Today at Sega's iPhone Games Day, they revealed two more emulated Genesis titles that will be hitting the iPhone. Gamers who had purchased a Genesis prior to the Sonic the Hedgehog craze should be instantly familiar with the original system's pack-in game Altered Beast. The other title is the cult classic run and gun shooter Gunstar Heroes from Treasure.

While the previous emulated titles offered by Sega have sold really well, there has been an underlying feeling of disappointment from many gamers due to the poor performance of both the controls and actual game emulation. Recently, Sega has updated this emulator after working hard to optimize the performance and tighten up the controls. Virtual buttons may not be ideal for fast-paced arcade style games like these, but after playing both titles today I can safely say that they perform much more admirably than previous games have in the past.


Altered Beast - Originally a popular arcade title, Altered Beast was ported to the Genesis to show the capabilities of the new 16-bit system in bringing a similar experience to the living room. For those not familiar with the game, Altered Beast is a side-scrolling beat 'em up where you play as a warrior who has been resurrected from the grave in order to rescue Zeus's daughter Athena from the evil demon Neff. You'll fight a slew of eveil creatures, and can collect orbs that will incrementally beef up your hero into stronger and stronger variations, culminating in a powerful werewolf type creature.

Altered Beast is a classic to be sure, but time has not treated the gameplay very well. After the evolution that the beat 'em up genre went through during the 90's, Altered Beast feels pretty dated. It's still quite a bit of fun, and has a strong nostalgia factor. It plays surprisingly well in Sega's updated version of their iPhone emulator, and I was amazed that I could actually make it to the first level's end boss and defeat him. It's a shame that this port isn't the superior arcade version of Altered Beast, but if you enjoyed the Genesis version then you will likely enjoy this one as well.


Gunstar Heroes – One of the most revered developers of the past two decades is Treasure, who are famous for creating such classics as Dynamite Headdy, Radiant Silvergun, and Ikaruga. Their first title though was Gunstar Heroes for the Genesis. Similar to Contra, Gunstar Heroes is a side and vertical-scrolling run and gun shooter. It is mostly remembered for the intense amount of frantic action you would be subjected to at any given time, as well as the interesting weapons and intense battles with humongous bosses.

Also similar to Contra, Gunstar Heroes requires precision controls and quick reflexes in order to not meet your end. The lack of tactile feedback with virtual touch screen controls usually makes games like this nearly impossible to play, but after trying out the game today I was actually really impressed with how well it works. I'm not going to say that it's perfect, but certainly as close to perfect as a touch screen will allow for this type of game. Gunstar Heroes is tough as nails, and virtual controls won't make it any easier. But it's still very playable, and more importantly quite a bit of fun, especially if you enjoyed the original game. Controls aside, there are likely many players that will be grabbing the game just based on the fact that it's Gunstar Heroes, and I'll admit that it will be very cool to have such a classic available in my pocket to play at any time.


What is really interesting is that both the titles shown today were originally 2-player co-op games, and this functionality has been preserved in the iPhone iterations via bluetooth. Since one of the biggest allures of both Altered Beast and Gunstar Heroes was teaming up with a buddy to play the game, it's nice that this will still be possible on the iPhone. Additionally, Sega is planning on updating some of their previous iPhone Genesis titles with bluetooth multiplayer, although no specific games were mentioned. Both Altered Beast and Gunstar Heroes were looking pretty good in action, and you can expect to see them released sometime this fall.

  • http://Www.jindofox.com Jindo Fox

    Nice. I wonder how much work these are? I'd love to see the Genesis ports continue, especially if they keep prices around 2.99 or less (Altered Beast should be .99, like Space Harrier II was).

  • http://Www.jindofox.com Jindo Fox

    Nice. I wonder how much work these are? I'd love to see the Genesis ports continue, especially if they keep prices around 2.99 or less (Altered Beast should be .99, like Space Harrier II was).

  • Ben Of Bodom UK

    RIIIIIISE FROM YOUR GRAVE! Seriously, Altered Beast! Fuck YES! It was like my first ever video game ever.

  • Ben Of Bodom UK

    RIIIIIISE FROM YOUR GRAVE! Seriously, Altered Beast! Fuck YES! It was like my first ever video game ever.

  • Str1f3

    I'm happy to see Altered Beast. Genesis was my favorite console of all time. It would also be nice to see Outrun & Afterburner come back as well.

  • Str1f3

    I'm happy to see Altered Beast. Genesis was my favorite console of all time. It would also be nice to see Outrun & Afterburner come back as well.

  • JCat

    Now GunStar Heroes was a game - but of course, Treasure was behind it, as opposed to Altered Beast which was an overrated snooze-fest, IMO. Glad both are coming for people who like either or both!

  • JCat

    Now GunStar Heroes was a game - but of course, Treasure was behind it, as opposed to Altered Beast which was an overrated snooze-fest, IMO. Glad both are coming for people who like either or both!

  • Hueman

    Altered Beast was probably one of my most favorite games from Genesis, definitely picking it up.

  • Hueman

    Altered Beast was probably one of my most favorite games from Genesis, definitely picking it up.

  • polyplay

    Gunstar Heroes!!!

    Wow.

    First Cave gives its fans what it wants, and now Treasure is getting in on the action. Hopefully this will give younger gamers who have never played Gunstar Heroes the chance to play one of the great run-and-gun games ever made.

    The controls look a little awkward to me (they fingers might get in the way of the action), but my trust in Treasure is implicit.

    • Zonko

      This has absolutely nothing to do with treasure. It's just. Mega drive ROM running in the same emulator sega have already used many times. Cave on the other hand, actually port their games to iOS properly.

  • polyplay

    Gunstar Heroes!!!

    Wow.

    First Cave gives its fans what it wants, and now Treasure is getting in on the action. Hopefully this will give younger gamers who have never played Gunstar Heroes the chance to play one of the great run-and-gun games ever made.

    The controls look a little awkward to me (they fingers might get in the way of the action), but my trust in Treasure is implicit.

    • Zonko

      This has absolutely nothing to do with treasure. It's just. Mega drive ROM running in the same emulator sega have already used many times. Cave on the other hand, actually port their games to iOS properly.

  • juicy

    I really don't see gunstar heroes working well with iphone controls. The game requires extremely precise, quick inputs, with one wrong button press spelling certain doom.

  • juicy

    I really don't see gunstar heroes working well with iphone controls. The game requires extremely precise, quick inputs, with one wrong button press spelling certain doom.

  • Martin

    As much as I love Gunstar Heroes, I can't imagine a game that frantic being played with the Genesis emulator controls.

  • Martin

    As much as I love Gunstar Heroes, I can't imagine a game that frantic being played with the Genesis emulator controls.

  • Mark

    Altered Beast was a terrible terrible game, even back then. I reckon they threw it in the console bundle because they couldn't give it away. Unless you are a die-hard SEGA fan you really shouldn't be buying it.

  • Mark

    Altered Beast was a terrible terrible game, even back then. I reckon they threw it in the console bundle because they couldn't give it away. Unless you are a die-hard SEGA fan you really shouldn't be buying it.

  • http://www.utopiangames.co.uk Darren

    Not a fan of Altered Beast but Gunstar Heroes...YES PLEASE!!!

    Darren.

  • http://www.utopiangames.co.uk Darren

    Not a fan of Altered Beast but Gunstar Heroes...YES PLEASE!!!

    Darren.

  • Acidbottle

    are sega ignoring the plea from thousands to release outrun?

    sort it out sega, fer crying out loud!

  • Acidbottle

    are sega ignoring the plea from thousands to release outrun?

    sort it out sega, fer crying out loud!

  • HelperMonkey

    Altered Beast's fame is due mostly to the fact that it was a very early Genesis title that was nearly identical to the version that was then in arcades. That was a very impressive showing for any console at the time. But it wasn't the quality of gameplay that made such an impact.

    Gunstar Heroes, meanwhile, remains my favorite Run'n'Gun ever and could make a decent claim to be the all-time best of that genre.

  • HelperMonkey

    Altered Beast's fame is due mostly to the fact that it was a very early Genesis title that was nearly identical to the version that was then in arcades. That was a very impressive showing for any console at the time. But it wasn't the quality of gameplay that made such an impact.

    Gunstar Heroes, meanwhile, remains my favorite Run'n'Gun ever and could make a decent claim to be the all-time best of that genre.

  • Mark

    Altered beat was one of the first genesis titles I played and it was really exciting. Looking back now, the gameplay is pathetic, but the game still has an unmistakeable charm so I will probably be picking it up just for the memories. My other alternative is to download a youtube video of the game and have the video playing on my ipod touch. Perhaps just as much fun as the real thing?

  • Mark

    Altered beat was one of the first genesis titles I played and it was really exciting. Looking back now, the gameplay is pathetic, but the game still has an unmistakeable charm so I will probably be picking it up just for the memories. My other alternative is to download a youtube video of the game and have the video playing on my ipod touch. Perhaps just as much fun as the real thing?

  • John

    When you say GSH and AB are emulated better than the sonics and other genesis titles out so far, what devices are you testing on? Sure they aren't just giving you 3GS or 4gen iPhones, or will these games actually run well on 2 gen touches(at least).

  • John

    When you say GSH and AB are emulated better than the sonics and other genesis titles out so far, what devices are you testing on? Sure they aren't just giving you 3GS or 4gen iPhones, or will these games actually run well on 2 gen touches(at least).

  • Jim Glidewell

    "Wise from your gwave!"

  • Jim Glidewell

    "Wise from your gwave!"

  • Preston

    I would prefer a straight arcade port of altered beast. Why Genesis ports? They paled in comparison to arcade no? Oh well I'm sure I'll buy it anyway for the nostalgia

  • Preston

    I would prefer a straight arcade port of altered beast. Why Genesis ports? They paled in comparison to arcade no? Oh well I'm sure I'll buy it anyway for the nostalgia

  • http://www.twitchfactor.com Twitchfactor

    I don't understand all of the Altered Beast hate. I guess I like it because I had a Genesis practically day-one and it came with AB. That and I had friends to play co-op with. It must be the same way Gears of War bores me to tears, unless I have someone to play with.

    Gunstar Heroes is THE GAME to end all games!

    I can't see it working well on the iPhone, though. But like Peggle, I'm a sucker and will buy that game on any platform they release or re-release it on.

  • http://www.twitchfactor.com Twitchfactor

    I don't understand all of the Altered Beast hate. I guess I like it because I had a Genesis practically day-one and it came with AB. That and I had friends to play co-op with. It must be the same way Gears of War bores me to tears, unless I have someone to play with.

    Gunstar Heroes is THE GAME to end all games!

    I can't see it working well on the iPhone, though. But like Peggle, I'm a sucker and will buy that game on any platform they release or re-release it on.

  • Zonko

    Gunstar is an amazing game, but it's so fast paced it really will struggles with a screen cluttered up with massive virtual buttons.

    As for altered beast, it was a terrible game even back in the day, and it's sad to see sega as usual taking the lazy route of simply feeding a mega drive ROM into an emulator, instead of going back to the superior arcade original.

  • Zonko

    Gunstar is an amazing game, but it's so fast paced it really will struggles with a screen cluttered up with massive virtual buttons.

    As for altered beast, it was a terrible game even back in the day, and it's sad to see sega as usual taking the lazy route of simply feeding a mega drive ROM into an emulator, instead of going back to the superior arcade original.