LttP Altered Beast (arcade): Somehow making kicking zombies in the dick unfun
To preface this, I actually have played Altered Beast before. I’ve had a copy of the Genesis version for a while now, and it was a pretty shitty game then. I figured, hey, maybe the Arcade version was better, but never really got a chance to play it until recently. Is the arcade version actually a good enough game to be the reason why this game has the reputation it does?
Here’s a hint: It’s not.
I don’t know what is more baffling. That Sega could make a game so terrible or that it has its defenders out there that are convinced the game is actually good. Now, I could understand fans. People can be fans of something in an ironic sense, like how Manos: The Hands of Fate and The Room have their fans. Nobody actually believes that either of those movies are legitimately good films. They manifest terrible in a form that even Lovecraft wouldn’t even dream of describing, and it is that aspect that attracts people to calling themselves fans and watching them every so often. If this was the case with Altered Beast, I could understand it. What I can’t understand is why people believed back in 1989 and even all the way up to 2009 that the game was legitimately a quality title.
For the five people out there who don’t know what Altered Beast is about, it’s a game about kicking zombies and other monsters in the dick. I say this because, while you are in human form, kicking is the only option. Said kick is a low kick that often hits enemies between the legs and they often double over as if they’ve been kicked in the dick. I did the math from there.
To be serious for a moment, the game is actually about Zeus’s daughter being kidnapped by some wizard. Since apparently the most powerful of the Greek Gods isn’t strong enough to shove a lightning bolt up the ass of some pansy wizard, he decides to bring some dead guy back to life and dick-kick his way across five levels of repetitive generic scenery and random zombies and monsters. Dead Guy isn’t really all that capable on his own. He can jump, but that’s really not that useful. He makes an attempt at what you could call a punch, but its range is pitiful and enemies typically can hit you before you can land one. All that’s left for Dead Guy in his normal form is the already-mentioned kick. It has a longer range than the punch, and it can hit both tall enemies and short enemies that the sort-of-punch can’t even hit. This kick is a swift low kick that hits most humanoid enemies squarely in the baby-makers. This is the closest thing to fun you will find in this shitty game, and it isn’t even all that fun. Some how, a game in which you go around kicking monsters in the dick isn’t all that fun. In fact, it’s not fun at all. It’s got about the fun factor of being the one getting kicked in the dick. Maybe it’s some sort of innovation that Sega came up with, where you can feel the pain of your enemies or some bullshit. Not as catch of a marketing tool than Blast Processing, I guess.
So, Dead Guy is kind of worthless in combat. This is where the “Altered Beast” comes into play. You see, Dead Guy holds a terrible secret: he’s actually a furry. Of course, he is redeemed by actually being able to become his fursona, rather than just writing terrible poetry about his animal form and trying to do animal emotes on shitty furry forums. After collecting three floating orbs after nutshotting white wolves, Dead Guy undergoes his transformation into one of five transformations depending on the level (well, there’s only actually four transformations, as Sega lazily made the final transformation a faster version of the first).
So Dead Guy turns into a Wolf, Dragon, Bear, Tiger, or a Wolf again, which gains him new attacks. The Wolf Forms can flying side-kick their way across the stage, the Dragon can shock things around it, and the Bear does some sort of weird Sonic-esque spin-jump. The Bear is probably the worst form in the game. I think I’d actually rather play as human Dead Guy than as the Bear. Since the point of the games is to achieve your transformation, you can’t fight the level’s boss until you do. This is a pain in the ass, because Dead Guy is so worthless at combat that he’ll often have trouble dick kicking the damned white wolves to get their magical testicles transformation orbs. This means that you have to keep going through the terrible levels until you can finally find a white wolf that stands still long enough for you to slowly ruin his junk.
What makes the experience so horrible is just how badly handled the combat. Dead Guy’s attacks are slow. Painfully so. They also often fall short of what most of the enemies are capable of. So you are going to get hit a lot. On top of this, because there is very little recovery time after being hit, it’s very easy for enemies to juggle you and plow right through your health. This is bullshit coin-munching of the highest order. Geese Howard would probably find it to be goddamned cheap. You might be able to get through the first, and maybe the second, level without much trouble, but there’s no way you can really finish this bullshit game without either memorizing everything or pumping enough quarters into it to pay of the national debt. Fuck you Sega. The beast forms really don’t add all that much to the fighting experience either. Since boss fights start soon after you transform, and those boss fights never last all that long, you never really get to toy around with what little they add.
Almost everything else about this terrible game is quite forgettable. The music is weak. Outside of the large sprites, the graphics are kind of lacking. The colors are dull and faded. The artwork is uninspired, and the design of the sprites themselves are fairly generic. All that really stands out are the spoken “RISE FROM YOUR GWAVE” and “WELCOME TO YOUR DOOM” segments that the gaming community has latched on to, probably in hopes that remembering only those parts will help them forget how shitty Altered Beast really is.