ActRaiser 2 is the follow-up to Quintet's earlier SNES game ActRaiser. It strips out much of the God sim aspects, building towns and helping control the monster population from a top-down view. Instead, it doubles down on the first game's "action stages": platforming sequences in which an avatar of the player's character (called only "The Master") fights his way through a dungeon to defeat one of Tanzra's lieutenants.
As with the first game, ActRaiser 2 was released in all three regions. It was published by Enix in the US and Japan, and by Ubisoft in Europe. In Japan the game has the subtitle "Chinmoku e no Seisen", which roughly means "The Crusade for Silence".
There is some discussion as to when this entry takes place in the ActRaiser time line. The opening intro sequence seems to be a retelling of the very end of the original ActRaiser, using the newer character sprite for The Master but the older sprite for series antagonist Tanzra. This would place ActRaiser 2 chronologically after the first game.
As the game opens, The Master's servant angels inform him that the evil Tanzra has been awoken by his evil minions, who have manifested as representations of the classical seven deadly sins: Greed, Sloth, Envy, Wrath, Pride, Lust and Gluttony. These minions have overtaken the land and it is The Master's duty to rid the world of this evil yet again.
During the game's end credits, it is declared that "The Master will live forever", followed by an image of the statue of The Master slowly eroding over time. The statue's sword and right wing fall off, suggesting the growth of civilization and the increase of mankind's self-sufficiency. This reflects the ending of the original ActRaiser, where the servant speculates that someday the world may be so independent that it will forget about the Master.
While the first ActRaiser split levels into sim-like stages and pure Rastan style action stages, ActRaiser 2 forgoes the sim elements for pure action. The overworld is still present for the player to get from land to land with helper angels returning to brief them on the situation for each town.
Once on land, God would fight his way through the possessed and cursed towns eventually defeating the minion controlling it, thus returning it back to normal.
While the game is still a traditional side scrolling action title, two key changes were made. One was the addition of a shield for a slightly more tactical approach similar to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. The other addition was that of wings which could be used to reach new heights, glide over distances and put the player in position to do devastating aerial moves.
Allusions to Other Media
There are many elements in the game which act as allusions to classical literature, myth and religion. Each of the bosses, for example, are a manifestation of the seven deadly sins.
Some of the stages in the game are meant to be ironic regarding the blighting nature of Tanzra's demons. The townsmen in the city of Leon are sent to the underground prison of Gratis for not paying their taxes by a newly appointed king named Kolunikus who is afflicted by Greed. The final level of the game pits the player against a mechanically engineered god in the city of Humbleton, a battle of Pride (a satire on the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel).
After the player slays the first six deadly sins, the Tower Of Babel appears in which The Master fights the final sin, Pride. They then descend into Hell where they again fight the seven sins as well as Tanzra himself, a beast frozen waist-deep in a lake of ice (just as Satan was in the Inferno in The Divine Comedy).
The game sold about 180,000 copies worldwide, with 40,000 copies sold in Japan and Europe respectively and 100,000 sold in the USA.