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Title: Renegade
Author:Taito
Rom Player: Jnes
Reviewer: Rick Wickenhofer

Synopsis: The world of Renegade is a world without heroes. From the chaos of the streets comes Mr. K, the "hero" character of the game. And I did put the word "hero" in quotes for a reason, because I still cannot figure out if he really is a hero, or just a guy who likes to beat the Christ out of people. Let's examine his rampage through the streets:

Mission 1 begins with you, or Mr. K, on a subway platform surrounded by a gang of thugs. And by "gang," I mean three guys. One of them has a bat, or a pipe, and all three seem intent on inflicting bodily harm upon you. Your defenses include a punch, a back kick to ward off enemies advancing from behind, a jump kick and a grappling maneuver which allows you to knee your foes in the groin or throw them backwards off the subway platform. Prepare yourself to use the jump kick almost exclusively, because it's the only way to quickly stun an enemy without getting assraped by his buddies. Once a foe is on the ground, you can pin him and ruthlessly smash his face into the ground using your otherwise ineffective fists.

One thing you might notice about the game is that everybody looks exactly the same. All the punks have your face, and the only way to tell yourself apart from them is the fact that you're wearing red pants and a vest. Once you dispatch a foe, his clone will replace him, and you must fight until the laboratory next door to the subway runs out of stem cells. Then the subway doors will open magically, making it obvious that the only way to hitch a ride in this town is to rupture the internal organs of every other commuter in the area. As soon as you're in the subway, you'll run into more clones, all of whom you must physically and brutally humiliate before the doors will open to let you off the train. Public transportation in this town is a bitch.

Once free from the train, you will encounter Jack, the boss of the subway gang. Like you, he has mastered the ancient Chinese art of jumping, and will attack you with a front kick or a leaping front kick. He can also grapple with you and smash your face with a violent series of blows. Wear him down enough and you will be able to toss him off the subway platform, and his body may bounce off the ledge once or twice, breaking his spine in as many as two places. Then you are shown a close up of Mr. K's face, and he taunts Jack with the phrase "You ain't tough enough for me." Is that really a thing a would-be victim might say after successfully warding off a gang of muggers? Also, if you should lose the fight to Jack or his underlings, all they say is "Get lost, punk!" If all the enemies really want is for you to go away, maybe they're not the ones starting all this shit to begin with.

The game then informs you that "Mission 2" is about to commence. I don't really recall a "Mission 1," because I didn't rescue hostages, recover secret documents or do any of the other things that might constitute a mission. All I remember doing is kicking a lot of ass. And why is there a Mission 2? Shouldn't Mr. K's adventure be over? You'd think after surviving an attempted mugging in the subway, he'd be home eating nachos and watching "SpongeBob" by now. But no, the next day finds him near a harbor surrounded by kung-fu experts, evidenced by the fact that they're wearing headbands. They still punch and hit you with sticks, but apparently they do it with such finesse that the 8-bit graphics of the NES cannot accurately capture it. The kung-fu experts are as easy to defeat as the guys in the subway, because you can simply toss them one by one into the harbor, effectively drowning them.

As the bodies of the hapless martial artists decompose at the bottom of the harbor, you are beset by a series of bikers. One well-timed jumpkick will knock them off their motorcycles, adding more quadriplegics to your conscience. If you miss, you will be run over, but don't worry. This only costs you one increment of health. It seems to me that having a deep furrow shaped like a motorcycle tire where your ball divider used to be would be more of a serious concern, but Mr. K shakes it off marvelously, ready to inflict more carnage and destruction. After unseating five of the bikers, Mr. K steals one of the motorcycles, though there are plenty of unmanned vehicles nearby, and begins to tear ass down the highway. Here you will meet more bikers, and you must kick each off of his bike while both of you are going 90 mph. Sometimes an "S" will appear in the center of the screen. If you touch it, the word "TURBO" will appear among your stats at the top, and your speed will increase by 0 mph.

At the end of the road, you'll meet Joel, boss of the second mission. He is slightly harder than Jack, as he will twirl gracefully in the air before kicking you in the neck. Use your ever trusty jumpkick at least 50 times, then your grappling knee-groin finisher to dramatically limit Joel's reproductive output.

Mission Three is the most bizarre and controversial level, and it shatters any assumption you may have had that Mr. K is a good guy. In order to complete it you must assault a group of ordinary women. They will attempt to protect themselves with handbags and strings of pearls in the hope that all the self-defense and rape prevention classes they took will pay off, but Mr. K is determined. Using his repeated jumpkick, grappling techniques and the pin-and-strike maneuver, Mr. K must maul, brutalize and molest his way to victory. Once you have asserted your dominance over the fairer sex, you have a choice whether or not to go into the bar to the left, or up the stairway to the right. Remember, you have a choice. Those poor women didn't.

If you choose the bar, you will fight more women, and the whole scene will be overlooked by the only other male in the level, the bartender. The bartender's purpose is to stare eerily out at you, and I don't mean Mr. K, I mean you, the game player. It's creepy as hell, especially since the bartender does not move at all, making it uncertain whether he is even alive. In fact, he appears to be the offspring of Sammo Hung and a zombie, and he is readying himself to eat whoever loses the fight.

If you chose the stairway, though, you will encounter Kim, a frequenter of the Big 'N' Tall store since she is a giantess in both height and girth. If you lose to her, like with any other boss, it will show a close up of the her face. Keeping that in mind, I will sincerely implore you NOT TO LOSE. Upon beholding her ungodly visage, you will immediately be turned to stone, unless by some miracle you got hold of Perseus' shield in an auction. Kim is difficult to defeat, however, and since her apartment resembes a dojo, I can safely assert that she is the instructor of the self-defense classes utilized by the other women in the game. Because you are now facing her, it's also apparent that she sucks as an instructor. This goes to show that you should never take martial arts from anyone bigger than you, because it's like hiring the Incredible Hulk to teach you how to wrestle. Huge people can make fighting look easy. Watching them perform a maneuver will lead you to assume the move is simpler to execute than it actually is, and you will wind up getting your ass beat. Kim, for example, can lift you off the ground with one hand and bitchslap you repeatedly, which the smaller females in the level never had any hope of doing. To avoid this, try jumpkicking her three times to get her fat ass on the ground, then run at her and do a dash punch when she starts to get up. Repeat this until she has only two health units left, then pin her and let the molestation commence.

Now to the fourth and final mission, Mission 4. This is bizarre in its own right, for you seem to have landed right in the middle of the Twilight Zone. Everything looks normal, but as soon as you pass through a few doors, you begin to realize that the whole level is some kind of freaky funhouse that warps you back and forth. Some routes even lead you back to the previous level. There are rooms with the subway punks, others with the kung-fu guys, the women and clones of the bosses. I once found a room with three Kims. God save us all. Maybe Mr. K actually does have a lofty purpose behind his rampage, and that is to stop the illegal trafficking of whichever substance it is that the programmers were high on when they designed this level. There is no rhyme or reason to the wormholes that zap you around time and space, and you just have to hope that your "next leap...will be the leap home." Actually, not home per se, but a room with a pistol-wielding madman named Sabu. This is the final boss of the game, and the guy whose house you're invading for some undetermined purpose. Personally, I think it's Rod Serling who's behind all this madness. Rod will appear at the top of the screen, and you must approach him from below as he can only fire his handgun horizontally across the screen. This is what happens when you don't buy American-made firearms; they can only shoot across a single geometric plane. Anyway, if you're successful at wearing Serling down to three units without being shot in the process, pin him to the ground and do as you will. Then the game will end without an explanation as to why any of this was necessary.

In short, to win the game you must be guilty of the following crimes: aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, motorcycle theft, manslaughter, breaking and entering, sexual battery and possibly sodomy (though that one's no longer a problem in Texas). Letting Mr. K get hurled from the subway platform in Mission One is the only honorable thing to do, as the man is a sick fuck.

"Renegade," based on these conclusions about its protagonist, is aptly titled. Its gameplay is very simple and somewhat repetitive, but it ends quickly enough since the game comprises only four levels. It is fun to chuck people off of platforms and into the harbor, and social deviants in particular will get a perverse pleasure out of Mission Three. "Renegade's" graphics are not very detailed, but they are adequate for such a simple game. The sound and music are also adequate, but if you find yourself tapping your foot to it, I know for a fact that Mission Three is your favorite level, and that you belong in a correctional institution. The game is only original in that the hero is a misanthropic sadist, but other than that it is just an average fighting game.

Best Cheats: Here are the directions that will help you navigate the horrendous maze of insanity that is Mission 4. After beating the wave of guys in T-shirts (I can no longer call them "subway punks" as they are no longer in or near the subway), go into the door that doesn't say "Lifepier" over it. Yes, the red door. The one to the right, asshole. Jesus.

Anyway, you will find yourself in a room with two guys with bats. Defeat one, and one more will replace him. Kick the asses of all three guys for a total of six asscheeks, and take the door to the left. Now you witness the horrors of cloning, because you are now facing two Jacks, and there's no platform to toss them off of. Anyway, beat them and go through the left door again. You should be in a blue room in which two bikers are inexplicably riding around. Unseat them and proceed through the middle door. Now you're in a yellow room, and you must defeat three bikers. Good job, unless you died. Now go through the right door and bring final justice to Rod Serling.

Game Play: 7
Graphics: 5
Music/Sound: 6
Originality: 4
Overall Rating: 6

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