ActRaiser has great control in every aspect of the game. The action sections can feel a bit stiff but it works well. Also, everything is reachable without too much of a hassle. The attacking feels polished and using magic allows for brief invulnerability.
Control also feels good on the simulation sections as well. You can fly around easily as your assistant angel who takes on the demons and assists in directing the citizens to build their land.
On the aesthetic side, I found the artwork and music to be mostly pleasing. The visuals for the action sections were great with colorful backgrounds and good color usage on sprites. The music that played for each section worked well. And I particularly liked the music in the final area.
Also, it seems to me the composer was influenced by John Williams. I’m not really going anywhere with that. It’s not going to affect the result either way. I just find it funny. And that it was a good time to bring it up.
As I said earlier, I enjoyed most of the aesthetic aspects of ActRaiser. However, there were a few things that bugged me. The first of which was the artwork for the simulation stages. Compared to the graphics for the action stages, the simulation looked bland and boring. I wish they would have done a bit more for this section, whether it is more detail in the land or an expanded palette of colors.
I enjoyed some of the compositions and that they worked well in the game. But, overall, I found music in ActRaiser to be a mixed bag. It feels like there isn’t enough. I would have loved to have heard a different theme for each land. However, we only get two: the original one that plays for all the lands and the one that your followers created. I would have also liked to have heard a couple more themes during the action sections as well.
ActRaiser takes anywhere from six to eight hours to finish the first time. It’s good if you don’t want to put too much time into the game. But it feels like it could have been a bit longer. Maybe they could have had another action level for each land. But there is a new game+ mode with more difficulty for those wanting a bit more.
The thing that really puts ActRaiser over the top into holding up is the final boss section. After ridding all the lands of monsters, you are tasked with fighting the main bosses from each land one more time, all leading up to the final battle with the demon Tanzra. And you have to do this in one shot. There is no refill on health or magic when you take out a boss. And if you run out of lives, you have to start the gauntlet over. And what’s more, you get possibly the best theme in the game playing during this section. Enix wasted nothing on making this not only the most anxiety filled part but making it feel like you’re going to battle. Easily the best part of the game.
Actraiser aged well. Not necessarily like fine wine but good enough. The music could be better, the landscape could be more detailed, and the game could have had a bit more depth to it in all aspects. But the gameplay is what keeps it going.
Check out ActRaiser on the Virtual Console for 800 points. (http://www NULL.nintendo NULL.com/games/detail/lDykN95gtmcdIG1bLyg7Hj51Chvwj4qS)
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