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Video Game / Altered Beast

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—Sound compression making the game's opening memorable for the wrong reasons.note 

A Beat 'em Up by Sega, appearing at the arcades in the late 1980s, 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 reboot 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 Polished Port), but don't forget we are talking about the late '80s, ports were either terrible, different, or simpler games.


Storywise, 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.

Neff in his "Van Vader" form was included in Wreck-It Ralph for a very brief cameo role, although he was colored purple in that film. To be fair, that was his color after he took enough damage in the game. This design would later be used for his appearance in Sega Heroes.


Altered Beast uses the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Aggar, the first boss, decapitates himself and throws his head at you. His head regrows quickly to replace the lost one however.
  • 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: The main mechanic via Spirit Orbs. You get them by beating up flashing enemies and picking the Spirit Orb that falls out.
  • 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 parallax scrolling which the arcade version lacked). Neither is it very faithful in terms of content: The level layouts are different, the beasts perform differently than 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.
    • Still, compared to every other port of the arcade game at the time which had very significant alterations made (especially in graphical quality) and other arcade game ports, next to those the Genesis version was very accurate for its time. 40% of the arcade version may have been lost or deliberately changed, but on other platforms you could see as much as 80% of the arcade version lost.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The cutscenes show Neff turning Athena into a bird. Once he's dead, she's returned to normal.
  • 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.
  • Dub Name Change: The Chicken Leg is the Chicken Stinger outside Japan.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Probably unintentional (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.
  • Fair-Play Villain: Neff will refuse to fight the player if they reach the end of the level while still in human form and will flee up to two times to allow the player to achieve transformation. It is implied that he does this because he doesn't want an easy victory. However, if the player still hasn't transformed after running into Neff for the third and last time in a level, he will decide to stop running and fight you right then and there, leaving the player to fight with a more limited means of offense than he would've had in a beast form.
  • Foreshadowing: Level 4 has statues of anthropomorphic rhinos. Guess which form the final boss takes?
  • Gainax Ending: The Arcade release ends with the revelation that the entire thing was just a movie being filmed, and that the cast and crew all go out for a cold beer after wrapping the shoot.
  • Giant Flyer: The pterodactyl like enemy.
  • Growing Muscles Sequence: The effect of the first two powerups.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Most of your beast forms. Neff's final form in Level 5, along with the Rad Boar, Dark Unicorn, and Gory Goat enemies from the same level.
  • Magic Pants: Character grows. Shirt rips. Pants still on. Though the shirt still gets shredded with each expansion.
  • 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 are Neff transforming into some kind of monster.
  • 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, an 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 Round Leech 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-Asskicking One-Liner:
  • Proscenium Reveal: The ending of the arcade version reveals that the entire game was, apparently, one really bizarre movie.
  • Rise from Your Grave: Possible Trope Namer. Zeus commands you to "Rise from your grave and rescue my daughter", whereupon your newly-reanimated body does exactly that.
  • Savage Wolves: The two-headed wolf enemy, which in its albino (blue in the Genesis port) version provides the Upgrade Artifact.
  • Save the Princess: The objective of the game.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Neff can transform into creatures twice the size of him.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • Ability Required to Proceed: The level progression will guarantee you to get a new beast form or a new Learning Genome for said beasts, then use their abilities to move on to the next part of the level or the new area. Many of the secret areas also require you to, again, get the required form and/or Learning Genome to access.
  • Airborne Mook: The earliest examples would be a flock of ravens, then a swarm of bats and another swarm of giant hornets. Once you get the Garuda form, flying bird mooks also appear. In particular, the Accipitarian and Raum mooks encountered much later in the game are apparently part of the experiments to make the Garuda Genome Chip.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": There are two bosses named Xenesthis and Callichthys. Their names actually tell you that they're a Giant Spider and a giant catfish respectively. In a variant, there's another boss Sarcosuchus, named after the ancestor of crocodiles... and is a giant crocodile.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Anastasia can do many things Luke can do with his beast forms. As mentioned by her, both are chimera-type Genome Cyborgs (while Brad isn't).
  • Amphibian at Large: Genome Mist has caused many toads and frogs to mutate and grow to the size of humans. One of the bosses, Sasquatch, is a much larger frog crossed with a gorilla with ice powers.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: It's fine to just skip the story cutscenes; you can watch them in the Gallery later.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Luke loses his memories after the helicopter accident. As he acquires Genome Chips, more of his memories return; Anastasia also helped him fill in the blanks.
  • Aquatic Mook: There are multiple variants of them depending on the stage.
  • Armless Biped: The Cockatrice enemies (and the King Mook Basilisk), as well as the Unique Enemies, are all looking like birds without wings.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Brad, a cold and haughty guy who was the first Genome Cyborg, and a rather powerful one too; he was the one wounding Luke in the past, and it shows more as a boss - he can Flash Step out of your attacks and slug you just as quickly. He even would take time to cross his arms and tap the ground in boredom or Finger Wag you, should you get knocked down; he's also open to attacks during such.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: In the river you can see some huge, spiked tentacles coming out of the walls, but you never see what they're attached to. They may be mutant alge though.
  • 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, especially the grabs that are the part of a combo move, as it'll require you to grab the closest enemy after you have punched them (away) first.
  • Bad Boss: Aeshma will often crush and throw the Bloated Corpses around him during the boss battle, while the Basilisk will often pounce on his own Cockatrice babies and eat them to replenish his strength.
  • Bat Out of Hell: The boss Balrog, a giant bat that is on fire due to having the Minotaur genome chip. There are also swarms of bats as mooks.
  • Beast Man: Outside from the hero's transformations, most of the later enemies in this game are beastmen of sorts, often with unusual looks, including boar-men, ram-men, goat-men, vulture-men, toad-men and horse-men (as in, humanoid horses, not people riding horses).
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Mutated wasps and centipedes are enemies you'll face.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After the first phase of Anastasia boss fight, Brad comes in and saves you, as well as slashing a huge gash on her body, but then he got violently thrown to the wall for his problems and died. This allows you to attack her further.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: The third boss is a Sasquatch. Played with in that it's a mutated frog with a body resembling a gorilla. The Wendigo form you get from it resembles a sasquatch or yeti better.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: And how! Just take a look at the transformation cutscenes.
  • Body Horror: The transformation sequences. They're all quite detailed and painful looking. The scientists you see in the cutscene before Anastasia's boss fights are also in stages of slow mutation and all of them are looking pained and helpless. Then there's her own first "beast" form, i.e a giant louse with many faces of people she absorbed in front of it, her own torso sticking out of its top, and 2 extra large arms. She also throws those faces at you, by the way.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Elevator of Doom is an extra game you can access after beating the story, where you'll be pitted against waves of enemies in a large elevator. At first you have 4 elevators, each forcing you to use 4 of your basic forms; completing those four will unlock 2 elevators that forces you to use your 2 other forms; completing those two will unlock an elevator where you're free to use any form, and completing that one will unlock another multi-form elevator that leads to the Bonus Boss.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The Weretiger form. Unlocked after obtaining every single Enemy, Beast, Boss, and Unique data... Which leaves nothing else to do beyond replaying the Elevator of Doom minigame or, if you feel like it, playing a new game with the form unlocked from the start.
  • Breath Weapon: Aside from your Wendigo, Minotaur and Grizzly forms (and technically Merman and Dragon too) having access to them, some enemies and bosses also have breath attacks.
  • Call-Back: Cockatrices resembles the "Chicken Legs" from Golden Axe, as well as an enemy from the original game which, appropriately enough, is fought in dragon form. The penultimate boss is a Rhino man, not dissimilar to the Final Boss from the original game. Anastasia's first form greatly resembles the first boss of the original game, including tossing faces/skulls from her abdomen and being a humanoid body on top of a slug-like abomination.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Anastasia eats Dr. Jobs and a few other scientists during her transforming process. She also intends to do the same to Luke to acquire his special DNA.
  • Car Fu: Wendigo can lift up cars and throw them to enemies. The boss fight with Aeshma is just one big example of this.
  • The Catfish: The Callichthys boss, a gigantic catfish that shoots electricity at you.
  • Cast From HP: If your Spirit Gauge is depleted when you're in a beast form (or you transform with no Spirit Gauge), your HP will drain down.
  • Charged Attack: The Learning Genomes for each beast forms require you to hold the button to perform.
    • Werewolf has Hyper Jump, a Jump Attack that goes higher, allowing you to leap onto tall places.
    • Merman has Depth Charge, a more powerful variant of its Bubble Bombs that releases a Sphere of Destruction powerful enough to blast the giant underwater membranes and cracked walls blocking your way.
    • Wendigo has Ice Block where it creates, well, an ice block in its hands that it can then throw for a ranged attack. Some enemies, obstacles and bosses need to be hit like this.
    • Garuda has Dive Attack, where you dive in a certain direction in midair, allowing you to pass through some obstacles and to go from point A to B much faster.
    • Minotaur has Bull Rush, where you start slowly running forward while covered in flames, then picking up speed before you become a human train capable of breaking Suspiciously Cracked Walls.
    • Dragon has Thunder Cannon, a Wave-Motion Gun that serves as an alternative to its Limit Break. Dragon's own normal attacks are also charged attacks, where holding the Square button will cause it to create more and more electric balls in its hands (depending on how far you upgraded its combo) to be thrown towards enemies.
    • Grizzly has Nerve Gas, where you emit gas powerful enough to stun enemies around you... from your butt.
    • Weretiger has Genocide Rage, a rushing-forward attack similar to Werewolf's Berserker Charge but covers much longer distance and cannot be steered. Its own jump technique can also be charged like Werewolf's to make you jump higher.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The gryphon like creature that destroys the helicopter in the opening returns as a boss. It's also revealed to be Brad's pet.
  • Chrome Champion: Minotaur is mentioned to be able to turn its skin into steel, and as you play the form, it has a Defend Command where it simply turns steel-y, which helps for some puzzles and bosses. A few of its attacks also has it briefly turning to steel for a stronger hit.
  • Continuity Reboot: The game completely discards the previous two games' stories in favor of Biopunk settings not unlike House of the Dead.
  • Creepy Centipedes: Encountered in the mine level, the're as big as Luke and attack by either spitting blue poison or by using their legs as spikes.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: How any boss fight will go. Equip the right beast and you will curbstomp the boss, any of the wrong beasts and the reverse happens. Although the Weretiger, Werebear, and U.W.H. can wipe the floor with virtually anybody.
  • Cycle of Hurting: You can repeatedly slam an enemy with Wendigo with its regular Grapple Move. While this serves little use on normal combat with Mooks, this is very helpful for defeating (terrestrial) Unique Enemies, as otherwise they will try to run away from you.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to previous Altered Beast games, this reboot is a Deconstruction on those games putting into a Film Noir Crapsack World setting where Body Horror are much more visible. The main characters are much more immoral and borders into Sociopathic Hero territory, among others.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Cybernetics and genetics instead of godly magic.
  • Duel Boss: 3 boss fights occur without any mook harassing you: Weretiger, Rhinorian (it even will sit still and recover its health slowly if you turn into human form), and Anastasia. Instead of taking Spirit Gauge from enemies, you can find them being dropped around in Weretiger's room; you can use your human form's Deathblow attack on Rhinorian (although it'll only make the boss drop Spirit Gauge droplets instead of you absorbing it directly); and attacking Anastasia enough times will make her drop the droplets.
  • Elemental Powers: All the beast forms are related to an element: Light for the Werewolf, Water for the Merman, Ice for Wendigo, Wind for Garuda, Fire for Minotaur and Lightning for Dragon. Among the extra beasts, Earth for Werebear, Gravity for the U.W.H. and Darkness for the Weretiger.
  • Elemental Punch: Some of Wendigo's moves cover its fists in ice; one of Minotaur's moves is a fiery lunging straight punch. Both can also have their normal attacks laced with ice and fire respectively for more damage with the Type-N Genomes; Grizzly can also have its limbs covered in stone during its attacks with the same genome.
  • Elemental Rivalry: Luke's basic form is the Werewolf, a canine beastman with a light blueish aura. His main opponent and rival, Brad, possess the power of the Weretiger, a feline beastman with a dark reddish aura. According to The Other Wiki, the Werewolf is light-elemental, while the Weretiger is dark-elemental.
  • Emergency Transformation: In the backstory, Luke was heavily wounded from his last mission before Dr. Eric Jobs saved him; he also turned Luke into the third, and his most advanced yet, Genome Cyborg.
  • Essence Drop: Enemies drop Spirit Gauge droplets and occasionally health ones when they die, allowing Luke to stay in beast forms longer. In underwater levels and sky levels, the droplets become "fumes" that will slowly float towards Luke.
  • Evil Counterpart: Brad to Luke. He appears to have some kind of grudge against Luke, and mocks him whenever he has the chance. Actually subverted: despite that, Brad isn't actually evil, and is driven to stop Anastasia.
  • Fauns and Satyrs: There are the Pan and Satyros mooks, humanoid rams and goats respectively; both of them can breathe fire. They're mentioned to be part of the project to create the Minotaur genome chip.
  • Feathered Fiend: In the 5th stage you can run into mutated rooster, now standing as tall as Luke, but obviously a laughable threat. After you unlock the Garuda chip you'll end up meeting more mutated fowl, including the disgustingly bloated Raptors and the bird-men mutants Raum.
  • Feed It a Bomb: Not compulsory, but you can damage Sarcosuchus even more by shooting water bullets into his open mouth when he charges.
  • Fighting Clown: The Grizzly form, somewhat. It can apparently fight with kung-fu moves, roll around into small spaces, and its unlockable move is farting (useful for stunning nearby enemies and killing one Unique Enemy).
  • Final-Exam Boss: The final boss fight against Anastasia will rely on you exploiting a certain beast form (well, except for Merman) for each of her phases so that you can avoid/withstand her attacks.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The Minotaur, Wendigo and Dragon forms respectively wield these elements. So do Balrog, Sasquatch and Callichthys bosses. So does Anastasia.
  • Flunky Boss: Most of the bosses, bar some late in the game, come with an unlimited army of smaller enemies for you to regain Spirit Gauge or HP by killing them.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge:
    • Werewolf's Limit Break, Berserker Rage, is him lunging straight towards the enemies, sending them flying. One of his combos also ends with a weaker version of it.
    • Minotaur's Learning Genome move Bull Rush is also this, with him rushing forward invincibly and knocking over enemies; it's also controllable and long-ranged unlike Berserker Rage. Minotaur also has one unlockable combo move where it briefly turns into iron as it charges forward.
    • Rhinorian, the penultimate boss, has 2 attacks like this, both of them while being Wreathed in Flames.
  • Full-Boar Action: There are big boar enemies in Area 4 and later Area 9. Later stages also have Orcs, as in humanoid boars who walks both on four or two legs.
  • Genre Shift: The classic game was a clear cut fantasy that took place in ancient Greece, but this remake is a Biopunk thriller taking place in the modern era.
  • Giant Space Flea From No Where: Most of the mid-level bosses come out of nowhere and mostly serve to teach you how to use your previously-obtained beast form and to give you a new power up.
  • Giant Spider: Xenesthis, who spams harmful spider-webs and throws poisoned body-parts around.
  • Grapple Move: Wendigo form can grab enemies and obstacles and throw them around. A few of its unlockable moves also make it grab enemies for a powerful slamming attack, including a German Suplex. Minotaur also has one where it lifts the enemy up to the air with its horns, spinning it a bit and then slamming it down. In most cases, you can hit another enemies with your grabbed enemy.
  • Homing Projectile: Garuda can shoot homing Feather Flechettes while being stationary (if you're moving around, you'll fire auto-aimed feathers instead). Dragon can fire homing electric balls.
  • Horn Attack: The Minotaur form does this with its main attack. Balrog and Rhinorian bosses also like charging around with their horns.
  • Hub Level: Area 7 is "Above the Genome Mist", i.e in the skies, where you can go into other areas in the game quickly.
    • The crash site you start the game in provides passage to pretty much all of the first half of the game. Provided you have the beast forms and learning genomes to traverse them, at least.
  • 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.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: Some parts of the levels are locked unless you beat the specific enemies called aptly "Gate Keepers". They're just variants of the common mooks, but with a Battle Aura and more resilience; they also don't respawn unlike regular mooks.
  • King Mook: Most bosses are this for a particular group of enemies, like Leviathan for the Rats, Aeshma for the Bloated Corpses, Sasquatch for the Amphibians and so on.
  • Limit Break: Your beast forms all have a special attack that requires you to fill a special gauge before they can be used; the gauge regenerates slowly, and attacking and being attacked can also regenerate it.
    • Werewolf's Berserker Charge has you doing a full-body rush to a direction, knocking foes up if they get hit. If upgraded with Type-S Genome, its rush distance is increased and you can do turns during the rush.
    • Merman's Decoy has you sending out a glowing "decoy" that doesn't do damage but attracts enemies towards it, allowing you to pelt at them safely.
    • Wendigo's Blizzard is a freezing Breath Weapon that you can aim left and right to freeze enemies around you.
    • Garuda's Tornado is a Tornado Move that damages all around you. If upgraded, you can move around while the Tornado is active, making it able to hurt more.
    • Minotaur's Fire Breath is a Breath Weapon of flame that burns close enemies and certain obstacles, and can be aimed left and right.
    • Dragon's Arc Lightning is a burst of electricity all around you, capable of killing all but the strongest Mooks in one hit. If upgraded, its range is increased.
    • Grizzly's Petrification Breath is another aimable Breath Weapon that encases enemies in stone.
    • U.W.H's Gravity Reversal is, well, you reversing gravity (and time) for a moment; attacking enemies will cause them to fall "up", and when the effect expires, they'll all fall back down for massive damage.
    • Weretiger's Fatal Wave is a multiple homing Razor Wind attack with massive reach, similar to the attack that Brad uses in the second phase of his battle.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Merman, Garuda and Dragon forms are primarily suited for long range attacks. For the former two especially, the game turns into a SHMUP.
  • Made of Iron: Luke himself, but also some enemies, who sometimes will still try to move and attack even when you have destroyed their heads, torsoes or even upper half.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: One of Werewolf's unlockable combo moves is it doing a mighty howl that stuns nearby enemies.
  • Mana Drain: In your human form, your "Deathblow" move can siphon Spirit Gauge from enemies. If the enemy is red colored (which will drop life essences if killed normally), using Deathblow on them results in Life Drain instead.
  • Market-Based Title: Project Altered Beast was released simply as Altered Beast in Europe.
  • Metal Slime:
    • The "Gate Keepers" are stronger-than-normal Mooks with a Battle Aura that will drop Genome Points that can be used to upgrade your beast forms' combo attacks. They also do not respawn unlike normal enemies. Certain areas in the levels are blocked unless you beat them.
    • More fitting are the "Unique Enemies" that usually require you to open secret areas and then kill them under a minute, lest they run away; if you fail, to encounter them again, you have to go out of the area and enter it again. If you succeed, they drop special genomes that can upgrade your beast forms' normal and special attacks.
  • Minimalist Cast: The game doesn't have that many characters; only Luke, Brad, Anastasia & Dr. Eric Jobs. (Unless you count the beast bosses, that is.)
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: 5 of the bosses swallowed Genome Chips and got mutated into gargantuan mix of animals.
    • Leviathan = a rat + the Merman chip, making it look like a sauropterygia (i.e ancient aquatic lizard) with rat's features.
    • Sasquatch = a frog + the Wendigo chip, i.e a frog with thick, hairy arms and legs that uses ice attacks.
    • Sytry = a quadrupedal furry animal (presumably feline) + the Garuda chip, making it a gryphon.
    • Balrog = a bat + the Minotaur chip, making for a truly demonic bat, what with its horns, spiky wings and body Wreathed in Flames.
    • Belphegor = a flea + the Grizzly chip, turning it into a gigantic flea with a small black bear head sticking out of its front.
    • Aside from the above, there's also the Cockatrice and its King Mook Basilisk, a secret project of Dr. Jobs where he aimed to recreate an ancient animal; it has features of both bird and reptile. The Unique Enemies are variants of these with different properties.
    • Anastasia's Chimera form has features of many animals at once. At first she only has scorpion legs and tail for her lower body; then she grows 2 snakes out of her arms, then they change to 2 fire-breathing rams, then they change to large bat/dragon wings, then they change to large pincers (making her a full scorpion), and lastly, they change to shield-like large webbed hands.
  • 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 and animations from different angles.
  • Mook Chivalry: In a rare case of Boss Chivalry, Rhinorian won't attack Luke in his human form (unless you attack him too many times) and will sit to recover his health, waiting for you to transform back.
  • Multiform Balance: Your multiple beast forms have different strengths and can handle different things.
  • Mysterious Waif: Anastasia first show up in the third cutscene, saying cryptic things to your Amnesiac Hero. Then as you go through the levels, she reveals more and more info.
  • Mythology Gag: The first boss of the original game is reimagined in the first stage of the final boss, both being a grotesque creature with a slug-like body who tosses human faces.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The second boss Sarcosuchus, a gigantic mutated crocodile. It can do a wide range Tail Slap as well as the crocodile death roll.
  • New Game+: The game throws out a very subtle one. If you manage to acquire Weretiger - meaning that you have completed the game 100% - you can start a new game with all of your beast forms unlocked from the start. If you're confused to only see 6 beast forms, try scrolling left beyond Werewolf and an "invisible" option will be highlighted, out of two: Grizzly and Weretiger, and to the far right, U.W.H.
  • No-Sell: Minotaur, Wendigo and Dragon can withstand fire, ice and electricity respectively, which helps in a few puzzles and against certain enemies, as well as in the fight against Anastasia. Subeverted by her "lightning phase", in which not even the Dragon can withstand the electricity and the Garuda is better suited - to avoid her attacks, not withstand them.
  • New Skill as Reward: Some of the bosses fought will yield "Learning Genome" after you beat them, which will give one of your beast forms a new skill; these skills are commonly useful for puzzle solving.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Living Corpse enemies are, well, living corpses reanimated and mutated by the Genome Mist. The Ogre enemies are the Technically Living Zombie variant, i.e still living people that got mutated by the Genome Mist. Most other humanoid mooks (i.e those that aren't experimental) are implied to be the same.
    • Dead Weight: The Bloated Corpse enemies are variant of the Living Corpses that got mutated and had their bodies, well, bloated.
  • Panthera Awesome: The boss Ose is a gigantic black panther that breathes fire and charges around in the room around you. There's also Brad with his Weretiger form, which you can later unlock.
  • Parental Favoritism: Dr. Eric Jobs quickly forgets about his previous subjects once he starts working on a new one; he especially likes Luke for being a more advanced Genome Cyborg. This gets to the point it turns Brad into The Resenter who's cold towards Luke, and becomes the cause of Anastasia's Start of Darkness.
  • Power Copying: Four of your beast forms (Merman, Wendigo, Garuda, Minotaur) are acquired by defeating the boss that have the respective Genome Chip inside them.
  • Project Blank: the "Project Altered Beast", a scientific project headed by Dr. Eric Jobs that aims for creating soldiers with capabilities of different kinds of beasts. The results are called "Genome Cyborgs".
  • Punched Across the Room: Many of Wendigo's attacks cause this on enemies, making the form hard to perform combos (on top of the attacks themselves being slow), but they also do high damage.
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • Aeshma can't be damaged directly (and he'll pound you if you're close); you have to throw cars at him with Wendigo.
    • Ose never touches the ground (it normally perches itself on high platforms or jump at the walls) unless you do a certain trick. Garuda form can still damage it from above, however.
    • Rhinorian is unique among other bosses in that it will actually defend against your attacks unless when he's attacking.
    • Belphegor, the Bonus Boss of the Elevator of Doom minigame. There's only one way of defeating it: 1) attack it enough that it becomes angry and try to roll at you. 2) Block its rolling with Minotaur, causing it to get knocked down. 3) Use Wendigo to lift it and then throw it into the water. 4) Have Merman pelt Bubble Bombs at it. Rinse, repeat.
  • Recollection Sidequest: The hero Luke gets amnesia at the start of the story after the helicopter crash. As he collects more Genome Chips from certain bosses, assimilating them into his body makes him remember parts of his memories.
  • Rhino Rampage: Rhinorian, the penultimate boss. It can block your attacks, as well as having both fire and ice attacks. Predictably, it also has rhino-charging moves.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: The first boss Leviathan, a mutated rat who has the Merman Genome Chip inside it. There are also big rat enemies fought on the way leading to the boss, and big mole enemies in the later levels.
  • Scars are Forever: It's mentioned that Weretiger's claws are laced with a certain virus that makes wounds hard to heal; it's aptly named "Necrosis Claw". Luke always retains the scar he got from Brad, even in his beast forms. Later on, Brad also does the same to Anastasia's Chimera form, causing a huge gash that serves as her weak point.
  • Scorpion People: The Final Boss Anastasia's second form has a giant scorpion-like body, complete with the long tail, and a human torso on top. The arms on the torso changes as its health bar is depleted; the fifth form has them change into scorpion pincers, making it a full scorpion-human.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Luke can easily turn into monsters with elongated/enlarged limbs and bodies and, in case of Dragon, growing wings and a tail. Anastasia also turns gargantuan after activating her Chimera form.
  • Shapeshifter Showdown: There are three 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.
  • Shapeshifting Heals Wounds: Lorewise, at least, Luke can technically regenerate from injuries as he transforms into one of his beast forms. In a subversion, he has a Wound That Will Not Heal on his chest, courtesy of his rival, Brad, whose Weretiger claws are laced with a certain virus that causes cellular necrosis; Luke retains the scar even in his beast forms. In gameplay, he retains his current HP whenever he transforms.
  • Shout-Out: The Merman's design and ability to shoot bullets of water recalls to mind the ones from Castlevania.
  • Sequential Boss: Many bosses change their strategy upon losing one of their health bars. Anastasia takes it Up to Eleven where she has no less than 6 forms, changing to a new one each time her health bar is depleted.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Xenesthis is one of the biggest bosses, overall realistic-looking and one of his attacks consist in puking out his previous meals at you. The fact that you have to get as close as possible to it to make it pounce at you (so that he becomes open after that) doesn't help, nor the mention that its spiked forelimbs are used to hold the prey still as it eats them...
  • Spin Attack: Werewolf and Wendigo forms can acquire a spinning claw attack and spinning fist attack respectively.
  • Stationary Boss:
    • One of the bosses, Aeshma, is a gigantic baby... thing who just sits in the corner throwing cars at you. You as Wendigo has to throw cars back at him.
    • 2 of Anastasia's phases (the first and the last) have her being stationary and just do long-ranged attacks. Both forms would require you to turn into Dragon and pelt it from far away.
  • Stone Wall: The Minotaur is slow but has the greatest defense of all the transformations. When other beastmen are knocked back by an attack they fall on their back, even the larger Wendigo, but the Minotaur instead is merely knocked back on his knee, even from such powerful attacks. His Iron Guard even allows him to stop giant bosses and advancing wall/rolling rocks traps dead in their tracks.
  • Super Soldier: The "Genome Cyborgs."
  • Swiss Army Hero: Luke, thanks to his multiple beast transformations. Brad simply wasn't designed for multiple transformations, while Anastasia is a more "imperfect" version of this.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: If you run out of cars to throw at Aeshma he'll pull several out of the lot behind him and sending them sliding towards you. Xenesthis will try to pounce you if you get too close to the web, allowing you to whale on it when it climbs back on the arena. In a way, Leviathan will try to fight Werewolf!Luke on land despite being clearly at a disadvantage.
  • Theme Naming: Some of the mutants are named after Greek Mythology, while others, like Sytry and Ose, take their names from the demons of Ars Goetia.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Best seen in the Werewolf transformation sequence, where the teeth are knocked out of their place and replaced by fangs.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Anastasia was Dr. Jobs' assistant and a fellow subject of the Project Altered Beast, but due to her resentment she then released the Genome Mist to the whole city.
  • Turns Red: Most bosses, when injured, change their attack patterns or become faster and stronger. Examples include Leviathan actually moving on land and counterattacking, or Xenesthis climbing back faster on his web as his health decreases.
  • Underwater Boss Battle: Sarcosuchus and Callichthys bosses are fought underwater, with Merman. Sasquatch's first phase is also done underwater before going out of it for the second phase.
  • The Virus: The "Genome Mist" mutates humans and animals alike. Genome Cyborgs are immune against it, which explains why our hero is doing his adventures alone and the lack of characters apart from fellow Genome Cyborgs Brad and Anastasia; they're all mutated by the 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. Also Brad, after the flashback fight with Luke and when he encounters Luke again in the present.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Anastasia just wanted Dr. Jobs to recognize her as his prized test subject. Unfortunately, she went too far on doing this and went mad with getting stronger.
  • Wolverine Claws: The Werewolf form naturally has this. Weretiger also has longer claws.


Video Example(s):


Altered Beast [Rise From Your Grave]

The barely audible clip from the 80s arcade game that started it all.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / RiseFromYourGrave

Media sources: