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..
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.
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:
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)
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..
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