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Release year: 1989 | Players: 1-2 players | Developed by Sega

Altered Beast (Genesis)

Altered Beast (AKA 獣王記 Juuouki, “Beast King Chronicle” in Japan) is a 2D side-scrolling beat ’em up arcade video game developed and published by Sega for the Genesis (Mega Drive) console in 1989. The game is by no means great. In fact, some people might call it a horrible game, but we absolutely love it. It reminds us the 1990’s!

The story of the game is quite simple. Athena, daughter of Zeus, has been kidnapped. To rescue her, the god of all gods decides to resurrect a centurion. The centurion is charged with the task of rescuing Athena. And you are that centurion!

First of all, the controls are really clunky. Seeing the centurion move around the screen and throw punches is really awkward. The graphics and animation make it look like the character is more clay robot than man.

The game is also very short. Altered Beast has five different levels. Each level features different enemies and a special boss at the end of each one. The problem is that all of these levels are short. The entire game can actually be finished within 20 minutes. To add to that problem is the fact that the game offers little in terms of replay value. A person will be hard pressed to think why they would ever want to play this game ever again after a single play through.

The upside to Altered Beast for the Sega Genesis is that it is without a doubt one of the better ports of an arcade game onto a console. There are only tiny differences between the sprites in the game in the arcade port. This was a technical achievement considering the hardware limitations that home consoles had at the time of the game’s release.

Altered Beast animated GIF

Picking up orbs in the game transforms the centurion into a beast with special powers. Each level offers a different beast with its own set of abilities. This makes sure that each level doesn’t play the same way as the last one.

Overall, Altered Beast is a poor game that nevertheless has its highlights that make it worth a single play through.

Altered Beast has been ported to Arcade, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, Genesis (this version), MSX, Nintendo NES, Sega Master System, TurboGrafx-16, TurboGrafx-CD, Wii, Xbox 360, and ZX Spectrum.

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Altered Beast
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Altered Beast