Sega Sunday #2 – 8bit Altered Beast

I love Altered Beast, I grew up playing it on the Sega Mega Drive. Once I started collecting video games I found out it was originally an arcade game and there were ports to several home consoles. Most people know about the Sega Mega Drive Altered Beast, but it was also released for the Sega Master System, the NEC PC Engine (both on HU-card and on CD-ROM) and finally I have also found a port of the Altered Beast (Jūōki) game for the Famicom! There’s probably  more that I don’t know about..
Altered Beast Famicom, back and front box

This Famicom version surprised me though since Sega and Nintendo were such big competitors and Altered Beast were one of Sega’s pearls. But it actually says copyright Sega really tiny in the bottom of the cartridge.
Jyuuouki (Altered Beast)

Here’s all the Altered Beast games I have and know about:
Altered Beast games

Tonight I’ve been playing the 8-bit versions on Famicom and Sega Master System to compare the two. The Famicom version has been totally re-done by Asmik, and compared to all the other ports of Altered Beast this one really stands out. It’s faster, the character isn’t as stiff as he is in the other Altered Beast games and the sprites have gotten a cute and more rounded makeover, compared to the masculine muscular macho-style of the original ^^ You also have 3 continues which makes the game a bit easier. Here’s a comparison of screenshots from the Famicom version and the Sega Master System version:
Altered Beast - start screen
Altered Beast - Stage 1
Altered Beast - werewolfAltered Beast - Stage 3 vs 2

What’s really interesting though is that in the Famicom version they’ve put in a whole new stage as a second stage, the regular stage that I’m used to where you transform into a dragon is the third stage of the Famicom version. In this stage you transform into a lion and the stage boss is a pig ^^ I think you will be able to transform into a shark in later stages as well (based on the box cover art)
Altered Beast Famicom stage 2
Altered BEast Famicom Stage 2 boss

On the Famicom version I managed to get to the stage where you transform into a bear, which in this version is stage 4. On the Master System version I didn’t even manage to get to the first boss before getting a game over >_< This version is if possible even stiffer than the Mega Drive one. I have beaten the Mega Drive Altered Beast a few years ago after I figured out you could change settings and increase your amount of health and lives, but this Master System version is really really hard and I haven’t found any way to get continues or an easier setting..
Altered Beast - Game Over
The game over text is much cuter in the Famicom version ^_^

I managed to record my efforts on Jūōki for the Famicom, but I was too lazy to bring out the DVD burner to record my failures in the Sega Master System version.. Anyway, here’s the video of my gameplay from Altered Beast on the Famicom, check it out since it’s got some pretty sweet 8-bit Altered Beast tunes! :D

9 thoughts on “Sega Sunday #2 – 8bit Altered Beast

  1. Pretty neat stuff. So I am guessing that this is a Chinese port of the game rather than something actually done by Sega?

      • I guess licensing that out was easier for them to do than, later on, doing something like Sonic the Hedgehog, since that was a flagship character.

      • Well, look at it this way: In the 80’s Sega would have made more money on home and/or portable ports of some arcade games if they ended up on more platforms, even non-Sega ones. There were some Sega games on Atari systems back in the old days (*creak, groan*) (Thunderground, Buck Rogers, Zaxxon, etc), Subroc went from the arcade to ColecoVision and even Fantasy Zone got the multi-platform treatment (on a few systems!):

      • Yep, that makes complete sense. As I said, I think with Sonic (initially at least) it was totally different, but with their arcade titles it made perfect sense to maximize their profits through various platforms. :)

  2. After Burner also made it to the Famicom as a non-Sega port (by Sunsoft, published by Tengen), so it seems Sega wasn’t limiting itself to their own consoles (at least as far as some of their arcade games).

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