Title : Actraiser
Publisher : Enix
Genre : Platformer / Action / Simulation
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1991
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $7-$9
There were quite a few games in the SNES library that earned the privilege of being replayed more than once. These were the games that did everything right to the point where I was done, I just had to go back to it. Even years down the line I continue to play some of these games just for the hell of it. Call it a trip down memory lane, or perhaps it's just my desire to play some good games.
Leave it to Enix to bring you one of the greatest SNES classics ever to grace the console; Actraiser. A combination between Action / Adventure and God simulation, you take on the role of...well...The Master (you can pretty much call it GOD), in an epic battle against the forces of evil. Ahem, yes. Satan. Okay, okay. They're called different names, but that's pretty much what their representative of. If you ignore the religious connotations then you're missing out.
The thing is, Tanzra (yeah, yeah..Satan lol), has taken control and manipulated your followers into losing their belief in you. Your powers have waned, and it's up to you to regain their faith, defeat Tanzra's lieutenants along with Tanzra himself, and bring back your exalted status as the one true god of the land!
You've got action. You've got adventure. You've got sim city-esque village building, and god like powers to abuse. I give you, ACTRAISER!
The first thing you're going to notice is the epic, and I mean EPIC, soundtrack of this game. Composed by the brilliant Yuzo Koshiro. It truly brings the game to life, in ways that only music is capable of doing. When you start the game, you are greeted by a little cherub angel, who is basically your personal guide. Create your name, hear some back story, and get your ass to mars. Whoa, where the hell did that Total Recall reference come from?
Gotta love the use of MODE 7.
No but seriously, you're sent back down to earth where your first goal is to destroy the monsters invading a land before you can rebuild it and gain the faith of your followers back. This is what you'll do repeatedly over the course of the game. Complete a side-scrolling action session, build up your village, gain faith of your followers, complete more side-scrolling action missions, and move on to the next territory. It may sound like it gets old, but I beg to differ. It's HIGHLY addictive.
Yes, you may call me Sir POOPMAN.....immature enough?
The game is divided pretty evenly between the side-scrolling action, and the over world map town formation. The side-scrolling segments are your basic platformer. You'll face an onslaught of enemies, collect power ups, and of course try to master tricky jumps that'll just end up pissing you off when you fall into a hole halfway through the level.
The game play is smooth enough in the side-scrolling portions where it plays pretty much exactly like an arcade. Stepping up from the NES, it was great to see that the games were able to mimic the "arcade-feel" so well in the SNES. Occasionally, it does feel a bit clunky, but I'll just leave it to the fact that you're trying to jump around in a giant suit of armor haha.
Boss battles are difficult, but not difficult enough that you won't be able to figure out the patterns. And if you ever do run into any trouble, you do have special abilities that you can use to make your life a little bit easier. Just wait until you get to the end of the game though where you have to defeat basically ten bosses in a row. Doesn't get any better than that.
The other portion of the game was the over world map view. This is where you need to build up the territories civilization back to the point where they regain faith in you. This includes building up villages, increasing population, preventing natural disasters and defeating enemies that try to invade, as well as completing little side missions. Side missions are usually given by your followers which can be anything from getting water near the towns so they can grow crops, or clearing out woodland so they can build more houses.
Think of it as a poor man's version of SIM CITY.
You'll encounter monster lairs, which you'll need to seal as your population grows. Once your population grows to a certain extent, you are able to move on to the final side-scrolling portion of the territory and defeat the Lieutenant, which allows you move on to the next territory. Each territory has a different "trick" to ensuring your population grows, and your faith is increased.
Increasing your population and faith also allows your "character" to level up. When leveling up you'll gain additional abilities, more HP, and more SP to use during both side-scrolling missions and the over-world map areas.
Actraiser truly remains a testament to the great SNES library. It was an early release, but it really proved the step up from the NES generation. Phenomenal graphics, great music, superb and addictive gameplay made this one of the true SNES classics.
If you haven't played it, get off your arse and find a copy of this game. It is worthy of anyone's gamer collection.