Battle Beasts were created by Takara of Japan in 1984. Tomy Co., Ltd., aka K.K. Takara-Tomy, still owns the worldwide rights to the property. The heyday for the toy line came during the period in which it was licensed to Hasbro for distribution outside of Japan when Hasbro marketed the toys in America and many other parts of the world. Although in the Japanese market Takara branded the toys as a spin-off of Transformers and even named the toys BeastFormers, their tie-in to the Transformers universe was not part of the Hasbro story or marketing.
Four series were released overall. The first three contain beasts 1-76. Each figure has a heat-sensitive rub sign on his chest and a hand-to-hand weapon. Three pull-back vehicles and three transforming bases were also released. The fourth series had 36 figures and was renamed Laser Beasts, the renaming corresponded with some minor changes to the figures. The entire Laser Beast line was released in Japan, and in small numbers in America and Europe. These figures have orbs in their chest instead of rubs and each came with a gun that resembled the creature who held it. Some small chariots were also released as part of the Laser Beast line in Japan. In addition to these figures some promo figures were also made. These were made of clear plastic and were available only in special sets.
The figures were released in Japan in small boxes of individual figures and in larger multi-packs. In America Series 1, 2, and the 12 Laser Beasts were released on blister cards with two figures per card. Series 3 figures were only available in boxes of eight per package. The vehicles came in boxes and each came with a figure.
Battle Beasts came out in the late 80's and like most toys, had a gimmick to help sales. Each Battle Beast had a heat sensitive sticker on his chest which, when rubbed would reveal the warrior's strength. The symbols would represent either fire, wood or water and could be used in a rock, paper, scissors type game - fire beat wood, which beat water, which beat fire. Later a fourth emblem was added, the Sunburst, and it would beat all other types. The Sunburst was extremely rare, only being found in Japan. Each Beast also carried his own distinctive weapon which could be identified to its Beast with the corresponding number.