Target Renegade (Imagine) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Target Renegade
By Imagine
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #38

Target Renegade

Being the hardest man in Scumville is no life for a deep-down, honest-to-goodness family man. If it isn't a guy's girlfriend being kidnapped, it's his brother being murdered.

Poor Matt - cut down in the midst of his investigations of gangland dealings by the vicious hood known only as Mr. Big. Blinded by thoughts of revenge, his street-fighting renegade brother takes it upon himself to settle his scores on any villains he can get hold of, hoping that this will eventually lead him to the odious den of the arch-villain.

As well as being able to move over each scrolling level, the player has at his disposal eight point-scoring manoeuvres, including jump kicks, punches, ducking and shrugging off opponents. Hitting weapon-wielding thugs causes them to drop their implements of ill-will for the player to pick up and use, increasing the effectiveness of each strike. Taking hits from the fists of hostile urban warriors saps pixels from a bar representing the player's endurance, until exhaustion removes one life from his complement of five. Each level is played against the clock, with death encroaching as the seconds tick by.

Five scenes stand between the player and Mr. Big. Play begins in a multi-storey car park where a gang of motorcyclists are coaxed off their machines with a well-placed kick and thumped into submission before play progresses outside.

In the fresh evening air of Seedy Street, "ladies of the night" forget femininity and proceed to take the player apart. They are joined by their gun-toting pimp with thankfully limited ammunition.

The third encounter is set in a park, where a gang of skinheads do their darnedest to liquidise the player's meaty frame with non-stop GBH.

The penultimate level, a shopping mall, is the haunt of the local Beasty Boys fan club, who are also in the pay of Mr. Big. As well as lashing out at the player with punches and kicks, they set their large and ferocious bulldogs on him. Several choice blows later, the way is clear for entry into the final location.

Mr. Big's centre of operations is a seedy bar where hordes of his hardest heavies hang out. On entering, they pounce on the player hoping to pound him to a pulp, but fast fighting fazes the flabby freaks until finally Mr Big emerges, tough as old boots with spikes in the toes. All that remains is for the player to mete out some street justice on Public Enemy Number One, and avenge Matt's murder!


Not being easily motivated towards on-screen pugilism, I was surprised to find the atmosphere created by Target Renegade was sufficiently strong to reawaken the animal in me (though the exact species of animal I'm keeping to myself). The outstanding quality of the graphics is striking, with sprites that wouldn't look out of place in a cartoon film, and these provide a suitably strong hook to draw you into the game. The action is sufficiently fast and furious and exhibits some clever touches, such as a biker who sneaks up behind the player and holds him while his partner beats hell out of him from the front. After a while I found that, while the graphics were varied, the gameplay was less so. Many of the baddies are easily beaten by moving up to them, holding the joystick in the "punch" position and repeatedly pressing the fire button. Still, if that kind of fighting is your scene there's no other reason why you shouldn't get hold of this.


The beautifully animated sprites are the first indication that Target Renegade is far superior to its forerunner. Each one has been drawn with incredible attention to detail, and look like tiny cartoon characters rather than computer sprites. The backgrounds are also better than the original, and each level is far longer.

The gameplay has also been improved - it's tougher, with an intelligent control method (everything is done from the joystick), extra moves and the availability of a baseball bat to help despatch the opposition.

The icing on the cake is an excellent end sequence, which gives the player the incentive to battle all the way through the game. Target Renegade is a brilliant sequel, and should be looked up by those who prefer to settle their scores with fists and feet rather than laser guns.


First impressions are very off-putting: the action appears hopelessly difficult, since frustratingly precise and sometimes illogical timing is required to produce results. Getting caught, gerotted and beaten up by thugs time and time again creates frustration beyond belief.

However, practice really does encourage progress, and the more you play it the more addictive it becomes. The good thing is that it's not just a simple beat-'em-up: a whole range of different characters with individual skills and personalities are combatted with unique strategies; level one depends on getting hold of a club, level two on your skill at avoiding bullets... Visually and aurally, it's well above average; your character is suitably muscle-bound and brilliantly animated, with reasonably detailed and colourful backdrops to match; the sound complements the rugged action perfectly.

Overall, it's varied and addictive, but be warned: it's really tough!


Presentation 78%
Smart loading screen, good control method and a sane multi-load.

Graphics 93%
Cartoon quality sprites, with suitable backgrounds.

Sound 72%
Above average soundtracks and FX.

Hookability 86%
Uncluttered gameplay and superb graphics quickly bind you to the game.

Lastability 82%
Plenty of plug-uglies to put down.

Overall 84%
Superb graphics turn a good fighting game into a very good one.