Altered Beast

Last updated
Altered Beast
Altered Beast cover.jpg
European Mega Drive box art
Developer(s) Sega
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Makoto Uchida
Hirokazu Yasuhara
Artist(s) Rieko Kodama
Composer(s) Tohru Nakabayashi
Platform(s)
Release
Genre(s) Beat 'em up
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Cabinet Standard upright
Arcade system Sega System 16
Display Raster resolution 320 x 224 (Horizontal) Palette Colors 6144

Altered Beast [lower-alpha 1] is a 1988 beat 'em up arcade game developed and manufactured by Sega. [2] The game is set in Ancient Greece, and follows a centurion who is resurrected by Zeus to rescue his daughter Athena. In order to save his daughter, Zeus transforms the centurion into beasts with the use of power-ups. After its initial arcade release, it was ported to several home video game consoles and home computers, including the Mega Drive/Genesis, for which it was a pack-in game.

Beat 'em up is a video game genre featuring hand-to-hand combat between the protagonist and an improbably large number of opponents. Traditional beat 'em ups take place in scrolling, two-dimensional (2D) levels, though some later games feature more open three-dimensional (3D) environments with yet larger numbers of enemies. These games are noted for their simple gameplay, a source of both critical acclaim and derision. Two-player cooperative gameplay and multiple player characters are also hallmarks of the genre. Most of these games take place in urban settings and feature crime-fighting and revenge-based plots, though some games may employ historical, science fiction or fantasy themes.

Arcade game Coin-operated entertainment machine

An arcade game or coin-op game is a coin-operated entertainment machine typically installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are video games, pinball machines, electro-mechanical games, redemption games or merchandisers. While exact dates are debated, the golden age of arcade video games is usually defined as a period beginning sometime in the late 1970s and ending sometime in the mid-1980s. Excluding a brief resurgence in the early 1990s, the arcade industry subsequently declined in the Western hemisphere as competing home video game consoles such as the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox increased in their graphics and game-play capability and decreased in cost. The eastern hemisphere retains a strong arcade industry.

Sega Japanese video game developer and publisher and subsidiary of Sega Sammy Holdings

Sega Games Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational video game developer and publisher headquartered in Tokyo. Its international branches, Sega of America and Sega Europe, are respectively headquartered in Irvine, California and London. Sega's arcade division, once part of Sega Corporation, has existed as Sega Interactive Co., Ltd. since 2015. Both companies are subsidiaries of Sega Holdings Co., Ltd., which is in turn a part of Sega Sammy Holdings.

Contents

Gameplay

Player 1 fighting against the undead in the first level of the arcade version Altbeastplay.png
Player 1 fighting against the undead in the first level of the arcade version

Altered Beast is a side scrolling beat 'em up game with light platform elements. The player can punch, kick and jump. Up to two players can play at once. Each player controls a centurion, fighting undead creatures and monsters in a setting resembling Ancient Greece, with originally five levels, in a graveyard, the Underworld, a cavern, Neff's palace and a base at the city of Dis. One of the enemies, a white two-headed wolf (blue in the Mega Drive version, and a blue ox in the DOS version) upon defeat releases a Spirit Ball, a power-up orb which increase the strength and size of the player character. Three orbs turn the centurion into a beast, which in the original version were a werewolf, a thunder weredragon, a werebear, a weretiger, and the more powerful golden werewolf. Each beast has its own abilities, such as the dragon's flight and lightning, and the bear's petrification.

Side-scrolling video game video game genre

A side-scrolling game, side-scroller, or horizontally-scrolling game is a video game in which the gameplay action is viewed from a side-view camera angle, and the onscreen characters can generally only move to the left or right. These games make use of scrolling computer display technology. The move from single-screen or flip-screen graphics to scrolling graphics, during the golden age of video arcade games and during third-generation consoles, would prove to be a pivotal leap in game design, comparable to the move to 3D graphics during the fifth generation. Although side-scrolling games have been supplanted by 3D games, they continue to be produced.

Platform game video game genre

Platform games, or platformers, are a video game genre and subgenre of action game. In a platformer the player controlled character must jump and climb between suspended platforms while avoiding obstacles. Environments often feature uneven terrain of varying height that must be traversed. The player often has some control over the height and distance of jumps to avoid letting their character fall to their death or miss necessary jumps. The most common unifying element of games of this genre is the jump button, but now there are other alternatives like swiping a touchscreen. Other acrobatic maneuvers may factor into the gameplay as well, such as swinging from objects such as vines or grappling hooks, as in Ristar or Bionic Commando, or bouncing from springboards or trampolines, as in Alpha Waves. These mechanics, even in the context of other genres, are commonly called platforming, a verbification of platform. Games where jumping is automated completely, such as 3D games in The Legend of Zelda series, fall outside of the genre.

Undead deceased being which behaves as if alive (for undead from works of fiction see Q30061600)

The undead are beings in mythology, legend, or fiction that are deceased but behave as if they were alive. A common example of an undead being is a corpse reanimated by supernatural forces, by the application of either the deceased's own life force or that of another being.

After becoming the beast, the character can face the end-level boss, though the boss will also appear regardless of whether or not the character is transformed if the player takes too long to complete the level. Upon the boss's defeat, Neff appears and removes the transformation orbs.

Plot

A Roman centurion who died in battle is resurrected by Zeus. The Centurion is ordered by Zeus to save his daughter Athena from a Demon God called Neff in the Underworld. To become able to withstand the perils, the warrior gets the ability to collect three spirit balls on each level, the last of which transforms him into a human/beast hybrid of formidable power.

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants ) and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

Zeus Ruler of the gods in Greek mythology

Zeus is the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek religion, who rules as king of the gods of Mount Olympus. His name is cognate with the first element of his Roman equivalent Jupiter. His mythologies and powers are similar, though not identical, to those of Indo-European deities such as Jupiter, Perkūnas, Perun, Indra and Thor.

Athena ancient Greek goddess of wisdom and war

Athena or Athene, often given the epithet Pallas, is an ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom, handicraft, and warfare who was later syncretized with the Roman goddess Minerva. Athena was regarded as the patron and protectress of various cities across Greece, particularly the city of Athens, from which she most likely received her name. She is usually shown in art wearing a helmet and holding a spear. Her major symbols include owls, olive trees, snakes, and the Gorgoneion.

After a series of battles in a journey that ends in Dis, the centurion finally defeats Neff and rescues Athena. In the original arcade game, the end credits are interspersed with images of actors in costumes for the different characters and monsters of the game, implying the whole game was a film production. [3]

Dis (<i>Divine Comedy</i>)

In Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy, the City of Dis encompasses the sixth through the ninth circles of Hell. Before the City is reached, in ninth canto, Dante encounters the unbaptised and then those who sinned by self-indulgence—the lustful, the gluttons, the misers and spendthrifts—and at the outskirts of the red-hot walls of City of Dis are the wrathful and those of ill-will. From this point on we find sinners who acted out of malice and wickedness. Immediately within the walls of the City are the Heretics, who, having disbelieved in immortality are forever imprisoned in red-hot tombs. Beyond are rings of those who were violent—to others, to themselves (suicides), to God (blasphemers), to art (usurers), and to nature. Beyond the ruins of Dis are the frauds and corruptors, and finally the traitors.

Home versions

Altered Beast was ported to several platforms after its original release in 1988. It was released for Master System, PC Engine (in HuCard and CD-ROM² formats), Family Computer, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum, MSX, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, and MS-DOS. The Mega Drive/Genesis version was the original pack-in game for that system in North America, Europe, and Brazil, before being replaced by Sonic the Hedgehog . A hand-held version of the game made by Tiger Electronics was released in 1988.

Master System Video game console

The Sega Master System (SMS) is a third-generation 8-bit home video game console manufactured by Sega. It was originally a remodeled export version of the Sega Mark III, the third iteration of the SG-1000 series of consoles, which was released in Japan in 1985 and featured enhanced graphical capabilities over its predecessors. The Master System launched in North America in 1986, followed by Europe in 1987, and Brazil in 1989. A Japanese version of the Master System was also launched in 1987, which features a few enhancements over the export models : a built-in FM audio chip, a rapid-fire switch, and a dedicated port for the 3D glasses. A cost-reduced model known as the Master System II was released in 1990 in North America and Europe.

TurboGrafx-16 video game console

The TurboGrafx-16, known in Japan and France as the PC Engine, is a cartridge based home video game console manufactured and marketed by NEC Home Electronics, and designed by Hudson Soft. It was released in Japan on October 30, 1987 and in the United States on August 29, 1989. It also had a limited release in the United Kingdom and Spain in 1990, known as simply TurboGrafx and based on the American model, while the Japanese model was imported and distributed in France in 1989. It was the first console released in the 16-bit era, although it used an 8-bit CPU. Originally intended to compete with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), it ended up competing with the Sega Genesis, and later on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

Nintendo Entertainment System 8-bit third-generation home video game console developed and released by Nintendo in 1985

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is an 8-bit third-generation home video game console produced, released, and marketed by Nintendo. It is a remodeled export version of the company's Family Computer (FC) platform in Japan, commonly known as the Famicom, which was launched on July 15, 1983. The NES was launched in the test markets of New York City and Los Angeles in 1985, with a full launch in the rest of North America and parts of Europe in 1986, followed by Australia and other European countries in 1987. Brazil saw only unlicensed clones until the official local release in 1993. In South Korea, it was packaged as the Hyundai Comboy and distributed by Hyundai Electronics which is now SK Hynix; the Comboy was released in 1989.

Certain differences are seen between the several versions of the game. Some of them, like the Master System version, were only single-player, and had only four levels. Others provided different beasts to mutate into, such as a humanoid lion, or a shark form seen in the Famicom version. The Commodore 64 version was severely rushed, being programmed in only 7 weeks. [4]

The Mega Drive version is included in the compilations Sega Smash Pack , Sega Genesis Collection and Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection , with the latter two also including the arcade version as an unlockable game. The Wii's Virtual Console service offers emulated versions of both the arcade and the Mega Drive port, while the Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation 3's PlayStation Network have a re-worked arcade version with HD support, online leaderboards and network play. [5] Sega released an official iOS port of the Mega Drive version in late 2010, before it was taken down in 2015. In 2017, Altered Beast was rereleased on iOS and Android as a part of the Sega Forever collection.

The game has also seen a 3D port for the Nintendo 3DS as a digital download on the Nintendo eShop. It retains the original game and local multiplayer, and also features a new mode with random transformations. It is based on the Mega Drive/Genesis port, not the arcade version.

Reception

Reception
Aggregate scores
AggregatorScore
GameRankings SMD: 51% [6]
Metacritic X360: 40/100 [7]

In its initial arcade release, Altered Beast was a well-received game.

However, the Mega Drive release has received somewhat negative reception. In 1997 Next Generation commented, "Altered Beast was a dreadful Genesis game. It sold thousands because it was one of the only games available [for the Genesis], but that doesn't make it a classic." [8] Mega placed the game at #10 in their list of the 10 Worst Mega Drive Games of All Time. [9] Its re-release for the Wii's Virtual Console was given a lukewarm reception by GameSpot and IGN, describing the game as merely decent with some nostalgic value. [10] [11] The Xbox Live Arcade re-release was even described by IGN as "relic of the arcade heyday that just doesn't hold up today". [12]

Legacy

Altered Beast: Guardian of the Realms, developed by the now defunct 3d6 Games and published by THQ, is a 2002 sequel for Game Boy Advance in the style of the original arcade game. It adds new features like power-ups, new beast forms and destructible environments. [13]

A PlayStation 2 title was released by Sega in 2005, known as Jūōki: Project Altered Beast in Japan and simply Altered Beast in Europe. Rather than serving as a sequel to the original game, the newer title features a more modern setting that is unconnected to the original game.

In Project X Zone 2 , Ulala from Space Channel 5 summons the centurion in his werewolf form as part of her Solo Unit attack.

In the 1990-93 series Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Season 1, Episode 16, Jerry Stein becomes addicted to video games and is seen playing and having nightmares about the Sega Genesis version of Altered Beast.

In 1993, Matthew Sweet named his album Altered Beast after the game. [14]

In 2009, the alternative rock band Breaking Benjamin released a promo flash game "Altered Benjamin" based on "Altered Beast". It featured lead singer Benjamin Burnley as a main character. [15]

Neff's Rhinoceros-Man form makes a cameo in the 2012 Walt Disney Pictures film Wreck-It Ralph . [16] [17]

Sacramento death metal band Alterbeast, renamed themselves from Gary Busey Amber Alert in 2013.

In 2017, the Australian psyche-rock band King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard [18] released a concept album titled Murder of the Universe [19] which is split into three separate sections which each tell a separate story. The first section is called Altered Beast and tells the story of a human who stumbles on a mystical human/beast hybrid, and features several songs of the name Altered Beast (parts I-IV) as well.

A sound clip from the game is used during the intro to The Last Podcast on the Left.

In other media

Sega has formed the production company Stories International and is teaming up with Evan Cholfin for film and TV projects based on their games with Altered Beast as an animated project. [20] [21]

Notes

  1. Jūōki(獣王記(じゅうおうき), lit. "Beast King's Chronicle")

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References

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  3. "Ending for Altered Beast(Arcade)".
  4. "Vintage Is The New Old".
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  7. "Altered Beast for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic . CBS Interactive . Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  8. "Interview with Howard Lincoln". Next Generation . No. 29. Imagine Media. May 1997. p. 47.
  9. Mega magazine issue 1, page 85, Future Publishing, Oct 1992
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  12. Hatfield, Daemon (2009-10-09). "Altered Beast for Xbox 360 Review". IGN . Archived from the original on 2009-06-14. Retrieved 2007-01-16.
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  14. Kelly, Christian: King of Pop, Spin , September 1995.
  15. "Breaking Benjamin release Altered Benjamin flash game | TheyWillRockYou.com - For the love of music! Serving Boston and Greater New England". theywillrockyou.com. Retrieved 2015-09-04.
  16. "Image: original.jpg, (1366 × 768 px)". img.gawkerassets.com. Retrieved 2015-09-04.
  17. "Wreck-It Ralph Trailer Goes On An 8-Bit Adventure".
  18. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard#Five albums in one year (2017) [ circular reference ]
  19. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard#Five albums in one year (2017 [ circular reference ]
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