ActRaiser Review

ActRaiser Box Cover

– I changed the battery on this board, it wasn’t saving anymore. Changing the battery was terrifying, I was convinced the battery was going to explode if the solder got too hot.
– The ‘b’ button is to confirm selection, and ‘y’ is to cancel. I guess that makes sense, the rightmost button is used to confirm, left to cancel, but why not ‘a’ to confirm, ‘b’ (“back”) to cancel?
– You’re playing a god and some evil guy has sealed your powers.
– In order to restore your powers, you have to play through a platforming level and beat a boss.
– Once you beat the boss, you go into a sim mode and build a town. Your townspeople ask you to do stuff like burn bushes so they can build houses. They need a god’s help to burn bushes to build houses.
– Flying around the overworld makes great use of Mode 7

– On the overworld map you control an angel. As the town builds up (sort of on it’s own), you clear the ground of debris using various miracles to enable the townspeople to build. While that’s happening, monster lairs spawn enemies that will come and kidnap your people, destroy stuff, or otherwise try to slow down the building process. You use your angel to shoot them, or miracles to deal with other problems. Using miracles takes SP. You gain SP by killing monsters.
– As the population grows you level up.
– You direct your people to build toward the monster lairs to seal them.
– Seal all the lairs in an area and you go to another platforming section.
– Beat the boss and move to a new area where you do the same process again (platforming, sim, platforming).

– I just end up brute force swinging at the bosses instead of trying to avoid their attacks. I can usually kill them before they kill me.
– Every time the people want to talk to me, my angel tells me:

“Sir Insaneo
I know it’s unexpected,
but our people in
[CITY] have
something to tell you.”

It’s not unexpected. They always have something to talk to me about. Someone’s kid has gone missing and they want me to deliver him homemade bread (not return him home, just bring him bread). They don’t know how to make bridges and need my help. Make it windy to power the windmills. It’s not unexpected, it’s annoying.
– The end sequence is an annoying boss rush (6 bosses) then a 2 stage final boss. Lose all your lives and you have to do the whole thing over again.
– I had to go back to certain areas and get upgrades for my magic and health and number of lives to beat it.
– I really wish there were more platformer/sim mashups, it’s a pretty unique experience.
Electronic Gaming Monthly gave this game best music of ’93 but I didn’t think it was that great.
– I think it’s called ActRaiser because the platformer sequences are called “act” (action) in the game, and I’m assuming the raiser is the sim building part

Overall, I thought the game was great. The two parts on their own weren’t amazing. The simulation aspect was pretty basic compared to a game like SimCity, and the platforming was nothing compared to Super Mario World…but combined it’s a really unique experience. I don’t know of any other game like this, honestly. Even ActRaiser 2 threw out the sim portions for some reason.

Score: 89/100

References:

A Gamefaqs from 1999 to find some secret items
Hardcore Gaming 101
Wikipedia

I’m trying to play through my old backlog of SNES games and write brief notes as I go along, then giving the game a score once I’m finished. I’ll try to keep the reviews within the context of the time, which can be difficult given the fact that it’s now 20+ years later. I’m playing them all on the original hardware and not through emulation.

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