Target Renegade - A classic 8-bit game gets a BIG ZX Spectrum review by Florinthedwarf!

I haven't seen slacks like that since MC Hammer.
Oh lordy. Mr Rene Gade is back and this time he's brought the option of having two players simultaneously kicking the crap out of people at the same time. Could things get better? Well, yes they can as it turns out because you can also pick weapons up and hit people with them this time too. This really does have the makings of possibly the greatest game ever and those things topped with the fact that the much revered and loved reverse-kick-to-the-groin™ makes a comeback, well, (did it just get hot in here?) how can you argue?

'Hey, hey..look at me, man. I feel for you. I promise I'm not going to knee you in the groin and throw you onto your mate lying on the floor there. Honestly.'
Yes, everyone's favourite girlfriend rescuer is back and this time he's brought his twin, who spookily has the same level of martial art skills, (maybe it's a twin thing) and both have a fondness for taking on a multitude of gangs. Good thing really, as they'd definitely be in the wrong place if they didn't. So, what is the reason that you're hell bent on taking on all of these gangs this time? No, it's not girlfriend related would you believe (how odd!) but it's your brother that needs avenging (a different brother, I would imagine)  after he was killed by a gang kingpin called Mr. Big (weren't they a band at one time?). It's time to get your fighting groove on as it were and set about marauding through the city taking on all of his affiliates, of which there are many so you'd better prepare yourself.

Well, I know you're a lady so I won't be so harsh as to reverse kick you to the...ah, sod it.
Five levels of fighting carnage await you on your vengeance mission, and they are big. The first level will have you using the lift several times as you plunge deeper into the gang filled car park when you reach the edge of each floor. If the lifts smell as bad as the ones in my local car park, I think Mr Gade would be more scared of hitting that 'call' button than taking on 100's of gang members in all honesty. At the end of each level, you'll see our hero pick up a pay phone and then you're taken to the next level. Quite what he's meant to be saying I don't know, I don't even know who he's meant to be calling. 

Some may say he's calling this so called Mr. Big to antagonise him; a kind of 'Neh neh, neh neh, neh - I've just killed lots of your men!' call, maybe? Or maybe it's more of a 'Please give me a break! I'm on my own here, mate.' type of call. Who knows. No matter what is discussed, you plough on regardless. What a trooper! Vengeance is not something that can be ignored obviously, you're in this for the long haul so you'll do what you can get through. On the plus side, you do get to knee people in the groin along the way so you know, every cloud, and all that.

You want to be a farmer? Ok, here are a couple of achers to get you started.

Target Renegade is a very clean-looking game and by that I mean, the graphics are very crisp, detailed and a joy to look at. The level design is beautiful and with a vast array of thugs to take on, it's hard to fault. From bikers to skinheads, punks to angry ladies (and the odd dog - see below) - every gang type is catered for so if you have had any kind of grievance with these types of gangs in real life, you'll no doubt come across them here where you'll be able to take out your frustration on them and exact some revenge. The whole games has this comic book kind of look and feel to it and it's beautifully done.

It also retains the gameplay of the original, this is mainly down to the array of moves available again. There are some slight changes with regards to the animation, though these are not a bad thing. Rene does have a different walk this time though retains the same look; the trademark shades and open chest waistcoat bring a nice familiarity though you'll notice his punch technique has been upgraded. This time he also opts for a more over the shoulder attack as his arms rotate, each taking its turn to pummel the enemy. 

The classic moves are still here though and include (as mentioned in my opening paragraph) the reverse-kick-to-the-groin™. What's there not to love? Add to that the haunting though brilliant sound track ported by Jonathan Dunn from the SID original composed by Gari Basillo, and you've got not only one of the best fighters, but also one of the best Speccy games ever. Yes, I just said that. Target Renegade is a triumph - I can think of no negatives.The gameplay is fantastic, the fights come thick and fast, there's a lot more going on than the original , it looks beautiful (think I may have said that already) - oh Speccy lords, what did we humble folk do to deserve such a game?

I hope that dog hasn't got sharp teeth.
I've always been one to say that the first Renegade is the best one of the trilogy for me, though when you re-play Target Renegade it does kind of remind you of what you're dealing with here. Renegade is brilliant, Target Renegade is also brilliant but the latter also has the added extras of larger levels, more enemies, weapons, the cute dogs (for the record, if you're a first time player, they're not actually cute) and also has the moves of the original. Reverse kick to the groin anyone? Yes. Flying kick to the face? Yes. Knee to the face? Yes. Smashing someone in the face with hammer? Oooh, yes. All the boxes are kicked... I mean, ticked. 

Two simultaneous players is also a huge bonus; not only does it mean it makes things slightly easier having two versus hundreds of enemies, but also helps you create a bond with a mate or sibling. It was the latter for me - I thought the bond between my slightly older brother was the strongest around. Most of the times multi player games had us pit against each other but then along came Target Renegade. We were a team, both kicking the crap out of thugs and saving each other's arses. 'That dog's about to bite me in the nether regions!' I'd shout (slightly edited to keep the article family friendly), then he'd reply, 'Not to worry dear brother, I shall take care of him for you.' (again, this quote has been edited for a family audience). Aaah, brotherly love wins against evil.

All this talk of brotherly love has got me re-thinking my thoughts on the whole 'Which is the best Renegade' debate. A staunch defender and praiser of the original for many years but now I think that what we have here is the greatest of the trilogy. It's bigger certainly, looks beautiful and still packs a punch (and kick) and still holds up to this day. It makes you slightly giddy when you think about it, how we Speccy owners were certainly privileged to have such a brilliant game in our library. You can spend hours punching and kicking away,  and no matter how many times you fall, you'll be gathering your energy and sourcing your alternate power more than a T-800 and coming back for more.

That's enough praising for one day, (I'm getting all teary here) I'm off to go do some brotherly bonding. Think I'll grab my Speccy on the way out.

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