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Let's Play Sailor Moon: Another Story! Final Thoughts

Rainbow Chara X

Impossible to gauge!
This let's play started in November 2017 and ended in April 2019. See what I mean about Sailor Moon getting delayed hard?

It's cathartic to finally get this done.

Final Thoughts
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(Rating scale: Excellent (84 – 100)
Average(50 -69)
Bad – also counts as B-Movie So Bad It's Good in case I happen to enjoy it (35 – 49)
Awful (34 to 0))

Full Title: Sailor Moon: Another Story

Originally published: September 22nd, 1995

Type: JRPG

Length: I want to say 15 hours or more, since there's not really an in-game timer to keep track of how much time you invested.

Difficulty: Starts off easy and then dives deep into very hard. The grinding does not help.

Developers/Artists/Etc.: Masayuki Sato (Executive Producer), Joji Yuno (Director/Producer), Arbeiter Siina (Programmer), Takanori Arisawa (Composer), Shūichi Miyazawa (Graphic Designer/Planner), etc.

Overall Plot:

Sailor Moon and her team of sailor soldiers have to fight off their evil counterparts, the Opposito Senshi, and prevent them from changing Destiny for the worse. The side effect of this is that all of Sailor Moon's old villains to come back to life/turn back evil again, so it's effectively a massive internal crossover.

Pros & Cons

· The graphics are impressive for a SNES RPG - all of the characters, even minor ones, (more or less) resemble characters from the show. The amount of detail they've put in is ridiculous.

· The fact you can play as all ten Sailor Senshi is fantastic - including characters like Pluto and Saturn is great fanservice because their use in both the show and manga is (unfortunately) limited. It's also super impressive that the Senshi have combination attacks - yes, there's only like three that really matter, but the effort is what blows me out the water.

· The music ranges from serviceable to very nice, since most of it is sampled from the anime's soundtrack. Special mentions go out to Apsu's theme, the Ark theme, the Crystal Tokyo themes and the normal boss theme.

· There's actually voice clips from the original anime actresses in here! That's pretty crazy.

· Anshar and Sin are some of the most interesting characters in the entire story - Sin is motivated to protect her brother after their parents were killed by the Black Moon and Anshar wants to seek a relationship with the princess of Crystal Tokyo but feels the societal divide between them is stopping him. It becomes an increasingly fascinating dynamic to analyze as the story goes on, especially as they use main character Usagi's relationship with her own brother as a parallel.

· Apsu is a surprisingly complex villain from the little that can be inferred about her. It's implied she's a breast cancer victim and the entire point of her goal throughout the story is to use the Silver Crystal so she doesn't, like... die? Yeah, she gets caught up in the generic "take over the world" mantra but her condition and the depths she'll go to manipulate the Opposito is what makes her interesting to watch.

· The other Opposito, while not as fleshed out as the three leaders, are interesting parallels to their Sailor Senshi counterparts. The fact they're Mesopotamian inspired vs. the Roman theming of the good guys lends to this, and I'm always a sucker for evil counterparts in fiction anyway.

· Fighting all the previous villains in one game and how they react to the changes in Sailor Moon's group is massive fanservice, even if I feel they could have done a bit more with it.

· The length is around the same as Chrono Trigger (aka. short for an RPG) even if the progression from point A to point B isn't as graceful.

· I like that the four Inners (Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Venus) get solo chapters dedicated to them and that they all go to different parts of the world instead of just sticking to Japan.

· The combat, while not amazing, is still decent with its unique ideas. The formation system employed in this game makes where you put your Senshi of choice actually matter, and the fact all the Senshi have unique poses and animations is a nice touch. The different buffing items you get really do help when it comes to making boss fights easier.

· The good ending is genuinely heartwarming, so it makes most of the crazy adventure worth it.

· The reward for completing the puzzle is actually worth it, on top of it being a nice-looking picture.

· The fact there's a hint person in the solo chapters that tells you where to go and what to do is excellent, especially since this game came out before the internet was a thing

· This game uses some animations from Chrono Trigger, such as Luminaire, but they weren't made by the same company. (Bandai vs Squaresoft)

· This game was only released in Japan, unfortunately. It's also notable for being the only Sailor Moon RPG in existence, as most other Sailor Moon licensed games are fighting games, beat-em-ups or puzzle games.

· The story gets out of control after a while, especially once time travel is more involved. It's made worse if you're not a Sailor Moon fan, so you'll be confused on two different fronts by the time the game's half over. The comet that's brought up in the game's intro has no relevance until the end of the game, and even then it's unclear what happened with it.

· Speaking as a Sailor Moon fan, the inconsistencies they brought in don't make sense. Sometimes they blend together two different backstories (aka. manga vs. anime) for some characters, like Doctor Tomoe who lived in the anime but died as a Daimon in the manga. I'll only keep it to that example to prevent this entry from getting bloated, but just know that I get headaches from this stuff too.

· The boss fight with Opposito Nabu in Mercury's chapter was needlessly hard since her defense skyrockets in the second encounter. Keep in mind there's a long, unskippable cutscene that plays every time you fight her, so losing only exacerbates the problem.

· Despite the game's smooth early progression, everything past the Black Moon Invasion is extremely punishing. Special shout-out goes out to the true final boss for being a bit overpowered. It's to the point where you need to excessively grind or complete the puzzle to get some super-equipment. It does throw you an easier final boss should you lose the first time, but it's kinda the opposite extreme (aka. super easy) and nets you the bad ending.

· The fact the game has mechanics that it never tells you about, like Mercury's ability to lower enemy attack with Shabon Spray and that pressing Y while riding the Ark (long story) takes you to the moon. Given how obtuse the game becomes as it goes on, information like this is necessary. My suggestion would be to have a "hint" system attached to moves so you know what their effects are, but that's just me writing down game design notes for later.

· Another Story uses random encounters and there's no repel function to stop them from overwhelming you while just travelling through a dungeon. It gets old real fast, especially if you're just trying to go from one place to another.

· The game has serious balance issues. Blocking reduces damage taken to single digits regardless of your level and having Pluto's Time Stop affect every enemy, even bosses, just breaks the game in half. Perhaps this is how they tried to balance the ridiculous difficulty late-game?

· There's stuff you can permanently lose out on multiple times. I don't know why they designed the game like this, but if you don't search everywhere you will lose out on unique equipment for your characters and even an extra boss fight that gives you a pretty powerful accessory. Lost Forever scenarios bother me even in my favorite games, but it's so brutal here that it kinda sours my taste of the game.

· The fact you stop getting puzzle pieces after progressing through a certain amount of the story. If you are even one piece short after the point of no return, you will never be able to complete it. Just... why.

· Not purely the fault of the game itself, but the English translation patch has multiple errors and inconsistencies to the point where it becomes distracting.

Final Thoughts (76/100)

Another Story is a complex game for me to describe. On one hand, it's a competent JRPG and a fantastic licensed game with an interesting original premise practically made for Sailor Moon fans. On the other, it's unbalanced, has an incomprehensible plot and the sudden difficulty often acts as a roadblock towards actually enjoying the game.

The game lacks a certain polish, but it's still clear to me that they poured a ton of love and attention into Another Story. It's not just a throwaway fighting or puzzle game with Sailor Moon plastered on it. The unique ideas like the formation system, the link techs and so on give the game a sense of identity and help it stand out on it own.

It doesn't quite reach the high standard of its contemporaries (Final Fantasy 4-6, Chrono Trigger, etc.) but I'm positive that if most of its flaws were addressed (aka. the puzzle/lost equipment thing, the difficulty being lowered and a rewrite to make the game more inclusive to even non-Sailor Moon fans), it'd be a smash hit.

As it is right now, though? It was pretty special to me a few years back when I first discovered it due to my love of the franchise, but it definitely has its flaws. In conclusion, it's a good game, but not amazing.

Maybe I should get back to Trickster and see what else I can push out there. Either way, thanks for watching.