Playing God is Still a Blast!

User Rating: 8.5 | Actraiser SNES
One of the most underrated games ever on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Enix’s Act Raiser has been re-released on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console, giving millions of gamers a golden opportunity to experience this amazing title for the first time. Combining elements from platforming games like Pitfall and Castlevania with a god-simulation mode that will remind many of classics such as Roller Coaster Tycoon and Sim City, Act Raiser is a one of a kind game that is a must own for any Wii-owner.

Trying to reclaim your god-like power after a powerful demon stole it, the protagonist in Act Raiser is responsible to clear the land of monsters and after must bring people back to it so they can manage it for themselves. Using a sword to fend off monsters in the platforming stages, the action in these levels is pretty straight forward, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a blast. Using your sword and magic to defeat bosses like the Minotaur and Manticore and having to make difficult jumps across wild terrain, these short platforming stages are a great way to break up the action during the simulation part of the game.

For the most part, the simulation part of the game is where most of Act Raiser takes place and here is where most of the fun happens as well. Using your god-like powers, such as the sun, wind, rain and lightning, you can alter the land so they can support life. Once people begin to move back into the area, you will be responsible for directing them and helping them defeat the monsters in the area with the help of your angel sidekick. In addition, you’ll be responsible for helping to build homes, plantation and bridges in the towns, in an effort to rebuild the population. Having two different modes of play interlaced with each other like this provides an amazing gameplay experience that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Every time it feels like you’ve been playing the simulation part of the game too long, a challenge will appear that forces you to go down to the surface and fight a boss. With that being said, it’s obvious that the gameplay in Act Raiser was extremely ahead of its time and is definitely worth checking out for anyone that missed it when it was first released in 1991.

Aside from the phenomenal core gameplay available in Act Raiser, the killer soundtrack and solid graphics also have a hand in making the game something truly special. Easily one of the best game soundtracks during the SNES era, Act Raiser’s score, composed by Yuzo Koshiro [who has also composed the amazing Shenmue soundtrack on the Dreamcast], is top notch and is worth the price of admission alone. While the graphics aren’t amazing by any stretch of the imagination, being early SNES caliber, they do a more than gracious job of making sure the gamer likes what they see.

Overall, Act Raiser still does a great job of providing an amazing gameplay experience and is easily one of the best games available on the Wii Virtual Console.

By Patrick Hickey Jr.