“ Altered Beast is a platform/fighting game that puts the player in control of a centurion who had died in battle. The centurion has been raised from the dead to rescue Zeus' daughter, Athena. The player battles undead and demonic hordes, controlling the shapeshifting hero. He must defeat several levels in order to save the kidnapped goddess. „
Altered Beast is another of those arcade ports which made its way to the sixteen bit Megadrive back in the early nineties. This classic beat em up was developed by the same bloke responsible for the excellent Golden Axe (one of the Golden Axe mountable beasts actually makes a cameo appearance as a level two enemy, which I thought was rather neat.) Players take the role of a mighty warrior who has been resurrected by the Greek god of thunder Zeus and tasked with saving the deity's daughter, who has been kidnapped by the demon Neff. I feel for poor Athena. Her daddy is an all powerful being but he cannot be arsed to rescue her, opting instead to send some smelly corpse to do his dirty work. GAMEPLAY Compared to other fighting games, Altered Beast is rather basic. The player can only move left and right to avoid dangers or close in on enemies, but he has no direct control of where he is going. The screen scrolls automatically to the right revealing the stage and any creatures lurking there. Using punches and kicks you must down the legion of undead, monsters and mythical beats that are doing Neff's bidding. Our hero can also jump to get over pitfalls or perform a super jump to reach flying foes and high platforms which are beyond the reach of his regular leap. The game's unique selling point would have to be the transformations. Although Zeus didn't provide the would be rescuer with any weapons he did at least grant him the ability to change forms. Vanquishing blue wolves releases a floating orb that when collected powers up our hero. The player starts off as a scrawny guy, but after grabbing an orb he decides to prove his manliness by ripping off his shirt Hulk Hogan style. Any ladies hoping to see pixilated wang will however be disappointed to learn that the warrior keeps his pants on. Collecting a second orb sees the player juice up, Chris Benoit style, into a muscle bound beefcake that would put Arnie to shame. Upon picking up the fourth and final orb the player turns into a powerful beast for the duration of the level (unfortunately you revert back to the wimp after downing the guardian who resides at the end of the stage.) LEVEL BREAKDOWN In total you have five levels to overcome before you can rescue Athena. Let us take a brief look at each of them :- STAGE 1: Things start off at the cemetery where the player rises from his grave. The game eases you in with a fairly straightforward opener. Slow moving skeletons and decapitated zombies impede your progress. In stage one you transform into a fireball casting werewolf who faces off against an end boss that tosses an endless supply of heads at you. STAGE 2: We then move underground to a monster lair guarded by bouncing slimes and snakes that drop down from the ceiling. The boss of this stage is a giant plant that spews out eyes, but it doesn't pose much of a threat. The dragon transformation you get in this level comes equipped with an electric shock attack that puts Pikachu to shame. By spamming the overpowered move it's possible to turn the boss into ocular fertilizer in a matter of seconds. STAGE 3: A cave populated by giant ants and snails with boulders for shells. Fans of the carebears will be delighted to learn that you change into a grizzly in this stage. The bear form comes with petrifying breath that turns enemies into stone and a spin attack that reminds me a little of Sonic the Hedgehog. The end of level boss resembles a mutated seahorse that can fly and spit out fireballs. STAGE 4: Once you hit the ruins the game's difficulty really starts to ramp up. Watch out for the undead and flying creatures that patrol the area. The level's boss, in my opinion, is the most annoying one in the entire game due to the firebirds it summons. To progress you will have to master the abilities of the humanoid leopard you transform into. STAGE 5: The final hurdle to overcome is the city of the dead. I guess they run out of ideas at this point as you once again transform into a werewolf after collecting four orbs. Here I saw the game over screen many times due to the fiendishly tough enemies that swarm you. Watch out for boxing goats and unicorns that perform flying kicks (there is nothing worse than getting killed by My Little Pony.) If you get to the end Neff awaits in the guise of a charging rhino. PRESENTATION Graphically speaking Altered Beast isn't going to win any prizes. By today's standards the sprites and backgrounds come across as blocky. It's an early Megadrive game though so you cannot be too critical, especially as there are worse looking titles which came out at around the same time. I give credit to the makers for coming up with many different enemy designs and backgrounds which give every level a unique feel. The animation is however lacking and the sluggish pace at which things move really makes the controls feel stiff. I was far more impressed by the sonics. The game features some excellent tracks which I still enjoy listening to. The sound effects on the other hand are nothing to write home about. The game features some digitised speech that may have been impressive back in the day, but now is laughably bad. Zeus mispronounces "grave" when resurrecting you and Neff's sinister appearance is somewhat hampered by his taunts that are delivered in a fruity accent. The only speech that I found passable was the manly "Power Up" whenever you come in contact with an orb. OVERALL To be perfectly honest this game has not aged well. Modern gamers can still have fun with beat-em-ups like Streets of Rage, but I am sure most would dismiss Altered Beast as garbage. I however have a soft spot for it. Maybe it's the nostalgia talking, but the cheesy speech and simple combat has a certain charm to it. I still play Altered Beast from time to time so I think it is worthy of three stars. The game is rather short, but most players won't finish it in a hurry. Three lives and no continues is rather unforgiving so you will have to practice a lot, to memorise the level layouts, if you intend to see the ending without a cheat. If you weren't around during the sixteen bit era you should probably give this a miss, but I think the title is still worth recommending to the retro gaming crowd. You can pickup the Megadrive cartridge cheaply online or download a virtual console version of the game for not too much. Another option would be to buy the excellent Megadrive Ultimate collection (for PS3 or 360) as it is included there. Twenty years after its release Altered Beast continues to rise from the grave to captivate players. Yes it is primitive, but with lasting power like that it must be doing something right.
Altered Beast is an arcade port from Sega and something of a cult classic though not necessarily a classic for all the right reasons. STORY: 5/10 In this game you play the part of an unnamed Centurion from ancient Greece who is commanded by the mighty Zeus to rise from his grave and rescue his daughter Athena from the evil Neff. One thing to note is that Zeus himself appears to have a speech impediment and so hence the infamous line "Wise from your gwave" you here at the start of the game. There is a story of sorts presented by cut short scenes between each level. These scenes are presented in a somewhat purple hue so it's difficult to really make out what going on but it seems to involve Neff using his dark magic on Athena. However this is an arcade beat-em-up so the story isn't a particularly crucial factor in this game. GAMEPLAY: 5/10 Once you have "wisen from your gwave" it's your task to complete 5 levels of side scrolling beat-em-up action. Unlike most beat-em-ups you're restricted to only the one plane of action and you can punch or kick various enemy monsters that swarm onto the screen, you'll find yourself kicking more often than not. You can also pull a crouch kick but this move is relatively useless, as you're hardly ever in a situation where this move is any more effective than your other two attacks. So in total that's three moves, which makes for something of simplistic game but you don't tend to play an arcade port expecting a great deal of complexity or depth. The main meat of this game is that whenever you dispatch a particular type of enemy (blue two-headed dogs that across the screen every so often) a floating blue "power up". Zeus helpfully says "power...up" on collection of each orb, though you will be able to notice the difference from the change in your characters appearance anyway. The first orb just makes your character look a little more buff and muscular looking, the second makes his muscles grow so much his shirt is ripped off Incredible Hulk style and the third is where the fun begins, this when you become the "Altered Beast". On transforming into an Altered Beast you're treated to a close-up head shot of your characters head turning into some form of monster. The exact type of monster you transform into depends on the level you're playing. And each monster has it's own unique attacks and powers. On the first level you transform into a werewolf for instance and in this form you have the ability to throw fireballs from your hands and turn into a mass of fire and streak across the screen dispatching monsters as you go. Other levels allow to become a dragon man and this gives you the power of flight, at which point the game becomes reminiscent of a side scrolling shoot-em-up As an Altered Beast you're near enough invincible few enemies will be able to put up much of a fight with you at this point. However this action is short lived as the levels tend to be somewhat short and you soon find yourself encountering Neff who "welcomes you to your doom" and transforms into some kind massive monster of some description and an ensuing end of level boss battle commences. Though they look impressive these battles aren't too difficult and once defeated Neff reverts to his human form and removes all your power-up orbs. At which point you proceed to the next level only being able to punch and kick once more. You can only encounter Neff when in beast form so collecting these power-ups is an essential part of the game you won't be able to progress without them. If you encounter Neff in your human form he repels you with a lightning shield and runs off, he apparently only wants to attack you in your powered-up form. It doesn't make a lot of sense why he would do that but that's just the way the game is. The game is fairly short with each level lasting around 3 minutes so the game can be completed in 15 minutes. However the itself presents a challenge due to the fact that in human form your character is somewhat feeble and has slow and awkward attacks that are a challenge to connect with anything. While your enemies by contrast are fast and they attack quickly, each of their hits drains one third of your life-force. The game itself while it seems to aim for being a tense and adrenaline soaked arcade experience it actually moves along at it's own rather strange leisurely relaxed pace. While numerous monsters are killing you don't really feel the tension and excitement you really just feel slightly bored as slowly attempt to punch and kick away ineffectually. So while the game is challenging it isn't challenging in perhaps the way it was intended to be. GRAPHICS: 5/10 The graphics are bold and colourful, fairly close to the arcade original and would have been moderately impressive for a home console of its time, but they aren't particularly exceptional. There are a variety of environments from graveyards, caves and palaces and the monsters and boss battles are reasonably detailed, but there's nothing here that holds up to particularly inspired standards of art. So all in all it doesn't look particularly bad and it doesn't look particularly great either. SOUND: 5/10 Like the graphics and the gameplay the music is also not something to write home about. The music attempts to emulate an ancient Greek atmosphere with organs and timpani playing throughout but the score is limited and somewhat forgettable. The sound effects aren't particularly crisp, it sounds like you are punching or kicking a mouldy cabbage. The few brief speech samples are really the only thing of note though not necessarily for the right reasons, they are terribly ham acted but this gives them a "so bad they're good" quality. The speech samples are at least guaranteed to raise a smile in what is otherwise a very run of the mill game and they are ultimately the games legacy to gaming posterity. LONGEVITY: 5/10 While the game can be completed in a few minutes it will take a while longer to beat with practice as the owning to the difficulty factor, the difficulty factor being more down to your characters incompetence than the actual design of the levels. The main challenges to the completion of this game come in the form of frustration or general boredom where you may find yourself switching off after a couple of minutes/levels and popping in something else. But it is a fairly good game to play a quick few minutes if you really have nothing else better to be doing, if only to hear the infamous speech samples. FINAL WORD Altered Beast is the very definition of an average game, but it does have it's quirks and novelty appeal which have given the game it's lasting cult status. It hasn't aged particularly well and gaming had moved well beyond this standard even before the end of the 16-bit era. Altered Beast is something more of a quaint antiquity of gaming, but it is nonetheless worth playing at least once if you have any interest in retro games as this is in it's own right something of a cult classic. Some people love this game, a lot of people hate it but it is what it is, a very average port of a semi-popular arcade game.
Altered Beast is a 2d-scolling fantasy-themed beat-em-up platformer that was originally released as an arcade machine in 1988 and ported to a wide range of platforms including the Amiga and Sega Megadrive soon after. The game opens with some rather ropey digitised speech that says "Rise from your graves!" as your character bursts from a tomb in a cemetery and sets about punching and kicking his way through the levels range of shambling zombies. The graphics are quite basic but not without a certain cartoonish charm, and the Greek mythological setting is an interesting one, whilst the levels and enemies are varied and colourful. The gameplay is very basic and not particularly exciting, involving scrolling from left to right attacking your enemies with the very small range of kicks and punches at your disposal, whilst looking out for blue hounds who leave behind a blue orb when killed. When collected a cheesy voice says "POWER UP!!" at which point your character's muscles increase in size as they burst through his clothes, Incredible Hulk-style. You can do this a couple of times, with your character ending up looking like a grotesque Mr universe contestant in nothing but a pair of skimpy briefs by the end, and I always found it funny that whilst your character's body increases in size his head remains the same, looking increasingly ridiculous with each power-up collected. With each orb collected your attacks become more powerful, and the final power-up you collect turns you into a different monster on each level, with its own unique modes of attack. The creatures you can turn into include a werewolf, a dragon, and weretiger and a werebear, and this adds a little much-needed variety to the rather dry and unengaging gameplay. At the end of each level you go up against an evil wizard who shouts "Welcome to your doom" in a very slurry, badly-digitised voice, before turning into one of a range of end of level bosses, which include a huge demon who throws his heads at you and a giant slimy tentacle thing that fires groups of its numerous eyes in your direction. The controls are clunky and unresponsive, and the collision-detection is pretty poor, whilst the game is very short, although the difficulty curve goes up dramatically on the later levels, which I always found rather frustrating. There's nothing much to this game really, and it has very little to hold the interest now. Worth a quick look for the nostalgia value, but is unlikely to hold your attention for very long.
Having just recently got the Mega Drive Ultimate Collection on the Xbox 360 I though I'd play some games I never got the chance to, as well as those with fond memories. For every Columns there is a Streets of Rage, for every Alien storm there is a Sonic the Hedgehog, for every Gain Ground there is a Golden axe and one of the best collections of games I've seen in a long time. Though whilst playing Streets Of Rage and the Golden Axe series I read on line that Altered Beast was the one that set up Golden Axe, almost a prequel by the same people. As a huge fan of the side scrolling beat 'em up, I'd some how missed out on this one as a small child, but now I had the chance to play it, some how I wish I hadn't. You play a weird character with looks of which the standard of Streets of Rage (which came a few years later) made look almost historically old. The game's story is based around this sprite being a Centurion back from the dead as the character has been told to "Rise from your Gay" (due to the limitations in sound back in the late 1980's the attempt to say "grave" was warbled into sounding like "gay" much to humorous childishness. Who has to save Zues' daughters... which begs the question, why are the Greek gods so bloody lazy? Get off your shiny white cloud mate and do your own bloody work, it's your daughter and your sending this thing to save her? He'll probably eat or something. The levels are flat 2D (unlike the Golden Axe/Streets of Rage/Alien Storm games which are 2.5-D sort of thing) with the players character scrolling from left to right across the levels punching and kicking his foes along the way. All sounds rather good, but the game play feels clumsy, the graphics are rather poor (probably advanced for the late 80's but by 92/93 they looked seriously dated) and the sounds were simple (if funny at the aforementioned "rise from..." moment). The game did have one or two nice features though, through the levels there were orbs which when collected allowed the player to power up and become things like a wolf, which had super powers a nice addition that presumably was the fore-bearer of the Super Sonic idea (collect the Chaos Emeralds...collect 50 rings...) though sadly the game was too difficulty and slow to want to find out what the latter ones were. The controls we're simple, one button to jump, one to punch, one to kick, with the D-pad used to move, crouch and modify upwards attacks, though it was incredibly limited, and did date terrible by the time the second Streets of Rage game came out with a much more advanced control system. Sadly however this is me in 2009 looking back at a game that's almost as old as myself, for those at the time, this was the top of gaming, and for that reason it's often fondly remembered by those in their late 20's. Those who went from it to the Golden Axe games in one fell swoop (the game is often referred to as the Golden axe prototype) before going onto the much better Streets of Rage series. Sadly however when remembering it's age, it's the same age as Alien Storm which provides more laughs and slightly better gameplay. This is annoyingly one of the least playable games on the disk, that some will love just because of rose tinted childhood spectacles, but personally I'll stay away. Notes: 1 Player only
This game originally came out for the Sega Master System. The Megadrive has basically copied the exact game and improved the graphics. The game was already a joy to play and the fact that it has been kept the same with improved graphics makes it even more fun. You start the game as a normal man. A man who can become stronger by picking up power ups. If you pick up one special powerup you grow in size and strength and if you get two you change into a beast. The beast you transform into depends on the level you are currently on. The different beasts include a wolfman, tigerman and others. Each beast has its own special moves and powers. The game is a platform game with monsters coming from the right of the screen. There are many different monsters of varying difficulty. As you progress through the levels the monsters become stronger and more varied. At the end of each level you will have to face a boss. The bosses are crazy creatures and I hope you have enough strength left because your gonna need it. The character handles quite well although high jumping can be a bit dodgy sometimes, its slower than you expect so you can land on enemies losing health but you do get to do more moves in the air.
Altered Beast was Sega's conversion of their own arcade game. It was initially bundled with the Megadrive as a freebie, until Sonic became the bundled game of choice. Despite what the PR hype said, it was far from arcade perfect and received pretty poor reviews. You have been murdered by Neff, had your girlfriend stolen and must get her back. You are told to 'Wise fwom your gwave!' and battle your way through legions of monsters, collecting power ups which tranform you into a Were-monster. You need to collect three power ups to transform, but each one makes you a little stronger. The Were-monsters range from the rather excellent Dragon and Golden Werewolf to the rather poor Werebear! The levels are an assortment of locations such as graveyards, underground catacombs and caverns. The screen scrolls along pushing the action along with it and you must move with it, dispatching your enemies with punches and kicks. You meet Neff up to three times on each level, only battling him if you are in your animal mode. Fighting Neff in human form is generally more difficult, and in some cases, downright impossible. The game itself is not a perfect conversion of the arcade game. The sound, graphics and gameplay do not match the levels of the original, but the game itself is not too bad. As with many of these types of games, I feel you have to review them within the context of their time. Whilst this is not the greatest arcade conversion in the world, this is not a complete abomination. The graphics are fairly decent, and the humungous bosses from the original remain in their full glory. The eye boss of the second level has left a lasting impression on me of just how hideous bosses should look. Whilst the voice effects have produced a string of internet based jokes, the sound effects and music are not too shoddy and carry the came along nicely. Your character does sound as is he has been genuinely mortally wounded when he dies for example. Perhaps the main criticism of the game is its length. The experience is over far too quickly. Again, it has to be remembered that this is an arcade game where lastability is secondary to playability. Sega did not want to provide thirty odd hours of gameplay when it wanted people pumping in ten pence pieces. All in all, Altered Beast is not a bad game, but it is definately not a classic. Games like Eswat were better at the time, whilst the likes of Streets of Rage massively improved on what it had to offer.
Back in the day of the sega megadrive, you used to get this as the free game that came with the console, talk about being forced on you! In all fairness it wasnt that bad. The game itself is a side scrolling beat em up. You play a deceased soilder who has been raised from the dead to rescue Zeus' daughter from the clutches of the evil Demon but instead of fighting as a normal human you have the ability to turn into various beasts to help you fight the zombie like baddies. You gain the ability to transform or alter by obtaining 3 planet like orbs which revolve around the screen at different times, each one makes you stronger until you get the 3rd and change. You do not have to become the beast to fight the end level boss, who greats you with the line 'welcome to your doom' everytime, but boy does it help! You have the ability to turn into a warewolf, dragon, tigerman, bear and a more powerful warewolf. not sure if they ran out of mythical animals or what but each has their own special ability for you to batter your way through the bad guys. The backdrop is set in ancient greek ruins and consists of 5 levels, each a little harder than the previous. The average enemies you meet prior to your duel with the end boss get weirder as you go through, some having no relation to anything mythical and just designed to cause you grief, however they are entertaining none the less. As with most mega drive games back in the day theres no multi player option. The controls are very basic and theres only a punch and kick option to beat up the baddies. You have the ability to change into a warewolf but you can only punch and kick people, no combos, no weapons Its basic, its dated and its mainly known for the gargled entry into every level which has become a comic reference - Rise from your grave sounding like Wise Fwom Youw Gwaver. Classic. Anyway, should you buy it, only if you want to turn the clock back but i wasnt its greatest fan when i did get it and even though the ps2 version was quite sentimental, i wouldnt play it again.