|Renegade / Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun|
|Publisher(s)||Technos (JP), Taito Corporation (US)|
|Distributor(s)||Wii Virtual Console|
|Genre(s)||Beat 'em up|
|System(s)||Arcade, Commodore Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, NES, Sega Master System, Wii, Sinclair ZX Spectrum|
|YouTube Gaming||Renegade Channel|
Renegade is a game released in American and European arcades in 1986 by Taito. It is a westernized conversion of the Japanese arcade game Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun (熱血硬派くにおくん? which roughly translates to "Hot-Blooded Tough Guy Kunio"), released earlier the same year by Technos. It is an immediate technological predecessor to Double Dragon, and Nekketsu Kouha 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, punch-jump-kick play action, and enemies which can sustain multiple hits. It is considered to be one of the most influential titles of the video game industry. It is also incredibly difficult and unforgiving.
Renegade is one of the most cosmetically altered localizations of a Japanese game. Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun was prepared for the North American and Worldwide markets by changing the game's graphics 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, Kunio, 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 game ends with Hiroshi and several students of Nekketsu High School greeting Kunio outside Sabu's hideout, with Hiroshi giving Kunio a firm handshake. Like Renegade, each character has a catch-phrase said by them in digitized voice, but spoken in Japanese.