It is clear that Super Nintendo had real great games, and a good demonstration is the peculiar Actraiser. With a daring combination of action and strategic simulation, the game travels 20 years to the present in a remake especially suitable for lovers of retro.
Surely the name of Quintet, but under this seal such famous titles as Illusion of Time or Terranigma were developed. However, his career came even earlier, with a first video game, Actraiser (SNES), which had a great peculiarity: being a platform scroller that was combined with playable dynamics based on management in the purest god-like style. In other words, an unusual title for the canons that existed in Super Nintendo back in the nineties.
And the game triumphed. For the type of game that it was, it sold a lot, and also got some more than notable reviews. Now the jewel of Enix published in 1990 in Japan lands on today’s platforms with Actraiser Rennaisance. As its name suggests, it is a “rebirth”, in this case in the form of remake, one that asks us to rediscover (or discover for the first time) what attributes made this video game great.
The key question is: is it worth it? Obviously, the years are noticeable both in the playable and visual, but if you are an enthusiast of this type of retro experiences, I think it is an option to value. After all, the update of the game is very successful, successfully bringing that combination that made it so unique: two-dimensional action of swordsmanship along with some more than interesting city-building sections. If you are curious or once played the title, you should know what the Japanese of Sonic Powered have done. I’ll tell you about it below …
A combination of action and strategic simulation
To understand Actraiser, you first have to know its two phases: action and strategic simulation. The two go hand in hand and alternate as you progress through a campaign between 12 and 15 hours long, which is not bad at all. In fact, it’s a lot more than it cost to beat the Super Nintendo classic, and it says a lot about the plentiful improvements that have been made. In short, we are talking about the same video game, only with its expanded action and strategy phases, as well as the presence of an extra region.
I can’t tell if I liked playing the sword action parts better, or the ones that put you in the role of a “god” who takes care of a constantly evolving town. But that’s the magic of Actraiser. Earthly action takes you up against a host of enemies, including final bosses, in missions of increasing difficulty. The celestial action proposes you to help humanity to free itself from the yoke of demons and thus make its civilization prosper.
Earthly action leads you to face lots of enemiesThis is how you progress in an adventure composed of a world map with several territories to explore, each one accessible when you reach the required level of experience. It is not an RPG, but it contains quite a few roleros ingredients that increase the depth of mechanics, making everything (it must also be said) much more satisfying. This joins a plot with presence through conversations that erect, on the other hand, the typical struggle between good and evil. It is being followed well and with interest, although without a Spanish translation.
How has the game changed in this new version? On the part of the 2D action, we have that the levels have been expanded, new ones have been added and we even have an unpublished final boss. There are not few additions to the purely playable plane either, with new actions consisting of the lunge up, down and the possibility of dodging. Thanks to this, the action feels deeper than twenty years ago, but without losing that classic aura that accompanies Actraiser.
On the simulation side, the mechanics change to place us on a more strategic plane, in which we must end the demons that stalk the human population, while helping to raise crops, houses and defense fortifications. Specifically, the game incorporates tower-defense sections very funny in that it touches to endure the enemy incursions. All with a light touch, so don’t expect any convoluted options or anything that breaks the pace when it comes to the action parts. The truth is that the proposal seemed very balanced to me.
In this part, one of the aspects that I liked the most is that our particular angel has the ability to summon lightning to, for example, level the construction ground and increase our population. However, we can also use it against enemies. The same happens with other powers of invocation, which allow us to cause earthquakes, winds, rains or cause a righteous sun to fall. The various missions we face (more than twice as many as in the original game) make progressive use of these techniques, so a crucial part is learning how to use them.
My feeling is that it has tried to respect the original 16-bit essenceGraphically, this remake is not a marvel, and you only have to pay attention to the gameplay that accompanies the analysis to understand it. My feeling is that they have tried to respect the original 16-bit essence (and that is very good), but it has been halfway, with a very weak result in resolution. As a consequence, it is not a showy game far from it, with fair animations and visual effects in terms of quality. The strategic part is the one that convinces me the most, and even so we cannot talk about something that goes beyond the simple approved.
The sound aspect is different, with musical themes composed by Yuzo koshiro. 15 new compositions have been remastered and incorporated for the occasion, but what I liked the most is that we have the opportunity to listen to the original SNES music (and the truth is that there is nothing bad!). In fact, the pause menu keeps the odd secret, as this time we have between three levels of difficulty to choose from. Therefore, it is not a bad version or a bad remake, but quite the opposite … especially if you know what you’re up to.