After the disappointment of Rambo III Andrew Deakin and Ivan Horn have returned to form in considerable style, taking the basic Renegade formula and zapping it with considerable imagination and skill. The basic story is, well, basic, your girlfriend’s been kidnapped (again), but this time the villains are a bit smarter than the usual hoodlums. These nasties are from the future, and they’ve taken your girl back in time. Clearly this is one attractive young lady, so you set off in pursuit. By means unexplained you start off in Prehistoric Times and a glance at the graphics excuses all the plot nonsense ’cause they’re great. Although Nick dislikes the monochrome, I think it’s an acceptable price for a wealth of often humorous detail.
My favourite characters on level one are the short, and very hairy cavemen who spring up in the air to hit you on the head with massive clubs. The dinosaurs are good too though, with baby Tyrannosaur Rex trying to grab you and pterodactyls dropping eggs which hatch tiny lizards that run out to nip you. Scrolling is flickscreen and with a tight time limit the best tactic is to keep running until you’re forced to fight. Apart from jumping troughs filled with spikes or lava, dodging rocks thrown from above and climbing up on to the ledges, gameplay is pretty similar to the other two games on the first level. On later levels the jumping between platforms becomes more important though.
Once you’ve got to the end of a level a time machine takes you to the next, on 48K machines with the help of a multiload, on 128s without. Level two is Ancient Egypt complete with mummies, canine-headed gods and dripping acid. Level three is Medieval Times with knights on hobby horses, jesters and flying dragons. And the final level is, of course, Future Time with lots and lots of vicious robots. Renegade III is an excellent beat-’em-up, with a great sense of humour which should appeal even to people, like me, who don’t usually like this type of game. Ocean/Imagine have done it again!
STUART — 92%