Altered Beast (GEN) Retro Review
Altered Beast might be a Sega classic but it sadly falls short when it comes to gameplay.
Altered Beast was originally an arcade game which was ported over to several home consoles including the Sega Master System, Famicom, ZX Spectrum and obviously the Sega Genesis. By far the best home console version was for the Genesis. This was one of the many reasons why gamers loved Altered Beast at first because it had shown the potential that lies in the Genesis. It was also a pack-in with early Genesis models so it’s rather easy to find and cheap to purchase in cart form nowadays. Can’t say the same for the other console versions. Some of them are pretty expensive but I honestly don’t see the point of buying them, unless you’re a die-hard collector.
You’re basically controlling a warrior that has been resurrected by Zeus and commands him to save his daughter and defeat the evil Neff. It’s a pretty barebones plot but what do you expect from an arcade game. The story is not the only thing that’s barebones in this game. The gameplay is very shallow offering no depth at all and can get very tedious after playing for a few hours. There are 2 attacks to choose in your normal state. Punch and kick. You can also jump and attack at the same time, but that doesn’t really help break the dullness. That’s one of the reasons why this game gets boring quickly. Theirs also some platforming peppered throughout the later levels, which I found to be stiff and quite unnecessary. Four difficulty levels are available as well, Easy, Normal, Hard and Hardest. Standard stuff. I guess the difficulty really relies on the experience of the player. Altered Beast relies heavily on memorization, the AI always acts the same way which comes out as boring and repetitive. The gimmick that Altered Beast boasts is the beast transformations. By collecting orbs from dead blue wolves, your character will get stronger and stronger until he eventually transforms into the designated beast for the level. As I said each level has its own beast.
Their are five beasts to transform into. A werewolf, dragon, bear, tiger and a golden wolf. They don’t differ from each other that much but they are great fun when experienced for the first time. Although these transformations help the flow of the gameplay it still feels weary after a while and the light platforming doesn’t help either. The bosses aren’t very challenging especially the final boss which is a complete joke. Graphically it looks the best out of the console versions and it looks quite good for a game this old. The soundtrack is decent aswell and some tunes match the style of the game greatly.
It’s a worthy pickup for any Sega fan or collector but don’t expect any complex level designs or anything like that. At it’s core, Altered Beast is a drony side scrolling beat em up with a gimmicky transformation system that makes the game worth a try. This can be easily found in most Sega compilations and it’s also very easy to find for the original system too.