Shin Megami Tensei (Japan) [En by Aeon Genesis v1.0] ROM
Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) ROMsGenre: Role-Playing
Rating: CERO: B, ESRB: E, CERO: All Ages
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Game Description & Reviews:
The third game in the Megami Tensei Franchise, but the first game released by Atlus. Released only in Japan, Aeon Genesis translated this great game. Starting with a brutal murder in a park, The main character's simple trip to pick up coffee turns into a quest to save Japan from a nuclear war. Featuring over 100 Demons and a Demon Fusion System, where you fuse at the Jakyou (Dark Cathedral). It also includes a alignment system which makes certain changes to the storyline and makes certain demons harder to summon.
There are good games, there are great games - and then there's Shin Megami Tensei, (hereafter, SMT). This amazing, epic RPG is in a class of its own: from the outset to the outcome, it is an extraordinary adventure in just about every respect.
SMT is set in Tokyo in the 1990s of an alternative history. In the course of an effort to create a network of terminals enabling instantaneous transportation, a channel to the Abyss - the realm of demons - is inadvertently opened. As demons flood into Tokyo, and start murdering innocents, a military coup takes place. In the midst of this turmoil, your character receives a demon summoning and communication program that empowers him to deal with these new visitors. This is just the introduction of an exceptional story that will take you through apocalyptic events and religious strife to the culmination of the überkampf - the struggle between the forces of monotheism and polytheism, Yahweh and Lucifer, tyranny and anarchy, Law and Chaos.
The game's title translates as 'Digital Devil Summoner' - and this indeed is the core of its gameplay - summoning supernatural beings (from a range of mythologies - not just goblins, imps and werewolves, but exotic entities like gandharvas, pishakas, wendigos - even Quetzalcoatl) and having them fight by one's side. Equally important - and this is something that sets SMT apart from almost every other game I've played - is the option of negotiating with the demons you encounter in order to recruit them or simply acquire money, magnetite (a resource used up in the game when travelling with monsters) or occasionally, items. The monsters have a variety of personality types - brash, stern, timid, etc.. - and the conversations can even take a humorous turn when you select the 'sing' option. Last, but by no means least, is the demon fusion feature by which one can combine two or three minions to form another being - a means by which one can generate and command ever stronger entities. All three aspects - summoning, negotiation and fusion - have been remarkably well-devised, being both convenient and delightful for the player.
In addition to this, SMT has the elements of a classic RPG - turn-based combat, equipping and/or using items, magic, gaining experience and going up levels, etc... One particularly nice touch is giving the player's human characters attribute points upon going up levels, which may be allocated between six characteristics (strength, intelligence, magic, stamina, speed, and luck), thus enabling one to develop these characters as one pleases. The title also contains an excellent automap function that greatly facilitates exploration.
For a game that came out on the Super Nintendo, SMT's graphics are quite impressive, with the various characters and demons all appearing distinct, as do the urban backgrounds, while the overworld map is both easy to understand and pleasant to view. Spell animations are also varied and notable, as are the sound effects. The soundtrack is one of the hidden strengths of the title: SMT's music contributes immensely to the game's atmosphere by being always suitable and often splendid.
In order to get the most out of this game, there are a few suggestions worth bearing in mind. First and foremost, one should always leave some space free in one's inventory, lest one fail to receive a vital quest item and end up being unable to proceed further. Second, it is advisable to utilize an emulator that has save states, since the game can lock up in some places, and has only two save slots anyway. Finally, SMT has a high random encounter rate: this can be overcome by using the Fuma Bell or the Estma spell, so keep an eye out for those.
One of the greatest videogame series began with this monumental title - and after playing it, it is easy to see why. All praise to Aeon Genesis for translating this gem - and to the Japanese for creating this masterpiece.
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