Altered Beast

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Arcade cabinet.

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.

Status

I do not own the game, and have never beaten it.

Review

  • Overall: 3/10
  • Best Version: Arcade

Good

  • 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.

Bad

  • 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.

Ugly

  • 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.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Maps

Collectibles

Fan Art

Videos

Links