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While it might not bring anything new to the table, Act-Fancer is a perfectly decent little arcade game from 1989.
As the third chapter in Data East's 'Evolution' trilogy after Darwin 4078 (1986) and Super Real Darwin (1987), the action moves away from the vertical shooting genre, opting instead for horizontal platform action.
The problem is that Act-Fancer is horrendously under-worked. The designs are good but bland and lifeless, and the action is irritatingly mundane: once powered-up all you have to do is slowly edge forward while drilling the button.
Not sure what happened here. Data East are perfectly capable of a lot better: Chelnov (1988) blows this away in every field imaginable, while Wolf Fang (1991) proves that they're perfectly capable of delivering 4-star content.
Maybe they ran out of time, or got caught in an administrative tangle of sorts. As it stands the basics are there - it certainly has a solid structure and plenty of clutch moments. It's just that hard to shake the feeling that the game simply isn't finished.
It also didn't help that it got a very limited arcade release outside of Japan. Perhaps it would have found a larger audience if released on a home format (the Mega Drive and X68000 are perfectly suited to this kind of fare), because the arcade vanished into immediate obscurity.
It's definitely worth a look though, if only for the series' distinctive visual style and 'evolution' power up system.



Data East Retro Game Music Collection
データイースト レトロゲームミュージック コレクション

Format Audio CD
Released 21 July 2010
Publisher TEAM Entertainment
Product ID KDSD-00366
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
Retrospective 6-in-1 compilation CD from Team Entertainment, featuring the arcade scores of:
- Darwin 4078 (1986)
- Super Real Darwin (1987)
- Act-Fancer (1989)
- Kuuga (1989)
- Wolf Fang (1991)
- Skull Fang (1996)

CD case, 74-track audio CD, booklet, spine card.


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