Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Renegade it an ageing coin-op that featured some of the most explicit violence ever witnessed on a video screen.
Beat the living pixels out of hordes of unsavoury gangland sprites across a variety of environments.
Sometimes standing up and fighting for what you believe in is seen as a virtue, not a flaw in character. Don't take things lying down, when you can stand up and take things into your own hands, giving the world something it richly deserves! Know your enemy! Take the power back! Justice for all! However, in this age where turning the other cheek is for pussies, yet a sound knowledge of some ace fighting moves is regarded as cool for cats, the situation is a mite confusing. Renegade, the latest beat 'em up for the Master System, aims to educate us in the benefits of this method of thought. The scenario states that, once again, the pavements are crawling with all the wrong kinds of people, therefore requiring a fine upstanding person like yourself for a spot of urban pacification — vigilante style!
Most of the action takes place on the city streets but there are those who prefer to take the battle indoors, crashing through the corridors and letting loose in the living rooms of N E Ville's notorious drug barons, pimps, mass-murderers, gang leaders — you know the type of thing. Renegade, the coin-op, is notorious for its violent scenes of skull-splitting action and, shall we say, expressive portrayal of unarmed combat. Most notably though is Renegade's less discriminating attitude to the whole beat 'em up scene, man. It's a no-holds-barred, dirty-move central, fist fest without a doubt. So, with cotton swabs and TCP at the ready, we present the Master System version of this depravity to you, oh gentle readers.
Never hit a man when he's down! Not as a rule, anyway. However Renegade makes this cowardly act possible, if not necessary, and it's not just the men who suffer but women too! Once an opponent is left sprawling on terra-firma, trying to recover his or her senses, this is a good time for your character to get on top and give them a good seeing to. Such gratuitous violence is not recommended for practice at home, except where door-to-door salesmen are concerned; in which case, by common belief, it's all right.
Too much excitement makes this particular renegade go completely crazy! Battling away for long periods of time seriously affects his metabolism and, as a result our renegade boy flashes and becomes immensely powerful. Foes that usually require a succession of punches and kicks to the head fall to a single punch or kick and, what's more, are sent whizzing off the screen in a most spectacular fashion. Cor!
Renegade is a one or two-player game. The two-player option is alternating, not simultaneous, alackaday.
Stage two takes place in the docks of a shady warehouse. The hero of the game is attacked by the usual group of knife-wielding nibblers and bare-knuckle bruisers but things suddenly get worse in rapid, two-wheeled style as a gang of bikers attack our hero. Plentiful flying kicks are essential for self-preservation here and the ability to sustain such attacks is rewarded when our hero takes off on one of his assailants' bikes, taking the action to the open road and battles of balance with several bloodthirsty bikers.
When it comes to battling with the bosses bear in mind they like a good throttle! At least, they enjoy choking the life out of the odd renegade that happens along. With this in mind, keep an eye out for when any bosses kneel — this signifies an imminent throttling session.
Renegade is the sort of game which when first switched on makes you think you're in for a good ride (metaphorically speaking of course). But after a few minutes you realise that although it looks quite pretty graphically, that's about it. All the baddies on the individual levels are identical and can all be dispatched with in the same way — the flying kick. You can punch them, chuck them, knee them in the groin or bash them while they're down if you so wish, but what's the point when the flying kick is the only one that really works to any great effect? Naturally these factors all add up to a short, sharp trip to Dullsville. The motorcycle scene is a refreshing change but not enough to rescue this game from mediocrity. Renegade was an absolute winner on other 8-BIT machines in the long distant past and basically, this is where this Master System game looks like it belongs — in the past. If you're an absolute beat 'em up junkie this might appeal for a while since the difficulty setting is fairly challenging but otherwise I'd let it alone.
Renegade is striking when you consider the amount of moves on offer. Smacking the opposition when they're flat on their backs is very satisfying, as is chucking them about the screen and pulling them close in for the odd knee-bashing to the guts! Certainly this game has much of the ingredients necessary for a successful beat 'em up. Okay, so the graphics are basic looking and the music flat but I thought the gameplay held much promise. The motor-bike section doesn't feature in the original coin-op and so is a pleasant surprise, I hoped similar features might crop up later in the game but there were none, just more standard beat-em-up fare to stifle and deprave. Soon I realised that Renegade also fails because it is only necessary to use one manoeuvre, namely the flying kick, repeatedly in every situation. It all becomes boring very quickly, causing any challenge the game had on offer to fade into insignificance as foe after hapless foe falls to the renegade's flying feet. The only factor that adds any kind of urgency to these situations is the time limit, forcing the player to get stuck in rather than dodder about taking too much time. Consequently the defeat of every baddie that happens along is met with a shallow, seen-it-all-before feeling and Renegade is ultimately a big let down.