Battle through a land of myth and danger to rescue Athena, the kidnapped daughter of Zeus. To help you, the Thunder God has granted you the power of the Altered Beast. Now, when danger threatens, you shed your human form and transform into powerful creatures with the strength to stamp out the evil that lurks around every corner!
Altered Beast (獣王記 Jūōki, literally “Beast King’s Chronicle”, in Japan) is a 1988 beat ’em up arcade game developed and manufactured by Sega. The game is set in Ancient Greece, and follows a centurion who is resurrected by Zeus to rescue his daughter Athena, and to do so becomes able to turn into beasts such as the werewolf with the use of power-ups. After its initial arcade release, it was ported to several home video game consoles and home computers, most notably the Sega Mega Drive and Sega Genesis for which it was a pack-in game. This ultimately led to the Sega Genesis being shipped with Sonic the Hedgehog instead. The primary designer was Makoto Uchida, also responsible for the creation of Golden Axe.
A Roman centurion who had died in battle is resurrected from the dead by Zeus. The centurion is ordered by Zeus to save his daughter Athena from a Demon God called Neff in the Underworld. To become able to withstand the perils, the warrior gets the ability to absorb spirit balls which transform him into an Altered Beast, a part animal, part human creature of formidable force. Between each level are small animations giving the player glimpses of Athena’s peril. He first travels through the graveyard fighting past zombies and winged demons. The centurion becomes a werewolf in order to fight Neff in the form of Aggar. The centurion defeats him, but Neff escapes.
The centurion travels through the Underworld where he fights through giant leeches, Chinese dragon-headed rattlesnakes, and ferocious Chicken Stingers (resembling the ones from Golden Axe). The centurion turns into a humanoid thunder dragon in order to fight Neff in the form of Octeyes. The centurion defeats him, but Neff escapes.
The centurion travels through the Cavern of Souls where he fights through Cave Needles (which resemble giant ants), turtle/snail hybrids, and zombies known as Grave Masters. The centurion turns into a humanoid bear in order to fight Neff in the form of Mouldy Snail. The centurion defeats him, but Neff escapes.
The centurion arrives at Neff’s palace where he fights through zombies, Chicken Stingers, and Hammer Demons. The centurion turns into a humanoid tiger in order to fight Neff in the form of Crocodile Worm. The centurion defeats him, but Neff escapes.
After the centurion arrives in Dis, he fights through winged demons, Goat Men, Boar Men, saw fishes, and purple Unicorn Men to get to Neff. When the centurion confronts Neff, the centurion becomes a golden werewolf while Neff transforms into a Rhinoceros-Man. After he is defeated, a blue bird comes out of the ground and transforms back to Athena. Afterwards she is shown holding arms with her lycanthropic hero, thanking him for rescuing her.
In the original arcade, the end credits are interspersed with images of actors in costumes for the different characters and monsters of the game, implying the whole game was a film production.
Altered Beast is a side scrolling, platform, beat ’em up game. The player controls the centurion, fighting undead creatures and monsters in a setting resembling Ancient Greece, with originally five levels, in a graveyard, the Underworld, a cavern, Neff’s palace and base at the city of Dis. One of the enemies, a white two-headed wolf (blue in the Mega Drive version, and a blue ox in the DOS version) upon defeat releases a Spirit Ball, a power-up orb which increase the strength and size of the player character. Three orbs turn the centurion into a beast, which in the original version were a werewolf, a thunder weredragon, a werebear, a weretiger, and the more powerful golden werewolf (other beasts can be seen in the Japanese Famicom version and the Game Boy Advance version). Each beast has its own abilities, such as the dragon’s flight and lightning, and the bear’s petrification. After becoming the beast, the character can face the end-level boss, which upon defeat causes Neff to appear and remove the transformation orbs.