Renegade Strike

If there were a film adaptation only Chuck Norris could play Bryant.

As a Mega Drive owner one of the games that was really close to my heart was the Strike series by EA; particularly Jungle Strike. A notoriously difficult shooter that saw you piloting a military chopper in an attempt to take down a terrorist army whilst rescuing POWs and struggling with depleting ammo and fuel reserves. Back in the day the sophistication with which the iconic Apache chopper seemed to handle was breathtaking, as you strafed and banked your way through some unidentified, god forsaken jungle, hovering a constant few feet off the ground.

Imagine my surprise when I took a punt and downloaded Renegade Ops from XBLA only to find a spiritual successor to my beloved Strike series! Sharing a similar slightly isometric top-down perspective to Jungle Strike, Renegade Ops sees you driving a series of super kitted out vehicles through the Jungles of Asia to take down a terrorist holding the world at ransom. What follows is like the A-Team but without the restriction on killing everything in sight! For all its explosive flare Renegade Ops gently and affectionately homages the Strike games ridiculously gung-ho attitude in its main character Bryant, a digruntled old war-dog who is so incensed at NATO (or the game’s equivalent organisation)’s decision to negotiate with the terrorists that he throws his war medals in their faces, before storming out to take on the enemy himself – mano-a-mano.

Take that, hippies!

The cut scenes, told in ‘boys own adventure’ style cartoon panels, see Bryant closing in on his quarry, blasting everything to kingdom come whilst chomping on a cigar (surely key cards would melt after being pounded with such ordnance?). Playing as one of his four protégés it’s your job to make the old man proud by causing as much destruction as humanly possible (whilst still protecting the civilian populace, of course). This leads to some highly addictive, high octane chaos, full of arcady score multipliers and insane weaponry.

Renegade Ops is developed by Avalanche studios and uses the engine from Just Cause 2 to great effect, shifting the perspective whilst maintaining the high level of graphical detail in much the same way Crystal Dynamics did in the wonderful Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. You can’t help but feel that as with so many of the best XBLA games that this is a game not born from a corporate think tank, but a side project motivated by individual passion.

During the sequences in which you get to fly a helicopter, Renegade Ops' homage is clear.



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