to date?
Who needs a torch for the dark when you're wearing pink and yellow day-glo flares? 'Ever Ready' RICH PELLEY shines some light down the...
The Hit Squad
Reviewer: Rich Pelley
You lucky people! if you've been on the moon/living in a cave/dead etc etc for the past few years then you probably won't know how brill Targ Ren is, so please allow me (if I may) to explain. (Er, if you haven't then go away and have a bath or something.)
You have to make your way through five perfectly innocent levels, each one taking up about ten screens and with a different setting, with inhabitants including (beautifully animated) motorcyclists, thugs, pimps (with guns), hookers, skinheads, and even dogs. The general aim is to reach Mr Big, whose corks you have to pop as well (spookily enough). There are tons of moves, and you can pick up and use weapons which are lying about on the way round too.
But why is it so good? Er, well, it just is - probably because it's so playable. Mind you, it is a little easy to complete, especially when doing it simo two-player style (but then again that's much more fun 'cos you can beat up your friend as well, both on- and off-screen). If you haven't got this already, then what are you waiting for? Go out and buy a copy immediately. If you have, then why not buy another in case you lose your original copy (or something)?
THE COMPLETE YS GUIDE TO BEAT-'EM-UPS
A SELECTION OF HISTORIC BEAT-'EM-UPS
Beat-'em-ups, eh? They've been oodles of them gracing the Speccy over the years, haven't there? So many in fact that it's easy-peasy to get your Exploding Fists mixed up with your International Karates, and end up with absolutely no idea where you are. But not any more, 'cos here's Jonathan Davies with the Your Sinclair Definitive Guide To Beat-'Em-Ups!! Hurrah! (Or should that be "Hai-arrgh!"?)
Before we start, let's get one thing straight - beat-'em-ups are not boring, and if you think they are then you've got it all wrong. On the contrary, they're jolly interesting. And, rather than all being exactly the same, they're highly individual affairs, each with their own subtleties and nuances. To assume otherwise exhibits a total ignorance of the creativity and skill that go into making what has become one of the stalwarts of the computer games industry.
So what constitutes a 'beat-'em-up'? Obviously, the beating up of one or more characters is an essential part of the gameplay. Whether this is done with one's hands or a weapon depends on the game. Purists tend to frown upon the use of shurikens, big sticks and other instruments, but it's a sad fact that in these days you're unlikely to rescue your princess without some sort of mechanical assistance. The setting is also important. The summit of Mount Yukahomo is ideal or perhaps the imperial palace of the Dragon master, but an oriental atmosphere is a definite must.
In its traditional form the beat-'em-up takes place on a single screen, with your opponents tackling you one at a time. Variations, however, include the scrolling beat-'em-up (with the bonus of tackling two or more adversaries at once) and the full scale flip-screen, multi-level version with add-on weapons, puzzles to solve and an embossment of up to three initials.
Whichever incarnation it appears in, a beat-'em-up is not to be taken lightly. A sharp eye, lightning reflexes and an elephantine memory (for learning all those moves) are needed, along with the finest joystick available.
THE FIRST EVER BEAT-'EM-UP
"That's easy," you exclaim. "Way Of The Exploding Fist!" But you'd be wrong. The first ever beat-'em-up, the father of them all, the seed from which all future offerings stemmed forth, and of which al the others are but pale imitations, was none other than Kung Fu, from a long-forgotten label called Bug-Byte.
A very primitive construction, it had all the ingredients of the real thing (including tinkly music). Reviewed in ish 11 of Your Spectrum, it scored 3/5 (times where hard). The rest, as they say, is, erm... oh, well you know.
Like Barbarian, the Renegade series avoided the stereotypical martial arts confrontation, and instead went for a modern-day 'street' setting. It still comes out on top.
Target Renegade, like its predecessor Renegade and its successor Renegade III, was one of the new generation of flip-screen beat-'em-ups with add-on weapons and a wide array of opponents to take on. Some of the best are the motorbike riders and the whip-equipped 'ladies of the night'. The range of moves available is mind-boggling, for example the grab-him-by-the-shoulders-and-knee-him-in-the-groin, and even the toss-him-over-your-shoulder-and-hopefully-over-a-cliff-too.
The playability has been finely tuned, and everything runs at a perfect speed. The difficulty level is also spot on, easing you into it gently and then planting one right where it hurts most.
WHAT A BARG!
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.
BEAT 'EM UP GAMES
Hit Squad/Issue 61
Reviewer: Jon Pillar
Well, it's Renegade with two players. Need I say more? Okay, the levels are huge, there are weapons to snaffrle, and the final baddie has a gun. Put it this way - after three years and as many attempts, the Double Dragons are still nowhere near as good as this game.
Author: Mike Lamb
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
Ker-paff! it was a slick move to say the least. I snuk up behind the ugly goon with the motorcycle helmet and kicked at the back of his knees. The sledgehammer fell from his hand and skittered across the concrete floor of the car park. Howard was there in a flash, wielding the recovered hammer about her head. The goon's biggest mistake was getting off the floor. With a squadge resembling the sound of a water melon falling off the back of a truck, she turned out his lights for good.
Target Renegade (the title's relevance escapes me) is the sequel to Ocean's smash hit of last year, Renegade (oh yes it is). I won't bother to tell you anything at all about the first game, because they're very similar indeed. The only major difference you need consider is that Target Renegade has a two player co-operative option, whereby you can team up with a chum and bash the bad guys together.
Set in a maze of underground car parks, dingy alleys and definitely unfriendly bars, T.R. as it show now be known, in an affectionate, fluffy marshmallowy sort of way (What sort of a mag do you think this is, you great nance? - GT) Anyway, T.R. pits you and a mate against the most unsavoury bunch of characters, all working for the mysterious Mr Big, and hell-bent, for reasons best known to Mr B., Ocean and themselves, on turning you black and blue and into roughly the same shape as pile of sick.
Despite the extraordinary level of violence. T.R. is quite appealing to watch. The animation is first rate, and the number of characters on the other side is wide enough to provide the variety that I thought was missing in the first game. There are lunatics on motorcycles, punks, hookers, pimps, nasty sods with sledgehammers, nasty sods with wild dogs, try saying that when you're sick-shaped, all with definite scuffle-orientated intentions.
Should you be lucky enough to make your way to a life after the first few screens of brutality, you'll find yourself heading down from the street towards the car park area. As you and your partner fight on through the numerous screens, you'll have to get used to adapting your fighting style to suit the conditions in which you find yourself. While you can catch out the stupid bikers with a flying kick, the square-jawed Beastie Boy lookalikes are a smarter group altogether, and you'll have to engage in a more strategic - if that's the word - approach.
Some of the streets harbour 'ladies of the night', whose knees are best avoided. Their bosses, nasty looking characters in fedora hats and sharp suits, are deadly. Every so often they'll casually reach into their jacket, pull out a gun and shoot you down. Of all the scenes though, my favourite is in the pool hall. T-shirted hustler shuffle up and swing wildly at you, jumping back and forth, whilst other bad guys come around the back.
The best part is that the weapons carried by the enemy can be picked up and used once they've been knocked down. The sledgehammer is particularly handy in tight spot; you can fell the goons like trees and head for the exit, sharpish.
Target is similar in many ways to the coin-op Double Dragon; two players fighting as a team, various opponents and backgrounds, and the ability to pick up and use weapons left on the floor. It's definitely the most addictive game of its type I've played on the Spec. A slight niggle is that when playing by yourself (barf, chortle, etc) there isn't a computer-generated buddy to help you out. As a result, life is an awful lot more difficult, as many screens are virtually impossible to survive without a degree of teamwork. This is, however, merely an obligatory gripe, and it shouldn't stop you from rushing out and buying Target Renegade before you've had time to spit.
As the baddies come on to the screen, you've got to get yourself in the best position possible to defend yourself. Standing in the centre of the screen is usually a smart idea, because although the bad guys come at your from every angle, at least you can run in any direction. Many a time I found myself totally surrounded in a tight corner with bad guys six-deep all around me. While it's possible to get out of some of the tightest scrapes, assuming your buddy is thinking quick enough, discretion is occasionally the better part of valour - there's no point wading in and getting a beating when you could hover around, picking off people one-by-one.
Ocean have included a rather charming feature for the more individually minded players out there. Should your mate get a little too cocky with his pool cue, and start flouncing around in a none-too helpful manner, you can sneak up behind him and smash him in the back, grab his stick and bash him in the face. Realism at any price, I see.
Label: Hit Squad
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
Sequel to Renegade (Ooh, no, I'd never have guessed, give me a drink of water), Target Renegade is in fact considerably better, and overall one of the best beat-'em-ups yet to appear. The charm lies partly in the way the programmers haven't spoiled the action by trying for over ambitious graphics, and partly in the way that mindless violence is brought to such a high peak of perfection.
Fighting your way through four levels of Scumville (honest) - multi-storey car park, street, park and shopping mall - the Renegade has a selection of gentlemanly fighting moves including jump kick, grab-and-nut, punch, back kick, to use against Mr Big's goons. Because the characters are monochrome and the background's only four-colour, you can concentrate on the action, which is fast and furious.
The enemies includes bikers, gun-toting pimps, hookers, skinheads and dog-handlers. The best part is that you can interact with objects such as motorbikes and sledgehammers - kick thugs off the bikes, pick up their sledgehammers and swing them at them. It's a gas!
In the end you encounter Mr Big in his bar, and if you can subdue him you're a better man than I am.
Target Renegade is a big challenge and a smooth ride. Give it a bash. Then give it a kick. Then jump on its head.
Infogrames, £7.95cs, £14.95dk
Atari ST version reviewed Issue 7 - Ace Rating 887
This follow-up to Renegade probably won't take you too long to complete, which is a bit of a shame because the graphics and gameplay are great. Punch and kick your way through five vicious gangs before you confront the diabolical "Mr Big". There are some effective extra weapons to pick up but Target; Renegade's not significantly different from Renegade and it's certainly won't take you as long to master it.
Spectrum Cassette: £7.95, Diskette: £14.95
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £8.95, Diskette: £12.95
GARISHLY DRESSED WOMEN
After the wide-ranging success of the Taito coin-op conversion, Renegade (reviewed TGM001), Imagine have brought out the inevitable sequel, but this time it is an original game following its predecessor's violent footsteps, design and programming by the in-house imagine team.
No sooner have you rescued your girlfriend from the clutches of marauding gangs than you find that your brother Matt has been murdered. Matt was killed investigating the heinous activities of Mr Big in your proud city of Scumsville. Enraged by this you decide, with typical disregard for the normal, due processes of law, to murder the villain in revenge.
The first confrontation scene occurs in a multi-storey car park where Hell's Angels take their Harley Davison's for a workout. First kick them off their bikes, then deal with them hand-to-hand. Biker number one has a baseball bat in his saddlebag and if you don't get it first, the other bikers will, one holding you while another tries to score a home-run with your head.
But of course, these mealymouthed specimens of sub-humanity should be little of a problem, and having despatched them, there is a lift to take you down a level, where a second wave of homicidal saddle striders are determined to send you the way of your brother.
The fourth level - the ground floor - has a bank of phones and one rings. Answer it and it's on to the next confrontation; take too long handling your assailants, however, and you won't make it to the phone in time thus ending the game. Eight minutes are allowed to get to the phone, and a new time limit starts with the next scene.
Among Mr Big's business interests there is, apparently, a link with women who earn their money by wearing very garish clothing. On a poorly lit street of Scumsville you must deal with these ladies - who have a practised kneeing motion - in your usual, indelicate fashion. Somewhat tougher than the women you're manfully disposing of are their bosses, who are adept fighters with their walking sticks. One boss has a gun with a limited number of bullets - until the gun is empty you should avoid him and dodge the bullets.
Wearily, you emerge in the city park where a gang of skinheads want to feed you to the ducks. Defeat them and dash on to the shopping mall where fans of the Beastie Boys are shown to be yet more employees of Mr Big. Their canine pets have not, it seems, been fed in a very long time.
The final confrontation takes place in Mr Big's bar, a dive packed with his bodyguards. Add them to your already massive bodycount and Mr Big will take you on himself. Of the two versions reviewed here, the Spectrum wins out: Target: Renegade is a disappointing sequel for Commodore owners. While the graphics are sharper than in Renegade, they are also duller. The in-game tune is fair, but sound FX are poor when selected.
However, it is the game's playability that really ruins the sequel: it is repetitive and overly precise the demand for pixel-perfection in disposing of enemies that rarely, if ever, exceed two on screen simultaneously, soon becomes irritating and provides the game a specious toughness. Spectrum combat, while tough, doesn't require the irritating accuracy of the Commodore version and the character seems a lot harder so that you don't need a weapon right from the start simply to survive. Another huge advantage is the two-player mode, with both represented on screen at the same time allowing exciting team play.
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