If you’re familiar with my writings then you know that I’m doing a fairly comprehensive retrospective on the beat ’em up genre. It started on Instagram then went to Youtube and now it lives here. Like this website, everything in life has a beginning. And Renegade represents that moment of conception for the now nearly extinct style of gaming we call the beat ’em up. You can simply watch Episode 3 of the GOGP Show covering this very topic, or read on. The information will be very similar.
Most historians credit the game Kung- Fu as being the very first brawler. Sorry to all those Kung – Fu supporters out there, because the genesis of the genre happened with the release of Renegade.
Don’t think that I’m some Renegade advocate, just let me point out that I don’t like this game. It feels like I’m playing a tech demo since there is little presentation to it and its very bare bones. The game mostly consists of arena style single screens filled with punks who want to kick your ass.
Truth be told I hate the controls in this one. The attack button is relative to the direction you are facing. So the one button is a punch and the other is a kick in the opposite direction. I’m constantly hitting the wrong button and taking unnecessary damage. I don’t know if its just me who struggles with this, but I cant get used to it. Even Double Dragon 2 annoys me for the same reason. Hitting both buttons at the same time will perform a jump kick. When you stun an enemy you can actually grab them and do different attacks. It’s something that is used in certain future franchises. Can you guess which ones? But in Renegade the grappling is painfully annoying to pull off because the screen is littered with thugs hitting you from behind and ruining your moves.
The forth and final level is one big maze of death and frustration. You must clear rooms that consist of dudes on motorbikes and old bosses. If you don’t pick the rooms in correct order you will keep fighting the same people over until you figure out the combination or get a game over.
Once I reached the end boss I was relieved to see just one person on screen. But of course this guy has a gun. And just one hit sends you back to the title screen. That is unless you have more than one life, but it would be easier to split an atom than achieve that.
Renegade may have Spawned a genre and I get that its an early game, but I still and forever will hate this game. Building off the groundwork that renegade laid out, Double Dragon took the entire concept of a side scrolling fighting game on its back. And it carried the style of gaming to incredible heights, inspiring and influencing many classic games to come. Giving us endless entertainment – well me anyway.