Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
BEAST • TECMAGIK • £29.95 • OUT NOW
Cruel magic transformed a poor farmhand from a healthy man into a twisted and deformed beast, shunned from his village due to his frightening appearance. Tortured and maddened by his ghoulish features, and filled with an insane rage to rid the world of the one responsible for his state, the beast embarks on a quest.
Although unpleasant to go to a night club with, the beast is not without his advantages. He can jump great distances and punch and kick with incredible force. Those many days in the fields have served the young man well.
After pausing to regain his strength and plot his route to the dungeon and castle beyond, the beast leaves his homeland and plunges into evil territory. Deep in the pit of his stomach, the beast knows the odds are stacked against him. But faced with a life of contempt and ridicule, what choice does he have?
There are going to be a lot of surprised people out there when Tecmagik’s version of Shadow of the Beast hits the streets. Okay, so it doesn’t look exactly the same as the Amiga version - but it’s not far off it.
The all new title screen is extremely eerie, with the word Beast shimmering on the screen in dark blue, accompanied by the terrific moody music. The luminous green beast clawing the words is also well drawn and bears a remarkable resemblance to the creature in Krull. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of options, though; with no continues Beast will be very difficult to complete.
The whole game is practically identical to the Amiga version. Parallax scrolling is very fast and smooth, with well-detailed backgrounds and many different colours to brighten the game up. Sound is also tasty, with a variety of in-game music to accompany the different levels. Combined with the detailed and atmospheric backgrounds, this realistically conveys the mood of the quest - especially on level four.
Given the limitations of the Master System, Tecmagik have done well to convert this epic game. The difficulty level is perfect with levels being challenging but not too frustrating. However, I think the gameplay could have been finely tuned to help the player rather than hinder. As it is, longterm play may not be assured due to initial frustrations.
Those players using joypad will have great difficulty, mainly due to the awkward use of the up position for jumping. A jump button would have been much more preferable and allow more control, especially for the fast reactions required in Beast.
Also, the collision detection is suspect in places, like the water drops from the ceiling, fighting, and jumping the pits. Many times I found myself losing energy when I had clearly avoided the danger.
A feature of the gameplay is that you can collect all the objects, get right to the guardian and subsequently lose a life. When you get to go all the way through the level again, you’ll found the objects won’t have returned. This means you have to complete a level with none of the help you received the first time. While this certainly adds to the challenge, it frustrates mere mortals like myself.
You can’t deny the fact that Tecmagik have done miracles with the MS version in terms of presentation and improved playability. No-one said it could be done but everything that was on the Amiga version is here - except the incessant and annoying loading from disk.
The Mega Drive version of Shadow of the Beast, which was originally developed by Psygnosis, is currently in the hands of Electronic Arts.
From what we’ve seen of it, this should be a stunning product. It looks and plays just like the old Amiga one, but without the long wait for disk-loading.
The mighty death skeleton proves a formidable force, on his fourth pass he tries to crush the beast to a pulp. Luckily our warty friend has the orb power and can hit him from afar.
The shimmering blue letters fade onto the screen as the bright green beast claws at them. The impressive title screen is one of the attractive features of the new-look Shadow of the Beast for the Master System.
Ghostbusting on level three. These annoying spirits attack persistently until your lire force is drained. To the left is slime which saps your precious strength.
Like the sign says, don't touch! Oh, go on then... but face the consequences and don't blame me when your life's on the line and there's no-one to help.
Having just clambered down the ladder into the second stage, the beast encounters the terrifying underworld below, populated by foul creatures intent on ending nis quest. The chests in this level contain healing potions (red) and keys to enter the inner sanctums. The deep pit to the left of the dungeon full of murderous spikes has an extra life on a ledge on the far side. But you will need a jumping potion to clear the gap. Besides the multitude of minions to face, there is also The Keeper of the Orb. Aslong as you keep ducking and punching the huge green dragon, he should die, bestowing you with the powers of the Orb. This magical crystal provides you with extra shooting power to defeat the daunting Death Skeleton at the end of this level. Only through a combination of your beastial strength and human intelligence will you survive under the shadow of the beast.
The original King Kong was only 45 cm tall...
And enlarged by trick photography for the film in 1933.