Ahh the nineties… An era of Saturday morning cartoons, the Treasure Troll, and of course– the Super NES. And what better way to pay homage to such an influential system, than to discuss a two-part series that bewinderingly made it through Nintendo’s strict no-religion policy. I am of course referring to the divinely entertaining, Quintet & Enix corporations: ActRaiser!
This title, my friends– does not just take inspiration from religious themes… But instead; In it, you control the hero: God.
Thanks for reading!
Okay, seriously though. In the North-American release, you are known as ‘The Master’ which was altered from the original Japanese name given to our protagonist. Simply God.
You begin your righteous journey waking from a long slumber forced upon you by the vile demon lord ‘Tanzra’. Satan in the Japanese version.
While the parallels to the Christian religion are grossly apparent in this IP’s naming conventions, that’s about where we find that it pleateus. From the architecture to the clothing worn by your peasant-like followers and even beyond that to the Cupid-esque appearance of your personal minion; the influences of ancient Roman and Greek mythology can be felt strongly.
In fact– perhaps it’s only my herb-addled brain speaking but what if ActRaiser is more a symbol of manifest destiny? In the game, Satan has sealed your powers and forced you into a slumber. But he’s not alone in this endeavor, you see… Each level of gameplay has you traversing the land, cleansing it of the evil that was allowed to fester while you were away. At the end of each set of levels or ‘Acts’ as they were known; you face a demon under the employ of Tanzra. Now while you MAY have been weakened by your slumber, these beasts not only match you power, but can often overwhelm you. (In the form of a game over of course.)
So would it be safe to assume that these demons were a kind of diety also?
The image above is a full-scale version of Tanzra’s mugshot shown before. Take a look at his backup dancers, if you would. Could those creatures be reminiscent of an old-world Polytheistic religion? Are you; ‘The Master’– on a crusade of sorts, to rid the world of heathens?!
Who knows? It has a hell of a sound track, I can tell you that much. Give it a try, it has a sequal that’s pretty decent too~
Thank you for joining me for today’s look into games with genes steeped in religion…Yum! Come back soon for part 3, and enjoy some of my associates’ work in mean time!