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1989
Arcade: Gang beat-em-up
£8.99
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

48
Matt Bielby
Chris Bourne

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.

The standard beat 'em up formula gets a bizarre fantasy twist - and it works!

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THE PREHISTORIC AGE

Heavily populated with eight foot dinosaurs, 'Captain Caveman' lookalikes, rock throwing Neandertahls and egg dropping prehistoric birds (from wich tiny ankle biting dinos appear once they've hit the floor!) it's all very busy. At some points the screen widens out and six or so of them attack you at once. Yowch!

THE EGYPTIAN ZONE

Large and small mummies (the tiny ones are the worst - you can only get them with a kneeling punch!), dog-headed Egyptian god things and acid drop from the ceiling make this one of the best of the levels.

THE 'MEDIEVIL' LEVEL

The comic element really comes to the fore here, with some of the attacking knights mounted on hobby horses! Minature dragons try to get you with their fire if you're on the battlements, and waist high jesters attack your legs. There is different music on each level to fit each time zone apparently, though you'll have to use your imagination with this one I think.

THE FUTURE

Flying saucers drop stuff at you, and various robots and squidgy aliens attack you on ground level. Don't let them stop you though - your girlfriends almost within reach. The only problem now is how to get back!