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Creating order from chaos since 1990.
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ActRaiser is a platforming/sim game released in 1990 for the SNES, developed by Quintet and published by Enix (now Square Enix). You are a Sealed Good in a Can god named The Master/Lord of Light (apparently the Abrahamic God, but only in Japan), sent into a nice nap after Tanzra (also known as Satan, but again, only in Japan) and his minions beat you silly a very long time ago. While you were sleeping, Tanzra and pals divided your world amongst themselves, and your godlike powers found themselves drained, due to your worshippers abandoning ship.

As the game begins, you awaken from your slumber, bent on thrashing monsters and regaining your followers, which is accomplished through side-scrolling platform action and SimCity-like overhead village construction, respectively.

A sequel was made (and published abroad by Ubisoft) which dropped the city maintenance aspect of the game. The story goes that Enix of America requested Quintet to remove the simulation segments, apparently claiming that players would not "get" them. But seeing how the simulation elements was one of the main things that made the original stand out amongst similar side-scrolling action games, the sequel was not as well received, or remembered. However, this game did pave the way for what would become one of Enix's greatest, loosest trilogies — SoulBlazer, Illusion of Gaia, and Terranigma. It's also the only representative of this whole series to be released for the Wii's Virtual Console; make of that what you will.

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Sega announced a Spiritual Successor by Ace Team entitled SolSeraph, to be released on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on July 10th 2019 with Yuzo Koshiro, who composed the music for ActRaiser scoring the new game and Jonas Kyrazes (The Talos Principle) writing the narrative.

On September 23, 2021, a full remake of the original Actraiser titled Actraiser Renaissance was announced and released for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Steam, and mobile devices. In addition to featuring completely overhauled graphics, Renaissance boasts expanded gameplay; this includes new additions in both the action and Sim Mode segments, an entirely new realm, new levels and bosses, 15 new music tracks plus a remastered soundtrack by original composer Yuzo Koshiro, and quality of life features.

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This series contains examples of:

  • Actionized Adaptation: Renaissance added more action-oriented gameplay to the city simulation portions of the game:
    • New quests with Tower Defense gameplay were added. In these quests, you need defend your settlement from being besieged by Tanzra's minions using forts, miracles, and commandable units.
    • Unlike in the original, your followers cannot seal monster lairs by themselves. They can only hold the monsters back so the Master can personally go down into the lair to destroy the Spawner in timed side-scrolling action sequences.
  • Actionized Sequel: You don't get a much better example than ActRaiser 2. The god sim portions were excised, and your character has many more varieties of attack and is a much more nimble being than the first game's.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: In the finale, The Master faces Tanzra and co. first in a cloudy wasteland, then in a starry galactic field.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In the Tower Defense segments of Renaissance, Miracles can't damage structures or harm your population like they normally would in the simulation phase since Miracles are used to repel monsters in these segments.
    • Since Renaissance doesn't have the Smart Bomb or powerup items that massively increase the strength of the Angel's arrows from the original, his arrows now slightly home into the enemies by default.
  • Arch-Enemy: The heroes of each area have a connection to one of Tanzra's generals.
  • Artifact Name: Bloodpool is named for its most prominent feature, a lake of blood-colored toxic water. The lake got purified at the end of the act, but the name stuck. The inhabitants there are even called Bloodmen.
  • Beauty Is Bad: The demon of Lovaous, a beautiful ice creature taking on the alluring form of an equally beautiful woman, seduces the king into an endless sleep, while putting his subjects into a freezing hellhole.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • By the end of ActRaiser, the world is beautiful, everyone's happy...and they don't need you anymore, so your temples are empty, your statue forgotten.
    • ActRaiser 2's ending is also bittersweet; Tanzra has been defeated and the world is at peace once more, but all of the angels have died in the attempt to infiltrate his domain when the Master willingly crashes the Sky Temple into it to break the barrier surrounding it, and the Master himself has disappeared without a trace.
    • Renaissance softens the blow from the original game; everything above still happens, but then you decide to have a look at a new, uncharted realm anyway - and events there show that you are hardly forgotten by your followers and heroes, and that you're both still capable of helping your people, and that you'll always have a place in the world, whether or not future unknown threats emerge.
  • Blackout Basement: One room in Bloodpool Act II.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: In the ending, the angel makes reference to the leaders of Marahna being tempted by "the wicked mirror," despite nothing of the sort actually appearing during gameplay. The term used in Japanese, jashinkyou, was probably supposed to mean something like "religion of the evil god" (or to be more concise, "a cult"), which would have made sense in context. However, the Japanese text only uses phonetic hiragana instead of the kanji that would have made the meaning clear. A translator who hadn't worked on or remembered the earlier part of the game must've made an incorrect guess; the kanji for "mirror" can also be read as "kyou," though the final translation leaves out the shin (god) component of the original phrase completely.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: Lightning. Particularly when turned against your own followers.
  • Boss Rush: The final stage is a straight up fight with the six "Act II" bosses, and then Tanzra.
  • Boss Subtitles: Renaissance gives all the bosses this.
    • Wizard Knight of the Violet Vale: Centaurus
    • Baleful Beast of the Accursed Axe: Minotaurus
    • Crimson Waters' Blasphemy: Manticore
    • Duke of Moonlit Devilry: Zeppelin Wolf
    • Sandstorm's Ravenous Scourge: Dagoba
    • Golden Curator of Death and Dust: Pharaoh
    • Hatred's Azure Flames: Azure Dragon
    • Prince of the Inferno Everlasting: Firewheel
    • Blossom Beguiling and Gluttonous: Rafflasher
    • Unholy Serpents in Grace Entwined: Kalia
    • Hermit of the Glacier's Grotto: Merman Fly
    • Wyrm Condemned in the North: Arctic Wyvern
    • Lord Adversary of Abyssal Dark: Tanzra
    • Arbiter of Heaven's Law: Unknown
  • Bottomless Pits: In the original ActRaiser, these took one of your lives. In Renaissance, they no longer instantly kill you, but still take away some of your health.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Bloodpool Act 1, and to some extent Marahna Act 1.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: Kasandora Act 2.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": In Renaissance, a number of enemies in the "On the Hunt" sidequests are referred to by names that belie their actual apppearance, starting with the "Mummia" which is the name given to the mummies in Kasandora Act 2, with "mummia" actually referring to the bitumen used in the Egyptian mummification process. Marahna does this with both enemies that need to be hunted, with the clearly akephaloi-inspired enemies called "Dullahans" and The Grim Reaper enemies being a subject of Sadly Mythtaken and called "Mara". This also somehow turns the given name Loki into an improper name for the ice giant enemies in Northwall, and only to the tougher variation seen in Act 2.
  • Cap: Each simulation area is limited to 128 structures, which puts a limit on the maximum population. If you build, say, too many bridges, you won't be able to gain enough population to reach your character's highest level and maximum HP since you can't destroy bridges even though you can destroy outdated houses.
  • Censorship Bureau: Nintendo's policies led to the God/Master & Satan/Tanzra name changes.
    • Lampshaded in Renaissance. You are able to name the Lord of Light whatever you want, but he cannot be named "God/YHWH/Yahweh/Jehova/Iehova", as the game will make that as invalid. This is averted in the Japanese version as the kanji for "Kami" is not considered invalid, and naming him "Kami" or "Elohim" in the US is fair game, too.
    • Similarly, in the French version, "Dieu" is fair game.
  • Charged Attack:
    • The spells in the second game are activated this way, with the exact spell you get determined by what you're doing when you release the attack button: standing for a flamethrower, crouching for a shield, aiming upward for a shower of 3 energy balls, jumping for 4 balls of ice, floating for a lighting bolt, gliding for an energy shot and diving for a phoenix dive.
    • Renaissance gives the Angel one which turns his regular attack into a Spread Shot.
  • Character Level:
    • Based on the population attained in the simulations. Many a game gets stalled out at the second-highest level when all of the town populations show "max" and no further growth can take place. See here for more details.
    • Renaissance has levels be determined by Faith, which is gained by completing quests rather than increasing the local or total population. Some quests are "get the population of town X to at least Y", however.
  • The Chosen Many: In Renaissance, each territory has its own Hero Unit that, by the end of their plotline, is revealed to have been one of the six prophesized divine heroes meant to rid the land of evil.
  • Clown Car Base: The monster lairs in the simulations. Hundreds of beasts can be huddled away in a single lair, and they won't stop popping out until you destroy them all one by one or have your followers seal them all up at once.
    • The nature of the lairs changes in Renaissance; they are explicitly explained to be spawning monsters through strange orbs present in each one, no longer have a limit to the amount of monsters they can spawn if left unsealed, and while you do still need your followers' assistance in prepping the seals, you now have to personally go inside and complete a miniature action stage which involves physically destroying the main spawner inside.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Aitos Act II takes place inside a volcano. Justifiable since the PC is a statue possessed by a god, though the lava itself still hurts.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Whether it's God or the Master, the game's set in a pure fantasy world.
  • Dark Chick: The ice demon of Lovaous used her gorgeous nude human form's feminine wiles to seduce and lull the king into a deep sleep, and takes on both forms as a both the ice demon made of beautiful crystals and alluring human form in the battle against the Master.
  • Degraded Boss: Bosses you've previous defeated in Acts can show up later in monster lairs guarding Spawners. Like with standard Mooks, they don't need to be defeated in order to clear the lair, and disappear once the Spawner is destroyed, although they do drop a lot of magic crystals when killed, which can be useful against particularily hard-to-hit Spawners.
  • Dem Bones: Mainly seen as skeletal Dragonteeth and Dragonewts.
  • Developers' Foresight: In the Bloodpool simulation area, you get an item that's used to seal a Monster Lair that's inaccessible to the townspeople. If you try to use it on a different lair, the angel avatar won't let you.
  • Difficulty by Region: The game difficulty was toned down for the US release, both in the Act and the Simulation phases. Many of the mooks in the Acts have some attacks removed, spikes don't kill the Master in one hit, and some mooks had their invincibility removed. Cities are easier to grow in the Simulation mode. Interestingly, the US version has higher population requirements for gaining levels, but because the cities grow faster and because each city has a much higher population cap, leveling up is still a bit faster in that version.
  • Difficulty Levels:
    • After beating the original game normally, the "Professional" mode becomes available. See Nintendo Hard, below.
    • Renaissance has Easy, Normal, and Hard difficulty modes for the main game which can be adjusted at any time, and the unlockable Special Mode adds Divine difficulty.
  • Digitized Sprites: All of Renaissance's graphics, aside from dialogue portraits and the World Map, are all pre-rendered sprites of 3D models.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Magical Stardust, obtained in the second area, Bloodpool. This little piece of magic here rains down a lot of stars to do A LOT of damage to everything on the screen, and can take out most bosses on its own by just a few charges. It's ineffective against two bosses, both of which have a small target area, and will most likely be depleted during the Boss Rush.
    • Renaissance downplays its usefulness; while still useful, far fewer stars fall, they don't do so as quickly and they don't create small explosions upon hitting the ground that can hit the enemy multiple times.
  • Dragons Are Demonic: In the second game, the embodiment of the sin of Greed is a dragon.
  • Dual Boss: A fair number of the monster lairs in Renaissance start to contain previous Act I bosses alongside the main Spawner you need to destroy. Luckily, as with any other lair, you only specifically need to destroy the main Spawner. Five of the Act I bosses appear in their respective regions, but Centaurus only shows up in the post game level.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Invoked in the sequel, which denies you the last level on Easy mode and tells you to "Challenge Normal Mode!"
  • Fake Difficulty: Actraiser 2 falls hard into this with its last few stages. Starting with the Ice Palace, what was a tough but fair game suddenly becomes a quagmire of constant spike traps, unreasonably difficult jumps, enemies with way too much health, enemies whose attacks are nearly impossible to avoid, and enemies that spawn right on top of you.
  • Fake Platform: Quite a few platforms fall when you step on them, although you'll still have about a second or two to jump before they drop.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The original game (and its remake) have each of its areas analogous to a real-world counterpart.
    • Fillmore - Greece. The bosses of both Acts are the Centaurus and the Minotaurus, creatures from Greek mythology. One of the enemies in Act II are called "Dragonteeth" in reference to the Dragon-tooth warriors guarding the Golden Fleece.
    • Bloodpool - Germany and Romania. The castle of Bloodpool appears distinctly European in style, and the bosses of the Acts are a winged manticore and a vampire/werewolf. In Renaissance, the Bloodmen are dressed in a manner similar to the Romani.
    • Kasandora - Ancient Egypt. It is mostly desert by the time you arrive there, and you venture inside a pyramid in Act 2 where you fight mummies. Renaissance's take on the act having giant statues of Anubis inside, bird-head warriors patterned after Horus and Ra, and the boss looks like Tutenkhamen's golden mortuary mask.
    • Aitos - Japan. It has bamboo, Samurai and Tengu enemies, an Oriental Dragon as the boss of Act 1, and a monstrous Wanyudo as the boss of Act 2. In Renaissance, the people of Aitos are known as the Aitok, a counterpart to the Ainu folk in Hokkaido. Their hero is even a kamuy in the form of Migrana.
    • Marahna - Southeast Asia. It has a Cambodian Temple and a boss that resembles a Hindu god.
    • Northwall - Scandinavia. It takes place in the cold north and has a giant tree akin to the mythical trees of Norse legends). The Northmen bear a resemblance to the Sápmi in Renaissance.
    • Alcaleone - Exclusive to Renaissance, its unspoiled resources and abundant greenery make it comparable to an Arcadia.
  • Femme Fatale: The ice demon of Lovaous, by taking on the form of an absolutely beautiful nude woman, seduced the frozen king into a deep sleep while making the lives of his subjects miserable.
  • Flaming Sword: Renaissance allows Master to temporarily enhance his melee attacks with an element after using a spell of that element, allowing him to deal extra damage to enemies weak to that element, although some enemies are resistant to specific elements, such as the flying fire enemies in Kasandora Act 1 only taking 1 damage from Master's attacks if he's enhanced with fire.
  • Flash of Pain: The enemies and the player after getting hit. Even applies to enemies which take one hit to kill.
  • Flowery Elizabethan English: The dialogue in Renaissance is fittingly presented in a manner similar to the King James translation of the Bible.
  • Forced Tutorial: The original SNES game was pretty bad about tutorials even for its time, but Renaissance cranks it up to near-excessive levels due to the large amount of new mechanics and gameplay expansions added to the beginning. It can take an hour or more just to get out of the first sim segment and into the second Fillmore platformer stage due to how much more stuff there is compared to the original.
  • Genre Mashup: ActRaiser is 50% Action Game, 35% Simulation Game, and 15% Real-Time Strategy. The remake adds Tower Defense to boot.
  • Green Aesop: Thoroughly averted. Areas start out with a variety of ecosystems, from swamps and jungles to deserts and artic tundra. All will be cleared out to make room for more houses and farms. The game has an almost Manifest Destiny attitude towards the spread of your worshipers.
    • Downplayed considerably in Renaissance; you still do everything mentioned above but your miracles don't straight-up terraform everything to grasslands anymore - you're mostly just clearing up the worst of nature's overrun, and even then it's just enough so to make the realms habitable for human life, so Kasandora absolutely stays a desert, Northwall stays a winter wonderland, etc.
  • Grimy Water: The eponymous lake in Bloodpool.
  • Guide Dang It!: Reaching maximum level can feel like a Luck-Based Mission if you don't read a guide. Also, obtaining some of the offerings in simulation mode requires you to use rain or lightning at random points on the map, including on the temple itself in one area.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Aitos Act I.
  • Harder Than Hard: In case the sequel wasn't hard enough for you, a password unlocks a difficulty simply known as "202", in which just about everything kills you in one hit and most enemies have too much health to be killed in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Headless Horseman: Minus the horse, the headless natives in Marahna's Act I have faces on their chests and jab at you with long spears. They're based on the "anthropophagi" (man eaters) that Othello talks about meeting in his travels.
  • Hero Unit: Renaissance adds a unique plot-important character to every territory, and allows the player to direct them in the Tower Defense segments. Completing enough of an area's story lets you summon them to the others.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Fillmore's problem in Renaissance. The citizens of Fillmore became so dependent on Philotas that once he was out of the picture, Tanzra's minions easily overran Fillmore. The character development of Fillmore's citizens has them achieve self-reliance and the confidence to take on foes without Philotas's help.
  • Humble Hero: Philotas and Shemaal are cordial with the Angel and the Master and are quite kind-hearted. Philotas believes that the people of Fillmore shouldn't rely on him so much. Shemaal is humble enough that upon learning that his religion is a ruse by Kalia, he sides with the Master without further complaints, willing to change his viewpoint and becomes the chosen hero of Marahna.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place:
    • Bloodpool is named for its dark red lake.
    • Death Heim is Tanzra's lair.
  • Irony: The people of Humbleton built the Tower of Babel to prove to the world that they could do anything, that they earned the right to be recognized as geniuses, and that they can reach god and prove that they were equal to him... if not better than him. So much for being "Humble".
  • Invulnerable Attack: When you cast a spell, you are invincible during the process. Yes, even on boss fights.
  • Jump Physics: Largely averted. Once you've committed to the direction of a jump, you can't change it, and you can't do other tricks like turning around in midair and swinging your sword at enemies behind you, either. At best you can slightly lengthen or shorten your leap by holding the respective direction.
    • Played straight in Renaissance, which keeps the original's fixed-height jumps but grants more air control.
  • Jungle Japes: Marahna Act I, with a touch of Temple of Doom.
  • Legacy Boss Battle: In the sequel, you can enter a password to fight the final boss from the first game.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Aitos Act II, courtesy of the local volcano.
  • Living Statue: The Master's humanoid form is, well... a statue of The Master, before he animates it. Kalia, the boss of Marahna Act II, is a floating statue of a demon with six arms and a serpent's head, at least in the original.
  • The Lost Woods: Fillmore Act I.
  • Made of Explodium: The enemies explode upon death for no specific reason.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Many areas, but most noticeably the pyramid in Kasandora Act II and Kalia's castle in Marahna Act II.
  • Mana: Magic Sources for magic use in the platforming sections, and Simulation Points to use miracles in the simulation areas.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The Rafflasher boss of Marahna Act I.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: The Manticore boss of Bloodpool Act I.
  • Ms. Fanservice: In ActRaiser 2, the demon of Lovaous, a demon made of beautiful ice, takes the form of an equally beautiful woman, who is naked with shapely legs, long wavy hair, and alluring hips. The demon took this form to seduce the king of Lovaous into an endless sleep.
  • Mummy: Found in the Pyramid of Kasandora Act II, naturally.
  • Nintendo Hard: Ouch, that boss rush and multi-stage final boss STINGS! As does the "Professional" mode, due to lack of magic, enemies taking more hits to kill, bosses being faster, and the absence of a projectile power-up in Aitos Act I. Doubly so if you're playing the Japanese version's Special Mode, which includes instant-death spikes and only two lives.
    • The entire sequel is also quite challenging, even on Easy Mode, partly due to some difficult control issues.
    • Most of the later bosses can be this if you don't just spam Stardust till they croak. Or if you're out of MP, can't just spam Stardust till they croak.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": The arrows fired in the Pyramid stage and elsewhere, as well as your angel's arrows.
  • North Is Cold, South Is Hot: In the north, you have Aitos and Northwall. In the south, you have Kasandora and Maranha.
  • Not Quite Flight: The Winged Humanoid player character in the sequel can glide for a short time.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Both Eastern and Western dragons are featured, as the bosses of Aitos Act I and Northwall Act II, respectively.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: The boss of Fillmore Act II is the Minotaurus, armed with An Ax To Grind.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The boss of Bloodpool Act II is a magician who turns into a werewolf midway through the battle.
  • Patchwork Map: Each region has its own distinct biome.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The Source of Life in Kasandora, if you don't cause an earthquake after revealing the pyramid but before beginning Act II.
  • Post-End Game Content: The new realm added to Renaissance, Alcaleone, is only accessible after clearing every quest in every other area, including the defeat of the Final Boss.
  • Power Crystal: Starting from Fillmore Act 2, all non-respawning enemies in Renaissance drop magic crystals when killed, which power up Master when collected: the first 2 levels increase his physical and magic damage by 20%, the next 2 levels increase them by 50% and the last level increases both by 100% and allows Master to revive once with half HP and MP per life.
  • Precursors: In the northeast corner of Marahna is a mysterious bird-shaped island covered with trees. Many miles west, on an inaccessible plateau in Kasandora, lies a symbol of identical size and shape inscribed in the earth... Lead your people to first one and then the other, and they'll uncover the best-hidden magic spell in the game.
    • In Renaissance, the True Final Boss in Alcaleone is implied to be one, with Taia even musing that it must have been a god (or at least a loyal angel) once upon a time.
  • Reincarnation: Implied of the leaders of Northwall. Also, any worshipper who is killed will reincarnate, and almost every soul must be released from a monstrous form first.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: A number of enemies are of a reptilian nature, notably snakes or Lizardmen. Kalia is a snakelike demon acting as the Act 2 boss of Marahna.
    • Scaled Up: In Renaissance, Kalia is rewritten to be the high priest of Consecrate Green, the religious group based in Marahna which the local Good Shepherd is a part of. Towards the climax of the town segment, Kalia creates a miasma that infects the people, prompting the young priest to ask for your help. In retaliation for dispersing the miasma, Kalia sheds his skin to reveal his true form as one of Tanzra's agents.
  • Satan: Tanzra, who was actually named Satan in the Japanese version.
  • Scoring Points: Surprisingly relevant to the course of the game — the points you score in the Acts affect your maximum population in the simulations, and thus affect the level your character can achieve.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: The demon bosses of the sequel are the personification of the sins, corrupting the people through Demonic Possession.
    • Sloth: The People of Diligence used to be hard-working naturalists who were famous for their forest, Industen, and river, Benefic. 'Fatigue' appeared as rain clouds over Industen and corrupted Diligence through its life-sapping rain which slipped into their drinking water by the Benefic Demon Snail.
    • Envy: The queen of Altheria grew jealous of the other lands, thinking that her land is too small. She tried to expand her kingdom by building the city of Devote on top of a giant tortoise near her kingdom's shore, not counting the possibility of the tortoise trying to dive or swim away. Seeing her beloved city gone, she became jealous of everything that she couldn't get and turned into a demon, while the Flame of Jealousy burned alight even underwater.
    • Gluttony: The People of Temponia always had an abundance of food, until an army of demonic ants led by Gluttony (manifested as an ant queen) started stealing food from the city. Unable to defend themselves from the ants and faced with famine, the people desperately fought each other and died of starvation. The previously lush plain Modero became a desert, and those who died of starvation became the Gules, demonic mouths still yearning for morsels.
    • Wrath: Justinia is a city famous for its army. Suddenly the King of Justinia attacked the neighboring kingdom Favorian for unknown reasons. The People of Favorian, who felt betrayed from the attack from their allying city, fought back. As the violence, hatred, and deaths of the war grew, Almetha Volcano became active with a frightening intensity.
    • Lust: The demon of 'Deception' defeated the King of Lovaous, and put him to an eternal sleep. In his dream, the demon lulled the king with an illusion of a beautiful woman of ice, which seduced the king into never waking up and froze Lovaous in beautiful sheets of ice. The people became desperate to wake the King because the grave danger of an eternal winter soon became obvious to them: Without sunlight and heat, both plants and animals, whether on not they were conditioned to withstand cold, would begin to waste away and die which meant that hypothermia, disease, and starvation would befall them.
    • Greed: Leon was not a rich place, but its people are honest and full of gratitude. The newly appointed King Kolunikus put a heavy tax on the people and those who couldn't pay were imprisoned and tortured in the underground prison 'Gratis'. As it turned out, Kolunikus had made a deal with the demon "Doom" to get a lot of money and used the taxes to make his castle into a place covered in gold and full of treasure. His corruption was so great that the King became a golden demon dragon.
    • Pride: The People of Humbleton were very advanced and, not satisfied with worshiping the Master, sought to become Master themselves by building the Tower of Souls to reach the Sky Palace. Their most prized inventions were then possessed by demons to turn them away from their rightful Master.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Kasandora, complete with a buried pyramid to unearth.
  • Simulation Game: When you aren't platforming, you're Simming it up in order to regain the love of your followers. Or raining disasters upon them, depending upon your mood.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Northwall Act I.
  • Sphere of Destruction: Renaissance changes the Aura spell to function in this manner: instead of conjuring 4 blue spheres that spin around Master rapidly in expanding circles, it instead causes him to charge energy and release it as a huge sphere of energy around him that repeatedly damages any enemies inside it.
  • Spikes of Doom: Some kill you instantly, some don't. Unless you're playing the Japanese version, then they all do, unless you're invincible from taking damage. Or unless you're playing Renaissance, in which case none do (they still hurt, of course).
  • Storming the Castle: Twice, in Bloodpool Act II and Marahna Act II.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Water areas in Bloodpool Act I serve as Bottomless Pits. Possibly justified in that the lake is stated to be poisoned (and the player character is a walking statue). Downplayed in Renaissance where Bloodpool's water instead does low but continuous damage, and any pitfall involving water just knocks off a decent chunk of HP and puts you back before the pit.
  • Sword Beam: Collectible power-up in one Act (on Normal Mode, anyway), and given as an 11th-Hour Superpower. It's one the few mechanics removed in Renaissance.
  • Temple of Doom: The second act of each area.
  • The Vamp: The ice demon of Lovaous, made up of beautiful ice crystals, takes on the form of a naked gorgeous woman to utilize her beauty by using the king's love for pretty things into seducing him into falling into an endless sleep.
  • Timed Mission: All Acts; simulation sections are untimed.
    • Toned down in Renaissance; the Acts themselves are also no longer timed, but the monster lairs, which are new to this version, all get a time limit that you have to destroy the main Spawner in.
  • Tower of Babel: The Tower of Souls in the sequel is practically identical to it. The people of Humbleton specifically built it so they can reach the Sky Palace and become Master themselves.
  • Tower Defense: In Renaissance, you'll need to defend your towns and temples from monster sieges by building gatehouses (to block off roads) and block houses (to pelt monsters with arrows), placing palisades to slow down the encroaching hordes, and attacking the monsters with a Hero Unit and your Miracles.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Practically an Invoked Trope; maxing out your population requires you to kill your followers by destroying low-level structures, thus making room for higher-level, higher-capacity houses. In the SNES original, earthquakes are the best way to go about this, since the highest-level structures aren't affected by them and it affects the entire map. Renaissance makes the basic lightning Miracle the most economical way to do so, as the earthquake no longer targets the entire map automatically, the highest-tier buildings are no longer immune to it and the ability to use higher-leveled Miracles that cost more SP but have a much larger area of effect lets you wipe out all the buildings in 4-6 uses. The Angel frames this as ultimately a boon for your people by allowing them room to build better homes and house more people, but he can't talk away that population counter going down every time you level a house or five.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: In Renaissance, Rafflasher is quite a spike from previous bosses. She's highly damage-resistant except for brief periods when she shows her weak point, and chases you around with vines and flying spores that make it tough to stay still long enough to focus on her.
  • World Tree: The large tree in Northwall is a version of this, and also where the second Act of the area takes place.

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