Review of Sailor Moon RPG
1995 - The initial release
Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon: Another Story (a.k.a. Sailor Moon RPG) is an RPG developed and published by Angel for the Super Famicom in Japan on September 1995. It was exclusive to the Super Famicon. The game is based on Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon shōjo manga and anime series. It takes place between the third season and fourth season of the anime series. Players take control of either the five Inner Guardians or the four Outer Guardians to protect Crystal Tokyo by fighting against a group of rebels and several of their previously defeated enemies once again that were resurrected by the sorceress Apsu.
Sailor Moon RPG was developed over two years by most of the same team who worked on previously released titles in the Sailor Moon franchise for the Super Famicom at Angel. It featured an original plot written by Takashi Ikegaya and Yoshijirō Muramatsu. However, multiple issues were faced during production before its eventual launch to the market. The game has never been officially released outside Japan.
1999 - The fan translation
Let's rewind to the late 90s. Video game emulation was still new. Super Nintendo emulation was early in development (see Chrono Trigger on ZSNES v0.150). It was amazing that Super Nintendo emulation allowed us to play all the games we missed out on, especially games we didn't know existed. A whole new world was opening up to us. RPG fans were shocked when they found out there was a massive library of awesome RPGs that had never left Japan. At this time, Sailor Moon was at the height of its popularity in North America. It blew everyone away when we found out that the Super Nintendo had an RPG based on Sailor Moon!
Anime fans were learning how to hack into ROMs. They were dreaming big; they pondered, “What if we could fully translate Sailor Moon RPG?” A handful of fan translations already existed at this point for small games. But no one had yet dared to translate an entire RPG. It would be a monumental effort. One day, a group of anime fans gathered... they cried out to the heavens while shaking their fists, “WE CAN DO IT!” They formed Bishoujo Senshi Translations with the commitment to fully translate Sailor Moon RPG. For the next two years, the emulation scene followed their progress, impatiently waiting for them to finish.
In September 1999, they released their finished English fan translation for Sailor Moon RPG. After Final Fantasy V, this was the second Super Nintendo RPG in history to receive a fan translation. The following is the project's description on RomHacking.net.
Sorry Toonami-lovers, but this translation heavily relies on knowledge of the fan-subtitled Sailor Moon anime, and fansub anime in general. Names will be left as-is (expect to see Usagi instead of Serena), some items are left untouched (like Ginzuishou instead of Silver Moon Crystal…what), and even some general words are left alone (does someone seriously say “sonna” as an expression of disbelief? That is pretty inscrutable for more casual fans).
As for the translation itself, FuSoYa has done a superb job, even adding new code for a variable width font which looks really nice. Even the signs have been translated, which is a really nice touch.
2019 - The improved fan translation
As wonderful as Bishoujo Senshi Translations' translation was, it wasn't perfect. Big fans of the game, mteam and vivify93, got together and worked on a massive improvement for it. Twenty years after BST's initial release, in June 2019, the improved Sailor Moon RPG translation was released!
The goal of the improvement effort was to ensure that, once and for all, Sailor Moon RPG would receive an accurate and readable translation. There are also several fixes on issues and bugs in the original game. On my Downloads page, you'll find that I offer both the improved translation and BST's original translation.
2022 - Moon Healing Orchestration
MSU-1 is a special form of hacking that allows us to replace a Super Nintendo game's soundtrack with a CD-quality soundtrack of our choosing. In 2022, “Moon Healing Orchestration” was released, a project that uses MSU-1 to give the game a full CD-quality soundtrack. The team consisted of qwertymodo, FlamePurge, and mziab. They commissioned Spooniest (an awesome indie artist) to reproduce songs from the soundtrack. Dio Arranger contributed a track as well. Other songs which weren't necessary to reproduce were pulled from existing Sailor Moon soundtracks.
This MSU-1 version of Sailor Moon RPG is excellent! The game becomes far more immersive! It's awe-inspiring from the first moment you load it. You can learn more about this project and download it from the Moon Healing Orchestration page.
Sailor Moon RPG has everything you'd expect from a traditional turn-based RPG. The Sailor Scouts level up and gain new attacks. They can equip armor - er, 'armor' in this game are pieces of jewelry and other trinkets. When you select Defend in battle, it really does defend! Your defense goes up like 90%-95%.
Instead of MP, there is EP; everyone's maximum EP is 12. There are several items you can use to refill EP. Everyone's EP is fully restored after every battle. The EP-restoring is great for normal battles, but the 12 EP limit sucks during boss battles. You have to keep on restoring using your precious EP-restoring items.
The Scouts can learn Link Techs (combination attacks) with each other. Link Techs are known as double techs and triple techs. Techs only use up the character's turn that you choose the tech with. They don't use up the turns of other characters who participate in a multiple tech attack. Don't forget that if you choose a multiple tech and one of the characters involved with the tech is stone, charmed, or selfish, then the tech will not work.
The game's difficulty is a bit unbalanced. Every time you start a new area, enemies are very strong. The Sailor Scouts, though, gain levels quickly. After spending a short time grinding, they'll become overpowered and the game suddenly becomes too easy.
He had journeyed from afar... His travels led him into deepest darkness. Ultimately, his very heart was stolen by whisperings of the dark. If that which shines in darkness is light... that which pursues light...is darkness. Therefore, a place of light which lacks all darkness... is the same as a place of darkness devoid of all light. Light creates light... in turn, creating dark. To that end, I seek the darkness. And before long... it and he were as one.
In 30th Century Crystal Tokyo, astronomers of the 30th century discovered a celestial object drawing close to the Solar System. It's determined to be a comet of enormous size. The eyes of the world stare with rapt attention as the comet soars ever onward. However, an unknown epidemic has begun to spread throughout the city. And in the midst of this, several youths have vanished without a trace.
In search of answers, Neo-Queen Serenity begins to pray to the Legendary Silver Crystal. The crystal vibrates wildly, warning Neo-Queen Serenity and King Endymion that evil energy has appeared. The royalties believe that this energy is very powerful, and the queen thinks the Death Phantom has dealt a powerful blow. Soon the King and Queen conclude that this Death Phantom is indeed a new enemy. The era of Great Peace has finally ended, but it was bound to happen sooner or later. The Sailor Senshi must be called upon to investigate this and restore order to Crystal Tokyo.
Suddenly, the Ginzuishou stop vibrating and the queen's visions of the disasters to come have stopped. What could the ominous tremblings mean? Undoubtedly, this is in some way related to the comet. The Great Peace of the Universe must be protected using the power of the Ginzuishou. The New Silver Millennium must remain!
In Present Day Tokyo, Usagi and Chibi-usa step out of home, quickly scampering off. Above Usagi's house, two mysterious beings are on the lookout for the Sailor Senshi. Apparently, they are siblings. The little brother asks his big sister if these are the girls they are looking for. The kid's big sister replies that this is why they were sent here at the present time, to defeat the Sailor Senshi. These two beings, as it happens, work for the evil mastermind named Lord Apsu. Having that said, the kid's big sister disappears. The kid speaks out to his princess, telling her that he, like his sister, vows to make their destiny come true.
On the streets with Usagi, Chibi-usa suddenly felt uneasy. Usagi teases her, asking if she's lovesick with a boy. Chibi-usa calls her an idiot. Then she pauses and asks Usagi if there will be more enemies. She questions if everyone will be able to live in peace from now on. Usagi comforts her, “Things are gonna be just fine from now on. Usagi: And even if some bad guys try to attack... I am Sailor Moon. And in the name of the Moon, I'll punish you!”
In Sailor Moon RPG, a sorceress named Apsu arrives from the 30th century. She has formed a group of girls from Crystal Tokyo known as the Opposito Guardians and ordered them to alter the past to change the future to her liking. Their ultimate goal is to attain the Silver Crystal. Apsu and her followers succeed in changing the fates of the defeated villains from the first three-story arcs. They bring the deceased villains back to life. Reformed and healed villains are brought back to the darkness. With the advice of the ghosts of the Four Kings of Heaven, the Guardians set out to regain the Barazuishō (Rose Crystal), Tuxedo Mask's stone (which replaces the Golden Crystal in the game) to change Sailor Moon's destiny back and to save Crystal Tokyo.
Sailor Moon RPG is an interesting beast of a game. It excels in some aspects, while in other aspects not so much. But first and foremost, what makes Sailor Moon RPG a great game is the nostalgia. The nostalgia has kept it one of the most popular fan translations ever since its release in 1999. It's exactly what we would expect from an RPG based on Sailor Moon. It offers us a retelling of some of our favorite story arcs, along with a new story and new characters tying it all together. It has the humor and deep writing we love from the anime. In battle, all of their special attacks are from the anime.
Aside from the nostalgia, the game itself is 'ok'. It's not terrible, but it's not exactly Chrono Trigger either. It's an average game when it comes to its graphics, animation, and music. The best part of the graphics are the large, beautiful, and detailed character sprites. The character portraits are also large and beautiful. The soundtrack doesn't have any memorable tracks. It can feel loud and annoying at times, too. Although that issue is easily remedied if you use the Moon Healing Orchestration project.
My favorite feature is the Sailor Soldiers talking in battle! When they execute their special attack, they say it in their real Japanese voices. When they attack, their war cry is said in their real voices. Even when they get hit, they scream in their real voices. That's a pretty amazing feature when you consider that Tales of Phantasia is the only other Super Nintendo RPG with voiced characters during battle.
The worst part of the game is how uninteresting and repetitive the battles are. All enemies and bosses use the same sequence: attack, attack, attack, special attack that doesn't affect anyone, attack, attack, etc. The battle encounter rate is high. The Scouts level up quickly and easily, so new areas begin difficult but quickly jump to being too easy.
Would I recommend Sailor Moon RPG? Absolutely! It's one of the most popular fan translations for a reason. I know I may not have painted the best picture for the game with the complaints I mentioned above. The game certainly isn't perfect, but I want to emphasize that the nostalgia more than makes up for it. If you're a fan of the anime, you'll thoroughly enjoy Sailor Moon RPG. Playing this game is like reliving the anime. It's a treasurable experience. Many people regard this game as the best RPG adapation of an anime.
In the early 2000s, Sailor Moon RPG was one of my first shrines dedicated to a fan translation. As a big fan of Sailor Moon, I was obsessed with the fan service the game offered. Throughout the years, there wasn't much competition with other fan sites, so my Sailor Moon RPG shrine remained the #1 site dedicated to it. The site you're looking at now is my fourth version of its design, made in 2022. I'm committed to continue promoting this great game :)
Back in the late 90s, people wanted to play this game so badly that they even tried playing it in Japanese before the English fan translation was released. Doing this (without knowing Japanese) required aimlessly wandering around and talking to everyone. Here's a quote from one of my friends:
...eh heh heh...It's like when i played and beat Sailor Moon: Another Story in Japanese... It was like.. "Okay... i got that i am suppose to go SOMEWHERE.. but where is the question..uhm..okay..i'll go to mamo-chans... nope... okay... I'll go to the temple on cherry hill.... nooope.. okay.. i will go to Osa-P...HEY! BAD GUY!! WOOO!! THAT'S WHERE I WAS SUPPOSE TO GO!! ^^;;; And the fun part is like when you have played the game for like 12 hrs straight, you are at the final boss-ish area.. and then you realize, HEY! THERE'S A MENU UNDER THE START BUTTON!! V_V;; THEEEEEN you learn about TECHS. V_V;;;;;;;;;;;;;