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!
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