"Altered Beast" was one of the very first titles released for the Sega Genesis in 1989. In fact, this title is the original pack-in to the system. Originally released in the arcade in 1988, "Altered Beast" for the Sega Genesis retains all of the levels and characters that make the game enjoyable. This title rests firmly in the action genre, taking most gamers only around 30 minutes to finish. Players will want to replay this title repeatedly in an attempt to beat their high score.At the start of the game, the demon god Neff has captured Athena, the daughter of Zeus. The only hope of getting her back is a recently slain Greek warrior. In an epic opening sequence, he orders you to rise from your grave. With a flash of lightning, the warrior punches his way from the earth, destroying his tombstone. From there, he must navigate through five perilous levels in an attempt to defeat Neff. You can either play this game alone or with a friend in two-player mode. In two-player mode on the Genesis, each player has a life bar and must work together to win.While your warrior can punch and kick his opponents, his real power is turning into a beast. Throughout each level, you can find orbs that increase your muscle mass and power. These orbs are hidden in special gray enemies that appear at random. After finding three orbs, your character will transform into one of a handful of beasts. For example, on the first stage, you can transform into a creature that is half man, half wolf. Your punches and kicks become fireballs and charging flame kicks, respectively. You can only challenge the boss at the end of the level if you are fully powered up. At the end of each level, Neff shows up and transforms into a giant creature. Avoid this creature's attacks and pummel him with your magic to go to the next stage.In addition to the giant bosses in "Altered Beast," you'll fight a number of enemies in each level. Enemies range from slimes and zombies to cockatrices and minotaurs. Each of the levels features a large amount of variety as well. For example, the first stage of the game has you fighting in a cemetery. Stage 2 takes the fight underground with your character delving deeper as the game progresses.As a launch game for the Sega Genesis, "Altered Beast" was used to show off the power of the system. As a result, this Sega title looks phenomenal. It features large, detailed sprites and no slowdown or lag. The color palette is bright, and the action flows smoothly with no choppiness. The game also retained the voice-overs of the arcade version. The voice-overs are clear and crisp. Zeus will bellow out his opening lines while Neff will taunt you before every fight. "Altered Beast" is a classic game that frequently finds a spot among the top Genesis games. This software is one Sega title you'll come back to play time and time again.
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