Altered Beast
Pictures from the arcade game

This page was made for people who wanted to see pictures from the old "Altered Beast" arcade game, without actually having to play it all the way through. All thanks to arcade game emulation software!

During the game's five levels, the human character turns into four creatues - wolf, dragon, bear, tiger, and wolf (different colour and powers than the first time around). If you're playing with more than one person, the animal colours become really funky. Many of the levels have similar monsters so I won't go into those in detail.


Before you start inserting quarters, you first see an opening screen and a title screen; a human eye and a bestial eye.

At the start of the game, a ghostly image of a god appears and commands you to rise from your grave and rescue his daughter. Between each level, the god watches his daughter's plight within his crystal ball. During gameplay these images are confusing and unhelpful. They make much more sense when viewed together here:

The sorceror subduing the god's daughter
The sorceror casting a spell with the god's daughter on a cross
The god's daughter turning into a bird
The sorceror triumphant

Who is the sorceror? Why does he want to turn the god's daughter into a bird? Who knows. It's never explained. On each level he appears at one point to shoot electrical bolts at you, then walks away. Once you've assumed your animal form, he shows up again, gets really tall, and then turns into some sort of monster you must fight to finish the level. Once defeated, his head rises up, turns you back into a human, and as he leaves, you jump into the portal he's made to chase after him.

Moving on to the animal screen shots:

Werewolf:
On level 1, you're travelling through an ancient Greek cemetery, and you get to turn into a werewolf. The werewolf is the only character whose transformation is animated all the way through. For the other animals, the programmers didn't bother.
An animation of the werewolf transformation.
The final encounter is some sort of demon who throws his heads at you. These must be dodged - there is a pattern of some sort - and between attacks you can throw fireballs at him.

Dragon-man:
Level 2 is played in a swamp, where you turn into a dragon-man. I would have loved to have gotten more screenshots of the dragon-man, but his fighting movements are too quick. Similarly, I couldn't get images of him being hit and falling to the ground, because there's almost no visible ground - you can see some here but it gets destroyed pretty quickly. Of the more interesting monsters on this level are rattlesnake-like serpents which shoot out from the floor and ceiling. I never saw anyone get past this level in the arcade when I was young, but I suspect that was due to watching lame players.

An animation of the dragon in flight.
When I moved these web pages to a new server a few years ago, the dragon animation got corrupted. It seems to work fine in most web browsers, but sometimes gets stuck - if it does, try reloading the page, and it should work fine. I also found this other version of the animation that someone else put together. (I've artifically doubled its size for viewing.)
The separate stages of the dragon-man's flight.
The dragon-man standing and kicking.

The final monster on level 2 is a giant weird plant that shoots eyeballs at you. I think the eyeballs home in on your location, so it's a matter of luring them in one direction, then flying around them to shoot your lightning breath at the plant before it attacks again.

Bear:
On Level 3 you travel along a rocky underground passage. Weird ant creatures run towards you from all directions and there are giant snails. The bear has the power to tuck into a ball and spin around really fast, and to turn anyone standing next to him to stone by breathing on them. It's the only level where you can die by falling down pits at the bottom of the screen. On the other hand, a lot of your enemies automatically fall into these pits by themselves.
The bear sitting after being knocked down.
The final monster on level 3 is a giant snail-dragon thing. It breathes fireballs at you, unless you manage to breathe on it first, in which case the fireballs turn into rocks(?), which you can destroy by spinning into them. The strategy of attack is to breathe on the monster repeatedly and then to spin to destroy the rocks.

Tiger-man:
On level 4 you travel along a pillared hallway. Here and there you might see a rhinoceros statue in the background; this is a foreshadowing of your final battle. On this level you get to turn into a tiger-man.
Animated simulation of his transformation.
The tiger crouching and jumping.
Animation of the tiger transforming, throwing a fireball and punching.
The final monster is a floating dragon, and he takes quite a while to defeat. He creates little red dragon-men who fly around trying to hurt you. More dangerously, he releases a series of fireballs. These can be avoided by crouching as low to the ground as possible in the right spots. Between these attacks you can fire an energy ball at him. Every so now and again, the floating dragon descends to ground level and shoots a single fireball at you, which you must jump over.

All forms:
Here you see all the phases of the werewolf transformation together, along with the final faces of the other animals.
Stages of the human transformation, both standing and crouching.

Endgame:

Level 5 is the last and most difficult level. Not only are the surroundings surreal, but the monsters all move very quickly and are very tough to fight. Bad guys include nasty purple unicorn-men, goat-men, boar-men, and a rhino-man. The rhino is the final encounter. He's very big, and as you fight him, his tint becomes increasingly more pink until he's a radioactive shade of purple before you defeat him. I would have loved to have animated him walking and charging except the battle area obscured his feet. The best method to fight him is to stand away from him, shoot a fireball, jump over him as he charges at you, shoot again, jump over again, and so on.

After you kill him, a bird flies out of the portal and turns back into the god's daughter. Here you can see her back to normal again. Look carefully in the rubble for "The Scream" and "The Thinker"!

As the game finishes, the last image you see in the crystal ball shows the werewolf and the god's daughter standing together.

The visual reward for finishing the game is a series of nine photographs, which gradually become more candid:

The lizardman vs. gargoyles
The bear looking at the ants approaching from behind
The tiger-man snarling at a purple unicorn
The five bald guys
The werewolf amidst enemies
The god, his daughter, and the werewolf
Taking off the game costumes
Everyone enjoying a mug of beer
The programmers or game testers?


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