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Title Screen


Developer: Quintet
Publisher: Enix
Platform: SNES
Released in JP: December 16, 1990
Released in US: November 1, 1991
Released in EU: 1992

DevTextIcon.png This game has hidden development-related text.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
SoundtestIcon.png This game has a hidden sound test.
LevelSelectIcon.png This game has a hidden level select.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.

DCIcon.png This game has a Data Crystal page

ActRaiser is a basic-but-fun platformer elevated to a new level by the inclusion of city-building simulation sequences between stages.

Debug Mode

So you'll never get lost. Heh. "Efect".

A debug mode can be activated with the following game enhancer codes:

Game Genie Pro Action Replay (PAR)
US version:

Japanese version:
US version:

Japanese version:

Controller instructions for action scenes:

  • Hold R to make things go in slow-motion.
  • Hold Select and press R to warp to the next room. Note that the second stages in any world are linked to the first ones. For example, using this in the Fillmore forest stage will take you to the second stage caves. If there are no more rooms in the sequence, you'll be looped back to the first one.
  • Hold L + Select and press R to warp to the next stage. You'll only enter the first stage of each world this way; use the above option to go to the second stages. If used in Northwall, this will take you to the Death Heim. If used in the Death Heim, you will be sent to Sim Stage 1 (Fillmore), where you can advance no further as you're not able to use the debug features in Sim stages.
  • Hold R and press L to display your X/Y coordinates. (Note: Do not attempt this while moving, or this key combination will effectively act as a "suicide code", killing the Master instantly.)
  • Press X + A to exit to the map.
  • Hold R and press Start to enter Music Mode. Press B to activate text and begin playing songs. Press Left/Right to decrease/increase the music index, and B to play the selected song. Press Down/Up to decrease/increase the effect index, and Y to play the selected sound effect. Press Select to exit.
  • Hold R and press Y + B: Unused; does nothing.
(Source: JLukas)

Unused Items

A pair of unused items. Or their graphics, at least, as you don't seem able to hack them into your inventory.

  • A bag of what? Some kind of bag, which somewhat resembles the Goat Food found in Soul Blazer. Most likely intended as some sort of offering necessary to advance a town.
  • Woof! A...dog? Dogs can occasionally be seen wandering around the villages, but you can't get one as an "item".

Hidden Message



A little message that comes after the game's graphic for the world map: "Kihon pātsu chūsei (machi)" translates to "Basic Parts - Mediaeval (Town)".

Regional Differences

Careful, you'll lose an eye.
This page or section needs more images.
There's a whole lotta words here, but not enough pictures. Please fix this.
To do:
Also, European differences.

Title Screen

The international title screen has several changes: the "A" was redrawn, the "R" was capitalized, a crack was added to the emblem, and the Japanese characters were removed. Additionally, Enix and Quintet switched places for some reason. In addition to the European version, the copyright text was changed from 1991 to 1992 and there's a choice to do Story Mode or Action Mode.

Japan US Europe
Actraiser jpn title.png Actraiser-title.png Actraiser-title-EU.png

Difficulty & Core Gameplay

The US and European versions are significantly easier than the original Japanese version: there are fewer enemy encounters in both the action and simulation portions of the game, and the action sequences have fewer traps and enemies. Additionally, in the Japanese version as a general oversight, enemies had more HP and dealt more damage. There was also a plethora of instant-death spike traps in the Japanese version, which got dumbed down in the US and European versions to only deal some damage.

Additionally in the Japanese version, the type of magic you use, used up different amounts of scrolls depending on which magic spell it was. For example, the "Magic Fire" used only one scroll, but the "Shooting Stars" used two scrolls. This was changed in the US and European releases so that all types of magic use only one scroll, drastically lowering the difficulty level in boss fights.

Game Modes

  • In addition to the regular game mode, the European version makes Professional! mode (renamed "Action Mode") available from the start and adds a difficulty selection to both modes.
  • Professional!” mode (US) is called “Special” mode (Japanese). Also, you start with only 3 lives in the Japanese version, instead of 5 in the US and European versions!


In the original Japanese version, the game is based around your powers being sealed by the demon king "Satan". In order for your powers to return, it's necessary for you help the humans of the land so that they worship you, whereby you gain strength from their piety. This was almost completely rewritten for the US and European releases, which changed the main plotline to you being defeated by Tanzra and his six lieutenants, and falling into a deep sleep for several hundred years.

Some of the other notable US and European changes include:

  • The main villain was renamed to "Tanzra".
  • The name of "God" (Japan) was replaced with "The Master" (Western).
  • In the Japanese version, the man who gets lost in the desert in Kasandora is explicitly mentioned as having died and been buried near the main palace. Whereas in the US and European versions, this was only implied.
  • In the Japanese version during the Bloodpool storyline, it is revealed that Teddy set up the lottery so that he would be picked as a sacrifice for his people. In the US and European versions, it just said he was selected at random. This information is revealed during the ending.

Action Stages

  • In the Japanese version, your score resets to 0 during Action Mode when you lose a life during the action stages. In the US and European versions, it was retained between lives.
  • In the Japanese version, zero or 0 counts as a life, as displayed in the top graphical interface. You start the game with a number of 2 lives displayed (3 total). In the US and European versions, zero DOESN'T count as a life, and instead you start with a number indicating 3 lives (3 total).
  • The Half Apple item restored only a small fraction of your health points in the Japanese version. In the US and European versions, it restored a much greater fraction.

Per-Act Change List

  • Fillmore, Act 1: Birds have smoother plumage and more realistic animation. Goblins have a different face, with flashing red eyes, and have been given a club in place of their bare hands. Beasts have a different face, and have more highlighting and better shading. The tree enemy that shoots orbs had a part of its attack sequence removed, while it previously alternated attack patterns with a secondary "seed-sprouting" phase that spawned small plant enemies. Some of the grassy terrain spikes were removed, and the first item you find, the 500 Points item, was newly added. The first Full Apple was changed from a Half Apple. The second 1UP in the stage was changed from a 1000 Points.
  • Fillmore, Act 2: Ghouls have a different face. The skeletal half-dragons have a different face and sword. All of the wall-statues that spit out red orbs have been reduced to only a few (most of them are now just cosmetic, and don't do anything). On the lower of the split paths, there's now two sets of spikes instead of one on each platform, and they are instant-death. The first two Whole Apples were changed from Half Apples. The 1000 Points item on the lower path was changed from an Origin of Magic. The BGM was changed from "Fillmore" to "Pyramid ~ Marahna".
  • Bloodpool, Act 1: Birds have an improved wingtip. The worms that fly up from the water look very different; the palette is also entirely different. The Lizard Knights (naked in the Japanese version) have clothes and a more "predatory" face. The Whole Apple before the boss was newly added.
  • Bloodpool, Act 2: Floating Skulls have a different face. The stabby skeleton lizards have been redrawn, and look more skeletal. The formerly unarmed ground Goblins have been armed with daggers, while the flying Goblins' spears are slightly lengthened. The fireball statues have been redrawn completely and now looking more like gargoyles, with the appearance of their fireballs also being slightly altered. These "gargoyles" also only shoot a single fireball per shot, having shot double fireballs per shot sequence in the Japanese version. The Whole Apple before the boss was changed from a Half Apple.
  • Kasandora, Act 1: Scorpion Men have had their faces modified, and their pincers made more prominent. The Whole Apple before the boss was newly added.
  • Kasandora, Act 2: The bird gods (naked in the Japanese version) have been given clothes, a facelift, and a slightly modified sword animation*. The Whole Apple before the boss was changed from a Half Apple. The ledge below the 1UP area was padded outward, making it easier to land on the ledge. The Pharaoh Head enemies from the walls now shoot arrows at a much slower rate. The blue-sphere like enemies now move much slower. The Pharaoh boss is now on the ground for a longer time, and the blue-spheres that he shoots out no longer spawn Pharaoh Heads when reaching the wall. Instead, arrows are sporadically fired from each direction and cannot be stopped, but generally this entire fight was made MUCH easier. The Whole Apple near the end of the level was changed from a Half Apple.
  • Aitos, Act 1: Hobbits have had their faces modified to make them look more... grizzled. Mini Tornadoes (fired by the strange birdmen) have an additional frame of animation*, and have been redrawn. The skulls during the bird-moving platform are now destroyable, while being previously invulnerable. In the area where you descend down the volcano and lava spews out, the lava comes up MUCH slower. The Whole Apple near the start of the level was changed from a Half Apple.
  • Marahna, Act 1: Four pixels of a single frame (seriously) of the Spearmen have been altered, slightly improving their shading. The boss at the end of the stage has been modified to look less like a carnivorous plant and more like some kind of alien blob monster. Additionally, the head of this boss is now always stuck out, where in the Japanese version it followed a pattern of "hiding" its head, and then popping back out. Both Whole Apples were changed from the previous Half Apples.
  • Marahna, Act 2: Arrows fired from the Arrow Traps flash. A fireball enemy that walked by where the first 1UP is has been removed. Additionally, this 1UP was changed from an Original of Magic. Most of the spikes are that were previously instant deaths are no longer such. The Whole Apple on the west path was changed from a Half Apple.
  • Northwall, Act 1: Ettins have had their faces modified. Both Whole Apples were changed from Half Apples. The 1UP in the water area has moved to a new location, and is no longer surrounded by instant-death spike traps. The platform holding the first Origin of Magic item had the floor widened, from a previously very narrow platform.
  • Northwall, Act 2: The 1UP near the starting point was changed from an Origin of Magic. The Whole Apple near the boss area was changed from a Half Apple.
  • Death Heim: During the boss-selection screen, the first enemy's statue has horns in the Japanese version, but no horns in the western release.

*Denotes a change that alters sprite composition in an incompatible way.


To use magic, you press Up + Y in the Japanese version, which sometimes resulted in accidental misfires, but just the A button in the US and European versions.

Simulation Mode Stages

  • In the Japanese version, the construction phase of creation/simulation mode is much slower (at least 4 times as long) compared to the US and European releases.
  • In the Japanese version's creation/simulation mode, your SP doesn’t replenish every construction cycle as it does in the US and European versions, nor does it replenish after certain in-game events. This means that in the Japanese version you must farm enemies in order to use your miracles, if you cannot seal a monster den or level up, otherwise it never comes back... This means you can get stuck and mess up your game if you do not farm / build correctly.
  • The Angel's health regenerates quickly and regularly in the Japanese version, whereas in the US and European versions it replenishes only after a building construction cycle.
  • Earthquakes destroy houses randomly in the Japanese version; in the US and European versions, they specifically destroy only older houses and so can be used to increase the population of your cities by clearing out older (lower occupancy) buildings.
  • The SP costs for the various miracles (natural phenomena/natural disasters) are different between the US and Japanese releases.
  • The item that increases crop production in the Japanese version was (unsurprisingly) rice, instead of the wheat it became in the western release. Additionally, you cannot immediately take another rice offering in the Japanese version, whereas in the western version the wheat supply is replenished immediately after you take one.
  • While this is difficult to confirm, the creation/simulation mode monster AI is much lethargic in the Japanese version, where often times they stand around and do nothing, especially after killing 1 of their targets. The AI seems to have improved in the US and European versions, as they attack much more efficiently.

Maximum Population

The maximum possible population for each area in Simulation mode is drastically different between the Japanese and International versions.

Japan International
Area Population Area Population
Fillmore 634 Fillmore 914
Bloodpool 554 Bloodpool 874
Cassandra 754 Kasandora 874
Aitos 522 Aitos 802
Marahna 354 Marahna 538
Northwall 538 Northwall 650
Total 3356 Total 4652


The little emotion balloons that appear above your peoples' heads were changed for the US and European releases slightly. The "skull" icon became a scary face (used when your followers turn against you at Marahna), while the skull itself took the place of the yellow cross (used when your followers are killed). None of the other icons were altered.

Japan International
Changes a-cross the board. Scary face!

The skull monsters' lairs were changed from a Star of David design in the Japanese version to an unassuming diamond in the International one.

Japan International
EEEEEEVIL? Not so evil?

The Pyramid in Kasandora features the Eye of Providence in the Japanese version.

Japan International
I No I

World Map (Sky Palace Overview)

  • There is no animation of Death Heim emerging from the sea in the Japanese version. You are simply told that it has appeared once you return to the Sky Palace. When you go back to the world map, it's simply there.

Sky Palace Menus

  • In the Japanese version, the Status of Master page from the Sky Palace does not have a secondary page that records per-act and total score information. This feature was conveniently added to the US and European versions.
  • When an area reaches its maximum population it from the Status of Cities page, it says “MAX” in the US and European versions, while in the Japanese it just says “Slow”.

Other Differences

  • Given that the Maximum Populations were different between versions, this also means that the maximum population level-up triggers for God/The Master have also changed.