This is going to sell zillions. Renegade - converted from the coin-op of the same name - is quite possibly the most visually violent computer game I've ever seen.
It has some of the characteristics of a martial arts game. Combinations of joystick movement and Fire button provide a number of attacking and defensive moves which can be used on an ever more cunning and dangerous series of opponents. The big difference is that where International Karate, say, allowed for a number of elegant and subtle throws and holds, Renegade is street violence at its dirtiest. This includes kicking people when they are down and booting them where it hurts.
Renegade is in various levels, all of which look like the subways, dingy run-down ghetto streets and derelict buildings on the fringes of some American city. Even on Level 1 - set in a tube station - things look bad. Just you, against half a dozen or more opponents. Some of them have what appear to be coshes, others just put the boot in.
Your joystick control provides such wonderful moves as flying leaps, kneeing in the groin, nutting and punching. The animation is excellent - comically realistic.
There's a new feature to the combat game, too - the members of the gang act together - one may grab you and hold you whilst another repeatedly punches your stomach. Alternatively, you may be slugging it out with one jeaned bully-boy only to find your battle cut short by a swipe around the head with a baseball bat from another.
Even if you manage to clear some of villains (difficult because they don't all stay down - some seem to need several knees where it hurts at least) this is only a minor victory. Your real opponent is the Boss who, after a certain point decides to join in the fray. The Boss is the toughest of the lot - his strength level is indicated by a bar alongside yours and he is very difficult to beat - partly because he is defended/supported by the remaining hoodlums.
Maybe, just maybe, you'll make it through to the next level in which it looks like you've stumbled into a Hells Angels party. Oh dear.
The bikers begin by zooming at you on their bikes - you tend to get run over a lot. There is, however, an almost sure-fire move - kick the Angels off their bikes with a flying leap. After that the whole gang comes for you and it's back to kicking and punching again.
Next up is a tribe of whip- wielding leather-clad women. Yep, that's what I said. Very bizarre it looks too.
Next level is a bunch of razor-wielding thugs and finally an interior scene with more thugs plus their leader with gun!
Graphics are reasonable but it's the animation that really scores. All this wanton violence would look like nothing were it not for the brilliant way the Spectrum's graphical possibilities have been used to best effect to give a realistic impression of some complex moves - you'll believe a sprite can hold its goolies and get nutted.
Criticisms? Not many - memory economies mean that a lot of the sprites are repeated (but then hoodlums all look the same really don't they?)
Generally though, it's superb implementation of the arcade game. It is irredeemably violent but never mind. I won't tell anybody if you don't.
Author: Mike Lamb/Ronnie Fowles
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
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