The ActRaiser's back, and it's sharper than ever. Continuing the story of a holy guardian who'll stop at nothing to rid the world of demons, ActRaiser 2 is side-scrolling heaven on SNES earth!
Weighing in at a fairly hefty 12 megs, ActRaiser 2 is packed with more than enough action, striking graphics, and masterful music to satisfy fans of the original game. Although the controls could have been more precise and the challenge a little more down-to-earth, this sequel's an eyebrow-Raiser.
ProTip: Press L or R while walking and you'll stand still in a defensive stance.
The demon Tanzra just can't keep his bloody claws off your world, and now he's been revived by his 13 loyal demons. This terrible tag team has split up and spread war, famine, and natural disaster to 14 cities, meaning you've got 14 demon stalking Acts ahead of you!
To beat the Benefic Snake Mid-Boss, block with the Shield, wait for a Fireball, strike, and then immediately hold up the Shield again.
As the World Bums
Although the role-playing Populous-style segment has been cut from Act 2, you still get a spectacular overhead view of the world, and you can cruise through the sky in your Air Palace in search of demons. You control three altitudes with the L and R keys, and Mode 7 zooms you in for a close-up of the surface or zooms you out for the big picture. When you find a hotspot, the game transports you to side-slashing action.
Stand on the platform to avoid getting swept away by the current, then pound on the Benefic's Snail Boss with magic.
Unlike other hack-em-ups, ActRaiser 2 has a surprisingly captivating story line. In one sequence, a beautiful Queen, who was jealous of your powers, betrayed you to the demons. Her corruption was her downfall, however, and the demons blasted her kingdom to the bottom of the sea. You must slay the Queen and her foul horde to save the innocent civilians and restore the land to its natural state.
Pain is in the eyes of the beholder! You must cut this bugger down to size by hopping back and forth between platforms and hacking away at his pupils.
A Wing and a Slayer
This time, the Master (your character) is all decked out with a spiffy pair of Pegasus-style wings to add frills to his solid arsenal of cold steel and magic. He can glide like the breeze, and even sword-slash while gliding! Unfortunately, the glide controls are hard to pick up and not totally reliable, though this doesn't hurt the game too much.
Make short, precise Glide jumps to survive when the rock platforms give way in the Almetha Volcano.
Overall the action is excellent in ActRaiser 2, but there is some painful slowdown when too many enemies crowd the screen. In fact the game seems to move a bit slowly in general -- a dashing move would have been a nice addition to pick up the pace.
- The Queen of Altheria's got a fire of jealousy you'll need to put out.
- If a fire embankment looks like it's in the foreground, play it safe and soar over it.
A Hard Act to Follow
With the return of big-name composer Yuzo Koshiro to the Copyright Screen, one expects nothing less than audio excellence. Those expectations are almost completely fulfilled. The classical-sounding scores rock during battles and soothe the savage beast during times of tranquility. The only major letdown is the rerun of some tracks and effects from the first Act.
Gluttony's one hungry demon. Too bad his mouth is so wide that you can fit a sword down his gullet.
The visuals are a big, bold step in the right direction. While the hero's character sprite could have been larger, that's not a concern you'll have with the horrific-looking demons. The background textures are exquisite, and the amount of art crammed into this 12-megger is astonishing.
A Hard Act to Finish
Passwords and unlimited continues are your tickets back into the game if and when you die. Even Easy Mode is hard, but don't let that deter you from taking your best shot. The rewards are well worth it. Don't pass up this game just because you don't understand the name. When all is said and done, you'll kick yourself if you miss Act 2.
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