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Author Topic: 2015/12: ActRaiser (Super NES) - Rick Bruns  (Read 2793 times)
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JonLeung
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« on: November 30, 2015, 09:58:19 PM »


For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Rick Bruns's ActRaiser (Super NES) maps.

In ActRaiser you play the "Master" of a world populated by humans that worship you, but are repeatedly threatened by demonic forces.  Take on human form and vanquish evil!  Then return to your home in the sky and foster the growth of your people.

The unique thing about ActRaiser is about how it covers two gameplay genres: half of the game is a platformer and half of the game is a city simulation.  The platforming action portion takes place when you take on human form and use a sword to fight off the demons in various parts of the world, to make the land peaceful for the humans to thrive.  When you are in the Sky Palace, you and your angel helper can direct the humans towards monster lairs and change the terrain to facilitate the expansion of the cities.  Together, these two experiences make for a one-of-a-kind experience on the Super NES.  (Oddly, the city simulation portion was not present in the platforming-action-only sequel.)

Rick Bruns has mapped out all of both modes, so you can see where everything is, whether you are slaying demons or building cities.  Equipped with these maps, you can feel as omniscient as you would expect the "Master" of a world would be.

So to recognize the effort put into mapping this world so masterfully, Rick Bruns's ActRaiser (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for December 2015.
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Will
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2015, 07:36:24 AM »

Rumor has it that the name Tanzra is an anagram and substitution of the name Satan. Simply rearrange the name Satan to Tansa then substitute the 'S' for a 'Z' and add an 'R'. It would be nice to have the Japanese stage maps as well. They are noticeably different in layout, and have slightly differently designed enemies. Good one Rick!
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2015, 09:58:05 AM »

According to the Hardcore Gaming 101 article on the game, in the Japanese version, you literally *are* God and are fighting against Satan. However, I wasn't aware that the stages or some enemies were different.

One great thing to note about the game's map is that the more detailed regional maps fit almost perfectly on the less detailed map of the whole world after upscaling it by a factor of 2. You'd be surprised how often that *doesn't* happen.

Oh yeah, and great work on the maps Rick Bruns!
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Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
JonLeung
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2015, 11:50:46 AM »

Well, Tanzra being a sort-of-anagram of Satan makes more sense than it being an anagram of Tarzan.  (But then there's Satan and Santa...but I digress.)

Nintendo having shied away from religion back in those days is no surprise and there are many examples of that in that era.  That era has certainly passed (or at least the reins loosened for older-age-appropriate games), with clear examples like last year's Bayonetta 2 (which Nintendo published) where Bayonetta violently takes down demons and angels in a journey somewhat reminiscent of Dante's travels in The Divine Comedy.  You wouldn't have seen that in 1991!  At least not if Nintendo had any say in it.  If ActRaiser was rereleased or remade today, do you think anyone would notice or care if they changed all references to "Master" back to "God"?

What I find more offensive than anything like that is the removal of the simulation part (which I thought was what made this game special) for the sequel.  I never ever did get far at all in ActRaiser 2 anyway, for some reason being unable to jump from a leaf to a ledge in Benefic.  Very odd place to be stuck, tried so many times, still wonder what I am missing?  Maybe I should watch a YouTube playthrough or something.

Anyway, I also was not aware that the Japanese version had differences in the layout.  Differently designed enemies is not a surprise, but the stage design is another thing.  I guess in my head I always imagine localizing departments to just be hacking the text, and maybe editing some graphics, stuff an amateur ROM hacker might do, not something more physical/structural (in the in-game sense).  I'm sure I'm wrong but that's just an idea that's stuck with me for years.
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KeyBlade999
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2015, 01:47:25 PM »

Anyway, I also was not aware that the Japanese version had differences in the layout.  Differently designed enemies is not a surprise, but the stage design is another thing.  I guess in my head I always imagine localizing departments to just be hacking the text, and maybe editing some graphics, stuff an amateur ROM hacker might do, not something more physical/structural (in the in-game sense).  I'm sure I'm wrong but that's just an idea that's stuck with me for years.

I'm the same way a lot of the times. But it's amazing what people have edited. In just my years of playing Pokemon, I've noticed something interesting about the first generations' localization. The graphics are very different between versions (and frankly, the Japanese Red/Green had the superior ones =/) and something as out of the way as Cerulean Cave got altered between the JP and US releases, for seemingly no reason whatsoever. (I mean, really, I can't see any sense in altering it, or just the graphics - I swear to God, the freaking POLES on the sides of Routes were changed!) Maybe I'll go back through and redo my terrible maps for those games and even include the JP versions' graphics, though personally it seems like double the work for the same result (the details are somewhat minor - noticeable, but aside from Cerulean Cave nothing is really affected).

In Pokemon Gold/Silver, this stuff thus prompted me to play the Japanese versions as I mapped it -- turns out the version-exclusives, of all things, were swapped. (What's exclusive to our Gold is on the Japanese Silver, and what's exclusive to our Silver is on the Japanese Gold, aside from Ho-Oh/Lugia, which technically aren't exclusive but whatever.)

Localization be weird.

But I digress. Congrats Rick!
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