Original North American Release Date: November 1st, 1991
ActRaiser is a uniquely original game that feels more like a mash-up of two different game genres, as one part of the game consisted of an action-platformer, while the other part of the game was more of a world-building simulation similar to titles like SimCity. The main protagonist was called the Master, but was essentially a god-like being that battled monsters, answered prayers, and built up cities from nothing. In fact, the Master’s controllable assistant during the simulation gameplay is literally an angel. Creativity like this was very uncommon for console games in the early 90s, so ActRaiser definitely succeeded in turning several heads towards this potential new franchise.
ActRaiser’s visuals includes some impressive “Mode 7” graphical zooming effects, an image-scaling technique that the SNES’ more established rival, the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, was incapable of pulling off. ActRaiser also features a very notable soundtrack composed by Yuzo Koshiro, who went on to compose the music for the Streets of Rage series, often cited as the best musical soundtracks on the Sega Genesis.
ActRaiser did receive a sequel, ActRaiser 2, but the simulation gameplay elements were completely removed, leaving only a mediocre action-platformer that is partially saved by another really good musical score from Yuzo Koshiro.