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Old 01-02-2005, 10:29 PM   #292
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,144
Altered Beast
TurboGrafx-16 / PC Engine HuCard/CD-ROM 1.0

Hey! It's the same box art as the Genesis version!
How can I possibly tell them apart on the shelf?

NEC wasn't about to have the only system in the world that didn't sport a version of everyone's favorite game Altered Beast, so they had NEC Avenue (known for ruining Space Harrier and other Sega hits on the PC Engine) make a 3 meg version of Altered Beast for the system. Hell they'd even make a version for the CD-ROM as well as the HuCard! NEC meant business. However the CD-ROM version absolutely REQUIRES the System Card 1.0, which was never released in the US and only came with the early PC Engine CD systems. But still, the CD-ROM version is the preferable version to own, even though it has it's own flaws that will piss you off. But at least it won't drive you insane like the HuCard version will with its difficulty.

Exploding heads enhance ANY game!

Graphics: 7/10
Surprisingly the graphics are pretty good. All of the characters are there and they are the same size as the arcade version, even the wolves. There is lots of bold color though the levels do look a bit chinsier compared to the arcade version. The true scaling is gone but it does have the flying body parts. And of course it didn't even dare try to have parallax scrolling like the Genesis version. But overall this game looks fairly good in comparison to the other versions, and even Neff tries to scale larger when you encounter him. The CD-ROM version has a "Story" option that you can select at the title screen, and it basically shows you digitized stills while explaining the story in Japanese and playing music from the arcade game. There are no cut-scenes in the game.

Good boy! Wanna go for a walk?

Sound: 5/10
The TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine's sound chip really wasn't too much better than the one in the NES. In fact most HuCard/TurboChip games sound remarkably similar to NES games with their fuzzy tones, only more pleasant-sounding. Altered Beast is no different. But at least this version is in stereo. All of the voices are gone in the HuCard version, though they do try to do some sort of weird synthesized scream when you die, but it sounds like ass. The music sounds similar to the NES version in sound quality, but a bit better. I can't say you'd be amazed by any sounds this game makes, though. The CD-ROM version has all of the voices direct from the arcade and they sound great, but the music is the same as the HuCard! The arcade music is streamed off of the CD for the story voiceover, but that's it.

If you enjoy heart attacks you will enjoy fighting this boss.

Gameplay: 5/10
Well, you have to press UP to jump in this version, but it works out much better than the NES version. You can high jump by holding UP for a bit longer. The main problem with jumping is that Mr. Altered Beast wants to crouch before he actually jumps, which causes a delay. The CD-ROM version lets you choose from normal or hard modes. You want the normal mode, trust me. The HuCard only offers the hard mode, which will drive you to murder the programmers who made this. In fact I even broke a controller because of the HuCard version! It is relentless... you get knocked down and by the time you actually decide to get up, something else is there to knock you back down and immediately kill you! It doesn't even matter if you hold the controller or not, you are helpless! The CD-ROM version is a bit weird. As you play, the screen will freeze occasionally as it decides to load more data throughout the round. If you aren't using System Card 1.0, then the game stops advancing once you turn into the werewolf and you're never able to finish the stage. With the HuCard version the game is so damned hard that you'll be lucky to ever finish the stage. It can be done but BOY is it a pain in the ass! Other than the difficulty select, the watchable story slideshow, and the voices, there are really no differences between the CD and the HuCard version. But like I said, you'll want the CD-ROM version if you can play it simply due to it's lack of frustration.

You can even bring a friend to share the rage
in the HuCard version.

The CD-ROM version offers a selectable "STORY" mode
which is nothing but a telling of the story with still pics.

Wrap up:
A pretty damned good port, all things considered. HuCard will cause high blood pressure. CD-ROM will cause major annoyance due to the loading during gameplay.
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