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Sailor Moon – Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis

Sailor Moon – Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis

sailor moon snesPlatform: Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis

Developer: Arc System Works

Publisher: Angel (SNES), Ma-Ba (Genesis)

Release Date: August, 1993 (SNES), 1994 (Genesis)

Genre: Beat ’em Up

Rating: 4/10 (SNES), 3.5/10 (Genesis)

Reviewed by: ChronoSloth

In today’s gaming industry, plenty of games let you play as soldiers. You could even say that too many games do. However, it’s not very often that we see a game based around the world’s most famous “pretty soldier,” Sailor Moon. Released only in Japan, this was the first title in the long list of games based around this popular anime. Sailor Moon for the SNES is a beat ’em up very similar to Streets of Rage and Final Fight. A port of this game was released the next year for the Sega Genesis, still only in Japan, and it has quite a few differences from original release. I’ll be covering both in this review, and addressing these changes. The game allows players to pick one of five sailors and battle Youma across five stages. Though it was released at a time when many licensed games were excellent, Sailor Moon is missing the basic building blocks that make beat ’em ups fun.

sailor moon super nintendo

Yo, are those Shin-chan dolls in the crane machine? (SNES)

Gameplay in Sailor Moon consists of mashing the attack button to combo foes until they’re defeated. Players can grab and throw enemies, and also there’s a devastating special attack unique to each character that drains a bit of their life and in turn does heavy damage to surrounding Youma. In the SNES version, the combat feels very much like the Final Fight series, both in the speed and power of your attacks. In the Genesis version, faster attacks, poor sound design, and enemies who will become locked in a stun-state for far longer than necessary combine to make combat feel you are merely slapping opponents until they die. The SNES version is more difficult than the Genesis, and this is not always intentional. Enemies will hit you in rapid succession before you recover from the recoil of the last attack, and many times, especially with certain bosses, they can hit you with a basic attack while not exactly on the same vertical plane as you, but your attacks won’t connect. Enemies also attack near constantly. In almost all cases, a jump kick is your best or only option to attack an enemy without getting hit. While you may enjoy emulating an ADHD Ryu Hayabusa and dive kicking every enemy in sight for awhile, it does get old quickly.

I didn’t experience these problems in the Genesis version, but it’s actually more boring for it. In good brawlers, it’s ideal to lock enemies in a stun loop, but it is difficult and fun to do. In Sailor Moon on the Genesis, you can press the attack button twice quickly, wait about a second, press the attack button twice again, and if you keep that up, the enemy will stand still while you punch them twice in the face until they die. This becomes very tedious, though it’s actually a better strategy than actually using your characters’ combos, since the enemies have ludicrous amounts of health. In summary: on Super Nintendo, you’ll miss hits and get hit back harder or you can jump kick for the game’s entirety. On Genesis, double tap the attack button to bitch-slap enemies in sets of two while they stand still, reeling in pain for long periods of time until they fall down.

sailor moon sega genesis screenshot

Coffee is necessary to not fall asleep playing this. (Genesis)


I thought that the visuals for both games were quite impressive. The sprites in the Genesis version of the game are more detailed and clear, but on the SNES, the sailors all have an idle animations and a crying animation when losing a life. Environments are also a toss-up. There are a few levels that are different between the games, but in those that are the same, the SNES version has much more to look at, but the Genesis version is much cleaner and crisp. There’s one particularly terrible area on the Genesis that wasn’t on the SNES, where you fight on the top of two trucks. Normally stoked to battle on top of vehicles, I was excited. Until I found out that whoever was controlling the camera in this scene must have been in a car alongside the trucks, driving with one hand, filming with the other, drunk all the while. It was incredibly frustrating. One aspect where the SNES is a definite victor is the HUD. On the Genesis, all enemy health bars are full of yellow, and are transparent when empty. If an enemy’s healthbar is several bars long, this is represented by a bar with a heart above it, with the heart disappearing when they’ve been knocked down to their last bar. On the SNES, as in most beat ’em ups, the life bar is different colors until it becomes the opponent’s final bar, and is red, not transparent, when emptied.

sailor moon snes boss fight

“Rat bastard” personified. (SNES)

The SNES version is a clear winner when it comes to sound. The voice clips from the sailors sound much better than Genesis’s garbled recordings (almost “WISE FWOM YOUR GWAVE” caliber), and the music in both games is very different. The music is higher quality, fitting, and quite pleasing to listen to, while on the Genesis, the soundtrack is okay, if not a little grating. Speaking of grating, one instance from the Genesis sticks out in my mind. The sound effect for the “Go” symbol, that suggest players move to the next area is what I imagine they play on repeat in hell. Combat sound effects are appropriately “punchy” and impactful on SNES, where they sound airy and slappy on Genesis. Both games oddly have no noise for basic enemy attacks, besides the wail of your sailor when they connect. This is an omission I noticed quickly, and it truly makes the enemies feel like lifeless punching bags with no power or personality.

Beat ’em ups are very simple, repetitive games. Unfortunately for Sailor Moon, this means that the game’s flaws are made obvious repeatedly and often. There are so many small tweaks that would make these games so much better. For the Genesis, implement better sound effects, at least try to capture the spirit of the SNES version’s music, and decrease enemy health and hit-stun. On the SNES, simply increase the sailors’ hitboxes, and lower enemy attack power. Both versions would benefit greatly from an increased variety of enemies, or at least giving the enemies voices, more attacks, or attack sounds. But in their current state, I’d say both games are quite like the heroine they’re based around: ditzy, clumsy, and underachieving, but beautiful with good intentions.

sailor moon sega genesis pretty

I’m sorry Serena, I’m sure there are better Sailor Moon games by now. (Genesis)

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Written by ChronoSloth


Video game reviewer with a specific love for the fourth and fifth generation of consoles. In an exclusive polygamist relationship with Nintendo and PlayStation. Fluent in Al Bhed and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 combo notation. Follow him on Instagram to see lots of pictures of video games.


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  1. nerdberry
    nerdberry says:

    Also makes for an excellent halloween outfit for the college sluts 😉

    True story


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