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ActRaiser (SNES) artwork

ActRaiser (SNES) review

"Actraiser is a beautiful combination of sidescrolling action and godlike simulation games. The simulation mode and amazing soundtrack will really get you hooked into this remarkable game."

Act Raiser is definitely one of the most fun games I have ever played in my entire gaming life (22 now, was 3 when I started). Expressing how much fun this game is into words is an exceedingly difficult task, so please bare with me while I just describe the game and hope you'll decide to give the game a chance yourself.

Act Raiser is simple in design and simple in execution, yet it nicely blends side scrolling action and god-like creation simulation into one gaming experience. I would call it townbuilding simulation, but that would not be fair considering you do more than just build towns. You actually help to clear obstructions and help shape the lands. I'll get to those in more detail later.

The gameplay mechanics are simple. You begin the game as a sword-weilding warrior, and you fight like you'd expect in any old 2D sidescrolling action game. You jump on things. You slash enemies that come near you. You can use magic spells (like firey meteors falling from the sky). The sidescrolling action aspect of the game is extremely basic and definitely not the game's strong point.

The real magic of the game comes into play during the simulation mode. This is the part of the game that got me hooked. In the simulation mode, you play as an angel that helps build civilizations in the mostly monster-cleared areas that you clear in the action sequences. (The simulation mode is in an overhead view.) As an angel you help the townsfolk build homes, grow crops, seal monster lairs, and build other structures. In other words, you help build civilizations, and the more you build and uncover, the more the civlization advances. You get level ups depending on the populations of the civilizations you create.

You have complete control over the weather. You can use the sun's blistering hit, rain clouds to soak crops or any houses that might've caught on fire. You can use earthquakes and cause massive devastation. You can try to start your own forest fire if you want. You can allow the still-roaming monsters to capture your people, or you can pierce them with your arrows. You don't die while in simulation mode. After you've been hit enough times, you'll just have to wait a minute or so before you can use your arrows again. During that time, monsters could destroy homes, crops, or kidnap people from the village, so you better protect yourself even though you can't die! You have to make sure your civilizations thrive.

Music also plays a big part in the overall experience of the game. Other than a few of the songs in the action sequences in the game, Act Raiser has a beautiful soundtrack. There's this one song in particular that you must learn in order to calm an angry town (you need a harp). It's a beautiful song that pretty much sets the whole mood of the game for me. It gave me chill bumps the first time I heard it. It's very soothing, and even though its midi-quality, the composition itself is very nice. (I have an improved non-midi, orchestrated version of the song that is BEAUTIFUL to say the least.) If you ever feel like searching for this song, look for something along the lines of ''Music Gift'' (the name may vary). I highly recommend searching for a good version of the song. The only bad part I can think of in the sound department is Enix's choice of sound effects. The game has beautiful music at times, but it has very annoying sound effects (you'll notice these in the action sequences).

It's difficult to describe how great this game is into words (perhaps a future edit will suffice), so I hope I haven't done Act Raiser an injustice. For those of you that haven't played Act Raiser, I highly recommend it. The action sequences alone (if at all) will probably not get you into the game. If anything, the simulation mode probably will. It's basic and not drowned in complicated details, but that's part of the beauty in it. From my own description of the game, I would think it was very boring; but some how, this game is very fun. There's definitely some magic to the game, something intangible by words alone. It's a game you'll have to experience for yourself. It's definitely worth picking up. I hope for those of you that haven't played it yet will give it a chance. I don't mean to really hype it up so high that it'll disappoint you if you ever do play the game, but at least play it with an open mind. My main goal was to spark an interest in playing the game itself. Only you can decide if it's actually fun for yourself to play, but I think the game has remarkable potential to be a favorite among most that do give it a chance. Whether you're sure you'll pick it up or not, you can always find it cheap; and if, for some remarkable reason, you absolutely do not like the game, you can always get a good deal for it later. I know many others that would definitely want to play Act Raiser again; so keep in mind, there are others out there that'll be willing to take the game off your hands if you don't want it. In any case, it's truly an amazing game, and I hope you'll give it a chance.

icelake's avatar
Community review by icelake (Date unavailable)

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