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Taito (Technos Japan) 1987



Renegade is otherwise known as Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-Kun in Japan, where it's actually the first of a very long running series of side scrolling beat'em ups. The title translates essentially into "Hot-blooded Kunio," the closest English meaning being "Passionate," as in Kunio is passionate with anger.

Kunio (who is called Mr. K in the American version) is on a mission to save his brother from some evil thugs or gangbangers or something, and has to walk left to right and kick people's behinds until he finds her. The game was one of the first side scrolling fighters out there and established many of the play mechanics we saw for years to come. You have two buttons that do punches or back kicks depending if the bad guy is in front or in back of you (ala Double Dragon II. In fact this game came out before DD II, and is actually programmed by the same guys, Technos of Japan.) You can do jump kicks, throw guys into each other, sit on someone and punch them in the face, do running runches, pick up and club people with weapons, etc. Yes friends, the asskicking abounds in this game.

Enemies are your standard gangmember-thug fare, although there is some wierd stuff like Japanese school girls (wtf?) Each bad guy can do all the moves you can and generally surround you and kill you. Each boss has his own signiture move (like the boss of level two who grabs you and punches you in the face while screaming "Get lost punk," in the arcade version at least.) The bad guys are actually smart here and will dodge you if you do the same attack over and over again, so you have to mix it up once in a while.

The game has some variation from the generic beat'em up formula, one level has you riding a motorcycle and kicking people off (which is highly satisfying I might add) while the last is actually a maze of rooms that you must navigate to get to the end before the time runs out.

A very satisfying serving of bootie-kicking that should be enjoyed by all, and the NES version is a decent port from the arcade. There is a sequel called Target: Renegade that wasn't made by Technos (and thus sucks log.) The real sequel to this game is actually the NES cult classic River City Ransom, one of the best games of all time.


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