Righty ho! Renegade...Good ol' Rene as it's so affectionately known in certain circles.
This is an odd one for me as I don't usually review arcade conversions, as to me in this day and age with emulators why play a conversion when you can just play the actual arcade? Well not this time, not this time my friends!
The Spectrum conversion of Renegade is one of those few rare gems, that if by some programming miracle, or just by the sheer skill of the people who worked on it actually surpassed the arcade in terms of playability. Yup you read that right, the Speccy version of Renegade is better than the arcade version!
The graphics on the Speccy version are great, a bit more gritty and serious looking than the arcade if you ask me, I prefer them as the Speccy version envisions the grime of the 80's underworld, and gives that feeling of danger one gets when venturing down a dark alleyway, or street late at night, whereas the arcade has bubble headed spaz's bumbling around, in some kind of cheesy 50's greaser charade. If the arcade version is Rockabilly, then the Speccy version is Hardcore Punk!
Also Renegade is one of the first Speccy games where I remember actual improvements in 128k mode over 48k mode, not just the usual multi-load games fitting into one giant half hour long load.
48k version is still brilliant, you get enough of the game to still absolutely appreciate it. There's no in-game music, but you get the familiar jingles at the beginning, and end of levels, and when you die.
128k improvements include individual AY ditties for each level, an extra background for level 4. In 48k mode both levels 4 and 5 play out inside the big bosses hideout, in 128k mode you fight the bosses henchmen outside on level 4. Now this one could be a game breaker for some? But the addition of the shoulder throw in 128k mode, it's not there in 48k mode, although the bizarre thing is I'm pretty sure it was on my copy? I had the Hit-Squad re-release, and I'm pretty sure you could do the throw? I did get the full price release back in 1987, but for some reason it would not load on my Speccy, no matter how many copies I tried, no matter how much I messed with my tape deck. You can imagine I was pretty heartbroken at the time.
Even after all these years though I still prefer the Speccy version of Rene, I think the rose tinted spex are definitely off with that one as well having been able to play the actual arcade machine whenever I want, I genuinely prefer the Speccy version. Although I will say I have a big soft spot for Nekketsu Kouha Kunio Kun, I find the Japanese arcade version quite enjoyable, but I almost class it as a different game.
So there we go, and I'd like to say if Rene was an original title I'd have gave it a 4 or a 4.5, but since it's an arcade conversion that far surpasses the source material it deserves max points. Shit I'd give it a 6/5 if it'd let me.