Review by Griffin5150
Reviewed: 07/27/03 | Updated: 07/27/03
A fine platformer that is sadly underrated due to its predecessor's roots.
ActRaiser I was one of the finest games available in the early days of the SNES, combining platforming hack-n'-slash with a simple and effective, and above all else, ENJOYABLE town building feature reminiscent of SimCity. In the sequel, Actraiser II takes a drastic change, completely dropping the SimCity-esque feature that was the meat of the first game and focusing instead on the platforming elements. Many feel that the game shouldn't have done this. However, I feel that this game is excellent because of this focus. In the first game, the platforming elements were rather drab, with your character only having around three attacks: slash, duck-n-slash, and aerial slash, with a few magical attacks. In the sequel, your character has a much wider repertoire of attacks and the enemies are much more diverse than the simple ''berserk charge with no frills'' you encountered so often in the first game. Don't get me wrong, I loved ActRaiser I and enjoyed how building the towns increased your power in the platform. However, I digress.
The graphics in Actraiser II are simply beautiful. Although it doesn't hold a candle to, say... Seiken Densetsu III or Chrono Trigger, they are still excellent for their purpose. Although you still see the ''recolored enemy'' syndrome that plagues most early games, they still show the thought put into them in their animation. Each enemy has excellent animation and I feel that this is about the only part of the game that's admired.
The music in this game didn't have any real moments, and I didn't really like how many enemies didn't have any sound other than the many different forms of blasting. Music isn't the only point of a game, however,
In the first ActRaiser, your character started off puny with no attacks and a small life bar. By helping the populace to build their towns and seal off the nearby monster's lairs, they gained faith in you and you grew more powerful as more people were born. The populace also found both magic attacks and magic points, represented by flags, which they gave to you. In this game, you start off with around 20 HP and it sticks to that amount. You also don't gain any magic attacks. Instead, you access the attacks by charging up your chaaracter and performing a certain motion. (more on this later). In this game, you have a very wide repertoire of attacks, ranging from the standard slash, duck-n-slash, and aerial slash, to the new vertical slash, and the ability to effectively double-jump and glide, opening several new techniques and attacks, such as a gliding attack, a divebomb, and floating. Also, by doing a few things, you access a different magic attack. For example, standing still and using a magic attack releases a stream of flame, and holding up and releasing send out several globs of... something that damages the enemies. Anyway, this game is very difficult, and you will find yourself having to re-try the levels over and over again. Despite this, I feel that the game is a good, if standard, platformer.
Replay Value: None
This game doesn't have much to it in terms of sidequests. Once you've beaten it, you'll find yourself just shrugging and leaving it to collect dust.
Overall, I find this to be an excellent thing to pick up on the off chance you see it in the local bargain bin. It's a very nice stand-alone platformer, but it lacks the depth and simple fun involved in building a town that its predecessor had.
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