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.