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altbeast is a 1988 beat ’em up arcade video game developed and manufactured by Sega. The game is set in Ancient Greece and follows a player character chosen by Zeus to rescue his daughter Athena from the demonic ruler of the underworld, Neff. Through the use of power-ups, the player character can assume the form of different magical beasts (wolf, dragon, bear, tiger, and golden wolf). It was ported to several home video game consoles and home computers. It was the pack-in game for the Mega Drive when that system launched in 1988.

The game was developed by Makoto Uchida, who developed the game as his first project as a lead developer. Uchida and his team used the System 16 arcade system board for its graphical capabilities with spritesAltered Beast was ported numerous times in addition to its Genesis conversion, including for the Master System by Sega and to several computer systems and video game consoles by various third parties.

Altered Beast‘s arcade release and its various ports have all received mixed reviews, mainly targeting the game’s gameplay and graphics. The game has been re-released several times for various consoles and as part of video game compilations, and two sequels to the game have been developed.


Altered Beast became the pack-in title for the Sega Genesis in North America and the Mega Drive (pictured above) in Europe and Brazil.

Released in June 1988,[8] Altered Beast‘s arcade version proved to be more popular overseas than it did in Japan. As a result of its popularity, it was selected to be ported and made the pack-in game for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive in North America and Europe. Uchida was not involved directly with either the Genesis or the Master System port, though he did give some advice and noted he was not worried about the Genesis port because its hardware was based on the System 16 arcade system board he used. He had hoped to implement the pressure-sensitive button for the Genesis port, but could not due to tight development time and the lack of the button in Genesis hardware. Because Altered Beast was not the pack-in game in Japan, Uchida did not get to see his game included with the console. By the time he went to the US three years later, all of the available consoles instead included Sonic the Hedgehog,[7] which replaced Altered Beast in part over concerns the latter’s themes of zombies and magic were not popular in the Bible Belt.[11]

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