Revenge is sweet. Violence is golden. Pain is painful. You'll need to learn these three rules if you're gonna survive out on the mean streets of Scumville. Target Renegade makes no apologies about plonking you in this rather unpleasant town. And it's out and out warfare there. Your mission is to avenge the memory of your brother. He got severely stomped in the original Renegade, and now you're after Mr. Big, who picked the fight in the first place.
The first of the five levels is set in a multi-storey car-park, where a motorcycle gang, who happen to be passing, try to beat you into your constituent molecules. You'll have to knock them off their Harleys, then fend them off with your punches, kicks and leaps. If you survive for long enough, one of the enemy will attack you with a sledge-hammer. Kick his face in and nick the hammer. This gives you an undeniable advantage, despite the incredible thickness of the bikers' skulls.
If you make it to the lift, you can get to Level Two. This is quaintly named 'Seedy Street at Night'. There are several gaudily-dressed women around. What they want is anyone's guess. However, they seem to take an instant dislike to you, and frail and fragile fairer sex that they may be, they try and kick out your lungs.
So the violence continues. If you're still playing this far, you'll be better at it, and the folk you encounter will have their bones pulverised before they can say 'flick-knife'.
Level Three sees you in the Park. You might think that a park is a pleasant haven of peaceful gentility. Not in Scumsville. As you relax by the pond, watching the children playing in the sandpit, you casually make the acquaintance of a large number of milling skinheads. They take umbrage at something you say or do, and subsequently attempt to damage your face and body severely. Where are those Turtles when you really need them?
Next, you shamble, bleeding and broken, into a Shopping Mall littered with Beastie Boys fans and their hungry Rottweilers. When they notice you, they proceed to turn your head into etc... etc...
After this light relief you'll be exactly in the mood to confront Mr. Big, King of the Scallywags, in his own bar. His bodyguards attempt to pull your... etc, and rip off your... etc, and... etc you with a machine gun. Do not try to reason with them.
Target Renegade appeared as a full-price game in AA35 and scored a Mastergame. It still looks great today. It's got bags of playability, and the graphics are fab, being big, clear and well animated. You have several violent moves available to dispatch your foes, and they all look good on screen.
Sound is fine too. A tune plays continually, rather like Beethoven's Ninth during the violent scenes in A Clockwork Orange. If you prefer, you can turn off the sound and just listen to the beeps that accompany the thumping.
Perhaps one of the best features in Target Renegade is the option to have a friend or relative join you in the senseless wasting of human life. The two-player mode puts both you and said friend on screen at the same time. So you can work as a team, doubling your effectiveness. It is excellent fun as you both lay into an immobilised, unconscious skinhead. You're not likely to be doing something like that in real life, let's face it.
The game isn't easy, either. Against one, or possibly two adversaries you should be able to come out on top. But when four or more pile in, one on a motorbike, you'll need luck and your wits. You'll also need a friend who's equally adept at using boots, fists and any large tools scrounged from nearby building sites.
A time limit keeps you moving through the levels. You must wipe out all the baddies on each level before you can proceed to the next. So, whilst it is possible to evade the approaching squads of meatheads, it's not really in your best interests to do so.
Overall, Target Renegade has stood the test of time very well. It really is an excellent game. You will need to enjoy inflicting and receiving extreme physical trauma, though. It can get repetitive, but there are so many levels and characters that this isn't a major factor.
If you aren't put off, and ethics matter little, then this is the budget punch-'em-up for you.
Target Renegade is a gratuitously violent game. Mindless thuggery is fun, though, and results in an extremely entertaining game, especially with two players.
P. Well-animated characters.
P. Slick and very presentable.
P. Slick and very presentable.
N. FX not so hot.
Grab Factor 87%
P. Great fun and easy to get into.
P. And even better with two players.
Staying Power 73%
P. Five levels.
N. But action is very similar in each.
P. Fun, playable and none too taxing on the old grey cells...