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Altered Beast: What Did Critics Say Back in 1989?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 14, 2014   |   Episode 42 (Show Archive)  

   

Altered Beast (Sega Genesis)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

Rise from your grave, because it's time to take a look at one of Sega's earliest Genesis games. For many, Altered Beast was more than a pack-in with Sega's system; it was their very first 16-bit experience. Talk about disappointing. These days Altered Beast is mocked and considered one of Sega's worst Genesis games. Did the critics agree with this assessment when it first came out? We turn to Sega Pro, MegaTch, Mean Machines and Mega Drive Advanced to find the answer.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Altered Beast
[ Company: Sega | Console: Genesis ]

SEGA PRO #1
74% out of 100%

"The game given away free with most Mega Drives. One of the oldest games available and it is struggling by today's standards. For its day it was amazing -- speech, smooth scrolling and lots of playability. However, its finest hour has truly passed."

MEGATECH #1
67% out of 100%

"'Free' with many official UK Megadrives, Altered Beast is a spot-on conversion of the coin-on. The trouble is, the arcade game wasn't exactly a smash-hit -- it's a very simple beat 'em up with only five levels. The gameplay is very samey, and it doesn't take long to get all the way through the game. It's okay as a freebie, though."

MEAN MACHINES SEGA #1
48% out of 100%

"This was once the 'free' game that came packaged with the Megadrive, until Sonic took over. Sega converted Altered Beast from their own coin-op, a five-level beat 'em up from the mid-Eighties. Crusty as they come, Altered Beast is from the arcade's Jurassic era. Game evolution selected it for extinction!" -Jaz

MEGA DRIVE ADVANCED GAMING #3
47% out of 100%

"A conversion of the popular old coin-op. This version is very basic and fails on the graphical side, jerky scrolling to mention one fault. The player can shoot baddies not just hit them, however we've included it as a beat 'em-up -- OK!"
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 59% - To be fair, none of these reviews are specifically from the game's launch. Sadly, few magazines were around (or giving out scores) in 1989, so we are forced to work with what we have. In this case, we have a number of reviews that agree on one thing -- Altered Beast isn't a very good game. The problem is simple enough, Altered Beast was horribly outdated ... even by the standards of the early 1990s. Just about every critic (including a few not published above) noted that it was a free game. Just imagine how much lower the scores would have been had Sega charged full-price for this middling action game.

ON FRIDAY'S EPISODE: We wrap up the week with a look at one of the most influential simulators of all time -- SimCity. Did critics like this 16-bit game when it launched with the Super NES or were they confused by the slow-pacing? Find out this Friday when the Review Crew looks at SimCity. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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