|As Halloween creeps around the corner you might feel the urge to partake in some of video games more fright-inducing games, just to get in the spirit of things. Every day over this month a scary game will be featured with highlights to remind you of old games that were kind of scary as a kid and new games that might freak you out with the graphics alone. Enjoy, and beware......
Today's pick goes to Altered Beast. This was a 1988 Sega arcade game designed by Makota Uchida, who also designed the classic Golden Axe. The plot of Altered Beast was that you are a resurrected ancient Roman, brought back to life by Zeus to free his daughter Athena from the evil clutches of the Underworld god Neff. To do so you are granted the ability through power-ups to turn into different beasts like a werewolf, dragon, bear or tiger. Other power-ups would increase your size and strength, and each beast has it's own set of powers.
The creepiness starts right off the bat. You hear the voice of mighty Zeus say "Rise from your grave" and your character pops out of the ground mostly naked, looking like a zombie more than a hero. You had to punch and kick the ghouls and monsters in your path, picking up pieces of armor and weapons off their dead bodies as you went. What really made this different from most side-scrolling games at the time was the gore. Bodies burst into gooey red blobs and bones would crack and fly about. For an 8 year old kid who had been turned onto games by Super Mario and Duck Hunt, this was a drastic change. This was a game to play in the arcades surrounded by other kids, not at home at night by yourself.
Many thanks go to Sega for preparing all of our easily molded little minds for the future of games. Kids today who start out playing Resident Evil for their first scary game must be made of much tougher stuff than kids in the 80's. If you want to get a little taste of Altered Beast without finding someone who still has a Sega Genesis, try out the new iPhone app version.