Originally released in Japan on November 27, 1988, the game arrived in the United States on August 14, 1988 and later on November 30, 1990 in Europe. My older brother introduced this game to me when he had his Sega Genesis. However, this is one of the most hardest games ever created by Sega. This game is gonna challenge your gaming skills, make you cry, piss you off, break your controllers and even leave you partially insane with rant in the AVGN style. Now before this is said and done, I will teach you how to tame the monster that is Altered Beast once and for all.
Plot. A Roman centurion who died in battle is resurrected from the dead by the Greek god Zeus, and his orders are given, to save his daughter Athena from the evil Demon God Neff in the Underworld. To be able to withstand the perils of his adventure, the warrior gets the ability to absorb spirit balls which transform him into the Altered Beast, a part animal, part human creature of formidable force.
Concept. Altered Beast has five tough and excruciating levels. When players turn into a beast, at the end of the stage they confront the boss. When the boss is defeated, Neff comes out and takes away all the abilities of the centurion, proceeding to the next stage. When players get to the next stage, sequences are shown where Neff intends to sacrifice Athena and obtain great power.
Design. The designers of this game are Rieko Kodama and Makoto Uchida. The game's background of every stage are very cool. The first stage resembles that of a graveyard of Ancient Greece, and it's one of my favorite designed stages before the final one and the fourth one. I actually loved how the fourth stage looked like, when I was a kid, me and my cousins thought of it as an ice temple. I actually liked how they added Greek Mythology to the game's storyline long before David Jaffe brought us a great game series, God of War. Scenario sequences were really cool, however, I'm surprised that no controversy was found because they showed the cross and Athena hanging on the cross. Because at those times, if any game such as this or Castlevania had a cross, some religious groups would have been outraged.
Music and Sound. The game's music theme and the theme of other stages are very well made. And also during sequences I liked how the music was catchy and eerie at the same time. The theme song when he became a beast was absolutely epic, which pumps you up. Not to forget that I loved the voice acting such as hearing "RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE", "POWER UP", and Neff's quote when confronting him before a boss battle when he says "WELCOME TO YOUR DOOM!".
Memories. My older brother and I used to play this game when I was about 5 years old. When I turned 6 during the summer of 92, the sleepovers at my cousin's house would define our playing experience. Sometimes we would get pissed at how hard this game was and we would play either on my SNES or Sonic the Hedgehog, such great memories to remember. In a time where games didn't need DLCs, there was no such thing as online multiplayer, and no nerds playing Call of Duty, WoW, and Runescape 18 hours a day.
Legacy. Altered Beast became an instant hit upon release in Arcade and consoles. The game is well remembered for it's unforgiving difficulty, and many players at times would have to play this all day in order to beat it. Now the Arcade version is much HARDER than the Sega Genesis version, but that version has no continues at all. Some players would use the legendary Game Genie for a 99 lives cheat. However, years went by and the game was being forgotten. A PlayStation 2 version titled "Project: Altered Beast" was made, but it was never released in America. The PS2 version had a modern day setting, and the main character was more like a cyborg that changed into a beast. It was never released in America due to it's brutal nature. Later a Game Boy Advanced version titled "Altered Beast: Guardian of the Realms" was released in America in 2002, but Sega was not behind the project and it was 3d6 Games and published by THQ. These two new games not only had a werewolf and dragon, but many new beast forms. Now, Altered Beast remains a cult classic among gamers of my generation.
Rantings. The only beast form that I never liked at all was the werebear. Being the werebear would get highly on my nerves because he is slow, and the only attacks he has are his breath and rolling attack. The werebear's breath would only turn enemies to stone. The most excruciating boss of the game happens to be the final boss, Neff, in his wererhino form. In the Arcade version, he was BEAST. Also, the music was kind of repetitive in the last two stages, I mean, the final stage should have had a much eerier feel.
Good Aspects. This game has many great qualities and it's a challenging game that could have you either bowing to it or ranting with rage. This game has had many gamers bowing in reverence to the Altered Beast due to it's incredible difficulty. The game's replay value is moderately high, but it would have been high if it wasn't so short, but oh well.
Overall. Altered Beast lives on in my mind and in the minds of gamers of the old generation of the 80s and 90s, before the times of the PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. This game gets an 8 out of 10.
God Bless and Play Hard Gamers!