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Altered Beast is underrated

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While it's certainly not the best beat em' up game on the Genesis, I feel it deserves more credit.  Mega ranked it as the worst Mega Drive game!  I'm guessing they hadn't seen Action 52 on Genesis or Shaq Fu.  I played Altered Beast for the first time yesterday, and thought it was pretty cool.  It wasn't perfect, and I especially hate how the drums get cut off for several seconds after punching an enemy (meaning you rarely hear the drums), but the game was solid and a good port of the arcade original.  What are your thoughts on Altered Beast?

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I always liked Altered Beast a lot.  I agree with you, it's a decent port of the arcade version.  It has speech and the cool steroid-up transition screens.  I have fond memories of it since it came with my Genesis as a pack in game. 

For me, I'd rather play a game like Golden Axe, but Altered Beast is great to just pick up and play since it's pretty short.  It's a shame that it gets such a bad reputation these days.

Edited by Gemini Gamer

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Yeah, you're right.  I had no idea it had such a poor reputation.  Maybe it's because the Genesis kind of took off once they switched the pack-in game to Sonic.  Maybe because it's kind of slow and chunky-scrolling.  Whatever.  I'm going to keep playing and enjoying. 

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Altered Beast was a good pack-in title. It wasn't awful. It wasn't great. But it was pretty good. A much better choice for  a pack-in game than its rival Keith Courage on TurboGrafx-16 which did nothing to make you fall in love with your new console. 

Or "Super Breakout" for the 5200 -- an absolutely terrible choice.  :atari_5200:

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Yeah, you're right.  I had no idea it had such a poor reputation.  Maybe it's because the Genesis kind of took off once they switched the pack-in game to Sonic.  Maybe because it's kind of slow and chunky-scrolling.  Whatever.  I'm going to keep playing and enjoying. 

Yeah, the scrolling isn't very smooth.

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Altered Beast was a good pack-in title. It wasn't awful. It wasn't great. But it was pretty good. A much better choice for a pack-in game than its rival Keith Courage on TurboGrafx-16 which did nothing to make you fall in love with your new console. 

Keith Courage was a decent game, but it doesn't sell the TG-16 like Mario and Sonic did for their systems.

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Truly, "Altered Beast" looks great on the Genesis. It could have looked better, granted, but that is all they could have done at the time. Sure, the arcade version was better, but we are dealing with a video game system that had the power of an Atari ST computer at the time. But, there were better looking games for the Genesis later on. But, for a 16-bit conversion, it is still a bang-up job. I liked it. When a game system is first developed, no programmer knows exactly the power of that system until they work with it. That can take several game writes. I mean, look at how much better "Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition" looks on the Genesis than on the Super NES. It is almost a perfect carbon copy of the arcade version. Then, there is also blast processing on the Genesis. Sure, the Genesis in today's standards is primitive. But, I would rather play that than the PS4 or the XBox One. It is still a fantastic system, and "Altered Beast" is a fantastic game.

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Altered Beast was a game that I avoided unfortunately.  It simply didn't appeal to me.  Not that it was a bad game or anything but I already had it on the Master System at the time so having it on a next-gen 16-bit console seemed overkill for me at the time.  It's not exactly a game I would turn to to play on the Genesis.  Even with the scrolling issue it was still a well ported game from the arcades.  It was simply my least favorite game from Sega...and it still remains there.

 

Keith Courage on the TG-16 is what came with my TG-16 when I bought one from Toys R Us for $30 on clearance.  It didn't leave a very good impression of the system in my book but I endured since it was the only game I could find for the system.  All the others at the store had been sold so I was stuck with that game only.

 

Super Breakout might not have been the best choice for the 5200 but it was what I got when I woke up to the system one Christmas morning.  The hours I spent on it before opening up other gifts just seemed magical to me.  As more titles were bought for the console Super Breakout stayed in the case more often than not.  There were times when family friends would come over with their controllers and we would play the four-player game of Super Breakout.  It was fun times for sure.  So I can't dog the pack-in game for the 5200 as it did serve its purpose...and when you begged for an Atari for so long to finally get one with Super Breakout as the pack-in game you didn't complain.  

 

I think what sold the Genesis was Sonic because it showed what the system was really capable of doing.  It got everything right.  Lightning-fast speeds, no slowdowns, easy to pick up and play, great graphics and music that have stood the test of time.  If you can't hum the music from the first Sonic game by memory then you haven't played it enough.  Not that the other consoles were not good it just seems that other consoles that came before the Genesis didn't do much to push the hardware to breaking point.  The 5200 could have done so much more if time would have been allowed to harness the system's abilities.  The same can be said for the NES, 7800, TG-16, Sega Master System, and others.  I'm not going to say the 2600 because everything we pretty much have seen had already been done on that system.  And what sold me on the Super NES was F-Zero...not Super Mario World.  I loved the looks, feel, and sounds of this futuristic racing game above all others on the system.  But the SNES still suffered from slowdown issues as can be seen in Gradius III.

 

So...Altered Beast is not a bad game as already mentioned...it just didn't seem impressive compared to what was done on consoles before it.

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Wow, I had forgotten that the 5200 went with Super Breakout as a pack-in.    I think that beats Las Vegas Poker&Blackjack for worst pack-in game ever.   What were they thinking? 
"Lets put in a game that could be played on a calculator as our pack in to really show people what the 5200 can do!"    

Intellivision deserves its own share of scorn for a poker game, but it was fun for my dad, I guess lol  Heck, Combat was a poor choice for the Atari 2600 if you ask me....they needed something an only child could enjoy.  Thankfully my Dad was smart enough to get us Space Battle when we got our Intellivision!

As much  as I love the Atari generation of gaming, NES and later gens did a MUCH better job with pack in games.

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It helps to look at the market at the time to get context.  For example, Combat was a good transitional choice at the time -- "Tank" games were new in the arcades then.  And Atari was inventing the industry.  Plus the original VCS lineup of games was pretty weak.  LV Poker and Blackjack showcased what Intellivision was capable of with nice graphics and a lot of game options. 

 

But "Super Breakout" with 5200 really stands out as an odd choice.  By that time, breakout games were several years old and really tired.  Why did they have a breakout game at all on the system?  And the competition of Colecovision, which came with "Donkey Kong", was almost a knockout punch right out of the gate.  I really think the 5200 would have had a better chance if it came with Pac Man as the pack-in game originally. 

 

One of my favorites was Dreamcast, which came with THREE excellent sports games. 

 

But I think the very best pack-in game of all time has to go to the Wii with "Wii Sports".  Talk about a perfect game to showcase what a system was all about.  My gosh, we still fire up Wii Sports when Grandma comes over for a few rounds of Wii Bowling. 

 

And then there's the phenomena of companies that switch the pack-in game during the life of a system, and it ends up being like flooring the gas pedal.  "Sonic" with Genesis, "Super Mario Brothers" with NES are two great examples. 

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It helps to look at the market at the time to get context.  For example, Combat was a good transitional choice at the time -- "Tank" games were new in the arcades then.  And Atari was inventing the industry.  Plus the original VCS lineup of games was pretty weak.  LV Poker and Blackjack showcased what Intellivision was capable of with nice graphics and a lot of game options. 

 

But "Super Breakout" with 5200 really stands out as an odd choice.  By that time, breakout games were several years old and really tired.  Why did they have a breakout game at all on the system?  And the competition of Colecovision, which came with "Donkey Kong", was almost a knockout punch right out of the gate.  I really think the 5200 would have had a better chance if it came with Pac Man as the pack-in game originally. 

 

One of my favorites was Dreamcast, which came with THREE excellent sports games. 

 

But I think the very best pack-in game of all time has to go to the Wii with "Wii Sports".  Talk about a perfect game to showcase what a system was all about.  My gosh, we still fire up Wii Sports when Grandma comes over for a few rounds of Wii Bowling. 

 

And then there's the phenomena of companies that switch the pack-in game during the life of a system, and it ends up being like flooring the gas pedal.  "Sonic" with Genesis, "Super Mario Brothers" with NES are two great examples. 

I'm not familiar with Wii Sports.  Never purchased a Wii new.    

 

I'm trying to think of my favorite pack-in game, and I guess it would be Tetris for the GameBoy.     It was just perfect, and the timing was too.

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@kamakazi20012:Some very good points raised there to mull over.

 

Question IF i may:were you ever tempted to see how the Genesis handled games you'd played on the Master system?

 

I ask as things like Eswat/Altered Beast/Thunderblade/G N G/ Golden Axe etc out on both, but far more at home on Genesis, yet The Terminator, whilst looking great on Genesis, was a weak game (paid £45 for it, day 1, finished it on 2nd or 3rd go), MS version far better.

Actually, yes.  Mostly with the Sega arcade hits from the same era.  The games I thought were a bit better on the MS include Altered Beast and Alien Syndrome. The scrolling on those seemed to be a bit better and more colorful.  Either that or it was just me.  Out Run was better on the Genesis, no contest.  The MS port had this weird thing where the car would slide before the next turn was on top of you.  Golden Axe, Space Harrier, After Burner, all played well on both consoles.  I still think the MS had the more vibrant colors but it might be a choice of opinion on that one.  I never had Thunderblade.  Hang-On played well on both consoles, too.  I liked both equally even with the difference between each other.  I tried to stay clear of any games based on movies as I have never found any that I liked.  It took me a long time to like E.T. on the 2600 and Platoon on the NES was not worth the price I paid for it when it came out.

 

Of course, it all comes down to this:  sound.  We all know that the Genesis had the upper hand in the sound department compared to the MS.  If Sega would have found a way to bring the FM sound add-on to the U.S. model I think the games might have had a stronger foot-hold.  Through emulation that FM add-on makes a big difference.  I hope to pick up a MS sometime...if I can find one.  Great console.

 

Oh...and my furry child was on the table while I stepped away for a minute to get a drink.  She says,"uj, op;dfsjjjjjjjjfds."  I think that is "Hi" and puppy language for, "the Master System is cool."  I think (????).  

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Altered Beast was the first Genesis game I ever played. I've spoken about "console arcades" in another post (see http://forums.atari.io/index.php/topic/2599-console-arcades/), but the console arcade next door to my house got the Genesis when Altered Beast was the pack in game for the Genesis still, and I remember playing it and being blown away. I had no idea it was originally an arcade game, and was just thrilled to be playing a new 16 bit title that blew my NES and Atari out of the water! 

 

We still love it today at our house too... there are times my daughter or I say "Welcome to your doom!" as a running joke  :D Two players simultaneous play is another notch in its favor, and lets face it, it's CHEAP if you're just starting a Genesis collection. It was one of the first games I picked up when I got a Genesis a few years back.

 

Just do yourself a favor and stay far, far away from the SMS version though... *shudders* My wife got a copy for me in a lot of SMS games she bought me for Christmas, and after playing it once it has stayed firmly on the shelf, collecting dust.

Edited by Starbuck66

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I've never tried the SMS version of Altered Beast.  Now I'd really like to.  Seems like it would be an easy cart to find...but I've never seen one. 

 

 

Even thought the Genesis version was a launch title, the Master System version was one of the later releases here in the US (Same thing goes for Columns, Ghouls & Ghosts, Golden Axe and some other titles). So it is an uncommon SMS game here in the states.

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Altered Beast was the first Genesis game I ever played. I've spoken about "console arcades" in another post (see http://forums.atari.io/index.php/topic/2599-console-arcades/), but the console arcade next door to my house got the Genesis when Altered Beast was the pack in game for the Genesis still, and I remember playing it and being blown away. I had no idea it was originally an arcade game, and was just thrilled to be playing a new 16 bit title that blew my NES and Atari out of the water! 

 

We still love it today at our house too... there are times my daughter or I say "Welcome to your doom!" as a running joke  :D Two players simultaneous play is another notch in its favor, and lets face it, it's CHEAP if you're just starting a Genesis collection. It was one of the first games I picked up when I got a Genesis a few years back.

 

Just do yourself a favor and stay far, far away from the SMS version though... *shudders* My wife got a copy for me in a lot of SMS games she bought me for Christmas, and after playing it once it has stayed firmly on the shelf, collecting dust.

 

 The SMS version is REALLY bad, and I honestly believe Sega didn't even try.  I know the Master System isn't the Genesis, but they could've done much better.

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