Box Shot
Platform: Super Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Designer: Enix
Genre: Action/Strategy
Players: 1
Published Date 1991
Reviewed by: Rupto-pack

Your little angelic servant just calls you "master" in this game, but let's tell it like it is. You're God, able to come down to Earth in the body of a warrior and vanquish the beasts that are ravaging your once peaceful world, and then create tiny humans to inhabit the land and increase their population with your Acts of Nature. You control the angel as you fly around, shoot tiny arrows at the demons, and expand your city. Your citizens bring you offerings and ask for favors, and like the gods of myth, you can help them directly or ignore them. You can even destroy them yourself if you want with lightning or earthquakes. However, it's always in your own best interests to help them flourish (since that is the point of the game,) so eradicating demons is your first task.

The game does a great job of blending a world-building simulation with 2d action levels. Upon entering a region in your Sky Palace, you must bodily descend for Act 1 of Action Mode. Here you hack and slash, jump around, and collect items. Once the boss demon is defeated you begin Simulation Mode, where you guide the construction of human towns and nurture their crops. Usually the humans will locate more demons, so you then enter Act 2 of Action Mode to fully drive out the evil.

Now you're free to move to another region and begin the process again, for a total of six regions, ultimately populating the whole world. The action segments remind me of the old Castlevanias, in that the control is a bit stiff and the spooky enemies and bosses follow repeating patterns which you can learn and take advantage of. You're awarded points for defeating monsters, and apparently a higher score means a higher world population will be possible. You become a more powerful fighter when you spend time building populations in Sim Mode, because that's how you gain strength levels and hit points. Getting a larger concentration of people can be tricky, and you'll have to direct them to explore and cultivate every corner of inhabitable land. As their civilization level increases, you may want to go back and destroy the shabby old parts of town so that they'll rebuild with more efficient housing. In fact, to gain your maximum level you'll HAVE to destroy parts of cities, because sometimes those little human critters won't build and progress unless you give them something to do.

Unfortunately the game is short. It takes maybe an hour to fully build up each region, and with six regions and a very short but frustrating final stage, it could be beaten in a day if you set your mind to it. Being among the first batch of games for the Super NES, it showboats alot of colorful graphics and Mode 7 rotation and scaling effects. The music has a pleasant medieval feel (composed by Yuzo Koshiro, of the Genesis Streets of Rage and Shinobi games), but the game shares many of the exact same sound effects as Illusion of Gaia and Soul Blazer, other old Enix games for SNES. Nevertheless, Actraiser definitely presents a unique and enjoyable quest.