It is the time of gods and myths and legends. When men were warriors and courageously fought unnatural enemies in the endless battle of good against evil. It is the time of the Altered Beast.
Summoned by Zeus, God of Thunder, you have been awakened from the dead to challenge the wicked Neff, God of the Underworld, for the fate of Athena. And Athena is no ordinary girl. She is the daughter of Zeus and must take her rightful place among the gods if only you can free her from place of imprisonment.
Although you were once a brave and awesome Roman Centurion, the rigors of this journey demand a supernatural display of strength. And so you are bestowed with the powers of the Altered Beast. The power to transform your being into a part animal, part human creature of formidable force.
But to achieve this rare form of vitality you must earn it. By conquering foes and capturing spirit balls, you'll muster the energy to transmute from one beast to another. And each time you do, you'll advance one round closer to the realm of the underworld where Neff awaits the final confrontation.
With five complete rounds to clear, the number of underlings you must defeat is staggering. But Neff promises to be the most loathsome enemy yet, so prepare yourself for the worst. And remember, Zeus didn't bring you back from the grave to fail!
--From the Master System Altered Beast instruction manual.
Overview: What a night! I just woke up in my grave. I should’ve known not to party with Ted Kennedy and David Lee Roth. Wow, my mouth tastes like I’ve been French-kissing the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Anybody got some Tic-Tacs? Man, I’ll take some Clorox right now. I can pay with… hey… where is my wallet? Those thieving undertakers must have taken it. Them or Kennedy. And what idiot dressed me? Didn’t I rate at least a pair of pants? Man, this really ticks me off! I think I’ll go on a massive killing spree. If I don’t, who will?
The graphics are a little jarring. In the background you have elegant structures with subtle colors while the main characters are as bright as a neon sign. There are numerous deadly creatures of varying colors, sizes, modes of motion and techniques of violence and you will be amused trying different techniques to protect yourself from them while trying to defeat them.
The action sounds are definitely not subtle. When you die, the whole neighborhood will know. Decent slice-and-dice sounds as you kill your enemies. The background music is actually music, played in a lower octave (I know nothing about music, so this might be wrong) rather than a high pitched whine, so you might not even notice it as you engage in your life-or-death struggle. Or you might enjoy it, but hopefully you shouldn’t be annoyed by it.
The action is slow enough to be enjoyable, but you inevitably have to pay the piper, so don’t think things are as easy as they first seem. Notice that the scenery is moving even when you aren’t. It is leading you to Doom if you are not prepared.
I don't wanna know your name
Cause you don't look the same
The way you did before
OK you think you got a pretty face
But the rest of you is out of place
You looked all right before
Directions: Be prepared for huge bosses that appear out of smoke when you reach the end of the level. In the Round 1, as a Werewolf, you must defeat Aggar who will rain his own heads down on you. In a similar fashion the other bosses rain things down on you. In Round 2, you are a Weredragon and you must defeat Octeyes (rain of eyes instead). In Round 3, as a Werebear, you must defeat Moldy Snail (ewww). In Round 4, as the Weretiger (is there a pattern here?), you must defeat Crocodile Worm. Finally, in Round 5, as a Gold Werewolf , Ta Da! you must defeat, in the far corner wearing blue trunks, weighing 680 pounds and hailing from New York City, the one, the only, Neff! Each boss will require a different strategy to defeat them. For example, with the Octeyes, I've found that the best thing to do is move in close to it and then use the laser barrier over and over to destroy the eyes he sends at you as well as harming the monster itself. Getting close and staying close is not always the best course of action, but here it works very well.
It should also come as no surprise that each Boss (and generic everyday little guys too) has/have a different vulnerability, so if one type of attack does not seem to be working, try another. Anything that you do, with the exception of throwing your monitor out the window of a ten story building, is better than Death!
Making it to the top: There are three levels of Transformation: Giant Man, Super Man and Altered Beast. You move up the ladder by contacting a Spirit Ball which is released when you kill a Three-Headed Wolf. Don’t let the Spirit Balls get away. They aren’t like yo-yos, they don’t come back. Kill every Three-Headed Wolf that you can to be able to power yourself up to be the most buffed that you can be. You are headed for trouble, so you need to be prepared.
OK, I heard someone ask: what about points? OK calm down and take three deep breaths, because as you expected, Yes, Virginia, There Are Points! You can scarf points until you turn Blue! Not that you can spend them. They might as well be Monopoly Money. But they are there just for the taking. And how do you get them, you ask? I might be wrong here but I would say by killing anything that moves. Me, I’d be more concerned with killing the Three-Headed Wolves for those tasty spheres and killing the Bosses to complete a Round, but the points do give the game some replay-ability as you can play again and again to beat your top score.
Every monster will take a different amount of life off (boy those purple blobs will really suck it out of you.... psst... don't let 'em jump on your head..). Play it safe! When those blue bars of health at the top of the screen are gone, they're gone for good. They don't come back when you pick up spirit balls, and they don't come back in between rounds. They only refill when you die and, well, that's just not very effective, now is it?
Special Controls When Transformed:
A-Button You fire Fireballs
B-Button You have a Flame Streak around you
A-Button You fire Lightning
B-Button You have a Laser Barrier around you
A-Button You have Bear Breath to turn your enemies into stone
B-Button You perform wild Body Spins
A-Button You fire Bouncing Balls of Flame
B-Button You become a deadly Pillar of Fire
A-Button You hurl Golden Balls of Fire
B-Button You fire Golden Arrows