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Altered Beast (Sega Master System) artwork

Altered Beast (Sega Master System) review


"Well, I'm pretty sure most of us have played the Genesis version of Altered Beast. Who can forget such moments like the beginning when the giant transparent floating guy with a crystal ball shouts out ''WISE FOM UR GWAVE''? Or when some drunken dude shouts ''POWER UP'' when you get a Spirit Ball and slowly turn into a manly man? Well sadly, most of what made that game so great is lost in this 8 bit translation, turning an already average game into a crapfest. "



Well, I'm pretty sure most of us have played the Genesis version of Altered Beast. Who can forget such moments like the beginning when the giant transparent floating guy with a crystal ball shouts out ''WISE FOM UR GWAVE''? Or when some drunken dude shouts ''POWER UP'' when you get a Spirit Ball and slowly turn into a manly man? Well sadly, most of what made that game so great is lost in this 8 bit translation, turning an already average game into a crapfest.

The daughter of Zeus, Athena, has been kidnapped by the evil Neff (I thought it was Nerf at first, which would've sounded even more stupid). So what does Zeus do? Does he use his powers to destroy Neff? Walk up and kick Neff in the stomach like he did with Kronos? No no no......that would of been TOO easy and there wouldn't be a reason for this game to exist. Instead, he grabs his purple crystal ball (guess we know what his favorite color is) and makes a Roman Centurion that died over a hundred years ago to RISE FROM HIS CRAVE. Yup, he doesn't command him to rise from his grave, but his crave instead. Did this Centurion had an addiction? Did he smoke wacky tobaccy? We may never know since the game doesn't address the problem of this troubled warrior. Now with the ability to transform into various beasts, this brave Roman Centurion must fight his way through Neff's army of demons and rescue Athena!!....Zeus, you lazy bastard.

The object of the game is to fight your way through four rounds to defeat Neff and rescue Athena, sloooooooooowly. When the game starts, the screen will start scrolling to the right, insanely slow, as you fight off demons that appear on screen from the left and right. Well, that's what you should be doing. Not only does this make the round go by extremely slow, but really boring, too. It only takes approximately three minutes to complete a ''section'' of each round, but it feels like I'm being forced to slowly watch a horrible catastrophe take place inside my tv set. To make things much worse, you can't avoid most of the enemies because they'll just turn around and slowly ''charge'' towards you. It'd be a wise thing to kill them as soon as they appear on screen because you'll just run into another one of the many problems in the game if you don't. That problem being, bumping into one enemy that will cause you to fly back into another enemy which then causes you too be kn....well you get the the point.

And while we're on the subject, the enemies in the game can be a real pain depending on what state you're in at the moment. Slow Foots can be almost harmless, but get surrounded on both sides with little time to react and be prepared to get bounced around like a ball stuck in the bumper section of a pinball game. Headless Horrors, Grave Masters and Bad Boars will ***** slap you to the ground before getting anywhere near them. Saw Fish will roll on screen and run over you before you get to react and Dark Unicorns will jump kick your face in where you can't punch them because they jump too early and too high. Then there are the Skinny Orcus', if you missed your chance to kill them in the sky, they'll slowly make their way towards your head and damage you where they're out of your attacks range. Another annoying enemy are the Chicken Stingers, just try and walk up and kick this beast and you'll end up getting swiped by his tail and on the ground in seconds. Surprisingly, some of the bosses in this version are much easier to fight then in the Genesis version, except for the last boss. He's a real pain in the ass to fight against. If you get stuck in the corner then that's it, since you get no couple seconds of invisibility in this game after getting hit, you'll continually get hit in the face until you die.

''But you have the ability to become The Altered Beast. That should make things much easier! Huzzah!!''

...huz...zah...???...er...anyway, yes it is true that the game will be much easier to play once you get the two Spirit Balls and transform, but trying to get them is the hard part. The only way you can get a Spirit Ball is by killing a white Two-Headed Wolf. Sounds simple right? Well, if your definition of ''simple'' is trying to capture bull with a butterfly net, then yeah. What makes them so hard to capture is that there's always something happening before they appear. Like two Skinny Orcus' at the top of the screen, two Slot Foots on the left, and a Grave Master on the right will appear and right afterwards, the white Two Headed Wolf will prance along on screen. But since you're too busy fighting or getting knocked around by the other demons, the Wolf will disappear from the screen once you're ready. Another reason being is that a group of Two Headed Wolves will run on screen in a group, it's almost impossible to take them all out without getting hurt. But once you actually become an Altered Beast, you'll get special attacks that'll help you finish the round much easier. From the Werewolf/Golden Werewolf's ability to shoot fireballs across the screen, the Weredragon's ability to fly around the screen and have his whole body be electrified. Then there's the Weretiger's ability to bounce up and down the screen with his whole body as a fireball.

The graphics in this version is a disappointment and very, very ugly to look at, especially since the Master System can do much better then this. They tried too hard to replicate the arcade version and put too much detail on almost everything, which basically made everything look like crap. This is really noticeable with the first round, they added too much detail to everything in the background, the leaves, stones and statues, it just makes you want to finish the round more quickly so you don't have to stare at it anymore. The character animations in the game are very limited, making most of the enemies and your player look clumsy and awkward to look at. This also actually makes your player much harder to control, too. Speaking of the enemies, most of them seemed to have shrunk in this version. The Round Leeches, Cave Needles, Gory Goats and Dark Unicorns are much smaller in this game and actually forces you to fight them differently then when you fought them in the Genesis version.

The sounds and tunes of the game aren't pleasing to the ears as well, either. The tunes in the game seem like mellowed and slow going versions of the original ones. Like the first round music, it's as slow as the round itself which was really frustrating. It actually felt like a karaoke version because at times I almost found myself singing along to some of the tunes, so I guess it's not all that bad. The sounds in the game were basic sounds, nothing notable, but the voice sounds were annoying. The sound of your Roman Centurion dying sounded more like he just lost his winning lottery ticket, when he grabs a spirit ball the ''POWER UP!'' drunken dude voice has been replaced by a younger sounding lad. The transformation cry sounds like a freaking elephant, Neff's laughter at the end of each round is so muffled and sounds more like a dog barking, and ''WISE FOM UR GWAVE!'' is absent in this version.

Well most of the corniness has been stripped away, the gameplay blows, graphics look horrible, and the music has been turned into karaoke fodder. So is there any redeeming qualities left in this version? Yes. MULTICOLORED UNDERWEAR. Yup, you heard right, in each round you get the pleasant surprise of wearing a different colored underwear. Take your pick, purple, green, and blue, it's all gravy baby. So if you want a game that teaches you that Zeus is too lazy to rescue his own daughter, gets a Roman Centurion to rise from his cravings and go through a four round program to do the rescuing and overcome his addiction, turn into a werewolf that looks more like an eagle, and wear different colors of underwear.....well.....do I even have to tell you? Otherwise, stay far away from this version.

Rating: 2/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (October 11, 2004)

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