Retro Profile: Actraiser (SNES)

[by Nicholas Roussos]

Although the graphics are timid compared with today’s standards, Actraiser was at the cutting edge for its time. But great graphics alone didn’t make this game stand out. A solid story and varied gameplay make Actraiser as entertaining today as it was almost fifteen years ago when it was published by Enix in November, 1991.

There’s no need of a God-mode cheat for Actraiser, that’s because you play as God. As the Omniscient, you play in two very different game modes. The first is a side-scrolling, monster-bashing action mode where you begin and end every level with a cleaning of the city. You display your kinder side in a strategy-based second mode by helping each city’s people build their homes and roads, overcome plights, farm their lands, and of course worship yourself.

Actraiser is an extremely fun game that has a strangely involving story, especially considering the rather distinct viewpoint you take as the main character. The two game-play modes, however different, compliment each other well. The sound along with the graphics were top tier for their time, and the nostalgia is for real.

Play or Stay? An easy question with a difficult answer. This game should be an easy “Play, right now!” Unfortunately, some might have trouble getting there hands on a SNES and/or the game (emulators not withstanding). So, if you happen upon a dusty copy, break it out. For everyone else, here’s to hoping the Revolution will make playing (and downloading) our favorite games from the past a breeze.