20 Features

Retro Vault: Altered Beast, E.T. and an Atari 2600 promo VHS

Plus: The Nintendo VS System and when Mean Machines went wrong

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November 1988 - Altered Beast Japanese cover

You'd think that when you die you'd finally get the chance for some proper shut-eye. After all, they don't just say "rest in peace" for nothing.

Spare a thought, then, for the nameless centurion of Altered Beast, who's resurrected by the Greek god Zeus (via the famous muffled cry of "RISE FWOM YOUR GWAVE") and sent on a mission to rescue his daughter Athena.

Athena's gone and got herself kidnapped by Neff, a demon god, who's taken her to the underworld and has started torturing her. It's up to the centurion to travel to the underworld, give Neff a severe kicking and bring Athena back to Zeus.

Here's the twist: Zeus has given the centurion the power to absorb spirit balls. These floating orbs allow him to power up, growing increasingly muscular and powerful until he finally transforms into a beast - a wolf, bear, tiger or dragon depending on the stage.

Although it was only an average side-scrolling action platformer, Altered Beast was a relative success for Sega both in the arcades and on the Mega Drive, where it was a bundled with the console until the release of Sonic The Hedgehog in 1991.

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