Video Game: Altered Beast
A Beat 'em Up
by Sega, appearing at the arcades in the late 1980's, and later ported to home consoles like the Sega Master System
and Sega Genesis
. Two pseudo-sequels were made, one for the Game Boy Advance
titled Altered Beast: Guardian of the Realms
, and a PlayStation 2
sequel titled Project Altered Beast
(which was released in Japan and Europe, but not in America
). The main gimmick is that your character can turn into various humanoid monsters, like werewolves and dragons.
Interestingly enough, the first game of this series is considered by many as a cult-classic game and an average game
at the same time. The reason is because the Sega Genesis
port was extremely similar to the arcade version in gameplay, sounds and even graphics*
. This doesn't sound awesome nowadays
(we even have a trope called Porting Distillation
), but don't forget we are talking about the late 80's, ports were either terrible
or simpler games.
Story-wise, the original game has Zeus
' daughter Athena being kidnapped by the evil sorcerer Neff and two centurions being resurrected
to rescue her.
In Project Altered Beast
the story follows a man called Luke Custer who is a "Genome-Cyborg"
, a human whose DNA and other genetic make-up has been artificially altered
allowing micro-chips containing the genetic make-up of other creatures
him into an anthropomorphic beast
. After surviving a helicopter crash
, Luke loses his memory
and sets off to learn about the truth behind his past and the Genome-Cyborgs.
Altered Beast uses the following tropes:
- Adaptation Expansion: The NES version adds a werelion, wereshark, and werebird, and the GBA game adds power-ups and beasts.
- Ancient Grome: The manual says the protagonists are Roman centurions, yet the setting is clearly Greek and so are the gods' names.
- All Just a Dream: The ending of the arcade reveals that the entire game was, apparently, one really bizarre movie. Or alternatively, the entire game is real and became legend that it was adapted into a movie.
- Bald of Evil: Neff.
- Bears Are Bad News: Level 3's beast.
- Classic Cheat Code: Allows for reaching other levels, changing health/lives and order the beasts appear.
- Cycle of Hurting: No Mercy Invincibility means this will happen a lot if you aren't careful. Especially with the Chicken Stingers in the second stage who will trip you up and then just destroy you while you're on the ground.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Probably unintentional(ly hilarious) in the Sega Genesis port.
- Evil Laugh: The main villain goes "Ho ho ho ho" when stealing your spirit orbs.
- Faceless Eye: Level 2 boss.
- Foreshadowing: Level 4 has statues of anthropomorphic rhinos. Guess which form the final boss takes?
- Giant Flyer: The pterodactyl-like enemy.
- Growing Muscles Sequence: the effect of the first two powerups.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The final boss, the half-goat and half-horse enemies.
- Don't forget most of the beasts.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Level 2 beast, Level 3/4 bosses, a Chinese dragon-like enemy in Level 2.
- Magic Pants: Character grows. Pants still on.
- Nintendo Hard: The arcade version and its ports. Especially the ports, which give only three lives, no healing items, no extra lives, no Mercy Invincibility, and no continues.
- One-Winged Angel: All the bosses.
- Our Monsters Are Different: All the transformations of Neff. Including a weird flesh monster who throws his head at you, a eye-composed thing, a literal dragon-snail (too much snail) and a crocodile-jewel thing. His last form is a Rhino-man.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Level 1 and 5 beast.
- Panthera Awesome: The Level 4 beast, a weretiger.
- Personal Space Invader: The enemy that goes on your head and stays there until you punch it out.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
- Wise Fwom Youw Gwabe: Possible Trope Namer.
- Save the Princess
- Shapeshifter Baggage
- Shirtless Scene: In the Genesis version, the first Spirit Orb removes your shirt.
- Shock and Awe: Weredragon's powers.
- Shout-Out: The two-headed wolves are likely a reference to Clash of the Titans.
- Stupid Statement Dance Mix: "WELCOME TO YOUR DOOM, WELCOME TO YOUR-WELCOME TO YOUR DOOM!"
- Taken for Granite: Werebear's power.
- Temple of Doom: Level 4.
- Took a Level in Badass: Werewolf returns more powerful in the final level.
- Transformation Sequence: The player character, after getting three "POWER-UP!" spirit balls (the Werewolf morph is pretty detailed◊), and the villain when seeing you're transformed.
- Interestingly, the other transformation sequences were not nearly as detailed - they usually consisted of flickering back and forth from an image of the two forms rapidly.
- Instant in the C64 version.
- Turns Red: The bosses.
- Underground Level: Levels 2 and 3.
- Technically, levels 4 and 5 are also underground. The centurions are traveling to the underworld, after all.
- Upgrade Artifact: The orbs that pop out of the blue wolves when you kill them.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: After you defeat Neff at the end of each stage (except the last), he steals all your powerups and escapes.
The PS2 game (Project) Altered Beast has examples of these tropes:
- All Your Powers Combined: This is Luke's specialty. He can equip different types of Genome Chips and transform into the beast most suited to deal with the current situation.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Brad.
- Awesome but Impractical: The U.W.H. (Unidentified Weightless Human) twenty-hit combo. On the plus side, it can kill any enemy except bosses. On the negative side, it requires memorizing a twenty button sequence, good timing and it only targets one enemy at time; in a game where monsters love to swarm you. Nonetheless, it's still necessary to defeat one of the rare enemies.
- The Wendigo's grab-and-throw ability sounds fun but is aggravating to pull off correctly.
- Bat out of Hell: The Balrog.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Mutated wasps and centipedes are enemies you'll face.
- Body Horror: The transformation cutscenes. They're all quite detailed and painful looking.
- Bragging Rights Reward: The Weretiger form. Unlocked after obtainning every single Enemy, Beast, Boss and Unique data...which leaves nothing else to do.
- Cannibalism Superpower: Anastasia.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The gryphon-like creature that destroys the helicopter in the opening returns as a boss.
- Darker and Edgier
- Doing In the Wizard: Cybernetics and genetics instead of godly magic.
- Evil Counterpart: Brad to Luke. Actually subverted: Brad isn't actually evil.
- Flunky Boss: Most of the bosses, bar some late in the game, come with an unlimited army of smaller enemies.
- Giant Spider: Xenesthis.
- In Name Only: The only relation with the original is the fact that the protagonist becomes beasts, one of which is a werewolf (with the weretiger and werebear as unlockables). It is in a modern setting (though technically so was the first), with the transformations being caused by genetic experiments.
- Monster Compendium: Aside from the Flavor Text, it also includes a small detail of the elemental tolerances and the option of looking at the monster's 3D model from different angles.
- Mysterious Waif: Anastasia.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Happens throughout the game.
- Parental Favoritism: Dr. Eric Jobs quickly forgets about his previous subjects once he starts working on a new one. This gets to the point it becomes the cause of Anastasia's Start of Darkness.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: The Leviathan.
- Shapeshifter Showdown: There are 3 of these', first is a flashback sequence showing a fight between Luke and Brad shown upon getting the Minotaur form, the second is an actual playable fight against Brad and the third is against Anastasia
- Super Soldier: the "Genome Cyborgs".
- Treacherous Advisor: Anastasia.
- The Virus: the "Genome Mist".
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Luke appears shirtless throughout the entire game. Justified since it tore after transforming the first time. The developers conveniently left his pants unscathed, even though it should have ripped as well.