Renegade: Double Dragon’s Older Cousin
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Developer: Technos-Japan
Publisher: Taito
Platform: NES,SMS

Renegade: Double Dragon’s Older Cousin

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Do you ever try to ride the subway after hours, only to have a bunch of dudes with kendo sticks attack you for seemingly no reason? Or, have you ever gone for a ride on your motorcycle, only to have the other motorcyclists ride up and try to kick you from your bike? Have you ever opened up a random door in a building, just to find one or more enormous women in dresses attempting to beat the hell out of you?  If you’re like me, this happened a lot during your childhood. Of course, I’m talking about Renegade. It was games like this, that, as a child, had me convinced that at one time or another the need would arise to fight dozens of people in one day. At the time of this article, I am 33 years old, and fortunately, this hasn’t happened yet, but I still keep my eyes open.

A-N-Y-W-A-Y-S, to the uninitiated, Renegade may be nothing more than a sub-par steak you can order at Outback Steakhouse, for the rest of us, it was a life-or-death battle to board the subway, which took us to the pier, then on a motorcycle ride, then to what I assume to be Chinatown, and finally to a residential building of some type. Logic would dictate, if you have a motorcycle, just avoid the subway in the first place, but now that I think about it, you actually steal the bike at the end of level 2, and…nevermind.

renegade arcade   Arcade Version

Developed by Technos-Japan and published in Europe and North America by Taito, Renegade was first released to the arcades back in 1986, predating their release of Double Dragon by one year. The game was highly successful, revolutionizing the beat ’em up genre. A year later, the game was ported to the NES, various computer platforms, and finally reaching the Sega Master System in 1993. The SMS version was only released in Europe, Australia and Brazil, where the SMS enjoyed a much more extended life than Nintendo’s 8-bit counterpart. It is the first game in the Kunio-Kun series (roughly translated from Japanese as “Hot Blooded Tough Guy), the characters of which would be featured in the likes of Super Dodge Ball and NES World Cup Soccer, among others. Almost all of the side scrolling beat ’em ups of our time can trace their roots back to Renegade. 

renegade sms Sega Master System Version

Like I said before, Renegade saw release on a myriad of systems and platforms, but seeing as how I grew up in the United States, my Renegade memories are all from the NES version.

So, basically, you play as “Mr. K” as you navigate a subway system full of guys who dress the same, and don’t like you, for whatever reason. Your character is equipped with an astonishing array of moves to deal with this threat. You can punch ‘em in the face, kick the guy behind you, throw a guy over you shoulder (and off the subway platform if you’re close enough), running punches (my go-to solution for many bad guys), and even punch them in the face while they’re down. A pretty solid moveset, if I may say so.

Eventually, you beat up enough guys on the subway and their bossman will appear, and man, is he pissed at you. After dealing with him, It’s off to the pier, to deal with what looks like a bunch of ninjas. Wash, rinse, repeat.  On a side note, I do love all their mongoloid faces, including the player’s. So, you beat up all the kung fu guys, and steal a motorcycle and off you go. Common sense would dictate just going home after such a shitty day, but then the game wouldn’t be anywhere near as interesting, now would it?

Renegade woman beatdownNES Version

Now you’re in what I call Chinatown. It might not really be Chinatown, but that’s what the music suggests. Here you end up fighting a bunch of women, who waste no time attempting to clobber you with their purses. Some of them will run really fast at you, trying to knock you down. One of them even has a whip, which, as fun as that may sound in real life, is not a good thing in this game. This is where the game gets interesting, because it gets very non-linear from here. After beating up all the girls (that sounds awful), you have to pick which door you want to enter, in order to advance. One of which, will lead you to this:

renegade bosswomanNES Version

 Holy shit! It’s Roseanne Arnold, and her angry twin sister, maybe? Nah, after you get murdered by this enormous woman, you find out her name is Kim. Another thing about this game is the death cutscenes. You find yourself being taunted by the bad guys, with something to the effect of “Get outta here, punk!” I always liked that.

So after killing evil Roseanne, you fight a bunch more dudes in an alley, and head into a maze like building, which I’m guessing is an apartment complex. This part of the game will drive you crazy, as there’s no rhyme or reason to how you progress to the end of the game. One room after another, bad guys. Sometimes its two or three regular enemies, others its a ‘big boss.’ Hell, other times there are dudes on motorcycles riding around trying to kill you! Talk about risking your deposit…yeesh.  For years I thought this was one of those games where it goes on forever until you die, but last year I played long enough until I made it to this guy:


And he fucking shoots me. With a gun. Game over. That’s it. Oh my God, I was so mad. Now, keep in mind, my flea market version of Renegade did not include instructions, so I had no idea this was coming. I spent over an hour on a Sunday afternoon trying to beat this damn thing, and that’s how it ended. Me, throwing a controller like my twelve year old self and turning on a football game. But I digress.

All in all, Renegade has aged very well. It’s a lot of fun, and is more unpredictable than Double Dragon or other fighting games. The only gripe besides the guy at the end with a hand gun is that there is no simultaneous 2-Player option. That wouldn’t come along until Double Dragon’s release the following year. For my younger brother (player 2), this meant sitting for a long time until I got careless and lost my first life. Other than that, I’m hard pressed to say anything bad about this game, which I have always regarded as one of my favorites. If you see it at a yard sale or flea market, go ahead and drop a couple bucks and take this baby home.

Now, “Get outta here, Punk!!!”

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Renegade: Double Dragon's Older Cousin, 7.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

I am a full time Firefighter/EMT living in the United States. In my spare time, I split my time between modern games on my Xbox and the rich universe of the systems we all grew up with.

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