PSSM PC Engine Game

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Plot
Story/Writing
Packaging
Audio and Video
Music
Bootlegs
Conclusion
Extras

Title: Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon
Support: Nec PC Engine CD (TurboGrafx-CD)
Format: Super CD-ROM²
Publisher: Banpresto
Genre: Adventure, Visual Novel
Release: 1994
Status: Official
Origin: Japan
Original Price: 8,800 yen
Paid: $20 CAD
Purchased: NexWave Game Store; August 28, 2010
MFC: Here
Fan Translation: Here

Warning. This entire post is going to have spoilers for the game.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is for a system I don’t own, and does not have an official English release, but a fan translation finally DOES exists! I owned this game for 10 years and had no idea what it was about, so I was super excited to sit down and watch a play through following Usagi. At the beginning of the game you can select a character to play through, and I expect the full run of events would be different at certain points as you see different perspectives and go different places, only to meet near the end, but for the sake of over an hour… I’m going to stick to the Usagi playthrough I watched below.

Please Note: All screenshots were taken from this video from NintendoComplete on Youtube.

Advertising

At the moment I currently do not own any advertising for this game, but I found this piece provided by Anim’Archive on Tumblr.

Plot

Spoilers Underneath

Full honesty, I JUST finished this and I am HAPPY. So if you don’t want spoilers scroll down until the big letters happen. I’m talking about this story start to finish.

The game appears to take place between Season 1, and a point in Season 2 when the Senshi have their memories restored, and there are no enemies. So perhaps after defeating Ali and En, but before Chibi Usa appears (yea, that could probably get a little messy).

Usagi and the girls are trying to skip out on a training session when they discover Usagi has dipped a toe into Naru and Umino’s love life. After berating her for setting up Naru for an unexpected visit from Umino after school they send her to check on them. Usagi finds them awkwardly doing alright, and parting ways. As she spends a moment drooling over thoughts of Mamoru and disappointed she didn’t catch Naru and Umino flirting NEPHRITE unexpectedly appears on the sidewalk near Naru seemingly in a lot of pain. Which makes a lot of sense, SINCE HE SHOULD BE DEAD ALREADY.

Turns out Nephrite is there to warn Usagi, Mamoru, and the Senshi that Beryl and the four Kings are back, and their goal is to revive the Dark Kingdom, but their real concern is Past Wiseman, who used the Bloody Opal to bring them back from the dead. Nephrite has returned with all of his past memories, and not only of the modern day, but his memories of his time serving under Prince Endymion have begun to trickle back.

In true nature of Sailor Moon, Nephrite is kidnapped by his teammates and brought back to Beryl where he is made to stand at her side again, only suspecting that he simply couldn’t resist seeing Naru again. From the inside he works to help the Senshi win.

When Beryl challenges the Senshi to a rematch the Senshi are sent on a mission to the 4 pillars to destroy the Emerald Gate and the boundary keeping the city trapped. While separated, Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask find themselves against Queen Beryl herself. While Tux fights, she concocts a plan to trick Beryl into leading her to Past Wiseman AND IT WORKS! At the same time, Jupiter is battling Nephrite, who reveals Past Wiseman is looking to resurrect Death Phantom.

After an epic Beryl and the Four Kings rematch you’re going to want to watch yourself we learn that Past Wiseman can reincarnate their souls from death in a painful, horrible way. Usagi speaks to Beryl with kindness, requesting that they be friends. She recalls their battle and regrets that she was not powerful enough to reincarnate them at the same time to live normal lives.

Tuxedo Mask makes his epic entrance in an effort to distract Beryl, Jadeite, Zoisite, and Kunzite, and allow the Senshi and Sailor Moon to escape.

Enter Nephrite with the Black Crystal, a Good replica of The Black Crystal which released Past Wiseman. He explains that like the Silver Crystal, the Black Crystal can be used for Good. That the crystal is meant for Tuxedo Mask in the same way the Silver Crystal is meant for Usagi. He calls upon the power of the Black Crystal to awaken the Four Kings memories of how they really came under Beryls control. The Black Crystal appears to Tuxedo Mask as the Kings call on him to defeat Past Wiseman and destroy the Bloody Opal. The Senshi call upon the power of their planets, paired with the help of their paired King, the entire group of 10 destroy Past Wiseman.

With only Queen Beryl left to defeat, Sailor Moon calls for friendship and is met with anger. During her attack though, Beryl collapses and dies in Usagi’s arms, ultimately while admitting she is afraid to like Usagi and forgive her for taking Endymion away from her.

Usagi uses her power to reincarnate Beryl and the Four Kings as regular humans with regular lives on Earth. A far better ending than the original Season 1.

The game ends with Naru teasing Usagi about Umino and owing her for being late again. She threatens to make Usagi split to buy him flowers to make up for it. Usagi closes it out teasing Naru for her feelings. Honestly… the cutest shit ever.

Story/Writing

The story follows Usagi and the gang as they skip out on a training session just to goof around when an old friend warns them about Past Wiseman, a new enemy looking to steal the Silver Crystal. Usagi must figure out how to defeat the Bloody Opal and spark Naru and Umino’s relationship, all before supper time!

This game brought closure I didn’t know I needed, and a scary foreshadowing… or maybe an alternative timeline that avoids the main arc of Sailor Moon R entirely? Either way, it was new content (for me) that my soul NEEDED after not quite getting my fix on Crystal. I had forgotten how Sailor Moon made me feel. That I am not just a fan of the series because of the pretty art, and the wonderful collectibles. But because Usagi inspires the hope I need when things look tough.

Admittedly, I might be over selling it. Watching this game play out vs playing it out yourself will likely be a different experience, but aside from some choppy elements that come with playing a video game vs watching an episode I felt the story in this game nailed it as a part of the Sailor Moon franchise.

In writing this I also realized that I forget often that this is a fan translation. The team that worked on this release did an impeccable job. You can find their credits on this page.

Packaging and Disk

The packaging for this is really pretty and colourful. I had a lot of fun editing the scans. The pastel doily pattern is especially reminiscent of the manga art from Naoko Takeuchi.

Audio and Video

This game includes a mix of text, and voice clips. I’m no expert when it comes to audio quality, but for a game that’s nearly 30 years old I had zero issues with it. Honestly, I thought it sounded really good.

The graphics though, are beautiful. I’ve saved about 50 screenshots to edit into icons and graphics, and I won’t even pretend I’m not excited about it. I’ll provide a small gallery below, but first I want to talk about some of the character designs.

The game is so clearly well designed after the anime that I had moments in which I completely forgot I wasn’t watching an episode. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was also trying to follow along with the player and see what options they were provided I might have felt like it was an episode or a short movie.

The character screen shows the Senshi in a very stylized chibi design. Enjoy, becuase you’ll literally never see this character art again. I’m not sure why they made this choice, but the art is cute?

The save screen is yet another chibi art design that doesn’t appear anywhere else in the game. It also mimics the Sailor Moon R commercial bumpers (see here). Depending on who you play as a different Senshi appears in the spot light.

The colour palette is very colourful, nearly eliminating black from the story art. I really enjoyed this decision because it gives us a Rei/Sailor Mars with purple hair!

To be honest though, the best part of this game is that I could create an entire gallery of Usagi reaction faces.

Whoops! Guess I just did. XD

I love how simplistically the characters are drawn, but how true to the anime they are kept. As someone who did pixel art a lot in high school I’m mad at how simple this art is while executing the job near perfectly. Though there are some group scenes where I wish they had more space to work with better detail.

The real winner of Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon is Queen Beryl though. Her art is detailed and STUNNING. Some panels looked like full drawings it was so detailed.

Even when she’s angry she looks AMAZING.

It would be an absolute SHAME if I wrote this post and neglected to talk about scenes like this with limited colour palettes, yet are so striking, and beautifully created with so much texture. It’s the reflection of the sunrise in the store front, and the cold tones where there is shadow. The balance and technicality behind those details could have been skipped, but the artist took their knowledge of complimentary colours and nailed it.

Music

Surprisingly the opening and ending sequences are original to the game and sung by the voice actresses for the game. The game itself features cute background music that was enjoyable, suited the moments they were featured in, and were wonderfully not horribly annoying given how much some of it repeated (in true fashion of these styles of games).

The opening is so good I’m looking to add it to my Sailor Moon library.

You can find the music here for download.

Bootlegs

When it comes to buying or identifying a physical bootleg copy of this game I’m not so sure there’s anything around at the moment, but it has definitely been made available online. You can find the files and instructions here.

Given the exclusivity of the system this game is on, I would expect this translation to not get a physical release. Bootleg, official, or fan made.

Conclusion

This game is an excellent piece for the media collector. The casing displays well, if you can play it the story is great, the art is beautiful, and it really stays true to the original series. This translation and the work they put into fixing glitches and adding hidden content is amazing, even if I can’t access it myself at the moment.

And if you’re not a media collector, or at least, not media you simply can’t play, I at least highly recommend watching playthrough’s of this game. It filled a “new content” hole I’ve been feeling with the high expectations that came with Crystal, and the let downs that followed. I hope I can find the other Senshi play-throughs, or figure out how to work this myself.

Extra special thank you to the sources I linked above. Without them I wouldn’t have most of this post.

SailorMoonMusic.net
NintendoComplete
AnimArchive
Supper

Extras

Icons

Icons have been sized 200×200.PNG. Feel free to use anywhere you want, but please try and link back to the sitefor credit.

Please make edits with this and post them lol

Published by MoonFigures

I am a Sailor Moon and anime collector, as well as an artist.

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