Game music of the day: Actraiser

Welcome to GamesRadar's daily blast of all things pertaining to the ever-growing field of game music. Each post will introduce new sounds, games, composers and fan-made remixes of gaming's greatest aural achievements.

June 22, 2010

Game: Actraiser

Song: Bloodpool

Composer: Yuzo Koshiro

Above: Bloodpool from Actraiser

It's rare when a game can juggle more than one genre and still end up as a quality product. Usually you end up with a so-so game that's trying to do too many things at once instead of mastering just one. Actraiser, an SNES launch title from (pre Square) Enix, managed to expertly combine a slashy-jumpy side scroller with laid back, SimCity-style village building to make one of the most unique and long-lasting games of the generation. And, as you might suspect, it also had a powerfully strong soundtrack.

This song plays in the second area you visit, called Bloodpool for its blood-red lake. I went over this exact area in a Top 7 over a year ago, but back then I didn't explain how rich and truly epic the music is. Compare this song, with its orchestra-caliber composition, to anything that came on the NES before and the difference is staggering. In short, this is where game music really grew up and no one could argue any differently.

Above: Birth of the People, the beautiful town-building tune (and also my ringtone for GR's own Charlie Barratt!)

Looking back, I can't believe I didn't include this in my 17 soundtracks that were ahead of their time feature. Composer Yuzo Koshiro has seen this work remixed and even wonderfully brought to life by a full orchestra, so I'm sure he's aware of how moving his music must be. Like what you hear? Then you need to check out his work on the Streets of Rage series.


Game music of the day: Kirby's Dream Land
Credits by Jun Ishikawa


Game music of the day: Deus Ex
Main title by Alex Brandon


Game music of the day: Mario Kart 64
Victory Lap by Kenta Nagata



  • powerpc127 - June 25, 2010 4:33 a.m.

    Love actraiser, but you really gotta have some Fillmore. McVaffe has a great fillomre remix at ocremix (djpretzel's is pretty good too bigwillis). And the only problem with the Bloodpool song in the orchestrated CD is that it really deserves it's own track. I could keep talking about other great tracks from the game, but I think I'll just listen to them instead.
  • BigWillis - June 24, 2010 12:37 a.m.

    Amazing soundtrack to that game, love it to bits. Nice OC Remix of the first level here:
  • Zanthis - June 23, 2010 1:11 p.m.

    Way to make my day :)
  • philipshaw - June 23, 2010 10 a.m.

    YES! I love this game and soundtrack,when I talk about this my friends don't know why I love it so much. Birth of People is a suitable ringtone for Chuck Barret
  • WorldChanger - June 23, 2010 5:09 a.m.

    WOW that music is insane. I definatly see why you say it is juggling so many genre's of music. It is definatly bordering on being crap but then pulls its self back to awesomness. great music pick
  • richtaur - June 23, 2010 4:43 a.m.

    One of the best soundtracks ever. The platformer levels' music could easily be Castlevania music, it's so good.
  • Tenfey - June 23, 2010 4:16 a.m.

    This game is the best interpretation of christianity ever. If god were this dude who chilled up on a cloud and sometimes possessed a statue and beat shit with a sword maybe I'd believe in him. Also the soundtrack to this game is officially ballin.
  • Redeater - June 23, 2010 1:18 a.m.

    Love Actraiser. Can we hear some Frog's theme from Chrono Trigger sometime? Love that song!
  • robotic-fiend - June 23, 2010 1:04 a.m.

    Damn, I was hoping for Fillmore. Can't really go wrong with any tunes from ActRaiser though.
  • tonyjk78 - June 22, 2010 11:30 p.m.

    Never played or even heard of Actraiser, but these were fun. I'm commenting as a show of support - keep up the good work.
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 22, 2010 11:15 p.m.

    'Birth of the People' sounds like the court of castle during the Middle Ages. Reminds me of the shepherd village in the mini-series 'The 10th Kingdom'.
  • xGREYHUNTERx - June 22, 2010 11:11 p.m.

    Yes love these.
  • garnsr - June 22, 2010 10:49 p.m.

    I loved Yuzo Koshiro's Genesis music, but Actraiser, along with Final Fantasy II really made me hate SNES music early on. It was all strings and sweeping and not the sort of game music I wanted then. I guess that sound must have gone away later, or I just stopped thinking that way, because I love some of the Square SNES soundtracks, but I sure hated it the first year or so.
  • CoolBowling - June 22, 2010 10:46 p.m.

    Very nice. Never played Actraiser but the music is cool. Recaptcha: Oatmeal Judge Answer : Willford Brimley?
  • Setre - June 22, 2010 10:33 p.m.

    Never played Actraiser but it sounds pretty cool. I really enjoyed Birth of the People, very soothing and classy.
  • SaltyWalnuts - June 22, 2010 10:27 p.m.

    I am really digging the town building song. Its so calming an mid-evally.. It makes me want to relax, but at the same time fear the black plague and live in my own filth untill the age of thirty all the while serving a man with no credentials expcept his own birth... good song!

Showing 1-16 of 16 comments

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