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Altered Beast (Sega Master System) artwork

Altered Beast (Sega Master System) review


"After playing the 16-bit version of the game Altered Beast almost to death I was eager to see the 8-bit rendition of the game. Of course I wasn’t expecting much, as I knew everything that was good in the 16-bit version would probably be knocked down a few levels in this downgraded version. Sega made this game in 1988 for the arcades and as the “pack-in” game on their Sega Mega Drive system, so I guess they had to make a version on the Master System to complete the circle. This was a bad idea for..."



After playing the 16-bit version of the game Altered Beast almost to death I was eager to see the 8-bit rendition of the game. Of course I wasn’t expecting much, as I knew everything that was good in the 16-bit version would probably be knocked down a few levels in this downgraded version. Sega made this game in 1988 for the arcades and as the “pack-in” game on their Sega Mega Drive system, so I guess they had to make a version on the Master System to complete the circle. This was a bad idea for various reasons, mainly because if you had the 16-bit version then you had no need for it.

The story is the same, the evil wizard Neff steals Zeus’ daughter and Zeus decides to raise one of his dead warriors in order to get her back. The warrior has the ability to transform into a Beast when he absorbs three (or in this game two) magic balls that are carried by two-headed dogs. It’s the exact story from the 16-bit version so if you’ve played it you’ll have some idea about it already.

Basically all Altered Beast consists of is you controlling the raised warrior through many dangerous areas, such as a graveyard packed with zombies, a swamp, a palace and eventually Hell. You control the resurrected warrior through these hazardous areas, firstly starting off with next to no power and you’ll look pretty scrawny. In order to get stronger you’ll have to collect orbs from three headed dogs that will appear from time to time. When you collect an orb your muscle size will increase dramatically, making you look like one of the Mr. Universe rejects and you will have greater strength. After you collect a second orb you will become an….

Altered Beast!!

Then it is a rip-roaring fight through the levels using your new acquired powers. On the first stage you will transform into a werewolf, with special powers that allow throwing a fireball out of your hands and create a kind of shield around yourself and go shooting across the screen destroying anything that gets in your way. You will then be able to change into a dragon allowing you to fly and also emit electricity around your body making yourself temporarily invincible or throw a bolt of lightning at bad guys. Usually after this you should be able to turn into a bear but this level has been somewhat misplaced on this port so you will go straight to a tiger. The tiger is very similar to the wolf except he has a slower fireball and his charge is vertical instead of horizontal. Finally you will go to your final and generally disappointing form, the Golden Werewolf which you will find a disappointment mainly because he is identical as the first werewolf except a little stronger.

The range of enemies here are the same as the Genesis version, zombies which drearily walk towards you with no ability to attack, those yellow flying creatures that swoop down and hit you all of the time from the first level. The sharp-toothed blobs from the swamp level are here as well (gah! I hate them!) Those giant snake things also feature here and those boxing goats that will really get your blood boiling when they pound you to pieces. Pretty much all of the enemies from the last game are here and the bosses are also exactly the same, the demon that enjoys ripping his own head off and throwing it at you, the melon with the a large amount of eyes and the crocodile that has a pretty bad stomach ache. Everybody except the guys from level three have been included and downgraded here, they were as accurate as possible.

After playing the 16-bit version for such a long time makes the graphics look very poor. In fact the graphics are poor even for the Master System standards, the sprites are very poorly drawn and since they are smaller they have less detail. The beast sprites look average even for a Master System, as they don’t look great. The other sprites in the game tend to follow the same pattern and look pretty poor. The backgrounds of the levels are renditions from the original 16-bit version shrunken down to 8-bit, looking exceedingly crummy as we go along. The only things that look remotely good are the bosses and they aren’t that great either. They are big and look a lot like their 16-bit counterparts but with less detail.

The music of Altered Beast is also the same as the proper version, but with poorer quality. It’s very metallic and droning, basically raping the very good music that was in the original. The high-pitched tunes which resemble the “music” in its former glory are very hard to listen too because the quality is so poor. The sound effects also stink too and also don’t have anything special about them, unlike the Genesis version they certainly don’t have the classic sound that they have in the 16-bit version on the Genesis. Its just what I expected though, unfortunately.

Overall, this version of Altered Beast has to be the worst version of the game I have played. The gameplay has been downsized to a somewhat wretch of a game that has no replay value whatsoever and if you want to have the full Altered Beast experience then you have to play it on the Genesis, which has the classic version, but don’t bother with the 8-bit version because of these following reasons: the gameplay has been downsized to something somewhat unspeakable, the graphics are poorly done even on an 8-bit system and the music is so poor it will make you cringe. Stay away from Altered Beast on the Master System, even if you really enjoyed the Genesis one because this game offers nothing new and is just a great example of a good game ruined due to the limitations of the system it is on.

Rating: 3.0/10

goldenvortex's avatar
Community review by goldenvortex (September 14, 2004)

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