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Activision Inc
Arcade: Gang beat-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes

Other Links

Mark Caswell
Chris Bourne

Altered Beast takes us back to a time when nasty mythological creatures roamed the Earth and the only mighty heroes around were six-foot under. A good example is the heroic-type corpse resurrected by Zeus (the head honcho of the Greek gods) to rescue his daughter, Athena, from the clutches of Nelf, Lord of the Underworld (cue evil laughter).

But of course, Nelf, despite having a stupid name, is pretty sharp in the smarty-pants department. He isn't going to give Athena up without a fight, but not to worry 'cause our zombie lad (when alive) won honours in monster mangling and wrote a best-selling novel titled '100 Places To Stick A Very Sharp Sword' (I've read that one, so watch it - Ed).

The game's a multi-level affair with most of the attacking creatures looking like extras from a George Romero flick. In normal mode, the player sprite could probably go a couple of rounds with the likes of Nike Tyson. But once in a while glowing 'spirit balls' (ahem!) appear. Collecting one means our hero can leap buildings in a single bound, catch bullets in his teeth etc (well not quite, but you know what I mean). Grabbing a second ball (madam), the character transforms into a strange were-beast with awesome powers (able to push tall buildings over, throw unfeasibly large objects around etc).

When first reviewed way back In Issue 71, Altered Beast didn't receive a particularly warm greeting. And now, two years later, the story's just the same. Don't get me wrong, the game isn't dire, but the programmer should have been shot a birth.

The colour scheme is horrendous, a definite case of 'pass the sick bag, please Vicar', but the real problem is the scrolling - it rarely keeps up with your movements so when you advance it often takes a few seconds for the screen to catch up.

Overall, Altered Beast is a slightly above average beat-'em-up that may just appeal to fans of the coin-op.

MARK … 69%



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Saturday night on the town in Tenbury Wells. A bit rough isn't it punters? They've all had a bit too much down the Cellar Bar.