ActRaiser 2 is one of those titles that had a storyline hit EXTREMELY hard by Nintendo censorship. From level bosses to the actual name of your character, Nintendo enjoyed a sweeping motion of the red ink on this ones story. Still, the game came out quite a success, reportedly selling at just over 2 to 1 versus the Japanese version (that had the better storyline due to correct names) in the United States.
Enix, before Square bought them, brought this gem over (including the first one two years earlier) and with it, released an interesting title for gamers. ActRaiser 1 was a hybrid of strategy and side scrolling action, the sequel dropped the strategy part and upped the ante on the visuals, level design, etc (pretty much every thing that was left).
Nintendo’s censoring of the storyline is pretty much where it seemed to end, some of the bosses attest to that. Just look at the skeleton looking freak below, I don’t see any clothes/armor so technically Nintendo should have caught that or did they miss it entirely?
I love it when people point out the Super Nintendo (or Nintendo for that matter) could not do multiple sprite based enemies ala Gunstar Heroes on Sega Genesis. Just look at this snake creature for proof that the SNES could indeed do that programming trick. Sure, Gunstar Heroes was released just a couple of months sooner but that does not make that argument any truer.
Back to the actual game, the overhead flying palace stuff was present in the second game, though only as a mechanism to get around the game world and offer some level of understanding of its size. There are no actual strategy elements in this map movement, even less than there were for Super Mario Bros 3’s maps which at least offered multiple paths to different areas and power ups.
Graphically, ActRaiser 2 is impressive, even today it holds up quite well. Sure, there are games that have passed it graphically on more recent consoles but how many look “good”, like their backrounds could almost tell a story on their own- most of ActRaiser 2’s can. Just look at these pics.
Sadly, there are no digital re-releases of this title available so it is the original cartridge version if you are wanting to throw down like a renamed god against a renamed Satan and his Seven Deadly Sins.