Review by Jaksiel

Reviewed: 01/11/03 | Updated: 01/11/03

Forget the naysayers and just play it.

Resolved: I will not make any lame puns based on the infamous “WISE FWOM YO GWAVE!”

It has now been nearly fifteen years since the original release of Altered Beast. Fifteen years is a long time for a game to age, and most games do not stand the test of time. Nowadays, most people will contend that Altered Beast is one of them. By now, its graphics look terrible, even for a Genesis original. The sound, while still a bit enjoyable, also shows its age. Of course, there are also the largest complaints that are leveled against Altered Beast – “It’s too short!” and “It’s too simple!”

I have a simple response to those people.

That is exactly why I still like this game, and that is exactly why I still occasionally play it even to this day.

What some so-called ‘gamers’ are apparently forgetting is that Altered Beast has an engaging personality to it, and its simplicity and shortness are part of that charm. Altered Beast is a game that anyone can pick up and play without any prior knowledge, and they can also quickly gain that feeling of having achieved an important goal. Once the hero has finished off Neff and is united with his girl, all is right with the world. The player has done something that has a positive effect.

Yes, this does mean that Altered Beast has the clichéd “HERO MUST DEFEAT BAD GUY TO SAVE WORLD AND GET GIRL” storyline. The exception here is that Altered Beast has mythology involved! The nefarious Neff has kidnapped the goddess Athena. Zeus – the all-powerful god of everything – has decided that, although it would be a simple task for him (throw a few thunderbolts here and there), rescuing Athena is truly not worth his important time. Instead, he resurrects a dead mortal to go off and rescue Athena. (Naturally, the hero’s motivation is the chance to get some from Athena – wouldn’t anyone challenge multitudinous undead hordes for that)?

It seems as though Zeus has some faulty reasoning going on here (other than the whole he’s-too-lazy thing) – the hero is simply a scrawny man with tattered clothes who takes several punches to destroy even the lowliest of the undead enemies. Luckily, the hero does not only face regular ol’ BROWN three-headed wolves: he will also come across BLUE three-headed wolves that release the MAGICAL POWER SPHERES! Attaining the first two spheres will make the hero more muscle-bound and more able to punish his foes. In addition, recovering a third sphere will ALTER his form to that of a BEAST with amazing powers. He can become a werewolf, a dragon, a bear, a tiger, and even a GOLDEN werewolf to challenge the bosses.

The boss and enemy design is another strong point of Altered Beast. Sure, they tend to be pretty dumb – they seem to think that slowly walking along the ground towards a hero who has three times the speed and can jump is an effective tactic. This does not matter, though, due simply to the way they look. For example, instead of regular zombies, you may run across headless zombies! (These zombies carry their head and therefore have one less appendage to attack you with, but that is beside the point.) You will also face chickens with stinging tails and FIERCE UNICORNS along your quest. The bosses are equally impressive. The first boss of the game has an infinite supply of heads to throw at you! The second boss has an infinite supply of eyeballs to shoot at you! The third boss is a friggin’ SNAIL!

Unfortunately, there are only five of these entertaining levels, and all of them are rather short. Any gamer with average skill can beat Altered Beast in under 20 minutes. Any person who just mashes random buttons can probably beat Altered Beast in under 20 minutes. Also, after these twenty minutes, there is no reason to go back and do it again right away.

Truly, though, is there anything wrong with this? Altered Beast is not a game to sit down and play for hours on end. It is a diversion. It is a quick, fun, and easy game to just relax, play, and laugh at. No, it will not amaze a person new to video games who wants to see what all the fuss is about. Yes, it has a secure place in video game history due to being one of the first Genesis games and due to its dialogue. Yes, though not because of that, it does have a secure place in my personal video game libwawy…oh, ****.


Rating:   4.0 - Great

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