People keep on talking about Streets of Rage 2, as if it actually were the best retro side-scrolling beat-'em-up you could ever play in the comfort of your home. How very odd! We all know that Target; Renegade on the ZX Spectrum was better, don't we? And affordable too. And released back in 1988 by Imagine, all those years after Ocean had already gotten said publishing label for itself. Oh, and it also was a truly rare instance of a sequel to an arcade that didn't get an arcade sequel, meaning of course that it was the sequel to an 8-bit arcade conversion; the aptly named Renegade.
Now, assuming not everyone has (had) a Spectrum or a capacity for vivid memories, let me briefly remind everyone what Target; Renegade was all about. You, the player, entered the 80s shoes of ridiculously-named Renegade in a mission to avenge your brother's death. This of course would turn out to be a particularly violent mission, as the game would take you for a brutal fight through the gritty locales of Scumville in search of Mr. Big, a gang-lord and a murderer, whom you would then have to beat to death; preferably with a snooker cue. Not Dostoevsky exactly, I know, but these games can't be judged by their plot, can they?
So, why care about Target; Renegade then? Easy. The game features some great, impressively varied graphics, a lovely selection of baddies that cover everything from ladies of the night and shooters to Beastie Boys fans, excellent controls, excellent pace and five -yes, excellently- characterful stages to battle through. Oh, and, yes, it plays brilliantly (and in a most excellent manner) and is as addictive as, well, a particularly addictive thing. In a nutshell, it's an absolute classic and it hasn't aged a day!
Only problem is it's a multiload, but -in our age of the emulator and the mp3 player- that shouldn't really bother anyone...
Other, by definition inferior (though some might argue with that), versions of Target; Renegade have appeared on the CPC, the Commodore 64 and even Nintendo's very own NES. Oh, and if you have a 128k Speccy prepare yourselves for some fantastic music too.
Where to get it:
Target; Renegade (all formats): eBay.com, eBay.uk
Free Download (Spectrum version): World of Spectrum
Remakes: Target; 2006, Target Renegade Remake
More info on Target; Renegade:
Sensible Soccer (Commodore Amiga)
Berzerk (Atari 2600/VCS)