There's a logic to waiting before you buy a newly released modern console. Protracted development times, increased production costs and elevated expectations mean so few games are ready for when a new machine leaves the starting blocks. Infact, two years into the PS4's life and gamers still struggle to make a definitive list of twenty must have games.
One offering entitled "magical star dust" specifically is a must, after all, nothing says "all powerful God" more than a hailstorm of fire. You'll also have access to a slew of powers that you can use in the simulation mode; lightning, earthquakes, floods. Admittedly, none of these would seem the best ways to encourage your autonomous towns to grow, however used in the right ways these destructive forces allows you to encourage growth. Lightening for example clears the forests that block town expansion and floods bring vegetation and water to arid deserts. As is often the case in 'God Games' though , the temptation to sling a natural disaster at a perfectly happy town is always strong, even if it'll prevent you progressing to the next platforming stage. After all, progression to the next stage only occurs after the people close the last monster lair in town.
Once they have done this a final larger portal to a side scrolling boss fight opens. In true 'Zelda' style, the game hopes you use the skill you have unlocked in the previous simulation section to beat the beast. In reality though, the "magical star dust" is so hilariously over powered you'll find no reason not to use it, unless of course you wish a boss fight to last longer than a minute.
In the town of Kasandora you'll watch helplessly as a man gets lost in a desert and dies. To celebrates his life, the town somehow becomes "the birth places to the marvellous art form "music"", essentially inventing music in tribute. As the game explains "music has mysterious powers, by listening people can calm their hearts and soothe their pains". For a game to place such great importance on music it would be hilariously ironic if it had bad music, but fortunately 'ActRaiser' offers the most overlooked scores in video game history. Composer Yuzo Koshiro started making music for NES games back when he was 19 and he is still active to this day. While he has scored game series like 'Streets of Rage', 'Shenmue' and 'Shinobi' he still credits 'ActRaiser' as being his best work. The music in this game fits almost every situation perfectly. Epic and mesmerising during action scenes, sad during the more morbid moments and peacefully classical during reflective scenes. It would be wrong to say it topples the likes of 'Chrono Trigger' or 'MegaMan X' and has the best soundtrack on the Super Nintendo but it easily in the top ten. You don't even have to settle for the 16 bit rendition of the score either since there's no shortage of orchestral renditions and fan made remixes all over the Internet. Not that you really need to though, since "it's like there's a full orchestra inside the Super Famicom" to quote game critic Julian Rignal.
The graphics aren't to the lofty standard of the music but it's easy to see why so many reviewers got excited by the visuals . "The graphics are outstanding" said Mean Machines magazine, "crammed with amazing attention to detail" added Retro Gamer magazine.
Where did I get this game from?
I wouldn't own this were it not for the kind generosity of a Twitter friend. I wanted to buy 'Illusions of Time' from him and he insisted I had this game as well. Apparently they form half of the "Quintet Heaven and Earth" series. The slight problem is that another game I'd need for the series is 'Terranigma'; one of the most expenses games you can buy for the Snes. You cant fault generosity though, even if it sets you down a very expensive rabbit hole.