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You are a hero raised from the dead by the god Zeus to rescue his daughter Athena. With scenery inspired by Ancient Greece, you have to fight hordes of undead and demons, with a boss at the end of each level until you meet the god Neff, who holds the girl captive.

The Altered Beast title refers to your shapeshifting abilities. In this platformer, you can collect spirit balls by defeating two-headed wolves, allowing you to mutate into different beasts such as a werewolf, a dragon, a tiger, a bear and others depending on the version. Each form, tied to a level, comes with special abilities such as flight and powerful attacks, easily superseding the basic set of punches and kicks in your human form.

The game can be played in single player mode, or in same-screen multiplayer co-op mode.


Altered Beast SEGA Master System Title Screen
Altered Beast NES Title screen
Altered Beast MSX The characters
Altered Beast Arcade Intro #3

Alternate Titles

  • "獣王記" -- Japanese spelling
  • "兽王记" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • "Jūōki" -- Japanese title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Great conversion of the arcade hit, underestimated due to overexposure. Genesis Majestic Lizard (655)
Welcome to your doom Genesis *Katakis* (38170)
An original story comes to life in this coin-op conversion. Genesis aaron pridemore (11)
A cult classic Genesis AaronGamer (42)
Sloooow down SEGA Master System ETJB (447)
Slightly better than average arcade conversion. DOS gametrader (229)
A particularly good conversion of a particularly bad arcade game. DOS Tomer Gabel (4354)
Nice!!! Genesis Thiago Loureiro (3)

Critic Reviews

The Games Machine (UK) Atari ST Dec, 1989 70 out of 100 70
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Atari ST Nov, 1989 68 out of 100 68
The DOS Spirit DOS Apr 09, 2009 4 out of 6 67
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Amiga Oct, 1989 7.2 out of 12 60
Defunct Games SEGA Master System Aug 28, 2005 55 out of 100 55 SEGA Master System May, 2004 5 out of 10 50
The Virtual Console Archive Wii 2007 2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars 40 (UK) Wii Jan 23, 2007 2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars 40
PAL Gaming Network (PALGN) Xbox 360 Jul 12, 2009 3.5 out of 10 35 Genesis Sep 20, 2009 2 out of 10 20


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A version of Altered Beast is included in Sega's Smash Pack compilation CD.

Genesis pack-in game

This game was the first pack-in game to come with the Genesis when it first came out in 1989.


The Brazilian Heavy metal band Megadriver, specialized in SEGA MegaDrive music, did a cover of the first level theme, complete with one of the band members saying "Rise from your grave".


The ride-able lizard-birds from Golden Axe make a cameo appearance in the second stage. Bizarrian, a hybrid between an amphibious and a parrot, is also present in Golden Axe.

Version differences

The NES version adds 3 new stages and 2 unique transformations: a shark, an a bird. On the other hand, the SMS version removes the tiger level. The Zodiac release is an emulation of the Genesis version, but for one player only.


  • Power Play
    • Issue 01/1990 - Biggest Failure of 1989
Information also contributed by Mad_Griffith, Matthew Melbourne, Robbb and Zovni

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Contributed to by Luiz Pacheco (1257), GTramp (48379), PCGamer77 (3003), Lain Crowley (5425), Guy Chapman (1742), Sciere (373770), Zovni (9314), Foxhack (12623), Martin Smith (62960), ZZip (795), Terok Nor (22415), The cranky hermit (493), Scaryfun (13562), Ben K (23053), koffiepad (9981), *Katakis* (38170) and Syed GJ (1525)