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Virtually Overlooked: Renegade


Welcome to our weekly feature, Virtually Overlooked, wherein we talk about games that aren't on the Virtual Console yet, but should be. Call it a retro-speculative.

We often feature bad games on Virtually Overlooked. A lot of bad games are historically notable or weird enough to enjoy. Sometimes they're just funny.

Today's bad game, Renegade, is one of the historically important ones. It's also kind of funny, if you don't have to play it for long. It's the first beat-em-up from Technos, who we'd say we'd follow to the grave if they weren't already there. And, yeah, it's got some tuff boxart.

Why the game hasn't been announced for Virtual Console yet:
Of all the Taito-published games that have yet to be uploaded to the VC, we can wait longest for Renegade. We've already got Elevator Action and The Legend of Kage, and hopefully Bubble Bobble and our beloved Arkanoid will be coming along soon. We understand Taito's imperative to get their better games up first. That's right. The Legend of Kage is better.

Why we think it should be on the Virtual Console:
Renegade started its life as Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun, an arcade brawler starring a rowdy Japanese high-schooler named Kunio. It was popular enough, despite being awful, to be ported to the NES in a severely crippled version. In Renegade, you (as "Mr. K") fight three guys at a time, all of whom are freakin' impossible to hit, and one of whom has a stick. Grab one of them and another will take advantage of your own immobility. Jump kick and they will duck, every time. Why is that move even in the game if it never works? Take one of the guys out and another will show up. Endure enough punishment, and you move on to another drab level full of identical guys! As frustratingly terrible as it is, Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun is most interesting because of its progeny.

After the success of Kunio-kun, Technos made a spinoff game starring the same characters-- released here as Super Dodge Ball. The Kunio series continued into basketball, baseball, volleyball (which was localized as Super Spike V'Ball and even packed in with the NES), and even an Olympics-type game (Crash n' the Boys Street Challenge).

But the fantastic Super Dodge Ball isn't the best game to originate from Kunio. Technos took their street-fighting concept and refined it until they actually got a good game out of it, called Double Dragon. The sequel even reintroduced the wacky relative control scheme from Renegade (B button attacks to the left, A button attacks to the right).

And then they made a great game, maybe the best game on the NES. River City Ransom (Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari) is a direct sequel to Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun, starring Kunio and Riki in a fight against gangs of identically-dressed, chubby thugs. And that's why Renegade is noteworthy. Any game that helped lead to the creation of River City Ransom deserves to be heralded.

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