Not content with the market they reside in, Psygnosis have decided to rock the packaging and marketing boats once more with the release of their most stunning product ever. Beast, or to give it it's full title, Shadow Of The Beast is packaged not only in an extraordinarily large box (the size of two Psyclapse boxes) with a piece of specially commissioned Roger Dean artwork, but also comes with a high quality T-shirt complete with yet another original piece of Mr Dean's. So obviously Psygnosis most have a pretty hot product to back up such a marketing gamble, right?
You're not wrong. Beast is certainly a very impressive game. For a start, at present it's planned as Amiga only, which means the programmers have had no ST conversion restrictions. And once you take a look at some of the statistics, you'll start to wish most other programmers would give themselves a rest from the same worries. No less than-13 levels of smooth parallax scrolling, which is really a sight to behold. The scrolling updates 50 times a second - that's the speed of a coin-op - and there are up to 128 colours on screen at once. And that's only the start; there's the sound to be taken into consideration yet.
It's all composed by none other than Dave Whittaker and ported directly from a KORG M1 keyboard (as used by up and coming Noo Joisey rockers Saraya). There's over 900K of it which, we are reliably informed, is more than the music from the Thunderblade and Afterburner coin-ops put together. What's more, it's also some of the best work Whittaker's ever done; catchy, atmospheric and it's got that all important rock guitar sample.
The theme of the game is revenge. Stolen from your parents at their sacrifice and turned into a bestial messenger for the Beast-mages through various metamorphic potions and deep hypnotic suggestion, the Beast-mages thought they had destroyed all remnants of the human inside you. How wrong they were. The beauty within the beast has awoken, and now it's after blood for blood. The death of the master for the death of his parents.
But before he can reach the master, he has to travel through several areas, each with its own predators and its own traps. Out in the wilderness, for example, you are assailed by rampaging eagles and low flying boulders. Further along in the game you are assailed by such wonders as eyeballs, Psygnosis insignia and lightning.
The whole thing is played over a multi-directional scrolling playfield - and what scrolling! The 13 levels of perfect parallax are incredible to see, putting most games to shame. Fighting back couldn't be simpler. To start with, and indeed through most of the game, he uses his developed strength and speed to merely punch the enemy away with a resounding thud. Later in the game you can pick up laser guns, stun guns and jet packs which allow you to fly all over the screen.
And that's not the only thing you can pick up either. By punching open certain backdrop objects such a coffins, monoliths and chests, you can find various potions. Some of them do nice things, like give you more energy and punch power, while others detract from them. The only real problem is that they all look the same. The only way of telling which is which is through good old trial and error. Thankfully, all potions remain in set places for every game, so a couple of trips through each level should be enough for you to learn which are best left alone, what with all these puzzles and whatnot.
What would have been simply a fair game has been turned into an excellent one simply because the company took a little care over the product. Well done to Psygnosis. Yes, it is a little more costly than your average Amiga game, but when you think you re getting a free Roger Dean T-Shirt, can you really complain?
All the game graphics are amazing. The backdrops are exquisitely drawn and the sprites are fairly stunning. All that plus loads of Roger Dean artwork, what more could you ask for? Gamewise, I have to say this does feel and look ever so slightly like it's namesake Altered Beast. That said, there's a lot more to this.
This is an ancient platform/beat 'em up/ what ever else, with slight adventure game elements thrown in with the use of items on other itmes (mainly keys). This set a trade mark in graphics and was a legend on the Amiga at the time of its release. This game is just one big long game, in which there are no seperate levels, but just one long screen that you run across doing things and killing things. The game has a slightly dark and mistifying feel to it, with the running landscape in the background portraying the feelings of evil and darkness. Added to that is the music, which is equally gloomy and helps to make that spooky atmosphere ever more realistic. The monsters and ghouls and stuff are sub-standard in comparison to the graphics in the game, without any real depth to them and the same sprites being used constantly with no variation... Still a cult game, which is remembered by very many Amiga gamers! A very good and long lasting game!
Must be run using Kickstart 1.3 (I also used minimum RAM settings) The game doesn't seem to work very well in WinUAE though, so I suggest using Fellow.
This is a sideways scrolling beat-em-up game, where you have to move your hero through the beautiful levels and slay all the monsters. An extra feature that you can enter the backgounds and explore many areas. Very nice.
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