Table of Contents

Page 1: Megami Tensei I & II
Page 2: Shin Megami Tensei I & II
Page 3: Shin Megami Tensei If... & III
Page 4: Devil Summoner / Soul Hackers
Page 5: Persona
Page 6: Persona 2: Innocent Sin & Eternal Punishment
Page 7: Persona 3, FES, and 4
Page 8: Digital Devil Saga
Page 9: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha
Page 10: Devil Survivor / Strange Journey
Page 11: Other Megami Tensei games
Page 12: Majin Tensei
Page 13: Last Bible
Page 14: Devil Children / Demikids
Page 15: Anime

Giten Megami Tensei: Mokushiroku - PC98 / Windows 98 (1996)

Japanese Cover

Giten Megami Tensei

Giten Megami Tensei

Giten Megami Tensei: Mokushiroku is something of an oddball. Unlike the rest of the series, it's never seen life on a console - it was originally released for the PC98, then upgraded for Windows 98. It seems to have been published by ASCII and based off the artwork/music of the rest of the series (Kazuma Kaneko is credited as "original character designs", and they're definitely reminiscent of the designs from the Super Famicom games. There is also a robotic dog in there.) As far as I can tell, it starts off similarly to Megami Tensei 2 - as a young boy living in a shelter, you and your friends are training to be Devil Busters. Everything seems to be okay, until you begin your training, when one of the programs seems to go out of control. And that's about all I've been able to figure out. There's a lot of obnoxious fetch questing and some very heavy Japanese, so I'm lost on most of it.

The graphics in the Windows 98 version are smooth scrolling, although the interface is both keyboard driven (for movement) and mouse-driven (for selecting from menus.) Unlike the rest of the series, character and enemies are visible on the screen at all times, though they aren't scaled properly when you move, so it looks a little silly. The battle system seems to be a weird mix between turn-based and real-time, as enemies will attack you from across the room before you engage them. It's incredibly clunky, especially when issuing orders, but it's definitely a cool idea. The music is a bit abrasive, but much of it is very similar to older Megami Tensei titles, despite being completely original. Unfortunately, the standard MIDI format means it doesn't sound nearly as cool as the SFC titles. All around, it's unfortunate that this one is so obscure (Japanese PC games are very difficult and expensive to find, although you can find copies floating around the 'net), though I certainly wish it were less confusing.

Music

Complete Soundtrack In MIDI format

Giten Megami Tensei

Giten Megami Tensei

Intro Screenshots

Shin Megami Tensei NINE - Xbox (2002)

Japanese Cover

Shin Megami Tensei NINE

Shin Megami Tensei NINE

Shin Megami Tensei NINE, one of the few Japan exclusive games for the original Xbox, is a bit of an outlier amongst the series. The NINE is not to denote that this is the ninth Megaten game (it isn't), but instead it refers the number of alignments in the original series of game (Law, Neutral, Chaos, and Good, Neutral, and Evil.) Like Megami Tensei II, you play as a human living in an underground base after a nuclear disaster. You spend most of your time in the "Idea Space", a Snow Crash-ish virtual world modeled after 1990s Tokyo.

The game sort of resembles an MMORPG, as you walk around parts of the city, customize your avatar, and find other NPCs, each with their own demon following them. Of course, right as you start, trouble begins, as a disturbance called the "Noise" is sending evil demons out into Idea Space. You and your friend are drafted as "Debuggers" to put a stop to this menace. The character designs are provided by Yasuomi Umetsu, who also did the designs for the violent porn/action animes Kite and Mezzo Forte.

Kei Azuma

You can choose to be male or female, but the default name is the same.

Baraki

The male friend, who joins you on your quest and shows you the ropes.

Sumire

The female friend, whom you save from a Noise attack at the beginning of the game.

Shin Megami Tensei NINE tries to be a bit of a throwback to the original Shin Megami Tensei, mostly with the modern setting, although traveling around the districts of Tokyo is accomplished through a simple map menu. Most of the music consists of arranged versions of the original Super Famicom music, which is pretty cool. Most of the shops are also run by friendly Jack Frosts. However, the actual gameplay is very nontypical. All of the battles are fought in real time, and most of the actions are dictated through AI settings, although you can tell your demons to target specific characters in the middle of the fight. It ends up making you feel very disconnected from the action.

This worked in later games like Final Fantasy XII, partially because it was visually engaging. Shin Megami Tensei NINE is not. The battles are ugly affairs, with barely animated attacks and poorly modeled demons. Even though it's on more powerful hardware, the graphics are pretty bad, and totally fail in comparison to the PS2 titles, even though they came a few years later. All of the backgrounds are prerendered, and look okay, although the spongy controls make navigating them somewhat difficult.

There are also "hacking" segments, which play out using the little "character" markers usually relegated to map screens. These are a bit confusing at first but it plays out like a very simplistic real time strategy game.

Shin Megami Tensei NINE was planned as an online title, but a "Standalone" version was initially released to satiate gamers until the online version was completed. Alas, the online version was cancelled because no one really owned an Xbox in Japan, so nothing came of it. And it makes sense if you play the game - it feels weirdly incomplete. It got into the "bestseller" line of games over in Japan, although that doesn't necessarily mean much, and it's largely regarded as a flop. It's not really worth tracking down.

MP3

Battle - D Neutral
Battle - L Neutral
Shibuya

Shin Megami Tensei NINE

Shin Megami Tensei NINE

Shin Megami Tensei NINE

Shin Megami Tensei NINE

Shin Megami Tensei NINE

Shin Megami Tensei NINE

Shin Megami Tensei NINE

Jack Bros. - Virtual Boy (1995)

American Cover

Japanese Cover

Jack Bros.

Jack Bros isn't a "real" Megami Tensei title, but rather a cutesy spin-off game starring Jack Frost, Jack Lantern and Jack Skelton (named Jack Ripper in the Japanese version.) Technically, it IS the first time any Megaten related title left Japan, since it predated Persona. Regardless, this is a pretty simplistic maze game where you run around, shoot bad guys, collect keys, and find the exit. You have a time limit to adhere to, and getting hit will decrease it. At the end of each stage is a boss. And...that's pretty much it. It's one of the rarest and most sought-after Virtual Boy games out there, and I couldn't tell you why. There's no 3D in it either - other than the cool scaling effect when you jump down levels, this easily could've been a Game Boy game.

Jack Bros.

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE - Windows PC (2007)

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

A few years after Atlus unsuccessfully tried to bring SMT to the online world with SMT NINE, they finally released their first MMORPG, subtitled IMAGINE. The story takes place between the events of SMT 1 & 2. Instead of being handled by Atlus themselves, Imagine was developed by Cave, commonly known for their work in the shmup genre. Imagine had been exclusive to Japan for a long time, until Aeria Games, a company specializing in free MMOs, decided to bring the SMT MMO to the US. The playerbase in Imagine are compromised of Devil Busters: humans with the ability to summon demons, tasked with fighting off the demons invading Japan.

At the start of the story, 20XX Tokyo is on the verge of a resurgence. After a summoning ritual went awry, demons began appearing all over the world. Soon after, a nuclear war between Japan and America left most of the world devastated, followed by a giant flood known as the 'Great Destruction'. Many years later, humanity managed to rebuild, with the assistance of a certain group of characters. Humankind was slowly getting back on track, and constructed a gigantic tower in the center of Tokyo as a sign of their resurgence. The appearance of the Obelisks changed all that. Demons began appearing en masse afterwards, which lead to the reforming of the Devil Buster Control Organization.

At the start of the game, the player takes on a role of a new recruit to the Devil Busters. It's here that you meet Snakeman, the commander of Home 3, humanity's primary underground headquarters. Not long after training, events force the player into the world outside Home 3, which is where the game begins.

Much of Imagine takes place in the ruined streets of Japan. The first region, Suginami, is located outside Home 3. Early on during the training, the player gets the first opportunity to decide their stat allocation, given points to distribute between the following stats: Strength, Vitality, Speed, Luck, Magic, and Intelligence.

There's lots of possible combinations, and three primary classes. "Melee" is focused on swords, clubs, and such. Skill benefits include countering, blocking, and special attacks like Dash and Spin. "Gunner" specializes in firearms, while "Mage" specializes in magic, which ranges from attack to restorative to support (stat), or a little of anything. You can try to mix the specialties, but reportedly, you're better off going for a main class, since specialization points are limited.

When a specialization tab is turned on, it lets you start gaining points in that specialization by using that ability. There's a limited amount, so you're warned early on that it's impossible to max out everything. As you gain points, new abilities in those categories become available.

While easy to get the hang of, combat itself can get a little messy. Battle is handled in real-time, via either a point-and-click interface, or keyboard shortcuts. After selecting the ability(such as Attack, Dash, or a certain Spell), clicking on an enemy will hit it with that ability. The most important aspect of Imagine's gameplay is learning how to counter and guard. Most demon attacks can be repelled by a well-timed Counter or Guard stance, but the demons can use these skills as well. In true SMT fashion, most if not all of the monsters encountered on the field can be coerced to your side.

However, Imagine doesn't give the players as many methods as the console SMT games do. At first, the player only has three methods of recruitment at their disposal: variations on the Talk command. Greeting, Threaten, and Taunt each use alternate conversation styles, and get different reactions from different demons. In the early game, this can be a very repetitive activity, since some demons can take repeated conversation to get a positive reaction out of. Most will just leave, some might leave behind an item, and actually getting it to join is the rarest result of all. If the talk skill gains experience, better recruitment abilities are unlocked that let the player bribe the demon, but these can take some time to access, especially if the player is focused on other skill sets.

Once you have a good variety of demons on your side, you can then head to the Cathedral of Shadows to undertake another SMT pastime: fusion. Fusion in Imagine is similar to that of most other SMT games. Fuse two demons, and get a new one, usually with skills carried over from the source demons. Double fusion is all that a single player can perform. Triple fusion requires three participants, one demon from each. The outcomes of fusion vary greatly based on your friendship level with that demon. Since Imagine doesn't allow the saving of demons before fusion, the Cathedral is more lenient than most SMT games with failed fusions. You keep the demons, but you lose your money. However, failure can be a lot more likely if you aren't on good terms with the demons you're fusing.

Demons operate in battle based on AI, but they can be given direct commands with the F1-F10 keys. They tend to operate better with higher care levels. The default is usually 'Contracted', or if fused, commonly "Used like a slave". This can be upgraded by using the Care command (available every 20 hours), or by working together with them in battle and keeping them alive.

The majority of Imagine's plot progression is handled through the Acts. Each one requires the player to complete one or many quests, ranging from finding a key person or item, to taking on a certain dungeon. The dungeons usually have powerful bosses waiting at the end, but the rewards are usually worthwhile, so they're worth taking friends along on. Imagine allows for parties to be formed at any time, with a capacity of five people. Going into dungeons without a party is usually not a good idea. In addition to parties, Imagine also has a clan system. Clans have a capacity of 100 people, and give all the members higher experience bonuses, as well as a means of inter-clan communication, so it's a good way to keep in touch with a lot of fellow Devil Busters.

As with most MMOs, you'll likely encounter the most interesting characters during the story segments. One of the most important factors of Imagine, like any SMT game, is your Alignment. Alignment determines a lot of things. What demons you can summon, how much they will cost you to summon, what equipment you can use, and even the quests you can undertake. Alignment is variable for the most part, but there are moments that require you to make decisions that affect your standing.

The primary warring factions in Imagine are that of Chaos (Gaian) and Law (Messian).

Gaians (Chaos)
Gaians believe in the tenet of 'Might Makes Right', as well as individual freedom. However, their perspective also tends to lead to the suffering of the weak, as well as general anarchy. Their headquarters is in Souhonzan, which can be reached by taking Shinjuku to Ichigaya, and Ichigaya to Ueno.

Messians (Law)
The Messians believe in strict order and a peaceful reign, following the example of their God(commonly associated with the Christian belief structure). The downside of their belief structure is that they cast out all others who do not follow their way of thinking. A Messian lifestyle can be very inhibiting, and does not take those who stray from their path lightly. Their headquarters is in Arcadia, which can be reached by taking Shinjuku to Shibuya, then Shibuya to Arcadia.

Neutrality
The Neutrals don't agree with either the Messians or Gaians, and wish to live their own way. This is probably the easiest route to take (and one usually taken by protagonists in SMT canon), but try not to get caught up in the crossfire.

Alignment doesn't come into play for a while in Imagine, but it will, so when the time comes, be sure about where you stand.

Other regions of note include Shibuya, which has been affected by one of the three Obelisks, and has become overrun with giant crystals; Nakano, a great forest which began taking over with the appearance of an Obelisk; Ichigaya: the site of the ICBM impact during the Great Destruction which has sincebeen flooded with lava; and Shinjuku Babel, the core city for humanity's resurgence, located at the base of the 666-floor tower of Shinjuku Babel.

SMT Imagine is currently in its open beta. As such, there's a good amount of Engrish and glaring typos to be found. Aeria appear to fixing these errors regularly, which means they might not be around long, so enjoy them while you can.

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE

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