It was in a land, long, long ago in a time where evil dragons roamed the countryside spreading terror wherever their dark shadows carried them, when bold, dashing knights rescued fair maidens by the dozen. Remember it? Well, this game is nothing like that. So before we go any further I must issue a public warning: do not read on if you get easily offended or if you have not seen at least one episode of Brookside.
You take on the role of Ranx, a cybergenetic organism. He is a big lad with a rather large problem: blue lipstick! Even worse though, the world is becoming more and more unstable as fushia sickness and psychoplague are ravaging towns and cities, claiming victim after victim. There is no known vaccine to this cruel malady. In the White House there is total panic, because this strange illness has claimed a new victim, none other than the President of the United States of America.
Your mission will take you from Rome to New York, along the way punching camp looking men in leather suits, killing friends and tossing grenades as you go, all with no apparent connection to the plot. IF this sounds good heartless fun, that is because it is. Everybody can be hit or kicked, even the small dogs who foul the pavement. This is how Ranx tries to save the world, travelling to various locations, questioning people who may know a cure for this sickness that is causing the world's population to sprout purple spots and then die.
The graphics are colourful and do their job, with a strong comics' element obvious immediately. Ladies of dubious profession strike out with whips if annoyed, while the old granny clubs you with her walking stick if you try to rearrange her bone structure. The comics emulated, though, are the adult French brand not the Dandy. The sprites are large and move reasonably well across the scenery but the scrolling is poor, jerking along at the end of each screen.
The sound, on the other hand is excellent, with an unusual guitar during the intro and in the game sound effects. The best of these include: smashing windows, cars driving off, people getting thumped up by Ranx and a wonderful chainsaw buzz. The best of them all by far, though, comes into play when you enter a hotel or a subway, because the street and outside noises continue at a lower volume. This creates a real sense of atmosphere that is lacking in so many adventures these days.
Ranx has about as much lasting interest potential as an ice cream parlour at the North Pole. It is easy to control with three core attacks: punch, high-kick and low-kick. One move usually kills most opponents. These limits impose a greater burden on the menu-style 'action' driver. This is tricky to use and offers few modes of true responses outside those preset in the game's structure. So you either follow the totally correct route or you get nowhere.
Nothing, save the plot, can be discovered about the world which the curious android character inhabits, which is a pity as there seems obvious scope for some blatant silliness.