tiistai 17. elokuuta 2010

REVIEW - ActRaiser 2 (1993)

Genre(s): Action
Released: 1993
Available on: SNES
Developer(s): Quintet
Publisher(s): Enix
Players: 1

1990’s ActRaiser was a major international breakthrough for Enix, and a breakthrough in video gaming itself. With 1993’s ActRaiser 2, however, developers Quintet apparently did their best to drive Enix into the ground. ActRaiser 2 is often called a disappointment that fails to live up to the original game, but the truth is the game is one of the most disgraceful sequels of all time. For some reason, Quintet thought it was best to remove all of the unique aspects that made the first game so good, and settled with a reckless, run-of-the-mill action platformer. I smell North American market.

A simplified mess not even the Master can clean up

ActRaiser 2 is a prequel to the previous game, and loosely based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Long ago, Master cast his servant Tanzra aside, doubting his loyalty. Tanzra led an insurrection against Master, but lost his battle and was banished from Heaven. Now, his minions have combined their powers to resurrect him and enable him to unleash the seven deadly sins. The Master must now rid the world of sin and Tanzra, who awaits on the deepest planes of a kingdom of his own.

Some make-believe of a genuine ActRaiser
In accordance to a perfectly natural law, the game looks great, notably better than its predecessor. I dig Master’s new (or old?) Thor look, and level design is superb. Too bad the game itself cannot live up to the previous one, ‘cause the graphical base of it is without a doubt great. The music, however, isn’t nearly as good as it used to be. Yuzo Koshiro’s still in charge, but I have no idea what happened to his imagination in three years. It’s listenable stuff, but its ultimate repetition doesn’t help the already slow game at all.

Going into gameplay, we come to a huge road block. Tell me, did you like city building in ActRaiser? I bet you’re just dying to see what this game has in store. Well, there’s nothing. Only action... without action. You only use the world map and the sky palace, which you previously used to watch over the cities, to get around. No leveling up, no civilization to preserve, no offerings. Just you, your sword, tons of annoying enemies and movement which is so SLOW that you’ll fall asleep and crap your pants while you’re at it while hacking through one single stage. Yes, one stage is enough to bore you out of your socks. The “action” is incredibly linear and tedious.

Just look at him! Why must the game itself
suck so bad?!
Defeating the bosses needs some minor planning, but by the time you reach any boss, you’re probably in a state in which you just don’t care what happens – once again, the game will have worn you out with its own being in just a few minutes into it. Calling ActRaiser 2 a disappointment is an utter compliment. Master’s awesome look makes it seem like Quintet and Enix are measuring just how disappointed a gamer can possibly be. Even those cool wings are there for absolutely nothing.

Maximum frustration are the only words to describe the game’s difficulty. I refuse to call this slow borefest difficult. The only challenge is to bear the game. If you can do that and you’re at least a little experienced with action games, you’ll have no problems. Just hack, hack, hack, ‘til your eyes and your soul bleed.

No fucking way am I ever going to play this game again. Quintet doesn’t quite do enough to kill my desire for a possible ActRaiser 3(D), no matter how hard they try, but seriously, what the hell were they thinking? What on Earth were they hoping to accomplish? I would’ve barely understood the exclusion of the first game’s most important elements and an all-action sequel, IF they had even tried to make it good and not just a piece of self-ironic, useless crap that rides on the storm of a popular brand name.

Graphics : 8.5
Sound : 6.9
Playability : 4.3
Challenge : 5.0
Overall : 4.5


a.k.a. ActRaiser 2: Shinmoku heno Seisen (JAP)

GameRankings: 78.67%

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