Retro Gaming: Target Renegade (Sinclair Spectrum/C64)

Back in the late 1988, Ocean software, via the Imagine label, released Target: Renegade on the three main 8-bit computers of the time. Myself and a few friends all brought it for our own respective systems as we were hungry for anything that looked and played like the ever popular Double Dragon arcade game that was released the previous year.

Target: Renegade is a side scrolling beat’em-up starring a streetfighter who’s seeking revenge for the murder of his brother by local crime lord subbed ‘Mr-Big’. Set across five areas,  including a multistory car park with it’s assortment of bikers bent on running you down, through to sleezy city streets with ladies of the night and on through to skinhead thug  invested parks it’s a tough challenge as you work your way through each level until finally a showdown in the Bar with the bearhug/headbutt loving Mr Big himself.

My own copy, for the Commodore C64, was little disappointing. Sure it looked absolutely stunning, well animated and sound wise, was pure classic SID-chip goodness.  However I wasn’t to impressed with the game play. Jump kicks had to be performed almost pixel perfect and the repetitive punch, run away, punch again, run away became very tiresome by the time you got through the first carpark level. The biggest disappointment (oh and the fact that it was a tedious multiloader) was no two up co-op mode!

Target: Renegade – Commodore 64. Bike vs Stick.

Now the Sinclair Spectrum version was miles better, especially if you happen to own a Spectrum +2 model as the 128k ram allowed the game to be loaded in full therefore no more annoying multiloading.  Secondly, the all important co-op mode was there so my buddy and I could take on Mr Big together…and cue plenty of hilarious ”oh sorry mate, didn’t see you there’ moments  as i accidentally smacked him with the bat :-)

Graphically, despite the usual color bleeding, this was top notch stuff for it’s day and even the audio was spot on. But best of all, it plays so well and is a fine example of how side scrolling beat em ups should be done. It’s a shame that other good examples of the genre were limited on both platforms.

Target: Renegade – ZX Spectrum.

Target: Renegade – C64 Loader by Gary Biasillo

Oh and yes, after many years, Double Dragon was finally released on the C64…and the less said about it, the better :-O