The Definitive 50 SNES Games: #32 ActRaiser

Entry 32 on the Definitive 50 SNES games is ActRaiser. This wildly unique title features a combination of 2D action beat-em-up with segments, get this, of overhead city-building simulation. It was released for the Super Nintendo in November 1991 and is now available on Wii Virtual Console.

In ActRaiser, you take on the role of the Master as he quests to recover his strength and restore his power. This will be accomplished by taking back the Earth from the clutches of the demon Tanzra.

ActRaiser‘s side-scrolling action segments are the fairly typical hack-n-slash affair you expect from the 16-bit era. They require you to navigate terrain and dodge enemies while finding opportune moments to strike back at your opponents. Explore settings such as forests and dungeons, taking care to keep your health up for the challenging boss battles which await. In addition to a sword, magic items found through the course of the game can also be used during these parts.

Your mission is helped along by the Angel. He walks you through menus and explains what to do. You take direct control of Angel during city-building portions of the game. During these times, you not only direct your people on what to do, but you also fly around protecting those people by fending off enemies with Angel’s bow.

City building involves directing your people on how to develop their cities. You must help your people out by performing miracles, such as causing lightning strikes to clear land of trees for them to build through. In order to advance, you need to get your people to build toward enemy lairs so that they can help you clear their land of monsters. Strategic city planning is also vital for the action portions of the game, as increasing the population of your followers boosts your stats there.

ActRaiser is a truly unique title, and one worth exploring for both its solid action and engaging strategy portions.

Check back next week for entry 31 on the Definitive 50 SNES games.