Altered Beast
Image: Sega

Sega's popular arcade beat 'em up Altered Beast turns 35 today, with the title having first hit Japanese arcades all the way back on June 14th in 1988 (thanks WhyNowGaming for the heads up!).

Developed by a team led by Makoto Uchida (for Sega's System-16 arcade board), the sidescroller saw players take on the role of a hero raised from the dead to rescue Zeus's daughter Athena, and memorably featured the ability to transform into different beasts with the help of collectible orbs. During the game's development, the small team based in Japan drew influence from a diverse range of media in order to come up with ideas for the different characters and settings, with some of these notably including Greek myths, Joe Dante's 1981 film The Howling, Ray Harryhausen films, and Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' music video.

Upon finishing the game, Uchida has gone on record as saying he was never truly satisfied with the title (something which later led to the development of the Golden Axe series), but the arcade game was a hit nonetheless (particularly in North America and Europe). It even later went on to become a pack-in title for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, with Jackson himself interestingly proving to be a fan of this 16-bit version of the game.

As well as the Mega Drive/Genesis version, Altered Beast also received ports for plenty of other machines too, including the Sega Master System, the Nintendo Famicom, and countless home computers of which there are probably too many to name here. But the Mega Drive/Genesis version has still proven to be the most popular, being reissued repeatedly across many Sega compilations over the years.

What are your memories of the game? We'd love to know!

[source, via]