Altered Beast

No, really.

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.

Ho ho ho, rise from your grave little boy and tell Santa if you’ve been a good boy this year!

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 “what about me?” 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.

It sure beats the original name: Mario the Mario – Not Mario Edition, by Not Nintendo

And yes, I’ve heard everyone say “Sonic was not committee designed, you hateful ignorant bitch! It was totally organic! 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 among the first RPGs 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 got a fluke B- 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.

Thanks a lot, 80s!

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

77 Responses to Altered Beast

  1. BrunoB says:

    Sega had always been more about cutting edge technology rather than engrossing gameplay, especially in the arcades. Altered Beast was a beauty to behold in its day (and looked much better on CRT displays, as many retro titles), but yes, it wasn’t such a great game to play.

    Still, what’s your problem with the 80s? Back then you said “werewolf” and kids thought about Altered Beast, now they think about Twilight, who wins?

  2. You weren’t there, man! YOU WEREN’T THERE! *twitch*

  3. A Person of Interest says:


  4. Craig says:

    Certainly, you weren’t there. Or have a soul, for that matter. XD

    Sonic was awesome. Back in the days when Mario only had drugs and bad jumping to woo gamers, Sonic went up in the hizz-ouse and blitzed everything. He had powerups, higher color palettes, BETTER graphics, BETTER level design, SPEED(not the drug), AND attitude! And he represented realistic gameplay, He could DROWN! You had to GO UP FOR AIR when you stayed underwater too long OR YOU COULD DIE!!! Mario was so high apparently, that he lived in a unicorn+lolipop wonderland where the properties of water didn’t have to be respected.

    Mario’s only accomplishment was being the most amusing junkie in history. Sonic was THE FASTEST THING ALIVE!

    And Sonic was SO not committee designed, you hateful, ignorant bitch! It was totally organic! Listen to what the developer had to say about it. Seriously.

    Pinball physics > fat people with heartburn hopping around.

    • Edge says:

      Realistic gameplay? How many hedgehogs wear running shoes and take out the mechanical creations of a mad scientist? I am not saying that Sonic is bad but come on, don’t say that the games have realistic gameplay.

  5. Adman says:

    I don’t really understand your main thesis… Your kind of all over the road.

    “Games from back in the day are crap IF you judge them by today’s standards.” Well, sure, of course they are. I don’t think anyone disagrees with that. Is there someone out there claiming that Altered Beast remains a fun and poignant game today? Who are you talking to?

    “Games from back in the day WERE crap, even in their own time.” This, I disagree with. And so you do you: “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.” Of course you did. Because, to a certain extent, they were. Newly released AAA games generally represent the state of the art of the industry.

    I’m your newest fan, but frankly, given the above quote, I think you’re just trolling. And here I am falling for it.

    Nostalgia isn’t thinking that Golden Axe is the best game ever made, and always will be. Nostalgia is remembering standing shoulder to shoulder with your best friend, pumping quarters into the game and beating the final boss and watching the final credits roll, and the gloriousness of it all. Or staying up all night playing Megaman on the original NES. Or countless other memories I’m fond of.

    You can say “fuck nostalgia” if you want. Not me, though.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      Do you actually have to play Golden Axe again to remember standing shoulder to shoulder with your friend, burning quarters together? Because Golden Axe is also a piece of shit today. It fucking sucks.

      • I actually quite like your blog, and particularly, this post.

        It reminds me that there’s at least something out there worse in general structure than “Everything is an 8+ or higher!” IGN, and that the “I’m a girl and I game” mythology of wonderment still works to get you attention, despite your boring mode of writing, and general lack of any real insightfulness in the subject matter you blog about.

        Using ‘fuck,’ ‘twat,’ and ‘cunt,’ aren’t exactly great tools for hyperbole if every other paragraph contains at least two instances of them, or words like them. You’re charming, though; like that horrible case of clap that reminds a lonely man that, at least on one occasion, he had sex. With something.

        Well played, trollette.

  6. jdanddiet says:

    I have to agree with Adman. And I also find it bizarre that someone who spends what seems an awful lot of time playing indie games which in the majority contain many influences from retro games (platformers, shooters etc) should make such a post.

    I’ve relied on your reviews for some light at the end of the incessant XBLIG tunnel, downloaded all of your top 10 games and in the main agreed.

    If this was trolling and an attempt to get more people to read your blog then in my opinion it’s misguided. -1 reader here.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      Just so we’re perfectly clear: Yes, I did this article just to get people to read my blog. Fucking duh.

      But, it wasn’t for the sake of being a troll. The above article is 100% my authentic opinion. Indie Gamer Chick is my personal forum to say whatever I want about gaming. It’s how I felt, I had an outlet to say it, and I did it. And I did so with full knowledge that lots of people would disagree with it. Whether it costs me readers or not, I don’t really care. It’s not like I’m trying to run a profitable business here.

      But yes, you are correct. This post was purely for shock value and page hits. And hooray for me because I got both the reaction I wanted and the page views to match. And I did so simply by stating exactly how I feel. Funny how that works.

  7. Kairi Vice says:

    I’ve fielded the troll comments before from the XNA Fanboys. Every time any person doesn’t like it when one person picks on their preferred tit of the video gaming cow, they act exactly like the guys at the Retro Gamer forum are doing right now. The XNA guys did at first too. If I had turned my attention to the Wii, Xbox, or Playstation 3, I would deal with the same thing from their respective camps.

    That’s what I love about gaming. You dweebs treat cheering for your favorite system like a competitive sport. I’ve never understood how grown men could get so teary eyed and butthurt when someone insults their favorite machine. The simple act of saying the Wii is fucking awful (and it is) can literally ruin the day of many adults out there. It’s simply mind-boggling. Saying the Playstation 3 is a huge letdown causes their fans to get out the pitchforks and torches. Saying the Xbox360 is kind of a buggy piece of shit gets it’s fan boys ready for a lynching.

    Retro Gamers are the exact same. You guys are less gamers and more like cheerleaders, just like any other group of fanboys. I’m actually impressed that you guys can play such a wide range of game machines with your massive bitch tits and pom poms getting in the way. Gimmie an R! Gimmie an E! Gimmie a T! Gimmie an R! Gimmie an O! What’s that spell? FANBOY!

    So no, I’m not a troll. Everyone who disagrees with your absurd fanboydom isn’t a troll. I also resent the notion that I would post something just to get the page hits. I mean, it’s true. Of course it is. That’s the whole point of having a blog. But if I post something that I don’t believe myself, well, that’s just wasting my time. I’m not anti-retro gaming. I just don’t delude myself into thinking 90% of classic games hold up today. They don’t. Sonic the Hedgehog is a bad game today. So are my childhood favorites. When I was 10, my favorite games were Sonic Adventure, Banjo Kazooie, and Goldeneye. They all suck today. Every last one of them. I liked Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64 too. And then they brought it back on the Xbox 360, and I resisted at first. I knew that the actual game could not possibly hold up to my cherished memories of it. But I caved in and got it. And I was right, it’s a piece of shit. It’s been done better dozens of times since it came out. And those games that bested it will be bested themselves over time. That’s what’s awesome about gaming. It always gets better.

    My favorite game ever is Kingdom Hearts. I’ve played through it once, and I will never play through it again. Why? Because I know a repeated playthrough can’t possibly compete with my memories of it. It’s another reason why I don’t get retro-gaming. Because you guys really aren’t about being retro. You’re about replaying the same old games you’ve already beaten a dozen times over. It’s not really about the period for you, but just holding onto those sacred childhood toys. You’ve made gaming your security blanket. If I lived to be a thousand I wouldn’t have time to play every GOOD game made, which is why I don’t replay stuff I’ve already finished. I want to have as many new experiences as possible.

    You can do that with Retro Gaming. Bust out your MAME emulator and I promise you haven’t played 99.9% of the ROMS you’ve meticulously downloaded. But that’s not really what this is about, is it? It’s not about the games being old. It’s about someone insulting you for your security blanket. Well Linus, sorry I pulled the football out from under you. I’m going after Super Mario 64 next. You might not want to stick around for that one. Unless you’re a double fanboy: Retro and Sega. If that’s the case, I look forward to the gleeful posts on Retro Gamer saying “INDIE GAMER CHICK HAS REDEEMED HERSELF!” Gimmie an S!

    • BrunoB says:

      Congrats for your pageviews! anyway while I agree with most of what you said, I’d like to point out that not all past games have been bested, as some genres are now almost completely extinct (shmups) or have changed radically (sidescrolling beat’em ups).

      Maybe you didn’t consider this as you’ve started gaming in 3D, but indeed many game genres didn’t survive the 2D-3D transition, and I think they can be a big reason as to why ppl go retro!

  8. I don’t think it’s “old games are bad” that is annoying people, so much “old games are bad, and if you disagree with me you’re wrong and stupid”. No one likes to be told they’re stupid.

    Not to mention the irony that at least four of your top ten XBLIGs are basically retro games, just made recently instead of twenty years ago.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      Yea, well, people need to be called stupid everyone once and a while. It’s the only way they’ll learn.

      “Not to mention the irony that at least four of your top ten XBLIGs are basically retro games, just made recently instead of twenty years ago.”

      But they are games I never previously played before. That’s my stance on gaming: one and done. Beat a game, never play that game again. And the reason for that is replays can’t compete with my fond memories. Almost every time I replay a game, it spoils my cherished memories of it. Why would I or anyone want to replay games I’ve already played to their fullest? There are thousands of games out there I haven’t played. I’m commonly asked what is the best video game of all time. Not what my favorite was, but what’s the best ever. And my answer is “I don’t know, but there’s a good chance whatever it is, I’ve never played it.” Maybe you guys haven’t either.

      I’m not knocking the concept of older games. I’m knocking the concept that older games are sacred. They’re not. And in general, your favorite games are not as good as you remember them. I think most people who spend their gaming hours playing the same stuff they did as teenagers or adolescents mostly just convince themselves they’re having as much as they did “back in the day.”

  9. Craig says:

    Man, the Xbox 360 IS a buggy piece of shit! And the PS3 IS a huge letdown!

    Kairi, I wuvs u again. lol

  10. Some of your points hold up, but others ones would be difficult to defend.

    You’d be hard pressed to find a title similar to A Link to the Past that holds up today. I go back and play that game every few years (2 years ago, my brother and I had a competition to see who could get through it faster) and it is still a masterpiece. The soundtrack is beautiful, and gameplay is top notch. The puzzles are still intuitive and never overly difficult, but even now I find myself trying to figure out ways of getting through it faster. For example, getting the forged sword before you are really supposed to be able to.

    A lot of the titles from the mid 90’s look and play like garbage because they were on the cusp of a technology breakthrough. Before PSX, Saturn, and N64, polygons were few and far between, and texture maps didn’t even exist. The technology has far outpaced that.

    Sonic CD is another fine example. It took a lot of the elements which made Sonic 1 so good, and vastly grew them. The future / past scenario for example, still hasn’t been done in other games to my knowledge. Sure, the 3D parts sucked and controlled like garbage, but the rest of the game provided a lot of innovation for the industry.

    Often times people see flaws as features. Look at Resident Evil. Many (most) people complained about the tank like controls. Do they suck? Of course. But that’s part of the fear behind the game – the thought that you can’t run and shoot at the same time is polarizing, because you either have to fight or flee. That’s why it remains one of the scariest games to date, and the GameCube remake showed this, and with greatly improved graphics. As soon as they changed the controls (in 4) they had a completely different game and genre.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      I first played Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past on the Gameboy Advance when I was 13 years old.

      Honest truth? Great game, but I actually liked Minish Cap better. Yep.

  11. KILLER says:

    Indie Gamer Chicks just won’t understand. Resistance towards this drivel does not come from fanboyism, it comes from a strong reaction towards your complete disrespect towards good games of the past (and their pioneering developers), never minding Altered Beast (that was never widely considered as a good or classic game). Good games are good games, no matter their age.

    And incidentally, SEGA’s best is represented the legendary Yu Suzuki and his AM2 division, never Sonic the Hedgehog (even though the first game is a solid platformer), who before Sonic authored many arcade masterpieces that I’d never dare to think you would be capable of appreciating.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      Meh, I’m going over Mr. Suzuki’s game list on Wikipeida and, although I tip my hat to his string of major commercial hits, I find most of them to be overrated. Probably a generational thing. Most of his “legendary” games came out before I was even born. Of them, I truly don’t think any of them hold up at all. Space Harrier? Out Run? Afterburner? Meh, meh, and meh. You’re right, good games are good games no matter what their age. But I’m going to continue on that logic and say if a good game ages less than gracefully, it was never really that good to begin with. And that is true of every single one of his games.

      After I was born, he came up with Virtua Fighter, which I can’t for the life of me see how anyone could have ever thought was good. Or Virtua Cop. And of course, Suzuki was the lead developer of Shenmue, the biggest money losing single title in video game history. So basically you’re saying Sega’s reputation was based on games that were worth a couple quarters each in their day but are worth nothing now. So thank you for seeing my way. I’m 100% on board with you. 😀

      Let’s compare Suzuki, king of Sega, with Shigeru Miyamoto, a guy who’s games do hold up today. Well, some of them. Would you rather play Out Run today or Super Mario 3? Or how about a guy who made games before even Suzuki? Like say, Dave Theurer. He did Missile Command and Tempest for Atari. His games hold up WAY better than Suzuki’s. Heck, they’re still fun to this day. So are the games of Eugene Jarvis (Defender, Robotron). You can’t say that same about Suzuki’s “classics.” Quite frankly, Sega is lucky to have left the impact they did on gaming. Their games really sucked, and the Genesis only took off because Nintendo took too long porting the Super Famicom to America. In Japan, Sega never really was worth all that much. The Genesis (Mega Drive) never even came close to overtaking the PC Engine (known as the Turbo Graphics) for second place among the 16-bit consoles in Japan.

  12. KILLER says:

    Just as I thought, then.

    Suzuki is just as infuential as Miyamoto. Shigeru would tell you the same. And yeah… Missile Command, I’m willing to concede, but indeed I’d much rather play Space Harrier than Tempest, two games that are even fairly comparable. And not seeing why Virtua Fighter is good, let alone great…

    I’m afraid you don’t have the pedigree and/or knowledge to assess what a good game is. You’re only able to determine what you enjoy and what not. I suggest you stick to toying around with indie shovelware and keep your mad diary entries to yourself, instead of further polluting the internet with them.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      “..keep your mad diary entries to yourself, instead of further polluting the internet with them.”

      I just posted it on my blog. You came here on your own to read it. I certainly don’t remember personally inviting you. I don’t even know you. So I’m not really polluting the internet. You came into my airspace. And then you whined about my opinion. That kind of makes you a bit of a bitch doesn’t it? More specifically, that makes you my bitch.

  13. KILLER says:

    I didn’t whine about your opinion, I gave an opinion on your whining. Be thankful that you got that much out of me, instead of calling me a bitch.

  14. Kairi Vice says:

    Oh, and to those guys who said “nobody ever thought Altered Beast was special or a classic”, well, that’s not exactly the response I got on Twitter the other night when I was tweeting during my session with it. I said I thought it was crap, and lots of people came out to denounce it. That’s what inspired this article.

  15. KILLER says:

    Double shame on your followers, then.

  16. Mike Thorpe says:


    I’m a member of the Retro Gamer forum, but I’ve also been reading your site since just after it started, and whilst I think most of this article is a mixture of missing the point and attempting to wind people up (seemingly successfully!) with flamebait, I’m still going to continue to read your site because, along with gear fish and dealspwn, it’s a good source for Indie game reviews and avoiding me from spending time and money downloading crap from XBLIG.

    I’ll just ignore the stuff I disagree with and get on with my life. 😛

  17. Craig says:

    Shenmue’s fighting system was delicious. The game would’ve been 10x better if Sega allowed you to fight nearly anyone in their huge world(instead of like, 3 people). Paycheck from your boring job’s employer not big enough? Beat the snot out of him! Wanna pull a Van Damme and go on a world tour of pain? It’d totally be worth trekking all those miles by foot.

    Shenmue would’ve sold like hotcakes if people could go on a quest to demolish the noses of all the elderly in the game. Or kick puppies.

    Man, Sega should hire me. *smug*

  18. Dave Voyles says:

    AM was cranking out the hits, especially in the 90’s, which led to a thriving market at the time.

    I mean look at this list:
    One of which was Daytona USA – considered the highest grossing Arcade game of all time, so it says something.

    That basically DROVE the arcade market in the 80’s and 90’s. Essentially, the Dreamcast was an arcade machine built for homes.

  19. I’ve concluded it’s unfair to judge games back in the day by today’s standards.

    First of all, today’s standards and opinions about the past are almost always utterly wrong. Example: I made the Full Tilt road engine using sprites from the original Sega System 16 OutRun rom, which were beautiful 16-color sprites from a 32,768 color palette, with full smooth sprite scaling capability, drawing about 1,000 of them on the screen at 70 fps (you can see on my website even though the original several thousand dollar arcade cabinet could only do 128 at 30 fps, and the response is “What NES game are you playing?” And almost every today is just as clueless. Whenever someone speaks about the past in video games — and I’m including myself in this — all we do is showcase our ignorance. How often do we hear about 8-bit graphics of some new game? When 8-bit CPUs back in the day had 2-bit graphics! That’s 4 colors. In fact, only 3-colors, since one is the see-through color. That’s 8-bit graphics. 16-bit graphics is what you mean. It’s like saying the NES and the Genesis were of the same era. Back then one generation to the next was exponential, unlike it is today, which is another point of ignorance, to just assume they were all almost the same thing. They weren’t. The Genesis could draw more sprites, at 16 times the size each of the NES, with 4 times as many colors, from a palette of colors 4 times as large.

    If you need confirmation of this, just go to XBLA and see the top rated games. Perfect Dark is there. If you haven’t played it before, and you go try it, you’ll hate it. I did. But it’s unfair for me to say the game sucks. It only sucks compared to games of today, and that’s only if it were released as-is today, which it never would be. It’s there for one reason only: Nostalgia for people who have already played it back in the day, when it was a leap forward in technology.

    So for Altered Beast: I agree the controls are horrid. Sega did a far better job with Streets of Rage, turning the beat ’em up genre from something of horrible control (Golden Axe included) into something amazing. Altered Beast was before the enlightenment. The controls suck really bad. But most games had controls like this back in the day. And if you can excuse the poor visualization of these emulations, you have to realize that this game came with the Sega Genesis. That’s how damn cool it was in the Arcades. And the Genesis version added 3 layers of parallax, when the system only allows for 2 (figure that one out), and was an amazing replication and improvement, and plain better than the $1,000’s of worth in dedicated arcade hardware trying to do the same thing.

    P.S Why can’t they just show the screen as though it were an old-school CRT? Or at least with scan lines? Or at least with the original pixels untouched? Maybe if they did this instead of applying foolish filtering or blurring, then people of today would have the mindset of “Hey, this is from years ago” when they play it, instead of pondering why it looks horrible. They emulator the CRT, not just the code:

    So. It’s unfair to judge games by today’s standards. If you do, and you don’t completely concede everything I’ve said above while doing so, including your own ignorance, then all you’re doing is displaying your ignorance. Actually you’re not. Everyone is going to agree with you, since we’re all identically ignorant in this delusion. That is, except for the people who played the damn game back in the 90’s — you know, the people who this release was for.

    — Jason Doucette

    • Sorry about the grammar mistakes, there’s no edit button. I dislike that.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      See though, you’re going purely on performance versus actual gameplay. I don’t care about graphics and I never have. I’ve loved games that are butt-ugly and hated games that were beautiful.

      Sega games, in my opinion, don’t tend to hold up. Their arcade games specifically. Of course, they weren’t designed to hold up. They were designed to be trendy and steal quarters at the time they were made, not be timeless. All the same, that doesn’t excuse the fact that they’re horrible today.

      • Kairi,

        I only mentioned graphics as it was the best way to convey my point regarding our ignorance of yesteryear. I agree the controls of Altered Beast are bad. I’ve complained a lot while playing it. As with Golden Axe. And even with Sonic’s inexplicable inability to walk up a small slope despite being able to run 500 mph. I’m diehard about gameplay.

        Which is why I love Sega…

        Altered Beast is one of the worst, yet its controls were as good as other great games of the day. Try playing any of the Streets of Rage. Compare them against any beat ’em up today or yesteryear. The control is epic. Sega is responsible for the most intense arcade gameplay experiences ever brought to the public — something I believe has not been matched since (perhaps only by Doom or Unreal Tournament). If this sounds foolish, try any of these classics (arcades; not crappy ports): Out Run, Space Harrier, Galaxy Force, Thunder Blade, After Burner.

        Have you ever seen anything like this before?

        Sega defines the golden era of arcade games back in the 80’s.

        — Jason Doucette

        • Ok. I was *trying* to link to specific sections of those YouTube videos, but this forum decides to link two of them as embedded videos, stripping out the timer, but not for the other two…

          Let’s try again:

          — Jason Doucette

  20. Martin says:

    I’m still stuck on the phrase “Altered Beast is considered to be a classic”. Since when?! I’m a self-confessed retro gamer and I’ve never heard anybody call it a classic.

    Then there’s your thing about some games being bad by today’s standards. Well duh! Nostalgia isn’t about thinking retro games are better than modern games, it’s about remembering how it felt to play these games at the time, just like you remember how great your Dreamcast was when you were ten.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      My point was, why does remembering how good it was require playing it? When I play a game I remember as being good years after the fact, in general it spoils my memories.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      And again, I want to point out, I was slammed on Twitter with people telling me that Altered Beast is still awesome to this day.

      • Martin says:

        If you really were trying to make that point in the article then you failed miserably, because it came across as if you were just slagging off old games and the people who still enjoy playing them.

  21. Professor Fessor says:

    Kairi you ignorant bitch! It’s Sonic The Hedgehog. The is capitalized. That’s his trademarked middle name.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      I forgot. Thanks. Does that make him cousins with Winnie THE Pooh and John THE Baptist?

      Actually, I intentionally did not capitalize the. That way, if Sega decides to sue me I can claim that I was talking about a different blue hedgehog in sneakers who has focus-testing-grade attitude and stars in really horrible video games.

      • Professor Fessor says:

        I wonder if that would work, maybe someone out there should make Sonic A Hedgehog.

        • Kairi Vice says:

          Or a game called Super Merry-Oh since that’s how a lot of people pronounce it. I swear, my dad is always calling him that.

          Dad, say Mario.


          Ugh. Okay, say Mars.




          Say Mark.


          Good. Now, say Mario.


          ARRRRGH! SAY MAR!












          Put them together.


          • Professor Fessor says:

            But if someone made that then best case scenario he’s pronouncing it correctly and worst case people confuse a classic game series with a one joke parody game… Actually that doesn’t sound that bad, hey indie game developers who read this blog, make it happen!

          • kolphyre says:

            My boss does the same thing. We can have a whole group of people saying ‘Mario’ and he keeps saying ‘Merry-oh’. One time we tried to help him say it right:

            No – not ‘Merry-oh’, it’s ‘mario’ – MAR-EEE-OOO


            No… Mar


            That’s right – EEE then OOO

            “Mar… eee…ooo…. mareeooo… mario. Is that right?”

            Yeah – you go it!

            “Mario. Cool. So, later on we’ll have Super Merry-Oh- DAMNIT!!!”

            True story.

  22. 90% of older games suck when played now. Period. I don’t play my old favorite games, including some games even as recent as the gamecube because I know it would ruin my great memories of the game. The controls are almost always stiffer than I am used to, graphics laughable, and bad UI. Sure they were great, but not any more

  23. randroid says:

    I agree with your point that newer iterations of games are usually better than their predecessors and if you feel that it is pointless to chase nostalgia, that’s fine, but you’re incorrect to bash Sega.

    Sega classics of the past was infinitely better than any other studio’s work. You bash certain titles but fail to mention how bad other studio’s work compare with at the time. You say that you would rather play supermario 3 than Outrun (o..k.. different genres, no?). Name me ANY racing game released around the time Outrun was released that is even remotely compares. Can you?? No. Why because you weren’t there. Of course the impact of the game’s release will be lost to someone who wasn’t there.

    Virtual Fighter?! Do you realize that that was the FIRST 3d fighter? THE FIRST!!! No other Studio, NONE was able to create it.

    And I challenge you to match any game of the same genre, and generation which tops the following:

    Sonic 3 and Knuckles
    Alien Soldier
    Gunstar Heroes
    Radiant Silvergun
    Shenmue (and don’t use game’s sales as a marker for a game’s quality. As a reviewer of “Indie Games”, you should realize this)

    And your “fuck Sega” attitude is fine if that’s how you feel, but really if you think about it, they’ve been publishing the best games even of this gen.

    Fighter: Virtual Fighter 5
    Action: Bayonetta
    Shooter: Vanquish
    Platformer: Sonic Generations

    • Kairi Vice says:

      Most of those games you mentioned were not made by Sega. Alien Soldier, Gunstar Heroes, and Radiant Silvergun were all made by Treasure.

      Name a better platformer than Sonic 3, or Sonic and Knuckles from the 16 Bit Era? Super Mario World. See how easy that was. Want another? Super Mario World 2.

      And yes, Shenmue. I used the game’s sales data to prove that Sega didn’t mean as much to consumers at large as it’s fanbase claims. Now from a purely gameplay standpoint? Shenmue is one of the absolute most boring, horribly written video games I have ever played. It’s bad in every way except it’s graphics and music. Bad story. Bad dialog. Bad play control. Bad voice acting. Bad game design. It’s just not any fun. It’s so fucking boring. And I’m not the only one who thinks that. It was said about it back in it’s time. Critics threw it high scores because your average IGN/Gamespot writer is a glorified cheerleader when it comes to major titles. But I think the vast majority of people who played it were very disappointed. Some might have tried to convince themselves they were having a good time, but ultimately I think most will admit the game was no good at all.

      As for their present games: Vanquish and Bayonetta were developed by people outside of Sega, but I’ll play along. They were alright. Not mind blowing or anything, but decent (but overrated) games. Virtua Fighter 5 actually is good, so I’ll give you that one. I think Sonic Generations is boring. Name a better platformer from THIS generation? Again, that’s very easy.

      Super Mario Galaxy 1 or 2.

      Donkey Kong Country Returns.


      Henry Hatsworth

      Super Meat Boy

      I can honestly say that I’ve played a lot of Indie Games I enjoyed more than Sonic Generations. Really. It’s not a matter of them being better values either. If Sonic Generations were $1, I would have enjoyed Antipole more. It’s a better game.

      • Just because a game wasn’t a commercial success, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a critical success.

        Look at Beyond Good and Evil 2. There are dozens of others (even in the current generation) which suffer from the same fate.

        • Kairi Vice says:

          I’m taking the numbers out of the equation. Shenmue is a bad game, period. It’s boring. It was boring when it first came out, so this isn’t a situation of it being good “back in the day.”

          • randroid says:

            When a studio signs over exclusivity to a larger brand, the IP becomes property of that brand, ergo Gunstar Heroes, Alien Soldier, Bayonetta, and Vanquish are all Sega games.

            and if you really, truly believe that the Super Mario World series with its repetitive stage music, fisher price colour scheme and ho-hum slow gameplay is a better produced game than any of the Genesis era Sonic games then it shows me that either: you are a raging Mario fan (not likely since you already revealed the generation you started gaming), or that You Couldn’t Handle It (as you called it “unfair level design”).

            As far as your Shenmue comments go, again you bash and bash and bash, but you can’t name a game of the same Genre, same generation that’s better, because There Simply Isn’t Any. Shenmue was miles away the cutting edge of it’s time and that is the key point that renders this entire blog post invalid – “of it’s time”.

            Saying “fuck sega”, thus dismissing the entire brand and all of its IPs, is just an irresponsible statement as a “gamer”.

            • Kairi Vice says:

              You do realize that with statements like “if you believe Mario is better than Sonic then you must be a raging Mario fan” makes you sound like the biggest crybaby fanboy who ever walked this planet, right? Well, I can easily shoot that argument out the door. I’m going after Nintendo next.

              “but you can’t name a game of the same Genre, same generation that’s better”

              Well is the Dreamcast part of the Playstation/Saturn/Nintendo 64 generation or the Xbox/Playstation 2/Gamecube generation?

              If it’s part PS2 Generation: Grand Theft Auto III, or really pretty much any open world game since I do truly consider Shenmue among the worst of it’s breed.

              But really, what makes Shenmue so special? You go around, ask various fuckwits question, do menial busy work while the game cycles in virtual time in a giant open-world. There are only a handful of “action scenes” and those are really just quick time events that you have little or no direct control over.

              In contrast, in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the game cycles in virtual time giant open world, you go around talking to various people and completing menial tasks. Only you actually have control over fighting so I guess it’s the better game.

              But even if there’s nothing like Shenmue, that doesn’t by default make it a good game. To the best of my knowledge, there’s not a game that involves sitting in a rocking chair while watching a cat sleep for 40 straight hours, with no action or button pressing. If I were to create that game and release it, it would be totally unique. It would also be boring and horrible. But going by your logic, it would be a masterpiece.

              • randroid says:

                Wow. Way to diminish my points into convenient generalizations.

                I never said “if you believe Mario is better than Sonic”. I said if you believe Super Mario World (the specific title) is better than Sonic from the Genesis era. I’m not comparing the IP Mario to the IP Sonic. Who cares who anyone thinks is better in that regard as its all comes down to aesthetics any ways.

                And stating GTA 3 is better than Shenmue tells me everything I needed to know about how you measure game quality.

                So “Fuck Nostalgia: Nintendo” is coming up huh. I can just see the post after that….

                “Fuck Nostalgia: Pong!

                What a shitty game. I mean look at the graphics and everything it’s just two paddles and a ball back and forth?? GTA3 has way better gameplay than this shit. How could any one have played this?!?”

                • Personally I’m looking forward to ‘Fuck Nostalgia: Chess’. It didn’t even have a screen!

                • Kairi Vice says:

                  Convinent generalizations? What game COULD be compared to Shenmue at the time it was released? It still doesn’t mean the game is any good. Being unique and being good are two different things.

                  And yes, GTA 3 is better than Shenmue, at least in my opinion. Ask around and find out what others think.

                  And yes, Super Mario World is better than Sonic the Hedgehog, at least in my opinion. Better play control, more variety, and just plain more fun. Ask around, see what others think. If you look around enough, you’ll find someone to reaffirm your own opinion.

                  “Fuck Nostalgia: Pong!”

                  Yea, pretty much. Why would I want to play it today (which is the point of this piece) when I could play any number of Tennis games that are pretty much the exact same thing, only better?

                  • I think it’s essentially the same as my feelings about the Beatles. I wouldn’t deny their influence on others that came later, and I’m sure they were monumentally exciting and groundbreaking at the time, but I just don’t enjoy listening to them.

                    Or if you prefer, Charlie Chaplin films were cutting edge entertainment and all respect is due for what they achieved, but they don’t really stack up against more recent movies.

                    That’s not to say I’m opposed to old games myself. I’m actually a chronic replayer of games, and while a large chunk of that is nostalgia, there’s also a substantial part that is simply about the games still playing well after all this time. If I replay Miner 2049er, it’s for nostalgia. If I replay Kirby’s Dreamland, it’s for fun.

                    For the record, I’d take Sonic 2 over Super Mario World. 😛 But that’s just me. I can certainly understand why you wouldn’t.

    • Professor Fessor says:

      Hey there junior, I was there at the time. Sega was a classic arcade company, they made pretty games that drew you in and had the difficulty high to kick you out quickly to get the next sap in line to drop a few more quarters in the machine.

      Virtua fighter collected dust at my arcade, we saw it for what it was, another flashy and gimmicky fighter to come out in the wake of sf2.

      Shenmue? I’d hoped we’d forgotten about that game by now. You had to find ways to kill time in the game as you waited for the right time of day for an event to occur. The fuck? Chances are that’s why you’re playing a game in the first place. Not to worry, there are arcade games you can play while you wait.

      Oh, it also modernized the quick time event, we’re seriously going to look back on dragon’s lair for inspiration?

      But you know what? I liked Sonic 3 and Knuckles and still enjoy a play through every once in a while. But seeing all the crap that Sonic has been in since then makes me think the infinite room full of monkeys just happened to churn out Shakespeare ahead of schedule.

      • Kairi Vice says:

        I’m sorry but this reply does not work. You’re supposed to call me an idiot, threaten to boycott my site, tell me that I must be a fangirl for not seeing Sonic totally pwns Mario, etc.

        Quoting the infinite monkey theorem? That’s far too intelligent for the comments section.

    • Wow, so much hate for Shenmue… Let’s rebut your nonsensical claims, shall we?

      1) “Bad story.” Nominated in 2001 for “Character or Story Development” by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. This is bullshit. This AIAS knows jack shit about games. And what does a nomination mean, anyway? Yu Suzuki got a GDC Pioneer Award? Fuck that.

      2) “Bad dialog (sic).” I guess this falls back into the story category, but since you don’t elaborate on it (and on nothing else), I’m making my own assumption here. Anyway way, see point #1.

      3) “Bad play control.” If you mean “controls,” then I think you’re not a fan of tank controls. What does make it worse than, say, Resident Evil? I do think it would play better if the Dreamcast had a second analog stick, but this isn’t anything that couldn’t be perfected if a HD remake was to be released.

      4) “Bad voice acting.” Are you referring to the English dub? If so, then, OK, I agree with you. But this wasn’t how the designer wanted the game to be originally. If anyone’s to blame, blame it on Sega of America staff alone. I just hope you don’t mean the original Japanese voice acting, because it’s just flawless. And trust me, I do speak Japanese and know how bad voice acting would sound like in that language. Check the undub mod if you have some time (or don’t).

      5) “Bad game design.” Guess what? Shenmue was also nominated in the “Game Design” category by AIAS. They should be out of their minds, right?

      6) “It’s just not any fun. It’s so fucking boring. And I’m not the only one who thinks that. It was said about it back in it’s (sic) time.” Sorry to break it to you, but either if you like or don’t like a game, you’re not going to sound more credible just because there are people out there who agree with you. It’ll always be like that. “I don’t like GTA V and I’m not the only one.” See?

      7) “Critics threw it high scores because your average IGN/Gamespot writer is a glorified cheerleader…” blah, blah, blah. The Order: 1886 is also a “major” title yet it got bad reviews. And it’s not the only example of a major title getting badmouthed. You’re just trying to justify your opinion by dismissing the media as a “glorified cheerleader.” How smart.

      See, of course you are free to dislike the game, but calling it bad just because you don’t like it is downright stupid. I’m just glad that “mainstream” games aren’t your specialty, but I feel sorry for indie developers if you apply the same logic as you do here to review their games.

      And I don’t care if you’ll do a second round of rebuttal or not, and couldn’t care less about your baseless opinions. But you were trying to piss on Shenmue fans for no reason over Twitter (“Sega should crowdfund Shenmue 3 to shut its fans up”), so, congratulations, you just picked a fight.

      Hell, what a waste of time. But whatever.

      • I’m happy you like a game I don’t like. You do realize that some people will dislike stuff you like, correct?

        “Hell, what a waste of time. But whatever.”

        Such a waste of time that you had to write a rebuttal nearly as long as the article itself? Why are Shenmue fans so defensive about it? And to think, this recent flood of anger started because I said Sega *should* raise funds for a third one via crowdfunding.

        “couldn’t care less about your baseless opinions”

        Which, again, is why you wrote such a long, angry rebuttal. Why so angry? I’m not.

        “you’re not going to sound more credible just because there are people out there who agree with you.”

        Which is why you cited all the awards it was nominated for to back up your argument.

  24. Kairi Vice says:

    Okay, okay. There is one older Sega game that I liked a lot.

    It was Chu Chu Rocket.

    That was a great game.

  25. You know why older games are always better?


    For example, my recent drama with Batman Arkham City:

    You didn’t have issues plaguing every new release 20 years ago, like you do now. I’d much rather go back to a time where when I purchased a game, I knew it would work at launch, and from that point on.

    • They didn’t necessarily work all the time. Older games were riddled with bugs and glitches, and doomed to remain that way permanently. That’s a large part of the reason for cheat/hint sections in magazines, I think – games were full of unintended loopholes.

      But I do agree that the ease of churning out post-release patches seems to have led to lazy playtesting and quality assurance.

      • Oh I agree with you there – many many games launched with bugs in the 80’s and 90’s.

        But today it is more common to launch with game breaking bugs than ever before. I can name quite a few off the top of my head (which I BOUGHT) recently:

        Aliens Vs. Predator
        Heavy Rain
        Space Marine

        Those are just titles that I bought, and could not play out of the box.

  26. An XBLIG Dev Guy says:

    Of course we all have fun playing old games. Just look at the mechanics of several games in history:
    * Press Button to Jump
    * Press Button (s) to Attack
    * Use the Analog stick to move.
    Now, games do have evolved:
    * Use right stick to shoot,

    There are exceptions, but pretty much that’s everything there is.

    What I think the real complain should be is: Why today’s developers release a game with half-baked graphics and half-baked sound, and justify it as a “retro” game? The XNA platform gives a lot of horsepower along with HD graphics, and it is a little bit of a downer to see heavily pixelated sprites in almost a 16 colour palette.

    Then again, with a non-existing budget, there is not much that can be done.

  27. Pingback: VolChaos (Kinda) « Indie Gamer Chick

  28. Pingback: Sonic CD « Indie Gamer Chick

  29. segata says:

    why do you hate sega and sonic so much? What did they ever do to you? Do you hate sonic as a character? do you hate the artstyle and character design of the sonic series? Or do you just hate the speed based gameplay?
    Would you hate a game that was exactly like super mario bros 3 except that it had sonic as a the playercharacter?

  30. Ramsey says:

    Ouch. You’ve broken thus Sega fanboy’s already beaten and battered little heart. I do disagree with the “Segasucks” line of reasoning in general, but I can’t fault the logic behind your opinions. Yes, Sonic CD really did disappoint this geezer but I still love and play the Streets of Rages and I feel Sonic 2 still holds up quite well, and is by far my favorite game from the series. Maybe there is still a bit of nostalgia at work as well, but fun is fun. Have you taken a look at Sonic Generations yet? I am really digging it and wonder if you’d see things differently. I also did own and loved my Sega CD, but that was for one reason only: Working Designs. You mentioned loving Wonderboy 3 back in your Volchaos review I think. If you ever get a chance, you owe it to yourself to play the Sega cd version of Popful Mail(pimping this game being the true motivation behind this posting). It is like Wonderboy 3 hopped up on awesome… Unless that is just nostalgia talking again…

  31. Pingback: Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode I « Indie Gamer Chick

  32. Memo says:

    Sega doesn’t sucks, is just the most overrated company ever, developing i mean, seriously, if you eliminate the nostalgia factor, their games and consoles aren’t a big deal

  33. Danny Drago says:

    Legitimate rant. Totally agree.

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