Altered Beast

A confession. I don’t particularly like beat ’em ups. The only way I can see myself playing one is if it would conform to somewhat modern standards: look and play fluid, be visceral, be challenging yet not frustrating. Well, I’m not sure I would like it that way, I never played a brawler that suits my tastes (but if you have suggestions the comments are all yours). Altered Beast doesn’t have any of these qualities, sadly, and thus isn’t really my favorite game. Sorry Sega, who published this game for DOS in 1990, porting it from their 1988 arcade game!

Title screen

What’s it all about? You are a hero of sorts, on a quest from Zeus (of all people beings) to rescue his daughter Athena, apparently by destroying a whole load of evil demons, zombies, and other completely weird creatures. You can kill these nasties by either kicking or punching them. That’s the way of thinking I like…

I have been charged with a sacred quest!

Now of course, as the title suggests, there’s more to the game than this. Well, slightly more. Some of the enemies (blue bull-like things for some reason) drop powerups. Catch those powerups and you will grow stronger. Catch three of them and you will become a beast! This gives you some super strong attacks and prepares you to kill the bastard known as End Of Level Boss.

Transfoooorm! It's morphin' time! Roll out! Etc.

And once you killed the boss, onwards to the next level. You know the deal. Leaves me to say that this game is hard. The first level is okay after a few tries. But by the time you reach the second level, you’ll probably already have given up all hope for this game. Well, I did anyway. Eventually getting into the second level, I quickly died because I had my lives leeched by the first levelboss. Practice makes perfect, but practice takes time. I’ll leave it to the completionists…

Level boss 1, and me as werewolf to the left.

It’s apparently also playable with two players. As usual, I don’t have any friends to play this with. And if I had friends, I wouldn’t want to lose them by forcing them to play this game with me.

You've got to give the graphics team credit for creating some freaky monsters. Look at that malicious smile!

All in all, I can barely recommend this game. Sega has thrown out a version for XBLA which got rather bad reviews, but of course, this game might be pure nostalgia for some players. Me, I don’t see the appeal. The artwork is nice (though a bit more colors would be welcome to the modern gamer) but that’s about it. 4/10


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