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Because so many people owned the game back in the Genesis days, the Altered Beast name lives on in so many gaming memories, and THQ's partnership with Sega has given new life to the old idea. Altered Beast: Guardian of the Realms takes the game design formula established in the original and builds off of it with new techniques, creatures, enemies, power-ups, and boss battles. The original game's feel is here, but the new elements essentially make this follow-up a much more enjoyable adventure. It's still not very deep, but this Altered Beast follow-up is surprisingly fun in a mindless sort of way.
Altered Beast : Guardian of the Realms est un titre non dépourvu de qualités : dynamique, efficace, varié et coloré, il saura sans mal convaincre les amateurs de massacres mythologiques tant les aventures grecques proposées s’avèrent explosives. Les bonnes idées sont nombreuses et si une difficulté parfois assez élevée viendra sans doute désarçonner le joueur le moins patient et habile, il ne s’agit pas pour autant de baisser les bras quand Zeus a besoin d’un coup de main : bref, pas de quoi amphore tout un plat. Pas forcément beau comme un Apollon, le jeu a largement de quoi ravir son public, sans pour autant déclencher une guerre de Troie.
Altered Beast is always going to be one of those games that, while great for its time, I think a great number of ‘old school’ gamers look back upon it with hazy memories. It was a great demo for the Genesis and showed players why it was better than the other available systems, but once you got past the scrolling backgrounds, detailed (for the time anyway) sprites and digitized voice (again, which was great for it’s time), there really wasn’t much to keep you coming back. Unfortunately, the same goes for the remake. Altered Beast: Guardian of the Realm may be good for a nostalgic romp, but that’s about it.
If you are looking for a total revamping of the series, you won’t find it in Guardian of the Realms. The combat is still ultra simplistic and the challenge is still ultra demanding. But if you are looking for more levels, more morphs, and more old school gameplay, Altered Beast: Guardian of the Realms has it in abundance.
Man becomes bigger man. Bigger man becomes biggest man. Biggest man becomes monster that shoots magic balls, performs spin attacks, and defeats weird, creepy boss before reverting to man once more. Altered Beast: Guardian Realms succeeds marvelously in crafting a wholly faithful sequel to the “classic” arcade and Sega Genesis game right down to the challenge, pacing, graphical style, and weird Zardoz-meets-Clash of the Titans soundtrack. It even goes the extra mile with three times as many levels (15 as opposed to the original’s five) and a dozen new evolving transformations. nfortunately, for all the effort at mimicry, the gameplay at the Beast’s heart doesn’t quite withstand the test of time. Only those with the Sega Nostalgia Gene spliced into their DNA will be able to fathom why Altered Beast, with its stupid-simple, ultra-repetitive 2D side-scrolling punch/kick/repeat gameplay, was ever popular in the first place.
Altered Beast originated in the arcades and was the original pack-in game with the Sega Genesis console, way back in 1989. For a mere $200, which was how much the system cost back then, thousands of people were able to look on in awe as multiple layers of scrolling and huge monsters filled their TV screens. To play it today, you can't help but laugh at the sluggish controls and simplistic gameplay and wonder how so many people were taken in by graphical gimmicks that quickly became commonplace in every subsequent side-scrolling beat-'em-up. Nostalgia is a powerful beast in its own right, however, and it is for that reason that the name Altered Beast triggers such warm memories for those who grew up during the era of 16-bit gaming.
With overly elongated levels, forced backtracking through previously explored stages, and increasingly eye-bleedingly giddy color schemes the further through the game you progress, Altered Beast: GotR is a slightly disastrous attempt to replicate the side-scrolling nature of its source material. It's a trip down memory lane that becomes a tumble, and finally a plummet into a tedious world of garish scenery, beasts, and unforgiving fighting. In the end, AB: GotR is "almost" fun for fanatics of the original, but there's much better fare out there.
The Video Game Critic
As a longtime fan of Altered Beast, I was really psyched up about Guardian, but my enthusiasm waned as the lengthy stages took their toll on me. The original Altered Beast was tighter, with shorter but more difficult stages. In this new version, you get sick of punching and kicking the same beasts over and over. In the forest stage, the regenerating bees drove me absolutely crazy. Considering the large number of stages, I appreciate how the cartridge automatically saves your progress. Guardians of the Realms is a not a bad game, but I think Sega overextended the old formula.
With enhanced graphics, more levels, power ups, and a save feature, the GBA version appears to be better than the Genesis cart we all remember. I only wish that meant more than it does. I guess the most important thing to consider here is whether or not the new version retains the feel and game play of the original. In this case, it does. The problem is, the game play of the original was nothing to get excited about.
What makes it even worse is that Guardian Of The Realms' levels are far longer than they need to be, so even playing the game for the novelty of the transformations isn't an option. Tedium and boredom are the only things this little cart has to offer, and neither of those are high on my list of favorite things. I think the franchise has some potential if revamped for one of the current home consoles, but if Guardian Of The Realms wasn't running on the GBA, I'd swear it was some kind of fossilized relic.