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Altered Beast/Juuouki (SEGA GENESIS) Beat 'em up 1988

 

Sega developed and manufactured Altered Beast, a 1988 beat 'em up arcade video game. The game takes place in Ancient Greece and follows a player character selected by Zeus to save his daughter Athena from Neff, the demonic lord of the underworld.

The player character may take on the appearance of many mystical monsters by using power-ups (wolf, dragon, bear, tiger, and golden wolf). It was ported to a number of home video game systems and PCs. When the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis was released in 1988, it came with a free game.

Makoto Uchida, who built the game as his first project as a lead developer, created it. Uchida and his colleagues took advantage of the System 16 arcade system board's graphics capabilities using sprites. In addition to the Genesis conversion, Altered Beast was converted for the Master System by Sega and to multiple computer systems and video game platforms by various third parties.

The arcade edition of Altered Beast, as well as its many ports, have all garnered mixed reviews, with most criticizing the game's gameplay and aesthetics. The game has been re-released on multiple systems and as part of video game compilations numerous times, and two sequels have been created.

Gameplay:

Altered Beast is a beat 'em up game with mild platform elements. It contains five levels and may be played by up to two people at the same time. Combat takes place across five levels set in Ancient Greece and filled by violent undead creatures and monsters inspired by Greek mythology. At the end of each level, the evil god Neff awaits. Between each level, there are brief animations that show the player Athena's jeopardy. Players have the ability to punch, kick, and leap.

The game's concept is that Neff, the underworld's lord, kidnaps the goddess Athena. Her father, the Olympian deity Zeus, is furious and resolves to pick a champion to save her. Zeus, inspired by the valor of Roman Centurions, resurrects one of them and makes him a champion. The playable character in the game is a revived Roman Centurion who has been given increased power by Zeus to face Neff and his evil henchmen.

A Spirit Ball power-up occurs if a player defeats a white two-headed wolf. Each Spirit Ball gathered improves the player character's strength and size. Collecting three Spirit Balls transforms the player character into a formidable beast form, improving their battle powers before facing Neff at the conclusion of the level. The beast forms available to the player character are a weredragon, a werebear, a weretiger, a werewolf, and a golden werewolf. Each beast form bestows its unique set of skills. The dragon can release lightning bolts and an electric barrier, the bear has a terrifying breath that turns foes to stone, the tiger can fling zig-zag fireballs and has a powerful thrust strike, and the golden werewolf has the same skills as the wolf form but stronger. A shark, lion, and phoenix form are also available in the Famicom version of the game.

The closing credits of the original arcade game reveal that the entire game was a manufactured cinematic production rather than a genuine conflict between magical creatures. The player character was not a hero journeying through numerous realms, but rather an actor portraying a hero, battling actors and stunt warriors, while special effects work offered the appearance of changes and magical skills.

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