This is the last of the SEGA Vintage Collection coming to Playstation Network. It’s available now for Playstation Plus subscribers for free, and will be available to all PSN members to purchase in a couple of weeks. This is the same enhanced version of the game that hit Xbox LIVE Arcade on June 10, 2009.
Many people have fond memories of this game growing up, having played it in arcades or on a console like the Genesis (amongst many others). I’m not one of those people; in fact, this was the first time I had ever played the game. If there was ever a time this game was considered good, then it has long since passed. Maybe in 1988-1990, but here in 2011 this is just a poor excuse for a video game that should have never seen a re-release.
The graphics are horrible, and the gameplay is robotic and boring. The main character, which Zeus brings back from the afterlife to rescue his daughter from Hades, is slow and stiff. Despite this taking place in ancient Greece, the main character’s only weapons are his hands and legs. Is there a reason he doesn’t have a sword? Is there a reason he looks like someone out of Street Fighter instead of an ancient Greek warrior? Is there a reason he can’t hit someone whom he’s right in front of? The guy has horrible reach.
Altered Beast is both the easiest and hardest game I’ve ever played. And I mean that in the worst way possible for both. It’s easy in the sense that you don’t have to worry about dying. If you die, you can just continue right where you left off, and that includes during boss battles. It took me approximately 20 minutes to beat this game; and I’m not even sure if it was that long. It’s hard in the sense that the main character absolutely sucks at attacking and the game throws hordes of enemies at you from every direction. Combine that with laughably cheap deaths by falling thanks to impossible jumps (unless you can master the convoluted jumping mechanics), and you have a game that would be beyond frustrating if it were not for the easy continues.
The only half-way fun part of playing through this mess is when you turn into the Altered Beast; which are simply various animals ranging from a wolf, to a dragon, to a bear, and a few others. My favorite was the dragon, and that’s simply because dragons are cool and it can fly allowing you to actually kill the flying creatures above you.
Like others in the SEGA Vintage Collection, this title is sporting trophies (or achievements for the 360 version) and does feature online co-op. I’m assuming the online and local co-op works well enough, but I’m certainly not about to play through this dreck a second time just to see. Co-op will certainly not make this game any more fun, but may make it a tad easier in the deaths department.
If you’re trophy hound and can get it for free, you might want to take advantage of that. Altered Beast has some of the easiest trophies EVER… you can easily platinum it within 30 minutes or so. But I certainly wouldn’t recommend paying $5 for it though.
This is a game that should have remained buried. Curse Zeus (and SEGA) for bringing it back from the grave and having it show up on all three modern consoles. There are good games that have stood the test of time and aged well over these last 23 years, but Altered Beast is definitely not one of them.