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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' beloved daughter Athena kidnapped by the evil sorcerer Neff, and then unwillingly transformed into a dove.. Zeus responds to this via having two centurions resurrected specifically to rescue her.
- Adaptation Expansion: The NES version adds a werelion, wereshark, and werebird, and the GBA game adds power-ups and beasts.
- All Just a Dream: The ending of the arcade reveals that the entire game was, apparently, one really bizarre movie. The actors even go out for some cold beers when done filming, while still in their outfits!
- Artistic License History: The manual even says the protagonists are Roman centurions. And yet the setting is Greek, and so are the gods' names (then again, Rome invaded Greece and stole their pantheon...).
- Bald of Evil: Neff.
- Baleful Polymorph: Athena, who as said above ends up morphed into a dove. She's released when Neff is defeated.
- Chickification: The Athena from the Myths wasn't always a frontline fighter, but as the Goddess of Defensive Warfare she still did what she could to help the heroes she sponsored and was always seen decked in armor. Here, she's simply a Distressed Damsel. Subverted and, in a way, justified: she isn't the real Athena but a human actress playing her, since the "game" was actually a very weird movie
- Classic Cheat Code: Allows for reaching other levels, changing health/lives and order the beasts appear.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Poor Athena is seen bound to a cross in some cutscenes.
- Cutscenes: Possibly the most memorable part of this game are the dramatic transformation sequences. Word of God claims he had an animation team working on them for a full month.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Probably unintentional(ly hilarious) in the Sega Genesis port.
- Everything's Worse with Bears: Level 3's beast.
- Evil Laugh: The main villain goes "Ho ho ho ho" when stealing the player's spirit orbs.
- Faceless Eye: Level 2 boss.
- Fair Play Villain: Neff is implied to want the heroes to pose a big challenge to him. So he will only fight them if they're in their beast forms, and if not he will simply run away from them until they transform.
- Foreshadowing: Level 4 has statues of anthropomorphic rhinos. Guess which form the final boss takes?
- Furry Fandom: Naturally.
- 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.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Level 2 beast, Level 3/4 bosses, a Chinese dragon-like enemy in Level 2.
- Magic Pants: Character grows. Shirt rips. Pants still on. Though the shirt still gets shredded with each expansion.
- Nintendo Hard: The arcade version and its ports.
- 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:
Neff: WELCOME TO YOUR DOOM!
- Recurring Boss: Neff is technically every boss, but he changes into a different monster each time.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: The protagonist of Project Altered Beast moves away from the Classical Mythology setting and takes place in modern times.
- Rise from Your Grave: Possible Trope Namer.
- Save the Princess: The objective of the game, with the princess being Athena.
- Shapeshifter Baggage: Neff can transform into creatures twice the size of him.
- 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.
- Have in mind this sounded AWESOME when it was released!
- Although hardware limitations prevented the inclusion of the rather impressive (for the time) scaling effects sequences seen on the arcade original.