Saturday, 13 June 2009
Best regarded as a thesis in super-states, Altered Beast casts the player as a puny human resurrected by Zeus to rescue his daughter from sour-faced magicians. Fresh from the grave, your punch man is tiny and ineffective. He can barely raise his arm quick enough to battle his mythical enemies. The evil beasts he faces must be well within his reach to even consider taking damage.
Naturally these same baddies have significantly longer range and greater speed, all the better to ruthlessly zone you. In-between retreating, players are required to scour the levels for white demon-dogs - for every canine vanquished the puny human bulks up, expanding from athletically muscled to Schwarzenegger. Nab three of these power ups and you transform into a level specific were-monster. Naturally the white wolves that conceal these collectibles roam in packs with worthless brown dogs that chip away at your life bar.
The transformations in Altered Beast are both a treat and a requirement. In this super-state troublesome foes are easily beaten, wilting under a variety of static shock and fireball attacks. If you dither, Bosses will sneer and depart, extending the stage. You're only able to face them when you've fully powered up. Good thing really - you wouldn't stand a chance otherwise.
Altered Beast is dreadfully unfair, repeatedly lifting its dress to reveal arcade avarice. In default muscle mode the player is frequently encircled and killed, demanding more expenditure. Similarly, power-up dogs spend a great deal of the unfolding levels charging away from the player, denying ascension. This measly design does have the effect of making the eventual mutations all the more exciting though. Unless you're especially clod-thumbed you'll be screen clearing with ease.
Hopeless inadequate as anything other than a curiosity, Altered Beast nevertheless enjoys a genial reputation. Sega punished customers with weakness and inadequate controls, eventually gifting them something resembling a cheat-mode. A clear demonstration that players will never tire of overwhelming power.