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Old 09-18-2010, 03:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Altered Beast (Arcade, Genesis / Megadrive)

Eric Corp Gamer's RU Exclusive Review 21
Altered Beast
NOTE: Wow... It's been a while since I've reviewed an arcade game (since The Return of Ishtar, back in Nov. 2009)


Now, back from going back into reviewing games. I'm going to review what I think it's one of the most under-rated games nowadays on the Sega Genesis called Altered Beast (not as much in the arcade, but still). I've noticed in reviews or any mentions of the game, they just totally bash or dismiss the game, mainly (similar to Zero Wing, which also notable for the same thing) due to the phrase "Rise from your grave!" being butchered due to the Genesis' sound chip not being used right, making it sound like "Wise fwom your gwave!". Another infamous fan favorite is the line "Welcome to your doom!" I'll admit these lines does sound funny, but that doesn't take anything away from the game. People need to keep in mind that this was the first game on the Sega Genesis yet, barely anyone seems to take that into consideration. Anyway, let's move on, because I can go on forever about it...


REVIEW
NOTE: Similar to my Mega Man I / III review, I'll do it in the same way that I do review both of them and compare between the Arcade and the Genesis versions of Altered Beast. Also, just like the mentioned review, I may not have much to say, because what is there to say really?

Graphics Average:
B

Arcade:
A-
The game looks pretty damn good. The graphics are lush, colorful, and detailed for a game utilizing the Sega System 16 hardware. The sprites are overall well-done, but the animation is kinda rough on the sides. When you and the enemies does anything, it looks kinda wooden in terms of movement, but it still doesn't take away from the beautiful looking sprites (although the main sprite is probably the best in terms of animation, but it's still a little limited, though. The special effects used like the guy in the beginning, and the main bad guy turning into something (for example) looks amazing and pretty revolutionary for 1988. The backgrounds are pretty damn good-looking for an arcade game in the late 80s, there's barely any relating problem I can think of in the game. Overall, the game looks brilliant with barely any flaws I can find.

Genesis / Megadrive: C+
Obviously the translation from the arcade to console didn't translated all that good, but it at least it does it fairly well. Because of this, some of the detail and the special effects from the arcade are gone, but it still doesn't look half bad. The sprites are overall, pretty good for the early days of the Genesis. I mean don't expect Sonic the Hedgehog or Michael Jackson's Moonwalker standards, in terms of graphics. The sprites still looks decent enough, but "it doesn't age well" by many people. In my opinion, I'll admit it didn't age great, but it still has its moments. The animation is still limited in this port, but I can understand that, considering the graphics aren't as good (though not bad), so there's a reason why it looks like this.
The backgrounds are the ones that aren't as butchered as the sprites, but it looks pretty damn good. Although they aren't as lush and colorful, and they might be a bit grainy in some parts, it still looks good from its transition. Overall, this port looks good, despite some of the enhancements are removed.

Arcade version of Altered Beast:


Genesis / Megadrive version of Altered Beast:



Gameplay Average: B

Arcade:
B
The gameplay of Altered Beast is typical of a side-scrolling beat-em-up game, where you punch and kick your baddies into oblivion. You can punch, kick, jump, or duck, plain simple. However, that's not the point of the game. The point of each level is to collect 3 power-ups in order to turn into a specific animal like a wolf, a dragon etc. In order to get these things, you have to pay attention when a barrage of wolves start to appear. Three wolves will appear, the first two is normal, while the third wolf (if killed) contains a power-up, which for some reason, makes your clothes starts to rip apart, and makes you muscular (which for some reason, which is known for people making gay jokes due to this idea). After the 3rd power-up is collected, you will turn into an animal which you gives you special abilities depending on the animal, and that you need to fight the level boss. If you didn't transform into an animal, and you reach the boss, the guy will just walk away, and you have to keep fighting enemies 'till you transform. When you reach the boss (as an animal), he will transform into something, and (obviously) defeat it. After that, you will receive a clear bonus depending on how fast you reach the boss (how many times the boss walks away - 100000, 50000 etc.). The gameplay is pretty good and unique. The idea and the moves they give the player (with the exception is ducking and kicking, which is retarded) are worth it, but the pace of the game is pretty slow (which is kinda stupid, but not that bad), which kinda affect the game a little. Also, the game is generally unfairly difficult at times, mainly that you die way too easily (it gets annoying when you fight bosses, cause they take a bar away from you when hit) and the level layouts aren't so bright. The level layouts are kinda awkward, which sometimes give the enemies an unfair advantage, but it only occurs in the later levels. There is also 2-players in this game, and I'll admit is much more fun than playing alone, and it'll keep you entertained for a while, but not for that long, though. Overall, the gameplay is well done, and paved the way for future beat-em-ups (I guess), despite the slow pace and the weird layouts of the later parts of the game.

Genesis / Megadrive: B
The gameplay is pretty much the same as the arcade, but for some reason, I feel that the game is a little faster than the former (Is it me or not?). Other than that, what's more to say?


Sound Average: B-

Arcade: B
The sound aspect is nice, as both the sound effects and music are good for an arcade game. The sound effects are brilliant, hearing the protagonist punching or kicking them to no end which sounds pretty realistic for 1988. Some of the sound effects in the game can be heard in some of the other games using the same hardware, not that it's bad or anything, I like it actually. The voices used here are overall clear and sound very good with emotion, as they don't sound disorienting or butchered at all. The music here have some of the best things I heard for games that utilized the same hardware (if you forgot, Sega System 16), as they fit with the theme of each level, without being out of place...do I need to say more...

Genesis / Megadrive: C+
Just like the graphics, the transition altered the sound aspect of the port, but like the former, it still does it fairly well. The sound effects are rather average, at best. The music is actually good using the console's hardware, I actually find some of the music here, better than the arcade version (though the majority of the songs the arcade wins it), as it sounds catchy and fun to hear, in my opinion. The most notable thing about this port are the voices being disoriented and butchered with the lines mentioned before the review, but I don't blame them. Overall, decent enough for an early game, that's all I'm going to say.


NOTE: Sorry, I couldn't find any music (no gameplay footage) for the Arcade version on YouTube. These videos are music from the Genesis version. Sorry...


Controls Average: C+

Arcade:
C+
I have to say that this is the game's biggest flaw is the controls. While the movement isn't so bad, the jumping and attacking is slow and awkward. The jumping is delayed when you are trying to jump high, but when you're not trying to jump normally, it's not that bad of a problem. The attacks are rather slow and at times, you're vulnerable to any enemy attack when you do so. Despite the awkward controls, they aren't so bad once you get used to them, but I'll admit it is a steep learning curve.

Genesis / Megadrive: C+
What do you expect? It's the exact same, but the attacks are slightly faster than the arcade, which helps the controls a little (like I said, is it me or not?). Other than that, nothing much has changed.

Replay Value Average: C / C+

Arcade: C / C+
It really depends on what kind of person you are. To me, I would play it once in a while to give me a nice little romp. For others, they may go as far as playing it about a few times, or they might only play it one and never look back. Single player may entertain or not, but playing with 2 people increase the replay value slightly and it's more fun to play like that. Like I mentioned before, it's a matter of taste.

Genesis / Megadrive: C- / C
Pretty much the same, but people may turn away due to the apparent "inferiority" of the port. If you're one of them, stick with the arcade version. Like the former, the 2-players increases it slightly, but more or less.

Overall Average:

Arcade: B-
This version is brilliant, and obviously the better of the two versions. The game looks good, plays well, controls are not bad, and the sound is great, too. I recommended for people who want to have something to play with, but may throw people off with the slow pacing of the game. Also, I recommend trying to get someone to play this game together, as you will most likely have more fun than playing alone. I dunno why many people under-rate this game, it's not that bad of a game. Sure, some parts didn't age that good, but that doesn't mean it can't provide entertainment value. People should stop judging the game based on how well it aged, but how fun the game is, and in my opinion, it's pretty good, despite it's flaws.

Genesis / Megadrive: C+
This one is also good, too. Although I'll admit, it's inferior but, that doesn't mean it can't provide some fun in it. Unlike the arcade, this one is generally treated more harshly, mainly due to the butchering of voices, and the overall inferiority. I mean they were just starting out, and people just compare the later games to this game, and overall concluding that it's just terrible. I'd give it a go, try to get someone to play with will be much more fun to play, and it's a decent port that will satisfy everyone that's willing to actually play it.

Well, I can't tell you what to think about this game, but check out this gameplay footage of Altered Beast (arcade version) playing co-op, and judge for yourself:

2010 Eric Corp Incorporated

Last edited by ECInc2XXX; 09-18-2010 at 03:24 AM..
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Old 09-18-2010, 04:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Altered Beast (Arcade, Genesis / Megadrive)

I can remember when a friend of mine first bought his Genesis back in the day. He bought it specifically to play this game at home.
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Old 09-18-2010, 09:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Altered Beast (Arcade, Genesis / Megadrive)

I think this game and Golden Axe were some of my favorites on Genesis.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Altered Beast (Arcade, Genesis / Megadrive)

It's hard to describe just how awesome this game is. Although you provided way too much detail, it makes me satisfied in a way...because that's the scope of the game. It's mythology of Rome, it's mythology of Greece, it's an epic adventure.
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Altered Beast (Arcade, Genesis / Megadrive)

Supernintendosp really understood the power of this game... it has not aged so well from a pure-gameplay point of view (not like Golden Axe, for istance) but at its time, it was epic and inspiring. The Genesis port was historical: it didn't push the console even remotely close to its limits (which is obvious, for a launch-title), but it carried the coin-op-experience at home in a way that the previous consoles hadn't shown yet. Even without technical excellence, it had a great power deriving from atmosphere, arcade feeling, big sprites and epic story... even the bad voices seemed justified from the ancient background, and they appeared somehow more mythological... I mean: Zeus can't talk like one of us!!
Last thing: the Genesis port added nice parallax scrolling, which arcade had not.
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