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.
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!)
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