Renegade is a video game released in American and European arcades in 1986 by Taito. It is a westernized conversion (including changes to all of the sprites and backgrounds) of the Japanese arcade game , released earlier the same year by Technos. It is an immediate technological predecessor to Double Dragon, and Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun is the inaugural game in the Kunio-kun series (which includes Super Dodge Ball and River City Ransom).
Kunio-kun first introduced several trademarks of the beat 'em up genre, including 4-directional control and enemies which can sustain multiple hits. It is considered to be one of the most influential titles of the video game industry.
In Renegade, the player controls a vigilante (named Mr. K in the NES version), who fights a variety of street gangs on his way to save his girlfriend. Unlike Technos' subsequent game Double Dragon, the playing field is limited to one two-screen-wide area (a subway platform, a harbor, an alley, a parking lot and the hideout of a gang) and does not scroll continuously. Out of the four stages in the game, the first and third each begin with the player fighting a group made up of two different types of small fry enemies: one with fewer hit points and a stronger attack (usually armed with a weapon) and one with more hit points, but with a weaker attack and the ability to hold the player from behind.
When only three underlings remain (in any combination of the two) their boss will come in from the sidelines and join the fight. When the boss is defeated, any remaining enemies retreat off the bottom of the screen, and the stage ends. The second stage follows this same formula, but begins with a series of enemies riding motorcycles trying to run the player down, and brings in the normal enemies once the bikers have been defeated. The fourth stage features a single type of knife-wielding enemy who can kill the player with one hit. Once the player has defeated the first wave of enemies in the final stage, the main character proceeds to enter a building to face against the final boss, a pistol-toting mobster, and his three henchmen. Once the final boss is defeated, the main character leaves building and is greeted by his rescued girlfriend, who proceeds to give him a kiss. The game then begins the next cycle with an increased difficulty.
The game had a considerable amount of voice sampling I LIKE POOPY!!!!!!!!!! for its time; the "credit" sound is a voice saying "Good luck, kid", and each boss has a different taunt, including "Get lost, punk!" (1st boss), "Beat it, scum!" (2nd boss) and "Givin' up already?" (3rd boss).
Pressing the joystick twice quickly either left or right will cause the player to run, at which point attacking in the direction of the run will perform a running punch, jumping will automatically perform a flying kick, and attacking in the opposite direction will bring the player to a sudden halt and perform a back-kick. Pressing down over a downed enemy will make the player sit on top of the enemy, at which point attacking toward the enemy will cause the player to pummel him.
Renegade is a localization of the Japanese Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun for the North American and Worldwide markets, with the game's graphics changed in an attempt to adapt the game's setting to a more western style (with what can be seen as thinly veiled 'inspiration' from the film The Warriors). The gangs of thugs and bikers featured in Renegade were originally high school deliquents and bōsōzoku members in Kunio-kun. The subway level in the first stage was originally a Japanese train station, whereas most of the signs and billboards in the last two stages were also written in Japanese.
Instead of the damsel-in-distress plot of Renegade, Kunio-kun instead featured the titular high school student, , standing up for his bullied friend Hiroshi. Each stage begins with the stage's gang beating up Hiroshi in front of Nekketsu High School and Kunio chasing after his attackers. Unlike Renegade, Kunio and the game's bosses are identified by name in-game, whereas the characters in Renegade are simply identified by the generic identifier "1P" or "2P" (depending on who is playing) and "BOSS" (it wasn't until the NES version that bosses in Renegade were given names). The bosses of Kunio-kun are as followed: , , and . The game ends with Hiroshi and several students of Nekketsu High School greeting Kunio outside Sabu's hideout, with Hiroshi giving Kunio a firm handshake. The game begins a new cycle, this time skipping the pre-stage introductions. Like Renegade, each character has a catch-phrase said by them in digitized voice, but spoken in Japanese.
The Family Computer version of Kunio-kun was Technos Japan's first game for a home console. After Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun, Technos Japan reuse the Kunio character for several more games, beginning with Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu (the Japanese version of Super Dodge Ball) released for the arcades and the Famicom/NES. Some were released overseas such as River City Ransom (the American version of Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari), Nintendo World Cup (Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu: Soccer Hen) and Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge (Bikkuri Nekketsu Shin Kiroku!), but most of them were released only in Japan. Kunio eventually became Technos Japan's official mascot, appearing on the company's logos in the intros of some of their later games.
The NES version, developed in-house by Technos and released in 1987 by Taito in North America, is a strong departure from the original arcade game; the first three stages each consist of a series of two-screens wide levels against a group of three enemies at a time, culminating in a one-on-one fight with the boss. The second stage also contains a side-scrolling motorcycle chase, in which the player tries to kick opponents off their motorcycles, prior to the boss fight. In the third stage, the player can choose from one of two paths after clearing the first level of enemies: one leads to a confrontation against the stage boss, while the other is a second level filled with small fry enemies. The fourth and final stage is a maze of numerous rooms, filled with enemies and previous bosses, inside a building which the player must proceed in order to reach the final boss. There are trap doors in this stage which warps the player back to a previous stage, forcing the player to begin all over. The NES port of Renegade was released for the Wii's Virtual Console in North America on May 5, 2008 at a cost of 500 Wii Points.
The Master System version, developed by Natsume and published by Sega in 1993, is based largely on the NES port rather than the original arcade, but with enhanced graphics and several improvements like new death cutscenes and a revamped ending. This port was only released in Europe and Australia.
Home computer versions were released for the Amiga, Apple II and IBM PC in North America and for the Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, Atari ST and Commodore 64 in Europe. The American computer ports were developed by Software Creations and published by Taito, whereas the European computer ports were handled by Imagine Software and published by Ocean Software. They were typically limited to one fire button rather than three; the different moves are achieved by combining different joystick directions with a fire button press. The Amstrad CPC version mimicked the three-button control of the original by combining the joystick control with the cursor keys. The Spectrum and Amstrad versions featured flip-screen rather than scrolling levels. Barring these changes, the home computer versions were close renditions of the arcade game in terms of level layout, enemies and gameplay.
Technos produced numerous games starring Kunio in Japan. Some of these were localized in North America as Super Dodge Ball, River City Ransom and Nintendo World Cup. Technos had no involvement with the Ocean-produced Renegade sequels.