ActRaiser was one of the early SNES games, drawing upon the success of side-scrolling platform action titles and the building model of Sim City. You play "The Master" (essentially God), and must save the world from evil.
First you purge the land by sending your spirit into a warrior with a big sword and magic powers. This side scrolling portion puts you in many different locales, from swamps and forests, to pyramids and snowy mountaintops.
As you eliminate evil from different parts of the land, you allow villagers to return and build their towns. You then control an angel who helps guide the villagers in their town building, and can send down miracles to aid them in their needs.