Sega released Altered Beast on the arcades 28 years ago. A year later Sega developed a “perfect” port for the Genesis system and released it on August 14 1989. The port of Altered Beast was touted to be an identical recreation of the arcade version. But, this simply wasn’t true, and while Sega did manage to develop a solid port it wasn’t an exact copy. Yet, there are many things that gamers might still not be aware about Altered Beast, and they are rather interesting.
Altered Beast’s story is a simple one, Athena has been kidnapped by a sorcerer and Zeus wants her rescued. For this task Zeus resurrects two centurions who can morph into beasts (altered beasts) to do his bidding. Our two heroes then proceed to do just as Zeus commanded, and with their powers stop the evil sorcerer Neff. Plot wasn’t really much a requirement for a Beat ‘em Up in the 80’s and Altered Beasts was no different in this regard. However, while the story wouldn’t change in the port(s) the rest of the game certainly did.
Sega touted the port on the Genesis as perfect, but it was far from it. The port of Altered Beast downgraded graphical sprites and audio. The different beasts your character could turn to were also changed and did not act the same way. Even the level designs were changed in the port. You can find many comparisons on YouTube these days comparing the two versions and can easily be researched these days. But, then again the Sega Genesis version of Altered Beast was still leagues ahead of all the other ports.
You read that correctly, Altered Beast was ported into a variety of consoles including the NES. The worst version has to be the Master System port, but others are not far in front of it. Altered Beast has had 2 sequels one on the Game Boy Advance (both rather mediocre). Your character was supposed to turn into a Rhino for the last boss battle, but for reasons unknown was cut out. The Werewolf transformation was the most detailed, while every other beast was just a quick swap of the two forms. The ending theme was extremely upbeat which just added to the whole silliness of the game. Sega has also released this game on almost every compilation pack it could. The bear transformation looked adorable and has to be seen to be believed. Yet, while far from perfect Altered Beast was certainly an enjoyable game.
Most gamers will never forget the moment they started the game and heard “Wise fwom your gwave”. If you’re going to give this game a try the Sega Genesis or arcade versions are your best bet. However, for those of you who don’t believe there is a NES version of this game.