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North American cover art
ActRaiser 2, released in Japan as ActRaiser 2: Chinmoku e no Seisen (アクトレイザー2 沈黙への聖戦 Akutoreizā Tsū: Chinmoku e no Seisen , lit. "ActRaiser 2: The Crusade for Silence"), is a side-scrolling platform game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game console developed by Quintet and published by Enix (now Square Enix) in 1993 and is the sequel to the popular game ActRaiser. The game tells a story that draws concepts from the famous religious epics Paradise Lost and Divine Comedy.
The position of ActRaiser 2 in the series timeline is not explicitly revealed; however, many plot details suggest that ActRaiser 2 may actually be a prequel to the original ActRaiser, or take place in another universe entirely.
Unlike the original game, which alternately combined platform game sequences and god game sequences, ActRaiser 2 is only a platform game.
Gameplay for ActRaiser 2 consists primarily with side-scrolling platform action. The player, assuming the role of "the Master" ("God" in the Japanese version), controls a floating palace to inspect the people of the world below. After hearing their plight the Master descends to the world below to fight the monsters and rid the land of evil. Each area contains two "acts". The first act of an area consists of monsters spawned from a lesser demon named after an unfavorable condition. The second act consists of monsters spawned from the primary evil, named after one of the seven deadly sins, with heightened challenge and peril.
The side-scrolling action for ActRaiser 2 is far more advanced than its predecessor. Controlling the Master, who now has a full set of functional wings, the player must navigate through dungeons and avoid certain peril by jumping, flying, falling, and floating to platforms. Armed only with a sword, and a shield which can deflect some attacks, the Master becomes heavily dependent upon magic. Magic is executed by holding down the designated button to "charge up" and is then released, consuming a magic scroll which are limited when the Master enters an area. When released, the magic may take various form depending on which position the Master is in. This is different from the first ActRaiser in which the player had to select a particular magic before descending down to the world to fight monsters and was limited to only that magic for the duration of battle. In ActRaiser 2, each magic is designed for particular situations and some magic is more powerful than others. By increasing the difficulty level at the options screen, the time it takes to "charge up" magic is increased, adding more difficulty to the game. The game's difficulty is also increased in that monsters require much more damage to be destroyed. Even on the easiest difficulty the game can prove to be quite challenging, and on the hardest difficulty it has increased replay value.
The game begins with the Master battling with Tanzra ("Satan" in the Japanese version). In this game, a backstory is given as to why Tanzra hates the Master so vehemently. Tanzra, who was once the Master's servant, led a rebellion against him, but lost and was banished from Heaven.
Ripped and torn, the slain body of Tanzra fell to the underworld. Feeding on the intense hatred each held for the Master, Tanzra's seven deadly sins and their minions combined their power to raise the spirit of their mighty leader. Tanzra, now vowing revenge for his defeat by The Master, unleashed these demons upon the world. The player in this game assumes the role of the Master, aided by his angel associates, known as Crystallis.
Some of the stages in the game are meant to be ironic regarding the blighting nature of Tanzra's demons. The townsmen in the city of Leon are sent to the underground prison of Gratis (meaning free without charge, or referring to "nadie entra gratis", no one enters for free) for not paying their taxes by a newly appointed king named Kolunikus, who is afflicted by Greed.
After the player slays the first six deadly sins, the Tower of Babel (renamed "Tower of Sins" in the western versions), the final staged level of the game, appears, in which the Master fights the final sin, Pride, a mechanically engineered god. Defeating the false god, the player then descends into Death Heim/Hell, where he fights again against the seven sins, as well as Tanzra himself, a beast frozen waist-deep in a lake of ice (just as Satan was in the Inferno in The Divine Comedy).
During the game's ending, it is declared that "The Master will live forever" and, as the credits roll, an image of the statue of the Master is shown slowly eroding over time. The statue's sword and right wing fall off, suggesting the growth of civilization and the increase of mankind's self-sufficiency. This reflects the ending of the original ActRaiser, where the servant speculates that someday the world may be so independent that it will forget about the Master.
Reception and legacy
The game sold about 180,000 copies worldwide, with 40,000 copies sold in Japan and Europe respectively and 100,000 sold in the USA.
In May 2008, Fumiaki Shiraishi, the lead programmer for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, noted in an interview that he would like to make an ActRaiser sequel.
- "Quintet Game Library (Internet Archive)". Quintet. Archived from the original on 2005-03-06. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
- Parish, Jeremy and Sheffield, Brandon (May 12, 2008). "Content Kings: Square Enix's Shiraishi And Tsuchida On WiiWare And Risk". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 9 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-08.