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ToriJ
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PostSubject: Sailor Moon: Another Story Review   2nd September 2013, 10:09 am

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Sailor Moon, originally a manga series written by Naoko Takeuchi and edited by Fumio Osano, would go on to not only popularize the Magical Girl genre, but redefine it entirely. It all began with Codename Sailor V, AKA Sailor Venus. During the Codename Sailor V run Fumio Osano suggested that Naoko change it to be a group series as they were more popular, thus creating Sailor Moon and introducing the rest of the Senshi that everybody knows as Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Venus and Sailor Jupiter. While the manga was still being worked on Toei Animation created an anime series out of the franchise that ran along at the same time, during the anime run Japan began to receive a number of musicals known as Sera Myu.

Even the cast who did the voices for the characters went around singing in order to promote it. It eventually came over to America and various other countries and that's when a whole other culture was introduced to Sailor Moon and even anime in general. And some time after the anime and manga series finished we got a live action series titled Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, shortened to PGSM. Here we are twenty years later and Sailor Moon is still around with the manga being reprinted and a new anime series and Sera Myu in development. Needless to say Sailor Moon won't be going anywhere any time soon and like with all things that are popular, there are a TON of video games about it.

Now this may come as a surprise to some because a lot of these games were never given a North America release. The only game we were given was a PC game based on the English dub version of Sailor Moon. But thanks to the power of the Internet, emulators and fan translations we are now able to play the games we otherwise wouldn't be able to. And today I'll be looking at a Sailor Moon game that is considered by many to be among the best ever made. I am of course talking about:

Spoiler:
 

Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon: Another Story was developed and published by Angel in 1995 for the Super Famicom (Super Nintendo) and is the only RPG in the line of Sailor Moon video games released in Japan. The story takes place between the Infinity and Dream Arcs with elements of both the manga and anime versions of the franchise mixed together. The story begins with astronomers in the 30th Century discovering a meteor on a collision course for earth. This ushers in the arrival of our main antagonists for the story, the Oppositio Senshi, led by a sorceress named Apsu who wishes to change destiny as she sees fit by sending the Oppositio Senshi to the past. Neo Queen Serenity, King Endymion and future Luna are warned about this new evil through the sight of the Silver Crystal shaking violently above its pedestal. Chibiusa also has a vision of what is to come and warns Usagi.

And most of that is just from the opening.

After we get through our title screen and start a new game we're taken to Usagi's room where her cat and guardian, Luna, comes in to tell her something is wrong with the town. You then have the option to go and investigate or stay in bed. I'm not sure why you even have this option as regardless you're going to have to get up eventually, but hey if you want to give Luna a hard time choose to stay in bed, see what happens. Before you leave your room Luna tells you not to forget your diary, which can be used to save your process and link techniques from the appropriate menu from the Senshi you select. In the game each Senshi has a list of techniques they can call upon in battle, these techniques of course being based on their attacks from the anime and manga. So let's see if I have this straight, in Japan diaries save your battle techniques and notebooks kill off your enemies. Good to know.

I also like how the Luna P is used as save locations around town. Did Chibiusa just have that thing mass produced and sent all over town? Actually, after the events of the Sailor Moon Super S movie having a Luna P in every child's home wouldn't be a bad thing... I think I just got myself a head canon!

Controls: Explaining the controls are going to be a bit different since I'm playing through an emulator, so bare with me. As always you move around with the D-pad, which are the arrow keys on the keyboard. A button is to select and B to go back, which is the V and C buttons respectively on the keyboard. You can access your menu through the X button which is D. The Y button is X (confusing, I know) L and R are A and S which allows you to run even faster and space is start while enter is select. Pressing start takes you to a menu where you can link your Senshi for different techniques and Y registers them. Select gives you several different options to choose for the in-game play such as sound, cursor type, speed of the text, background color and text color.

When you enter a battle you have seven options: attack, techniques, linked techniques, group techniques, items, defend and run away with your tail tucked between your legs. The attack is just basic melee moves limited to one target while some techniques are able to attack multiple enemies at a time and typically do more damage but cost more power. You can have up to five characters in a group at any one time, which means you get the full enjoyment of Sailor Moon and her friends fighting together. Later on in the game you get to play as the Outer Sols and Sailor Chibimoon, which the game likes to put together when the time comes to select your team as it brings about additional dialog. Everyone starts off at level one with the exception of Sailor Pluto who starts out at a whopping level sixteen!

Who's not a planet now!?

Though they all start at level one the Outer Sols seem to get the short end of the stick here. Right off the bat I'm doing more damage with the likes of Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus when they're at level one than I am when I get to Uranus, Neptune and Saturn and they're supposed to be stronger than the others. Even Sailor Moon is doing more damage with physical assaults than Uranus. When I attacked with Saturn at one point she only did minus one damage.

Minus one damage... One of the strongest characters in the series, the Senshi that everyone feared being awakened who can destroy a planet at the drop of a hat and she can only do MINUS ONE DAMAGE?! …...... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Spoiler:
 

Although to be fair they do get stronger as you level them up it's just weird seeing them perform so poorly in comparison with the other Senshi if you're familiar with the characters.

The story is well constructed, being able to relive moments from the past while at the same time crafting its own story. It feels like it could have been its own chapter in the manga or arc in the anime. It has everything that people enjoyed about both mediums right down to the characters, the drama, the humor, music and even the voice actors (which is of course limited given what the SNES had to work with at the time).

I have nothing bad to say about the gameplay or graphics, the gameplay is fun with its battle system and just exploring the various locations available in the game and the sprites used in the game are pretty popular as well. Search around the fandom long enough and you're bound to find more of these use in other places.

Though I feel I must say, Juuban is a maze. I feel like Ryoga Hibiki looking for Furinkan High School. Some of the buildings look the same, there's no map to help you figure out where you are and how to get somewhere you're supposed to go. Even when I start to get a grasp of where's where I still end up getting lost, which is great for grinding considering how many enemies you can run into just going from point A to B.

Speaking of grinding, like many RPGs of its time this game is very unforgiving of not grinding. I once neglected to level up at one point and got my backside handed to me on a freaking platter. Even with grinding this game is still ridiculously hard at times. Japanese girls are either the greatest RPG players of all time or the developers were just being mean. Apart from that there isn't much there to pick on in my opinion. Other than the obvious translation errors and inconsistencies you're bound to run into playing the fan translated version of the game but I'm not going to get into that since this review is more meant to review as much as the original game as possible.

In conclusion, if you're a fan of Sailor Moon and enjoy RPGs then I would definitely recommend checking this game out for its story and gameplay. It could be hard to follow at times if you're not familiar with either the anime or/and the manga.

Now if you'd excuse me I have to go throw roses at bad guys and give inspirational speeches. ToriJ signing off!

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PostSubject: Re: Sailor Moon: Another Story Review   2nd September 2013, 5:17 pm

Pretty good! Any nitpicks I already told you via Skype. xD

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PostSubject: Re: Sailor Moon: Another Story Review   3rd September 2013, 5:33 pm

^ She's getting me back by having me play a bunch of scary games.

Thanks for the feedback 8D

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PostSubject: Re: Sailor Moon: Another Story Review   3rd September 2013, 5:59 pm

Though I was thinking that maybe you could shorten the beginning part about the intro to what Sailor Moon is (for the nonSM fan gamer reading this on other sites) to maybe just one paragraph, and maybe extend the actual review by a paragraph or two. I don't think a nonSM audience and even a SM audience really needs to hear the background about "Code name wa Sailor V".

I think I'd like to read more about the game itself and how it progresses (in a non spoilery way).

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PostSubject: Re: Sailor Moon: Another Story Review   3rd September 2013, 6:48 pm

Something to keep in mind next time I review a game from a popular franchise. I don't edit reviews after I publish them, except for typos.

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