The Tales of the Renegade Sector series (official site) is one of the more esoteric retro collections out there. A series of low-fi arcade games from solo developer Alec Stamos, set in a shared world that feels like an action movie buff’s cheese-fueled fever-dream. Previous entries have involved a virus that transforms people into colour-coded Ninja, and a Canadian invasion of post-apocalyptic America.
The latest in this strange little series is Kill The Superweapon, a 3D twin-stick shooter with a twist: As you search for a powerful enough weapon to finish the job in each level, the boss will be roaming free, harassing and stalking you, invulnerable to standard weapons.
If you’ve never played a Renegade Sector game before, you’re in for a weird little trip. While at the heart of these games lies some solid and well-observed retro design, they’re almost overtly scruffy little creations, full of chunky low-poly models, goofy animations and some impressively straight-laced delivery of otherwise preposterous narration. This is Indie design with a capital I, and a bit of an acquired taste, I’ll admit.
The developer has referenced Sega Saturn aesthetics for Kill The Superweapon before, the game that most immediately springs to mind is Robotron 64, with its chunky, bobble-headed little characters, simplified and stylized just enough to stand out from the backdrops. It makes the titular superweapons almost cute, their wobbly little polygon bodies stumbling after you as you wiggle from room to room.
While the bosses themselves aren’t too dangerous by themselves, there’s a genuine sense of stress generated by their presence. The slightly loose controls that you need to wrangle in order to hop across platforms and to high ledges suddenly seem ten times harder when there’s a big lizard-man chasing you around. It’s a cute little experiment, and definitely worth a glance.
Kill The Superweapon is out via Steam for £4.63/$6.39, and you can pick up a demo via Itch here. Personally, I think Cold Vengeance is the best game in the series by far (and made me laugh the most), but your mileage may vary as I am a huge dork and have a major soft spot for Cabal-style shooters of olde.