A Listless Journey Through Time
Renegade III: The Final Chapter
No one asked for an off-brand Renegade. Ocean and Imagine helped bring the original Kunio-kunStarting as a fighting game befoe spinning out in sports titles (and other adventures) of all shapes and sizes, the Kunio-kun series is one of the most diverse, and hilarious, to ever grace both sides of the Pacific. game to the West and, in the process, hey gained the rights to make sequels to that game (not official sequels, just games that would come after Renegade itself, ignoring everything else in the larger franchise). it was pretty obvious we didn't need a second Renegade game when Target: Renegade came out and proved this was all a really terrible ideas. And yet...
I don't know if sales of that shovelware game were good, or if Ocean had just paid for a license and, damn it, they were going to use it. Whatever the case, one quick year after the previous Renegade sequel came out we were "blessed" with this three-quel, Renegade III: The Final Chapter. Why "final"? Lord only knows. Probably their license was running out and they had to shove one last sequel out quick. There's certainly nothing "final" about this entry otherwise, except that feeling of finality from never wanting to play this piece of crap again.
In this third edition your hero, the Renegade, has to venture across four levels to find his kidnapped girlfriend and save her. This requires walking, jumping, and fighting enemies until you reach the end of the stage. Then you do it again, and then again, until finally the game mercifully just ends. No special ending, no final boss fight. Just magically your girlfriend saves herself, and you and it's roll credits while we all regret the choices we made that drew us to Renegade III.
In comparison to the first two games, which at least went for a grounded style, this third game, for whatever reason, is a time traveling adventure. The Renegade starts off in Prehistoric Times before venturing into Ancient Egypt, Medieval Land, and then the Future, battling thematically appropriate enemies in each stage. What this actually amounts to is cavemen and dinosaurs first, then Anubis soldiers and mummies, knights and jesters, and then aliens and robots. Not that any of these enemies feel all that different (even if they look different) as they all do the same things: run at you and punch. The smaller enemies will also jump around, like rabid fleamen, and, well, that's it.
Completing the game isn't all that difficult despite the game doing all it can to battle you annoyingly. Unlike in previous beat-em-up entries in this series, the enemies here don't come in controlled waves. Instead they just flood the screen, endlessly, mindlessly running at you until you have to stop and fight them. And you will have to fight them as every enemy in the game will do contact damage to you. Progress is made, then, in slow fits and starts as you have to fend off every enemy on the level so they don't whittle down your energy by sheer grace of existence.
Additionally there's both a built in timer as well as a subtle timing system at play. Naturally, if the clock winds down on a stage before you reach the end you'll die (although you're unlikely to ever see this). At the same time your hero's energy is constantly, slowly winding down. Let it get too low and, of course, you die. There aren't any health pick ups but you can restore your energy by killing enemies, one bar per dead enemy, so you'll end up killing a lot of foes as the game goes on just to stay alive.
That would be fine, I guess, if the combat was interesting but it's truly mindless. Your guys can do three things: punch, crouch and punch, or jump kick. The punches are ineffectual, taking three to four punches to level an enemy. The kicks are better as they can generally kill any enemy in one hit, but the kick is also unwieldy. It has a weird hit box and your character travels in a little arc as he jumps (as the jump kick is also his only means of jumping over terrain obstacles) meaning it can be hard to aim the kick hit box up with the enemy you're trying to foot-face-combo.
There is one other combat option: weapons. If an enemy drops a weapon you can pick it up and swing it madly. This isn't as strong as the kick but is much easier to aim and will level basically anything in two hits. Weirdly, though, I only ever saw one weapon in the whole game: a club in Prehistoric times. I grabbed this and made it my primary strategy for the whole of the game, only finally losing it in the two levels later in Medieval times when I died once and it disappeared when I re-spawned in. I doubt there were other weapons, though, as none of the knights, or the aliens and bots to follow, ever dropped a weapon so I think you can get that club and keep it or just use your fists and feet the rest of the time. It's so strange.
As far as basic construction, once you've seen the first level you've seen them all. Stags are split between an upper and lower tier and you can traverse through either via ladders. There are little pits to jump over, and a lot of walking, and that's all there is to do across each stage. At the mid-point, and then again at the end-point, the stage will stop scrolling forward and force you to battle a wave of enemies. Beat them enough and you can either progress past the mid-point or, at the end of the stage, the level just ends unceremoniously. Again, there are no boss fights or anything else to mark a "job well done". You just mindless scroll and slap people until the game gives up and rolls the credits.
Clearly this game was shoved out simply to use the "Renegade" name before it was worthless. This particular title, though, feels like it was simply some other crappy PC game that the develops simply slapped "Renegade" onto the box and called it a day. There is nothing here that screams, "this is a sequel to Renegade." Everything about the original title is diluted and lost in this third game in the sub-series, the core of what worked long ago forgotten so an unaffiliated group could show out cheap crap to unsuspecting fans. Make no mistake, Renegade III: The Final Chapter is hot garbage.
The best thing that can be said is that, yes, it really was the final game in this sub-series. I don't think I could have taken yet another awful game. Of course, if you only played these games on the NES you never even had to suffer as this title only came out for systems like the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amistrad, and the MSX. A small mercy indeed, all things considered.