A. Deakin/I. Horn
After the disappointment of Rambo III Andrew Deakin and Ivan Horn have returned to form in considerable style, taking the basic Renegade formula and zapping it with considerable imagination and skill. The basic story is, well, basic, your girlfriend's been kidnapped (again), but this time the villains are a bit smarter than the usual hoodlums. These nasties are from the future, and they've taken your girl back in time. Clearly this is one attractive young lady, so you set off in pursuit. By means unexplained you start off in Prehistoric Times and a glance at the graphics excuses all the plot nonsense 'cause they're great. Although Nick dislikes the monochrome, I think it's an acceptable price for a wealth of often humorous detail.
My favourite characters on level one are the short, and very hairy cavemen who spring up in the air to hit you on the head with massive clubs. The dinosaurs are good too though, with baby Tyrannosaur Rex trying to grab you and pterodactyls dropping eggs which hatch tiny lizards that run out to nip you. Scrolling is flickscreen and with a tight time limit the best tactic is to keep running until you're forced to fight. Apart from jumping troughs filled with spikes or lava, dodging rocks thrown from above and climbing up on to the ledges, gameplay is pretty similar to the other two games on the first level. On later levels the jumping between platforms becomes more important though.
Once you've got to the end of a level a time machine takes you to the next, on 48K machines with the help of a multiload, on 128s without. Level two is Ancient Egypt complete with mummies, canine-headed gods and dripping acid. Level three is Medieval Times with knights on hobby horses, jesters and flying dragons. And the final level is, of course, Future Time with lots and lots of vicious robots. Renegade III is an excellent beat-'em-up, with a great sense of humour which should appeal even to people, like me, who don't usually like this type of game. Ocean/Imagine have done it again!
Well, first came Renegade, then Target: Renegade, and now it's time to battle against pixellated primitives and evil Egyptians in The Final Chapter. Of course, the game is in a similar style to the first two, but who cares when there is so much playability to be had kidding and punching things on screen! Each level has its own detailed backdrops and excellent sprites but they're completely monochrome, which is not very appealing. Imagine have done a brilliant job on the sound though, with a title tune, tunes for each level, jingles between levels and good sound effects. Fortunately Renegade III has not fallen into the trap that most beat 'em ups do of making things too easy, this is just hard enough to give lasting playability. If you are looking for a good, taxing beat 'em up, Renegade III would be an excellent choice.
Renegade III is quite a jolly kick 'em up; at least it's got a bit of variation to it! The graphics add a little spice to a hot game (ho, ho, ho) but the best bit in my opinion is the sound, which is, simply, excellent! Content is mostly very good, though there does seem to be a limit to the efficient moves in your arsenal. Unfortunately, there is quite a similarity to the other games in the series, as far as gameplay goes; the graphics are radically different but there does seem to be an underlying likeness. Basically, Renegade III is worth a bash (or a kick, indeed!), and definitely worthy of consideration if you haven't got both the others!
The Hit Squad
The third and final part of the Renegade trilogy takes us across time and space. It's a bit like a ninja Dr Who as the world's best martial artist goes off to save his girlie (yet again) from a race of evil aliens and certain death.
The aliens first take said girlie back to prehistoric times, so you battle huge prehistoric beasties and refugees from a Flintstones cartoon. Then it's onto Egypt and medieval times to fight hordes of attacking natives, but being such a cool dude it's simple to cut a swathe of ninja death.
Time is of the essence: take too long to complete a level and you become a permanent resident of that timezone. While the original Renegade set the pace, the sequels have followed it well. Though Renegade 3's story is a bit bottom of the barrel, it's a really fast-paced, fun beat-'em-up with great graphics and playability. Cheap and cheerful, you'll be bashing with Renegade 3 for ages!
Reviewer: Matt Bielby
It seems like only yesterday when the last one came out, doesn't it? We thought the first Renegade was dead and his brother had taken over for the sequels. but silly us- looks like we were wrong. Here's the original back looking pretty healthy - unless it's yet another member of the Renegade clan.
Imagine's obviously had to think a bit more about what to do with 3 - after all, it can't really just reproduce the same street gang beat 'em up formula forever, no matter how successful it might be. Renegade 3 has thus become much more of an arcade adventure than the previous two, with all sorts of fantastic and comical elements added witty nilly. If you can ignore the fact that the whole idea is a wee bit silly, then it in fact adds a lot of spice to an over-used formula.
Get this for starters. Baddies from the future have whisked back to the present and captured Renegade's girlfriend. Exactly why isn't immediately clear, but you'd think the saucy minx would have learned by now that it's pretty dangerous to have anything to do with those pesky Renegade boys.
Anyway, the baddies have taken her to their base in the future and in the meantime got rid of Renegade by throwing him backwards in time. He ends up in a prehistoric setting and must fight his way through that, an ancient Egyptian level, a Medieval (or as the game has it 'Med-evil') setting and a future level to rescue her. At the end of each one a grey coffin thing comes down and beams you to the next time zone (or asks you to do another load if you're in 48K), though you have to get there within the six minute time limit or the portal closes up and you're stuck in the past. Hmm. It all strains credibility slightly, I feel.
These are just surface differences, though. The most important ones are in the gameplay. For instance, instead of the normal large open fighting area you get in these sorts of games, much of each level has a raised catwalk at the back that you can climb up to at various points. You can use this to get past things like lava rivers if they're getting too much.
The other major difference is in the style and character of the baddies. Instead of your standard street thug, you get some of the most bizarre creations, including flying characters that drop things on you. In nice yellow and grey tones, with some very sharp background graphics (especially in the Egyptian level) and a flip screen, it's all eminently playable.
In effect then, you're half-way to a Rastan Sage or Karnov type game, but with the larger variety of combat moves that you get in a straight beat 'em up. These include a straight kick, a flying kick, a normal punch and a duck punch. For someone like me, who was getting bored sick of the average punch and kick game, this is a very welcome development indeed.
Old games never die. They just sit around for years doing nothing, then come back in a smaller box. JON PILLAR inspects...
The Hit Squad
Reviewer: Jon Pillar
Thanks to a ridiculous plot, Renny finds himself marooned at the dawn of time. Naturally this makes him a bit peeved, so he's out to bash, slap and poke his way back to the future as quick as he can. The graphics are faultless - probably the best cartoony graphics on the Speccy. On the level Renny faces demented Captain Caveman clones and boxing dinosaurs - so you can probably guess that this isn't quite as mean gritty as the previous games. Not to say it's any easier - if anything, it's the toughest. Luckily you can take a breather by scrambling up the scenery - in fact this is vital to get past tar pits and spike traps (each level is kind of a mini-maze).
Sadly, unlike Target Renegade there are no weapons to pick up. There's no two-player option either. But on the plus side it's extremely addictive, with long levels and blimming enormous baddy attacks. 128Kers have bonus of being able to rock along to the in-game music and avoid the multiload.
Overall, The Final Chapter is a spiffy swansong for the first-flailing vigilante. The only question is, where does he go from here? (Home to bed, I'll be bound!)
Author: Andrew Deakin/Ivan Horn
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
What is it with this Mrs Renegade woman? Does she walk around with a sign on her back saying "Kidnap Me, I'm Protected"? Does she enjoy the thrill of the chase and the excitement of abduction? Or is she just testing your love? Whatever it is she's gone again off with Mr Big and his cronies, and once again it's up to you to go get her.
Now, ol' Biggy, he knows that simply taking her to somewhere else in the city just doesn't work. He's learnt that lesson twice. Mr Big is clever. This time he doesn't just take her to another part of the globe, he also takes her to another time. Maybe that will stop you, he thinks to himself in an evil sort of way, but he's wrong. Nothing stops old Tardis Renegade, and as you close the blue doors and your central column starts rising and falling (Fnarkh - JD), you wonder wherer your adventure will take you. (Picture fades out of focus and starts wobbling). Huuuuuuuurrrrrrgh!
First stop is prehistoric West End. How do I know it's the West End? There are lots of clubs around, ha ha! But seriously folks, here you get to do battle with many prehistoric inhabitants, like cavemen and dinosaurs and pteire... petery... terry... birds that drop stones. From then on, you go to places like ancient Egypt (complete with living dead) and Gladiator Rome (complete with macho Romans).
Target Renegade was a huge improvement on Renegade, sadly the final chapter isn't much of a step forward. It's more of a slight sideways shuffle.
Graphically the game has been much improved. There is a humour in the style of the graphics that wasn't previously there. The actual Renegade character hasn't changed much, but both the backdrop and all the other sprites have been greatly improved. The backdrops are now much more integrated into the game than they were before. You can now climb the walls. There are ravines to jump etc. Sadly, it's still flip screen, but maybe that can't be helped.
Still, as a game, I find this a little disappointing. The playability seems to have sloped downhill quite dramatically. The number of fighting moves are pitifully low in comparison to other fighting games, and movement does seem to be a bit on the slow side. When you're under attack from four cavemen and two dinosaurs, fighting them off isn't very easy. I could say the game is difficult, but I won't because I know billions of readers will write in saying how they finished it after only playing it for three weeks.
The two player option is nonexistent now, as is the facility to pick up weapons. Come on Imagine, is this really a step in the right direction?
Renegade III is quite fun, but nowhere near as good as Target Renegade. Maybe Renegade IV 'oh alright, but this is the last time definitely' will be more of an advancement.
Imagine, Spectrum version reviewed, £8.99cs
The urban gung-ho combat nut is really out of his depth this time. Forget cleaning up the mean streets of the city: he's battling through time zones against the nastiest things history can throw at him.
The battle starts in prehistoric times where dinosaurs and cavemen, looking like Rock and Gravel who drove the Bouldermobile in Wacky Races, try to beat his skull to a pulp. He must battle along the scrolling landscape, jumping gaps and climbing walls, to get to a couple of major confrontations. These are against multiple opponents who all attack at once.
Battle to the end of the level and a time machine will whisk him off to the next time zone. All the energy and lives are replaced and battle is rejoined against a new group of sprites. The second zone is ancient Egypt, full of mummies, the third zone is a mediaeval encounter with knights and the fourth a trip into the future.
The action is very similar to the previous game: enjoyable but undemanding. It has been a good series of games but hopefully this is the Final Chapter.
Reviewer: Bob Wade
C64 £9.99, Spectrum £8.99, Amstrad £9.99
Once upon a time, a Taito arcade machine appeared called Renegade. Ocean bought the conversion rights and released home computer versions, which were very favourably received. A year later they followed up that success with Target Renegade... and now, another twelve months on, Renegade III, dubbed 'The Final Chapter', has appeared.
The story follows the antics of Renegade, a martial arts champion whose girlfriend has an alarming knack of regularly getting herself kidnapped by the local oiks, resulting in Ren having to beat 'em up and rescue her. Well folks, it's happened again, and once more Ren has to trog off and free her. But this time its not just a trip across to the other side of town to rescue the girl - the villains have got their mitts on a time machine and have taken her through space and time to a location in the far-flung future. And Renegade has to follow her through time to get her back. Weird, eh?
The mission of mercy involves battling through four horizontally scrolling levels, each representing a particular period in time, starting with Prehistoric, followed by Egyptian, Medieval and finally the future.
Each time zone is filled with period baddies - on the first level there are dinosaurs and cavemen to fight. Each enemy attacks the hero on sight, and attempts to wear down his energy bar, the depletion of which results in the loss of one of Renegades five lives. Fortunately the hero, being a martial arts expert, can reciprocate with a series of kicks and punches to the detriment of the enemy's health.
At the end of each level, a mass of baddies attack, and if Renegade manages to thump them all into the middle of next week a time portal opens, which takes him to the next level. At the end of the fourth level is Renegade's girlfriend - rescue her and the mission is complete.
All formats are played very similarly - and they're all very tough! Even the most experienced beat 'em up players will find that they've got their work cut out trying to rescue the kidnapette.
The graphics on all versions are excellent, with whacky cartoon-style sprites giving the game a humorous look and making the game even more fun. This, combined with the challenging gameplay results in a thoroughly enjoyable beat 'em up with plenty of long-lasting appeal. Proof too, that you can get great gameplay and good graphics on the less powerful machines.
Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £8.99, Diskette: £14.99
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
BLOOD AND BRUISES FROM THE FUTURE
With his girl kidnapped not long ago, his brother murdered by Mr Big and now his girl kidnapped yet again. It's all proved too much for Renegade... now he seeks TOTAL vengeance.
But this rescue attempt isn't quite so easy. Renegade's girl has been spirited away by foes with a nice line in time travel, it just so happens that the Renegade has also discovered the secret and off he goes through the temporal void chasing his opponents back and forth. The kidnappers have made him real mad and they're going to pay for it in blood and bruises!
Renegade moves ever right-wards nutting, kicking, crippling and maiming the opponents hoping to reach the next stage. Though if he dwardles he could get trapped in a time zone forever - and that's a mighty long time to spend thumb twiddling.
The search starts one million years back when dinosaurs ruled Earth. Cavemen, dinosaurs and egg-dropping pterodactyls assail the macho hero as he wanders casually through the level. The lighting comes to a head at levels end where we learn Renegade's beloved's been spirited to ancient Egypt. The fight and fists action continues through to Ye Olde England with Knights on hobby horses, jesters and dragons flapping around castle ramparts.
Following the trip around King Arthur's abode, it's back to the future and beyond to space stations where robots try to fry our merry hero.
Renegade 3 keeps with tradition, which may disappoint fans looking for several new ideas. The ommission of a two-player option could have been a mistake, but would invariably have made the game far too easy - as it is it plays at just the right level.
Target Renegade was good but the second sequel is so much more fun - gratuitous pixel violence is always a satisfying pastime, and Renegade 3 just goes to prove it.
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