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ActRaiser

アクトレイザー

Developer: Quintet Publisher: Enix
16 December 1990
ActRaiser [アクトレイザー] - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.50 / 5.0
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163 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#1,157 All-time
#7 for 1990
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Filter by: All 4 Wii 2 SNES 2
1990 Quintet Enix  
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JP 4 988601 002578 SHVC-AR
1991 Quintet Enix  
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US 7 19631 00003 6 SNS-AR-USA
2007 Quintet Square Enix  
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2007 Quintet Square Enix  
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Title
Not quite God
A mix of city building simulator and side-scrolling platform, neither of which are very fleshed out. The two modes do provide the game a nice tempo and reprieve from the other helping to mask the game's weaknesses.



The side-scrolling platform sections which usually act as bookends to the simulation mode feel like a poor man's Castlevania. The controls are chunky and non-responsive, doing quick turns and jumping are a chore. In a perfect world this gameplay would have been more like an Altered Beast. The game's difficulty* is based on monsters constantly getting cheap shots on you that are almost unavoidable and end bosses that are difficult to navigate. A good deal also stems from poor character controls which I'm sure most gamers are sure to love! I also was not a fan of the time limit. Let me finish the game at my own pace dammit. If I wan't to hide in a corner and slowly bleed the monster with a shot every two minutes well why not?



The simulator mode is very simple, as you perform a series of tasks to develop land for your faithful while fending off monsters. You can't really lose during this segment although you can have some setbacks or not fully realize your cities development. The more people your cities hold, the more followers you have, the more faith your subjects have, and that equates to you getting more HP bars for your final battles. During this portion you also collect gifts from your flock including spells. The Shooting Star magic received fairly early on tilts the end boss fights drastically in your favor, with a few casts killing them and making the game a bit too easy to be fair.

The concept is a pretty good one, just could have been executed better. The simulation side could have added a few more details or expanded a little in diversity as the game progresses. The platform sections could have been longer, the controls cleaned up, and since you are a God, I don't understand why the platform warrior you play is so anemic in his use of weapons, power-ups, or couldn't morph-change or whatever to show off some awesome powers. A big let down.



(If you look closely at the sprites your subjects are apparently lego people)

Graphics: Some really nice moments but mostly just good.
Controls: Sim mode is fine. Platform mode is bad.
Music: Nicely Done
Fun: Almost

*Japanese version much harder than US or EU.

See Review:

A Good Review That I Agree With
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Title
While basically every generation of games has brought forth a new wave of innovation and experimentation, I've always felt like the one with the SNES is one of my favourites and most interesting on this front. This felt like around the point where developers as a whole got a better grasp on design conventions and rules, allowing them to mess around with them and think of some very novel experiences as a result, not to mention having a shiny, new system that allows these ideas to be executed with a bit more finesse. Actraiser is one such example but it ends up going a step further by being a game that genuinely is more or less one of a kind, as I cannot think of any other game that combines action platforming with city management/ god game. Of course ideas alone don't make for a great game, but despite some flaws here and there, ActRaiser also is just an awesome game in general.

I feel like one of the biggest ways in which this game succeeds is the way that the core loop is downright evil in how addictive it feels, essentially being a constant positive feedback generator that makes every moment not only feel satisfying, but also gets you excited to get to the next section of the game as well. This is due to the way the god game and platformer sections feed into each other so cleanly and support each other throughout the entire playthrough. The upgrades in the game are entirely provided to the player through this management part, whether it's health, magic, or even special items. This makes it feel extremely rewarding to make each town flourish and expand, knowing that it will net your rewards that make you feel considerably more powerful. This in turn makes you look forward to the next platforming section in order to test out your new abilities and feel stronger, which causes the player to continue expanding their cities to accomplish this. Once the opportunity to take one of these on appears however, all progress on a city is forced to stop, making you also want to get through the platforming stage in order to further expand and increase your own power. Every moment of the game leaves you wanting more because of this, and I think it's really cleverly handled to create a true sense of drive.

Of course it also helps that the game itself is mostly great and capitalises on a sense of approachable, intuitive simplicity. When you actually look at this a bit closer, you realise that the whole management stuff is very mechanically simple, mainly requiring you to shoot down flying enemies and give your villagers direction on where to expand to next, sometimes performing miracles to clear their paths or to help them increase the population. All the stuff like food or infrastructure is determined by the citizens which leaves you to only the broader tasks. While this might seem like a failure to capitalise on an interesting premise, I feel that its simplicity is great as it means that things feel more evenly balanced between the two sides, and there's less of a chance for there to be needless distraction, culminating in a more streamlined experience. Despite this, each town feels very alive and unique thanks to the way the town leaders come to you and talk about the town's own problems and customs. Seeing the difference in cultures between each area helps make the world as a whole feel varied and alive, and makes you really want to help all the people through their problems. This especially is great with some later plot points reinforcing the fact that each of the people you've helped are their own entities and were happy to help you back in order to destroy the monsters, making you once again remember that despite all you can do, you still couldn't have done it without these others.

The 2D platformer sections are really the main thing that stop me loving this even more, even though I still think there's a lot to love in these areas. While the game feels rough and a bit slow up here, it ends up being somewhat acceptable due to the way it feels more like these sections are vessels for a spirit of adventure, for the spectacle, for the aesthetic, more than to provide a perfectly tight, polished experience, and on this front, things work so well. Basically every stage has its own unique atmosphere and aesthetic to it, looking beautiful in the process to craft a true sense of scope to it all, with the unique settings further making every level cool to progress through. The first few levels are also incredibly clever in how they teach the player the intended way to approach the game and keep expanding upon it. This felt particularly clear in the way the 2nd area forced the player to abandon any of the bad habits that could have been picked up beforehand. The fairly slow, clunky way in which the character moves makes it seem as if the easiest and best way to progress through many situations is simply to tank the damage and trade blows, but this concept is destroyed in the 2nd stage thanks to almost every obstacle being tailor-made to punish greed and overly aggressive play. It feels like a borderline insurmountable challenge at points as long as the player continues approaching things in this reckless manner, but the moment it clicks that the game is meant to be a more methodical one, it all feels very easy for the most part, which is something that I think is indicative of a stroke of genius design.

The issue is that the last couple of stages feel like they lose a lot of this underlying nuance and replace it with annoying difficulty that almost just tells the player "you have enough health at this point that you shouldn't even bother trying to approach things properly anymore, just rush in and you'll probably get through". It feels like all sense of well designed challenge is removed in favour of either being a cakewalk or being unbearable with its "gotcha" moments, and it makes the ending section of the game feel as if it falters a bit, even if the final level and scene do make up for it to some extent. I also feel like these parts don't really expand upon anything either or do anything all that unique, with its differences largely being minor or superficial rather than causing any meaningful change in how the player is made to perceive the challenges ahead of them. Even so, these moments aren't enough to stop me loving this game for how unique and largely amazingly put together it is. It's not the most polished game by any means, but it's got so much heart and charm behind it and ended up being a game I could barely put down once I picked it up. A hidden gem that's one of the most inspired titles on the SNES, more people need to play ActRaiser! More people need to know ActRaiser!! Play ActRaiser, it's so good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Kempokid 2021-09-29T15:36:18Z
2021-09-29T15:36:18Z
4.0
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Catalog

Fyaos ActRaiser 2023-03-20T17:55:22Z
SNES • US
2023-03-20T17:55:22Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Upsilon_Nova ActRaiser 2023-03-13T22:05:13Z
SNES • US
2023-03-13T22:05:13Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ricardobertolin アクトレイザー 2023-03-10T22:15:28Z
2023-03-10T22:15:28Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Girafro アクトレイザー 2023-03-05T03:24:40Z
2023-03-05T03:24:40Z
2.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
lizzen アクトレイザー 2023-02-23T16:51:06Z
2023-02-23T16:51:06Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
flaviodnz1 アクトレイザー 2023-02-14T23:20:55Z
2023-02-14T23:20:55Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
📘 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die
Gavel アクトレイザー 2023-02-08T03:00:58Z
2023-02-08T03:00:58Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
chikin アクトレイザー 2023-02-01T21:29:12Z
2023-02-01T21:29:12Z
4.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sexy_ アクトレイザー 2023-01-31T02:54:28Z
2023-01-31T02:54:28Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
aricloudy アクトレイザー 2023-01-19T11:56:52Z
2023-01-19T11:56:52Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
willwokbir ActRaiser 2023-01-12T16:43:35Z
SNES • US
2023-01-12T16:43:35Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Kashue アクトレイザー 2023-01-08T17:01:52Z
2023-01-08T17:01:52Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • SemtexRevolution 2021-02-26 17:18:10.794407+00
    A ground-up remake of this game could be incredible. The concept is so awesome and still hasn't really been done again yet.
    reply
    • Jodas 2021-09-23 22:57:46.600087+00
      It happened!
    • calt 2021-09-28 18:58:16.598821+00
      lets go
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  • funkacademy 2021-03-22 23:19:23.25717+00
    Why is the first boss (Act 2) the hardest one in the game?
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  • SemtexRevolution 2021-09-24 02:56:21.326443+00
    It is fucking badass that they even bothered to remaster this game tbh. This was truly a hidden gem.
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  • ZippythPinhead 2022-04-06 04:54:19.221787+00
    A fun game with some great graphics and music.
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