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, different 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 to transform 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.
  • Animorphism
  • 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.
  • Arcade Perfect Port: A claimed example, and it was one of the biggest selling points for the Genesis/Mega Drive port. In truth, it's not even close, neither in terms of technical fidelity or content-wise. From a technical perspective, the arcade version has higher-quality sprites, larger color palette, much better audio-quality and scaling effects the Genesis version lacked (the Genesis version did however have phalanx scrolling which the arcade version lacked). Neither is it very faithful in terms of content: The level layouts are different, the beasts perform differently then they did in the arcade, and trying what works easily on most of the bosses on the genesis version will get you killed in five seconds in the arcade. Yeah, it SEEMS close, at least until you actually go back and play the arcade version.
  • Bald of Evil: Neff.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The Werebear, the beast of Level 3.
  • Classic Cheat Code: Allows for reaching other levels, changing health/lives and which beasts you turn into in which levels.
  • 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: Octeyes, the boss of level 2. Taken Up to Eleven in how its main attack is firing off hundreds of poisonous spores shaped like eyeballs.
  • 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: Neff's final form in Level 5, along with the Rad Boar, Dark Unicorn and Gory Goat enemies from the same level.
    • Don't forget most of the beasts.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: The Weredragon of Level 2 (And by extension, the Chinese Dragon-like enemy), and the Mouldy Snail and Crocodile Worm bosses of Levels 3 and 4.
  • Magic Pants: Character grows. Shirt rips. Pants still on.
  • Mood Whiplash: This otherwise dark game ends with a jarringly-peppy ending theme, which wouldn't be out of place in Puyo Puyo. The arcade version even ends with the game being revealed to be one big movie production.
  • 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 Aggar, a legless flesh monster with endless heads that he can rip off and throw at you, Octeyes, a eye-composed plant creature, Mouldy Snail, a literal dragon-snail (too much snail), and the Crocodile Worm, a jewel-wielding dragon that can summon smaller, fiery dragons to attack. His final form is a giant Rhino-Man hybrid.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Werewolf and Golden Werewolf of Levels 1 and 5.
  • Palette Swap: The Golden Werewolf's actual powers are no stronger than the normal Werewolf's. He just looks shinier.
  • 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.
  • Playing with Fire: The powers of the Werewolf, Weretiger and Golden Werewolf are based on pyrokinesis- the werewolves being able to dash forward for a flaming tackle and throw fireballs that fly straight, whilst the Weretiger's fireballs move up and down in a wave pattern and its dash attack goes up then back down to attack enemies in mid-air.
  • 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- consisting of being able to fire off long-ranged laser bolts, or produce a powerful electric field around itself in order to block projectiles and fry any enemies that come close.
  • Shout-Out: The two-headed wolves are likely a reference to Clash of the Titans.
  • Spin Attack: One of Werebear's powers- the Body Spin- enables it to leap up for a Screw Attack-style vertical spin that can rip through enemies, and is the most effective way of defeating Mouldy Snail.
  • Taken for Granite: One of Werebear's powers- the Bear Breath- enables it to turn enemies to stone by breathing on them for a One-Hit Kill. However, it doesn't work on Mouldy Snail or any of the other bosses.
  • Temple of Doom: Level 4.
  • 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.
  • Unwinnable by Design: If you fail to collect three power orbs before the third time Neff shows in the level, he will transform into the boss regardless. In most cases your beast powers and mobility are the only think making the boss fight remotely fair. However the arcade is happy to let you continue. With many of the powerup mooks being difficult to kill if you don't know where they are coming from, this is not an uncommon occurrence the first time you play a level.
  • 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: