When people think of the SEGA Genesis, the first thing that would usually come to their mind is Sonic the Hedgehog. But did you know the Genesis was out for a full year before Sonic was even a thought? During this first year, the Genesis came packed with Altered Beast, which was based on the arcade hit. It was an impressive way to show off the 16-bit capabilities of the new console. And now you can play that game with 3-D graphics, downloadable from the Nintendo 3DS eShop.
In Altered Beast, you play as a lone fighter who must punch and kick his way through monsters very loosely based on Greek Mythology. When you defeat certain white bull monsters, a ball will appear. If you collect it, you’ll power up and get more muscles and your attacks have a slightly longer reach. When you power up three times, your character will turn into a beast and become much more powerful with projectile attacks and other skills. Battle your way through 2-D side scrolling stages and fight a giant boss monster at the end when you’re in beast form. This game is famous for bringing us such phrases like “Wise Fwom Your Gwave,” and whatnot.
This 3DS version adds some neat new features. I’ve been blind in my left eye since birth, so I can’t see the 3-D effects, but I’ve been told they’re very well done. You can also toggle various emulation options; make the screen look like an old retro TV, and other things. One of the cooler options they added to this game is the ability to randomize which beast form you’ll turn into. In the original game, you always turned into the wolf in the first stage, the dragon in the second, etc. But with the beast randomizer option turned on, now you can see what it would be like to defeat the first boss as the tiger, bear, or other beasts! I do wish this was the arcade version and not the Genesis port, and the game is pretty brutal being based on an arcade quarter muncher. But I imagine fans will like it anyway.
3D Altered Beast is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence. You punch and kick monsters that disappear when defeated, and your character will fall back and let out a muffled scream when hit. Some of the monsters are kind of scary, as they hold their head in their hands or whatnot, but it’s nothing too graphic due to the simpler visuals. I played this game all the time as a kid in arcades and on the Genesis and I think I turned out OK. Reading skill isn’t needed, as the game is pretty easy to figure out just by playing, although younger gamers may get frustrated and bored with the high difficulty level.