version: usa - year: 2002 - developer: 3d6 games - publisher: thq - format: gameboy advance, cartridge - condition: good, w/poster - rarity: hard to find
Altered Beast Guardian of the Realms is a western release only as it was never released in Japan. The game is also fully "forward" compatible with the DS as I played through it on a standard euro DS Lite and had no issues.
The poster included with the game may be useful in case you want to display on your wall the "fantastic" artwork reminiscent of the worst western 16 bit covers
The first level starts out among ancient Greek / Roman ruins, just like the first game
Here, destroy the four pillars and the marble roof will flatten the centurion
Levels are varied, they look beautiful and have tons of parallax although they tend to repeat themselves after a while since they are so long
Here part of the level will be on foot...
...while once you transform, you'll take on the sky and the game will turn into some kind of awesome side-scrolling shooter
Swimming levels also play like a shooter.
Bosses can wipe you out fast, forcing you to restart a level from the beginning several times
You sure look uglier than the final boss
Review- Altered Beast Guardian of the Realms has been a total surprise for me.
Obviously, the guys at 3d6 Games who developed the game knew their source material well and they were able to create a strong sequel which retains all of the elements which made Altered Beast the cursed classic that some of us still remember with affection or maybe with dread!
Altered Beast for the Arcades (and on the Mega Drive) was notable for the fact it would allow players to transform into powerful beasts to take on enemies and bosses. It only had 5 levels and 4 beast forms but it was also a challenging game because of the laborious control system which required a very steady hand to be dealt with.
Amazingly, the same control scheme has been reproduced for this sequel, with some slight tweaks. It is now possible to perform high punches which is a meaningful addition. Other more obvious additions are the number of beasts you can transform into which has more than doubled to 10 and the number of levels which has tripled to 15! A save feature has also been incorporated to allow to continue playing from the last level you reached.
The iconic sample speech is also back from the original game and it is a very welcome wink to old timers who grew up playing this game to oblivion.
Graphically, Altered Beast Guardian of the Realms introduced pre-rendered characters (a technique seen in Donkey Kong Country before), and beautifully designed backgrounds, which are rich in colors, details, variety and parallax scrolling.
I really enjoyed going through the levels as I would always wonder what the next one would look like.
Also, another positive is that enemies never get recycled and you always get new foes to deal with from one level to the next.
The music is actually very well done and for once on GBA, it is not something which feels like an after-thought although sound effects can sometimes be annoying, like the bees for example which sound really irritating.
Gameplay is exactly what you should expect if you played Altered Beast before, although here levels tend to be longer and maybe even a bit harder. This is a challenging game which will require more than just a casual attitude towards it. If you decide to give it a go, be ready to get tested and to be defeated several times before learning how to best deal with enemies and bosses.
In the end, I really enjoyed going through this sequel which teleported me back to the early 1990s in a flash!
Bottom line:If you have any interest in the original Altered Beast, playing this GBA sequel is a no-brainer. Now dust off your GBA and...Rise from your Grave!! 8,5/10