System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Published by: Other
Review: Ah yes, Renegade. Originally known as Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun in Japan, this western version of the game is widely regarded as the granddady of beat 'em up genre video games. While most people who owned the Nintendo Entertainment System will sing praises for Double Dragon, you gotta remember that Renegade predated it by two years. So, it's not surprising that it's not going to look or play nearly as well.
For one thing, there's no side-scrolling action in Renegade. Each of the levels consist of single screens that you fight hordes of street thugs on. The artwork is also sub par, even by early NES game standards. Play the game through a few screens and you'll quickly find yourself wondering if it was created by a six-year-old using MS Paint. But that's not a bad thing if you ask me. The art is so bad it's actually one of the more endearing things about the game in my opinion.
While the regular fight levels are contained on a single screen, there is a fun side-scrolling motorcycle riding battle on the second level before you fight the boss. The third and final level is the one most people who played this game remember. Why? Because after fighting your way through a gang of women who try to beat you with their purses, you find yourself in a nightmare of rooms inside a building, and if you choose the wrong door, it'd send you right back to the beginning of the level. On top of that, it contained these giant sumo women who pick you up, slap the crap out of you, and then toss you across the room like a rag doll.
If you manage to find your way through the hodgepodge of rooms, you'll come face to face with Sabu. He's a gun-toting bastard who can kill you quickly. My advice is to keep jump kicking him until he's dead. If you don't, he'll shoot you and shout, "Get lost, punk!" He's a class act, that Sabu. Should you emerge victorious against him, you won't find yourself in the warm embrace of a kidnapped girlfriend. No, you're treated to a black screen with "The End" in the middle of it. Hey, a lot of games back then didn't do much for wrapping up their loose stories, and Renegade was no exception.
If nothing else, Renegade is a nice early look into the history of beat 'em up games. Also, being one of the earlier NES games I owned, it brings back a lot of memories for me. There aren't too many games out there where you get to fight gangs of pink kung fu guys or purse-slinging women, so give it a shot. And if you don't own a NES, it was also released on the Wii's Virtual Console.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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