Commodore User1st April 1989
Published in Commodore User #68
You cried when Renegade was first parted from his girl, you laughed at the C64 conversion of the game, and then stood back in awe of the brilliance of its aptly-named sequel Renegade III.
Now from the bowels of Ocean/Imagine and the programming genius of Zach Townsend comes the third, and, judging by the title, the last in the Renegade series. And I can't help but be impressed.
Yet again Renegade's girlfriend has been dragged screaming from his arms, only this time the kidnappers are from the future, allowing a far more original perspective on the scrolling thump-'em scene.
By starting you off in the Jurassic period, it becomes increasingly obvious that this is one game not to be taken seriously. Be honest, green dinos and Captain Caveman look-a-likes running around willy nilly are hardly a vote for the sensible party. And just when you think you've made it to the end of the level, on comes an army of the aforementioned weirdos. Kill enough of them and the screen scrolls on further.
One standard feature in short supply is the end-of-level encounter. Instead, a nice congratulatory note is flashed up, followed by a press play on tape message. I know it's a level-on-level multi-load, but then again, is that anything new nowadays?
The graphics are worth more than a passing mention, they come the closest as possible to arcade quality on the C64. All credit goes to Andrew Sleigh and Rob Hemphill for some excellent, humorous, characters. My favourite so far are the short big-nosed mummies featured on the second level, which are almost too cute to club. Not only are they well-designed but well-handled. God only knows how many hi-res sprites are handled so well on the same screen.
Then there is the customary Jon Dunn soundtrack and FX - and one of his better attempts this time, I'm pleased to say.
Difficulty is an idea I hate. Normally coupled with frustration, toughness features high in this game. It took me two days before I completed the first level, and, even worse, in a fit of temper I smashed my favourite joystick off of the wall and write it off. I don't supposed it's still covered by the guarantee... It is worth persevering though; and once I had made it off the first level, I found myself dragged onto a bank, kneed in the goolies, and revived enough to keep me playing for a full five hours non-stop.
Probably the best arcade game on the C64 at the moment, Renegade III has lots and lots of gratuitous violence spliced with addictive gameplay and mounds of humour. My recommendation is: get it before it gets you.