Title : Altered Beast
Publisher : Sega
Genre : Beat 'Em Up
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1988
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $4-$6
RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE!!!!
This was it folks. The one Sega Genesis game besides Sonic that has survived with me since I owned the original system. When I first got my Genesis system, it was packed with Altered Beast. This was before Sonic made grounds into becoming the bundle game with the system, so you know this was the original bad ass game for the Sega.
One thing I will give Sega games, their box art was always freaking amazing. Altered Beast box art is by far one of the creepiest, fantasy art styles I've ever seen. That "werewolf" is the epitome of frightening. And what the hell is with that murloc looking thing in the bottom right corner. And who can forget the "YEAAAAAA!" jumping demon in the background.
How appropriate to shade out the werewolf man parts though.
Most of you probably played this game in the arcade before you played it on the genesis, I know I did. It was another quarter eater, because this is one of those games that COULD NOT be beat unless you had $50 to spare. No joke, I don't even think I made it past the first boss half the time.
But now that I had it for the Genesis, it was time to get my revenge. So let's go invade ancient Greece, howl into the night, and beat the crap out of some monsters.
In this game, you take on the role of mutilated centurion that is resurrected by Zeus in order to rescue his daughter Athena. So, how come Zeus can't do anything himself, huh? He's always gotta use the damn mortals. Since you already failed in life as a Centurion, Zeus grants you the ability to avoid spiritual energy balls in order to turn into.........
THE ALTERED BEASSSSSSSSSSST! Echo...echo...echo.....
What was awesome about this game, was that you just didn't turn into one type of beast. Each level (of which there are 5), gives you the ability to turn into a different one. You've got the werewolf, which this game is known far, as well as a WereBEAR, a WereDRAGON, WereTIGER and a WerePRINCESS. Joking about the last one.
Just look how happy he looks about the transformation process.
As you would imagine, when you're in human form you pretty much suck. You can only really jump around and kick blue energy balls out of your foot. I never understood that, but whatever. You basically just have to survive the monsters that are assaulting you throughout the level, until you collect enough SPIRIT BALLS to transform you into your Altered Beast.
It's basically impossible to NOT turn into a beast..you always do...I mean you kind of have to in order to beat the levels. Those spirit balls practically run into you anyway, so it's not like you have to go chasing them around.
The game itself is really linear not to mention insanely short. If you manage to beat it, because the game is still pretty difficult, it shouldn't take you more than an hour. It just really irked me that you don't have any opportunity to switch your altered beast state, as each level is restricted. It kind of takes away from the fun of the fact that you can only use a beast once. Except the werewolf...you play that twice.
Altered Beast was obviously the Sega Genesis' attempt at showcasing their abilities as a gaming console. It was a decent port for an Arcade game, but like most 16-bit arcade ports, it fell short. The graphics and sounds were great, but nothing compared to the arcade experience.
I admit it though, I absolutely loved the horrible "voice bits" that are included in Altered Beast. They're so bad, they're good. You can barely understand what they are saying. But for a game that you most likely got for free in your $200 game bundle, it's a decent start to anyone's Sega collection.
This is one of those games that everyone knows about, and it's the one that just sticks with you throughout your entire career as a gamer. It holds a special place in your heart, whether it's the arcade version, the genesis version, or the master system. You probably played it a half a dozen times when you were kid. But that's what makes this game great. Its one of those iconic gems that really pushed you towards being a gamer.
For nostalgia alone, this game ranks high on my list. No matter how short, or lacking it may be.
Until next time, keep on gaming!