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ActRaiser (1991)      

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Details (Nintendo SNES) Supported platforms Artwork and Media
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Related Titles:
Enix Corporation
Action Adventure / Fantasy
Quintet, Masaya Hashimoto, Tomoyashi Miyazaki, Ayano Koshiro, Takashi Shichijyo, Masahiko Takai, Koji Yokota
Yuzo Koshiro

USA, Europe, Japan
ActRaiser 2

Nintendo SNES

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Your Reviews

(Anonymous) (Unknown)   28th Mar 2012 05:44

"An excellent platformer with some fun city-building elements."

After years of noticing ActRaiser in my local "old school" game store and never experiencing it, I decided it was about time I played it. Chances are you are reading this review because you've seen the game for awhile too, and you want to know what its like! Well, here is what you can expect from ActRaiser.

Story: 6/10

You've always wanted to play God, right?

The story is pretty simple, but it does its job. Essentially you are the "Master" (they use the word "Master" since Nintendo had a pretty strict "Anti-Religious" policy back then, but you're essentially God) of this world and it is your job to drive away the demons that have inhabited it in order to let your people live peacefully on it once again. Fairly standard God stuff.

You will do this by moving around on your floating temple in the sky along with your angel helper, driving away the demons and watching over your fledgling followers as they build up their cities. You do this at various locations around the world, helping your people to build up city after city, but it won't be easy! At each city that you help, you'll have to drive away demons who try to hinder you and kill your people. After driving away enough demons, you will end up meeting their master and attempt to vanquish him from your world. That's pretty much all there is to it. Again, not a very deep story, but its simple and provides a good setting. It is pretty much your classic "good versus evil" theme.

Game play: 8/10

The game play is definitely the high point of ActRaiser. Now, since this game is not only a platform-er, but is also a simulation game of sorts, I'll describe both of them for you. The first part you'll encounter in the game is the platforming section. Now, you'll only encounter these platforming sections when you are either clearing the demons away from a civilization for the first time or when your civilization is half-way through it's growing process (your city has to grow to a certain size, after all). In these sections you control a statue that receives life from the Master in order to do his will, turning it into a human warrior who you will control. The statue is always the same in every location though (which is kind-of uncanny), and besides its magic attack (which you can change in your floating temple) it will always have the same abilities.

Upon receiving life, you'll find yourself equipped with only a sword, and your goal is to jump and slice your way through each level trying to reach the boss (who is a demon tormenting your people). The enemies are varied nicely from location to location, though I found that they hardly ever posed a challenge. On your way to the boss you'll have the chance to hit lanterns that hold various power-ups, such as extra points, an apple to refill your life, and an extra guy. Later on in the game you can also cast magic, though it is limited to how many times you can cast it per level (its better than nothing, though!).

After defeating the platforming portion, you will now have to move on to the simulation portion of the game. I found these portions to be very fun. You start out with a temple and you can tell your subjects where to build roads in their local area. While they go about building roads and houses by them, you will have to control your angel helper as you try to repel flying demons away from your people (so they can get their work done!). However, these demons will never stop coming unless you direct your people to certain blue circles where the demons spawn at. After getting your people to the demon circles, they will seal them and that in turn stops the demons from attacking. This is made a bit more complicated by the terrain in your local area, though. For example, your people can't build roads on marsh-lands or snow, so you will have to use your "miracle" powers to change the terrain to grasslands (which is definitely a job for God). Your people will also offer you offerings which you can take with you and use to benefit other civilizations (meaning that you'll go back to previous cities and give them gifts). These gifts help you gain powers though, so it's good to be a gracious and loving God.

It should be noted that there is also an minor element of RPG game play in ActRaiser. You will level up when the total population of your cities reaches a certain point, though this only affects how many health bars you have.

Graphics: 7/10

The graphics are just about what you would expect for a SNES game: 16-bit and full of sprites. The sprites are rather large on the platforming sections, restricting the view that you have at times, yet everything moves fluidly. The backgrounds are fairly varied, and there's some NICE looking ones here and there. On the city-building portion everything is rather small, as you are looking down upon your city from way up in the sky (so your subjects look like ants). It kind of looks like an early "Sim City" game, to be honest, but there isn't a LOT of detail or beauty on the top-down view. Overall the graphics are pretty standard: there's nothing too special here but they do their job well.

Music: 7/10

The music in the game is catchy; I especially enjoyed the music in the city-building portion of the game as it was pretty relaxing. I found the platforming sections to be a little overbearing in how dramatic the score was. Those tracks seemed to be more suited for just the boss battles, not the the entire level. At one point in the game, a certain city will "discover" music, so if you're playing the game all the way through, be sure to turn the sound up for that part (it's good!). The sound effects were fairly standard throughout the game; there was nothing too special about them.

Re-playability/Extras: 6/10

There aren't many reasons to replay ActRaiser after you beat it (unless you just really loved it). It should be noted that there are three difficulty levels that you can choose before starting a game: easy, medium, and hard. Being a SNES game, you can't really fault it for not having many extras, as many games of that era didn't have too much re-playability or extras. If you liked ActRaiser, you should also know that a sequel was made: ActRaiser 2. I haven't played it yet, but I've heard that it drops the city-building simulator part of the game and focuses on the platforming.

Overall: 7/10

ActRaiser is a good game overall and I'm sure it was exceptional for its time with its combination of different game play types. It should be fairly easy to find, and if you still have your SNES running like me, I'd pick it up as I'm sure it will be fairly cheap as well. Well, I hope you've found my thoughts on ActRaiser useful! Have fun and keep playing!

Reviewer's Score: 7/10, Originally Posted: 10/17/07, Updated 04/11/11

Game Release: ActRaiser (US, November 1991)

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This title was first added on 3rd April 2008
This title was most recently updated on 28th March 2012

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