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[SFC] Actraiser series

Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:54 am
by schadenfreude
I recently beat the Japanese versions of Actraiser and Actraiser 2. I chose the Japanese version for the first game because I read on the internet it's more challenging (plus the usual story of uncensored sprites and "adult" themes and so on). There's some good information about the differences here, namely that in the Japanese version, spikes kill instantly, magic spells cost variable amounts of MP and not just 1MP like in the overseas versions, more enemies, and so on. However, the sim parts are actually a little harder in the overseas versions (for example, the cherub's health doesn't regenerate as quickly), but the sim parts are so easy that it doesn't really matter.

However, I couldn't find much information about the differences between the various versions of Actraiser 2, so I went with the Japanese version. Only afterwards with deeper research did I find that the American version was made harder. I did some testing between the two versions by playing the Tortoise Island level on all the difficulties, and here's what I found (plus some other information I gleaned from the internet):

In both versions (in my testing, the HP and damage appeared to be the same in the Japanese and American versions):
Easy: lower enemy HP, lower enemy attack damage
Normal: normal enemy HP, normal enemy attack damage
Hard: higher enemy HP, higher enemy attack damage

American version:
Easy: 5 lives, 5MP; game ends after the first boss rush against the level mini-bosses, where you are told, "Congratulation! Challenge Normal game!"
Normal: 3 lives, 3MP; game ends after fight with Satan
Hard: 2 lives, 3MP; game ends after fight with Satan, but ending animation is slightly better (ends with a pretty picture instead of a black background)

Japanese version:
Easy: 7 lives, 3MP
Normal: 5 lives, 3MP; game ends after fight with Satan, with "good" ending animation; I don't know if this is true for Easy and Hard as well
Hard: 3 lives, 3MP, plus I noticed one of the power-up containers found halfway through the level was removed (I didn't see this in any other scenario)

I barely used magic and beat the Japanese version on normal with a decent amount of challenge, but I think the challenge on Normal in the American version would be more interesting. I found the enemies take far too long to kill in the Hard difficulties, which is more annoying than challenging. If anyone knows of any other differences, please let me know.

Re: [SFC] Actraiser series

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:17 pm
by Gaijin Punch
About how long did these take to clear? Always loved this series, just never gave it much time.

Re: [SFC] Actraiser series

Posted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:46 am
by EOJ
The first game is great. I think I played the second one briefly but can't remember anymore. I should check it out again.

Re: [SFC] Actraiser series

Posted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:42 am
by schadenfreude
Gaijin Punch wrote:About how long did these take to clear?

Probably around 10 hours each. I'd say the second one takes a little longer because it has two boss rushes (!) at the end of the game. I appreciate the length and challenge of both games though since lately I haven't been in the mood for short and challenging arcade games or long and bloated easy ones. But a few more Actraiser-like games should be enough to recharge my batteries and get me back in the arcades, so to speak!

Re: [SFC] Actraiser series

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:45 pm
by Imhotep
Actraiser 2 is great, hangs with the top 16-bit titles of the same genre.

I've also cleared the JP and the US version and found the US hard difficulty to be the most enjoyable one in the long run.

An important gameplay element is that enemies lose their hurtbox when hit. This combined with the hard-hitting downward thrust makes for a great offence.

Re: [SFC] Actraiser series

Posted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:27 pm
by layzee
Similar to Tri-Ace games, I always found the reused sound effects across multiple Quintet games interesting/weird. Speaking of Quintet and to paraphrase a different thread "What happened to Quintet?" If we look at their early works:

    Soul Blazer
    ActRaiser 2
    Illusion of Gaia (Gaia Gensouki)
    Terranigma (Tenchi Souzou)

That's a pretty damn good track record. And that's without mentioning the pre-Quintet days of Ys (Nihon Falcom) and Yuzo Koshiro (music composer of Bare Knuckle/Streets of Rage etc).

Obviously the company is defunct now but where are they now? The important names are: Tomoyoshi Miyazaki and Masaya Hashimoto. According to the Japanese wikipedia, the former joined a few non-video game related companies about 10 years ago, and 2channers are still wondering about his whereabouts. As for the latter he basically disappeared.

Re: [SFC] Actraiser series

Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:57 am
by CIT Seven Force
For sure, what happened to Quintet is one of the big mysteries/tragedies of Japanese video games. Nobody has any information.

Re: [SFC] Actraiser series

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:18 pm
by CTN
Is it just me, or is Actraiser really clunky to play?

Re: [SFC] Actraiser series

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:30 pm
by zinger
I also remember having that reaction initially, but enemy and stage designs are appropriately tailored to match that "clunkiness" once you get used to it (kind of like the Makaimuras, or FC Akumajoo Dracula, perhaps?). Actraiser 2 takes a bit longer to learn since the controls are more intricite, but it's one of the greatest 2D action games around, so don't give up too soon!

Re: [SFC] Actraiser series

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:29 pm
by CTN
The simulation part is sooooo boring tho.