Ranx logo

Ubisoft £24.99 * Joystick

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.

Blue Lipstick
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.

Comic Element
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.



Ranx logo

Eine üble Psycho-Pest verwandelt die Menschen in geifernde Bestien - jetzt hat es sogar schon Mr. President im weißen Haus erwischt! Aber die Rettung naht, diesmal in Form eines muskelbepackten Androiden.

Mit dem Kraftprotz reist man von Rom nach New York, um dort die rettenden Pillen abzugeben. Unterwegs gibt es natürlich kein Pardon für die verseuchten Rowdies: Ob Punker, Motorsägen-Fetischists, oder sonstwas - alle werden per Faustschlag oder Fußtritt flachgelegt. Sollte da nicht genügen, sammelt Ranxy-Boy halt ein paar herumliegende Waffen wie Brecheisen und Handgranaten auf. Und wenn alle Stricke reißen, kann man es ja mal mit Konversation versuchen...

Durch Druck auf die Space-Taste darf zwischen verschiedenen Icons am unteren Screenrand gewählt werden: Man kann fragen, bestechen, freundlich lächeln, oder dem Gesprächspartner eine kleben.

Das Gegenüber ist in einer schauderhaft grobkörnigen Vergrößerung zu sehen und antwortet manchmal sogar - in einer Sprache, die der französische Übersetzer für Deutsch gehalten hat. Außerdem kann der eigene Gesundheitszustand überprüft, Gegenstände benutzt und ein Spielstand gespeichert bzw. geladen werden.

Trotzalledem ist Ranx nur ein schlichtgeistiges Prügelspiel mit Action-Adventure-Versatzstücken. Die Grafik ist Durchschnitt, die Animationen sind traurig, und statt Scrolling wird umgeschaltet. Auch die Steuerung läuft unter "eher bescheiden", und die großstädtische Geräuschkulisse nervt auf Dauer ganz gewaltig. Berühmte letzte Worte: Ranx muß man nicht haben.



Ranx logo

Set in an alternate Earth, Ranx, the game, is based loosely around 'Ranx Xerox in America', his comic book debut. Here the world is caught in the grip of a mysterious plague, but a cure has been discovered, and it is down to Ranx to get it from Italy to New York, then foot it back to Italy to rescue Lubna, his underaged sweetheart, from an evil gang.

Ranx is a seriously risky licence, owing to the visual excesses of the comic book. To get round this UBI Soft appear to have toned down the sex, violence and drug abuse, which gives Ranx much of its flavour.

The game itself is nothing more than a standard arcade adventure. Information can be collected by talking to people who are not shooting at you (which is not many). The problems are fairly straightforward: grenade the guy with the chainsaw, or smash parking meters for cash.

The real drawback is the amount of people trying to stick you with a knife, or gun you down. I know it is supposed to be an alternate reality with a dog's ear of a civilisation, but everybody and their aunts appear to be out to get Ranx. The bad guys can usually strike first, and when there is a few on screen Ranx does not stand a chance.

Though rough around the edges the graphics capture the feel of the comic book, with loud captions when you hit somebody and plenty of mean looking dues. I was disappointed with the Ranx sprite, he really needed to be a bit bigger and more detailed to set him apart from the characters.

It would prove impossible to try and retain the comic's vulgarity in the game owing to legal reasons, but this is a brave attempt and is definitely adult orientated, but it still lacks the necessary punch that the comic book had.

Brave, but not shocking, Ranx is fun for a while but falls down under the sheer difficulty of beating the bad guys. A possible cult hit.


Licences are normally carried through on the hype of the original product, which is probably part of the reason why minimal effort seems to be put into many film and comic book conversion. Ranx, though, has an interesting problem: Ranx Xeros, the main character, is a seven foot tall robot who spends most of his time maiming people, being abusive and cavorting with most of the young ladies he meets in a very adult manner. The comic book was subsequently banned shortly after release. Though the ban has now been lifted Ranx is only available through a few specialist comic shops.



Ranx logo

RanXerox the game is here. Is it a simulation of a range of photocopying equipment? Is it an arcade gong 'em up with Arthur J. Rank hitting a large gong? Is it a licence of a trifle bizarre French comic character? David Wilson opts for the latter and boots up Ubisoft's latest.

RanXerox is a character from Italian comic artists Tamburini and Liberatore. He is a massive muscular android, who sports blue lipstick, swimming goggles, and has a girlfriend called Lubna who seems to be aged a rather dubious twelve(!?).

To my knowledge he has only had two comic adventures and both seem to have involved copious amounts of disturbing gratuitous violence and prepubescent nudity(!). In short the ideal material for a computer game. Erm... well, okay Ranx has been somewhat tamed down for computer consumption but only in the way that bare knuckle boxing is a scaled down version of street fighting i.e. it is still massively violent.

Ranx's nightmare future world is in a right two and eight - the Pope has been the victim of an African kamikaze whore(!), the US president, we are told, is in a worse position, and several squillion of the world's population have fallen prey to the 'psycho-plague' from space!

You, as Ranx, have to take an antidote pill to the President and rescue your girlfriend Lubna, oh... and I am not sure if it is made explicit in the instructions but you will also have to figure out how to defuse a bomb that has been planted in your head!! In the meantime you get to travel between New York and Rome smashing parking meters for cash, beating up the populace, picking up spare parts and recharging yourself from lampposts (!)

We are advised that the best way to play Ranx is to be a rather unpleasant person: "be immortal to the maximum," cries the manual, and "don't hesitate to use illicit methods". Blimey! It also says that "paying under the table is often welcome." (!) "Paying under the table? That's different sir!" (Unless you are paying by cheque which proves a bit tricky). My sort of game then. Be careful though - do not kill people until you are sure they are no use of you!

Amiga reviewDavid: From the moment Ranx appears coming up the escalator from the tube station and a dog 'performs' on the pavement in front of him, you realise two things - firstly, this is a French game (i.e. rather weird) and secondly, the inclusion of a 'jobbie' sprite is an indication that perhaps this game is aimed at an older player!

Let us get this straight from the start, the Ranx of the comics is aimed at a 'mature' reader and similarly the computer game is an 'adult' comic arcade adventure. Having said this, you should not be too surprised to find that Ranx has loads of blood, a smattering of bad language and er... jobbies. In fact, the ad line "Your mother wouldn't like it!" is probably the understatement of the year!

Sound is used effectively - cries, car engine noises, dogs barking in the background, as well as noises from your actions, guns, metro trains, and the amusing sounds Ranx makes when talking to people. Graphics are very attractive, although the main sprite does not always move realistically and screens flip instead of scrolling, but the way you can interact with much of the scenery is a novelty - kicking and moving parked cars for example.

Where Ranx does have a problem is in the control system (also a feature of Sir Fred) - you have got a huge range of actions open to you via joystick moves, joystick moves with the fire button pressed, keyboard controls - and some of these, like throwing things, take a bit of mastering. Oh, and I am convinced that there is one other problem and that is the game size.

Although it is hard, by using the Save Game option I have already completed the first objective. (You get to travel to various colourful if rather seedy locations - check out the gang of whip wielding 'happy' people in leather leotards!).Stop


The game has tried to capture the flavour of the comic. So here are a few printable comic panels (!)

DOOR ACCESS MACHINES
Ranx
You will find several of these hi-tech entry devices on buildings in the city. Some you will need to find access cards for, while other can be dealt with in cruder fashion!

RANX
Ranx
The 'hero' of the piece, if that is the correct word. He is a very large android, and he is a 'well 'ard'. Tweak his nipple and he has got his very own built in radio - but you had better ask him politely first! His warcry 'Znort' and his hobbies include flower-pressing, philately, embroidery and tearing off peoples' heads (but not necessarily in that order).

LUBNA
Ranx
A sort of dodgy Lolita figure, Lubna is Ranx's girlfriend. She has the lovable seven-foot android firmly under her thumb. Rescuing her from her tyrannical father is your final objective.



Ranx logo

Ubi Soft, £24.99

RanXerox is the robot star of several adults only graphic novels inhabits a very violent future world. In the game a lethal disease is sweeping the world, and Ranx's girlfriend - Lubna - is being prevented from seeing him by her rich parents. Starting in Rome, Ranx must first deliver the X03 vaccine to the dying American President in New York City, then return to Rome and liberate his sweetheart.

The game is a horizontally scrolling arcade adventure. The psychotic Ranx can kick and punch opponents, but to make progress he must interact with characters in more civilized ways. Pressing space brings down an options menu so you can save to disk (overwriting any previous Save), examine Ranx's health, repair him (with collected spare parts!) and discuss. The latter option gives a sub-menu -communication is limited to icons for question, threaten, laughter and insult. You can also offer money or collected items.

To earn money Ranx can kick open parking meters (but watch out for police!), and to keep his batteries topped up, rip open street lamps.


Phil King For a few games I was strangely fascinated by the depraved violence, beating people into bloody pulps. However, apart from some grotesque graphics and good sampled sound Ranx is a very ordinary beat-'em up/ arcade adventure. Character interaction is severely limited as Ranx's communication system isn't exactly sophisticated -rather like the game as a whole.
Stuart Wynne Ranx's principal appeal is an uninspired mix of gore and occasional female nudity. Reducing people to chunks of flesh is the point of most games, but few are so explicit and the number of women you can kill is disturbing. Nevertheless there's obviously a sick fascination in getting further to see the next sicko graphic. But after a while the graphics begin to repeat, and the basic crudity of gameplay becomes annoying. Ranx is irritatingly sluggish to control and there's also the old trick of not many locations being covered up by a high difficulty level.