Altered Beast known in Japan as 獣王記 [Juuouki] "Beast King's Chronicle" is an action platform beat-em-up developed and published by Sega for the arcade in 1988-08-??. It was later ported to about a dozen platforms.
The game is set in ancient Greece. Zeus' daughter Athena has been kidnapped by Neff. Zeus resurrects you, a dead centurion, to fight your way through Neff's henchmen and rescue Athena. In each stage, if you defeat two-headed white wolves, they will leave behind a power orb which will make you stronger. If you collect a third orb, you will transform into a powerful beast like a werewolf or dragon and gain special attacks.
I saw first saw this game in the arcade room of Lakeland Arena in the late 1980s, when I though the game was called "Alter Beast." Although I never played it at the time, I loved to watch other people play the game, and I remember seeing kids get as far as stage 3. I was really impressed by the graphics and the idea of turning into a werewolf seemed so cool. Years later, I found a System 16 emulator online and played the game all the way through. The process took tons of credits, and the last stage was so hard I wasn't even able to get enough orbs to transform before having to fight Neff. This kind of disenfranchised me to the game.
I do not own the game, and have never beaten it.
- Overall: 3/10
- Best Version: Arcade
- For the time, the game was very impressive. It used top of the line hardware both in audio and video.
- The entire game is very creative. Being able to morph into fireball-throwing werewolves, electricity slinging dragons, and the rest is fantastic. Enemies like the skull-holding skeletons, head leeches, and rattlesnake dragons are all really interesting and beautifully rendered, and the bosses are especially impressive. Aggar, the head-hurling dead body boss of stage 1, is one of my favorite bosses in video game history.
- The graphic effect where body parts of slain enemies expand toward the screen is really cool.
- The game's music and sound effects are good, and digital speech was still impressive in 1988.
- The arcade game has a wonderful attract demo.
- The ending is pretty cool.
- The NES port, though horrible looking, adds two new stages to the game where you change into a shark and a phoenix.
- The game punishes mistakes brutally, especially in later levels. It seems like Sega designed the game, not so much to be fun, but to drain quarters.
- The game is really short. When playing at an expert level, the entire game takes less than 15 minutes to finish.
- The player's body grows with power orbs, but his head doesn't, which looks ridiculous.
- The attacks in the later transformations are kind of silly. A bubblegum blowing bear? I bouncing ball throwing tiger? WTF?
- In the last stage, you're short-changed by transforming into a werewolf again rather than a new beast, but the game tries to play it off as a new transformation by calling it a "gold werewolf." Nice try!
- The morphing animation is only drawn for the wolf. All other morphs just flash between the two rapidly.
- The foreground bodies in the final stage look great, but the artist ruined the seriousness by adding the The Thinker and The Scream into the mix.
- The "rise from your grave," intro sound sounds a bit... off.
- A rescue the princess story line, how original.
- None of the boxes have very good art work.
- The game's controls are terrible. The player's attacks are sluggish, and jumping is especially bad. I always feel like I'm struggling with my player more than the monsters.
- youtube.com/watch?v=icuWM-SRvW0 - Japanese Mega Drive Commercial with Altered Beast.
- youtube.com/watch?v=DqHpyHR1P0I - Arcade longplay.
- youtube.com/watch?v=K80hfSdsZiI - Amiga longplay.
- youtube.com/watch?v=MoCaMHwAInY - Amstrad CPC longplay.
- youtube.com/watch?v=8UG5hOfttm8 - Atari ST longplay.
- youtube.com/watch?v=jFiTLTSwAgw - Genesis longplay.
- youtube.com/watch?v=Tv0_qMA4Cj8 - Master System longplay.
- youtube.com/watch?v=aCW2u-sGq7M - MS-DOS longplay.
- youtube.com/watch?v=VU61OqyH2wg - TurboGrafx-16 longplay.
- youtube.com/watch?v=psRJHOx1MDU - ZX Spectrum longplay.