November 23, 2011 76 Comments
I mean, I have my own gaming blog now, so why not just cover whatever the fuck is on my mind? And what’s on my mind now? How bad of taste you fuckwits in the 80s had. Altered Beast is considered to be a classic, but I never played it until about ten minutes ago. I downloaded it a while back when it was free for all Playstation Plus subscribers. I never actually intended to play it, because, well, 80s, ewww. But free is free. Well actually, not free. Considering all the games and discounts my Playstation Plus subscription has netted me, I figure I paid about 13¢ for it. An outrageous price for this unbelievably awful piece of shit.
Altered Beast is five levels of pure pain. The nameless (I think) hero is apparently some dead dude who must rise from the dead to save the daughter of Santa Claus, who is dressed in an Abominable Snowman costume for some reason. To do this, he must transform into various human-animal thingies and fight this evil bald-headed dude that looks like Gargamel crossed with Skeletor, who (spoiler alert) turns into Rocksteady from Ninja Turtles in the final fight, while you fight him as a werewolf. And when you win, Yeti Santa’s daughter turns out to be a bird. I swear, this is less a game and more an infomercial for the annual Furries on Parade DVD.
You know, for a guy who takes steroids and animal hormones to get big and strong, the protagonist is, well, kind of a sissy. He’s throws punches like he’s afraid he’s going to break a nail, ducks down and kicks up like he’s swatting at gnats, and moves around as if he’s frolicking about in a way designed to make his parents disown him. Heroes should not ever frolic. They can prance. They can skip. They can even cross-dress and strut. But they absolutely, positively, can not frolic.
While playing this game, I had to remind myself that Altered Beast comes from 1988. It was a simpler time, and the reason it was simple is because fun was still a new concept and Sega had not perfected it yet. Some might say they didn’t get their shit together until Sonic the Hedgehog. Ha, as if. This might be a generational thing, but I think the original Sonic the Hedgehog games, well, suck. They control poorly, have unfair level design, boss fights so easy that they would embarrass the Fisher-Price crowd, and are just in general soulless, corporate-designed “me too!” games designed to woo the Super Mario fans over to their console. I mean come on, he’s a blue hedgehog who wears sneakers and has “attitude”. If someone described that same character today you guys would all talk about what a transparent attempt at trying to be cool it was and shit all over it. Yes, you would.
And yes, I’ve heard everyone say “Sonic was not committee designed, you hateful ignorant bitch! It was totally organic! Listen to what the developer had to say about it!” Seriously, do you believe in the Easter Bunny too? Do you expect a company with a lifetime of turning out products that are complete and utter shit to admit that their mascot was designed by a team of focus testers watching a group of children play Super Mario Bros. through a two-way mirror?
Hey, I loved the Dreamcast. I was ten years old when it came out and I thought it was the be all, end all of gaming. Now I’m all grown up and I realize that gaming is always getting better. I enjoyed the Dreamcast but it’s not sacred or anything. It’s just an old video game system now. Every type of game it features has been done better several times over since then. Hell, even it’s best games were relics before they came out, like Skies of Arcadia. Decent game, but a total throwback to old school RPGs that I likely only enjoyed because it was the very first RPG I ever played. Most of the stuff on the Dreamcast only seemed cool to me at the time because I was relatively new to life and thus relatively new to gaming. Which is why stuff like Sonic the Hedgehog and Altered Beast was cool and fun to you.
But I’m not a kid anymore. I can see the Dreamcast for what it is: just another video game machine, no better or worse than any of its predecessors or successors. Well actually, kind of worse now that I think about it. Have you actually played Sonic Adventure lately? Crazy Taxi? Phantasy Star Online? Shenmue? They’re all pretty weak by today’s standards, and those were the A-Listers of the Dreamcast lineup. So maybe the consumers who tanked the Dreamcast by not buying it were actually ahead of the curve. After all, Sega games these days kind of suck. Everyone is going gaga over Sonic Generations, but it’s crap too, just like every Sonic game ever has been. Sonic Generations is bad by any standard except the standard of Sonic the Hedgehog. Still, the love-fest for it baffles me. It’s like parents who reward a perpetual F student with an iPhone because he fluked a C- in Biology.
Classic games are not sacred. Altered Beast is one of the most horrible games of all time. Saying “well, it was good back in the day” means exactly diddly squat to me because we’re not back in the day anymore. It’s right now, today. Altered Beast and the original Sonic the Hedgehog are crap now. When I was ten, I thought Sonic Adventure was awesome, Crazy Taxi was totally radical, and House of the Dead was the single greatest achievement mankind had ever made. Today, I realize that they’re all shit. Please stop. Do you know what happens when relics of the 80s are artificially kept relevant in modern times? That’s right, they gross a billion dollars in box office receipts.
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