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Old 01-02-2005, 10:28 PM   #289
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,149
Altered Beast
Sega Genesis

I can't believe Sega of America
didn't totally screw up the box art!

When Sega released the Genesis in the US, they decided to pack in the great arcade mega-hit Altered Beast. This was a good move as it let potential customers know that Sega was all about the arcade experience. And considering the game's 3 meg size (some insist that it's 2 meg, but the ROM size is 512KB which is 4 meg, so I compromise), it really comes close to the arcade experience and even surpassing it in a couple of ways. I still have the copy that came with my Genesis on the day it was released, and the cartridge itself is turning very dark for some reason, but the box still looks great (that's my box that I scanned up there) and the game still works perfectly.

Looks pretty close to the arcade!

Graphics: 7/10
While the colors aren't quite as vibrant as the arcade, it really does look incredibly close... at least the backgrounds do, so it gets points for that. Many of the enemies are smaller and there has been a major cut to the animation. Also removed from the arcade game was all of the scaling and flying body parts. This made me sad because at the time all of the mags had reported the Genesis as being capable of "scaling and tracking". One area the game surpasses the arcade is in the scrolling. Each level (except 4) has multiple layers of parallax scrolling that even the arcade didn't do. My weak theory is that the arcade purposely removed the parallax scrolling knowing that the Genesis version wouldn't have the scaling, and thus the Genesis would "make up" for that lacking feature with the cool scrolling. Like I said it was a weak theory. There is noticeable flicker in this game as well. But it does run at the same exact resolution as the arcade (320x224) and comes the closest to looking like the original version.

The werewolf's chest disappears behind the fire!

Sound: 6/10
Why couldn't they just re-use the voices from the arcade? Why did they have to go and record new ones? Now when we start the game we hear "Wise fwum yo gwave"! When you get an orb, the voice that says "Power up!" sounds really clean, but it also resets the music when that happens... every time. And then the "Welcome to your doom" sounds odd, like it's trying to be evil. The arcade sounded like a normal human when this was said. Once again the music is actually pretty good, with good melodies here and there and decent sound quality. I really like the stage 2 music (when listened to in the sound test so that I can hear the whole thing properly), and it sounds better here than it does in the arcade if you can believe that. Hell, I'd say that most of the music here sounds better than the arcade. Unfortunately the presentation of the music kind of sucks. In the first level you will notice that the drums appear and disappear depending on what other sound effects are happenin'. I hate that. Also the entire game is presented in glorious MONO! Ug.

The background is now in color! The new Genesis
truly must be a powerful machine to handle that!

Gameplay: 7/10
The gameplay is exactly like the arcade, and I assume you've read my arcade review above so I'm not going over the basics again. But this is a pretty faithful conversion with good control. In fact it is by far the best controlling home version of this game. The Genesis pad had 3 buttons so you can punch, kick and jump all effortlessly. Not so in the other home versions which have you pressing a combinations of buttons or pressing UP to jump, thus compromising the control scheme tremendously in my book. There are also lots of secret modes in this version, like a sound test, round select, and a mode where you can choose which beast appears on which level. It's cool that they let us alter the game like that (pun not intended or worried about). This version is easier than the arcade, though. And you'll beat it in no time flat. But it does retain the two-player simultaneous feature and that's cool, especially if you like flicker. Can YOU beat my awesome high score of 1,310,400 that I got on October 13, 1989?

No, you can't ride the chicken stinger until Golden Axe
is invented. So for now you'll just have to kill it.

Wrap up:
I enjoyed this game when I got my Genesis. Now if this was the included game with the Gamecube, I'd probably be a tad disappointed.
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