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A young man lives together with his mother in Kichijoji, a district in modern Tokyo. One day, he has a strange dream: he is being sucked into another dimension, a strange maze-like structure. A spirit appears in front of him and asks him his name. As he proceeds further, he meets a man who is hanging on a cross, another one who is being tormented by a demon, and a mysterious young woman who is bathing in a pool.

"Wake up!" - the voice of his mother cuts through the dream. The young man wakes up and checks his computer. Suddenly, a message arrives: the world is headed towards destruction. Only he who can summon demons through a virtual space will be able to prevent a disaster. Unable to understand what that means, the young man goes outside and finds out a murder has occurred in the nearby park. The district must be cut off from the rest of the city until the murderer is found. As the young man acquires a device that allows him to communicate with demons, he begins to realize that his role in the upcoming events may be greater than he thought.

A follow-up to the first two Megami Tensei games, Shin Megami Tensei is a first-person RPG set in modern-day and post-apocalyptic Tokyo. The hero of the game can summon demons, who consume a mysterious energy called Magnetite, which can be obtained from battles. The summoned demon joins the party and is then fully controllable by the player. The active party can include up to six characters: the hero, the heroine, and four slots usually reserved for the demons, though other human characters might also join. There is a wide variety of demons in the game, most of which are taken from real-world mythologies. The demons have levels, individual statistics, spells, special abilities, etc.

Enemy encounters are random, and the first-person combat is turn-based. During combat, human characters can use swords or guns; the heroine is also able to learn and cast magic spells. Unlike most other Japanese RPGs, the game allows the player to raise the parameters of the two main characters manually when leveling up. A major gameplay element are demon conversations, which is usually the only way to recruit demons. Typically, the player has to convince the demon to join the party by choosing appropriate dialogue lines.

All the creatures in the world of Shin Megami Tensei belong to one of the three ideologies: Law, Chaos, or Neutral. The narrative is largely dedicated to conflicts between these ideologies; during several key moments in the story, the player has to decide which one to follow. Joining one of the ideologies influences the subsequent narrative as well as some gameplay elements: certain weapons can be only equipped by a follower of a specific ideology, demons are more likely to join the hero if he shares their ideology, etc.


Shin Megami Tensei TurboGrafx CD Title screen
Shin Megami Tensei TurboGrafx CD Talking to your mom. No detailed backgrounds - compare to <moby game="shin megami playstation"> Playstation version</moby>
Shin Megami Tensei SEGA CD The famous SMT symbol
Shin Megami Tensei TurboGrafx CD The Turbo CD version has some voice overs! However, there are no kanji...

Promo Images

Shin Megami Tensei Screenshot
Shin Megami Tensei Screenshot
Shin Megami Tensei Screenshot
Shin Megami Tensei Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "真女神转生" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • "真女神転生" -- Japanese spelling
  • "SMT" -- Common abbreviation

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Teaching Japanese RPGs some tricks SNES Unicorn Lynx (181391)
Imaginative, Thought-provoking and Great Fun SNES Heathen Gray (21)

Critic Reviews

Legendra SEGA CD Jun 29, 2007 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Legendra SNES Oct 07, 2004 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Pixel-Heroes.de SNES Nov 05, 2010 9 out of 10 90
RPGFan SNES Jun 10, 2007 81 out of 100 81
Sega-16.com SEGA CD Apr 18, 2016 8 out of 10 80
GameCola.net SNES Jan, 2004 7.8 out of 10 78
HonestGamers (Staff reviews only) SNES Oct 29, 2010 7 out of 10 70


Topic # Posts Last Post
Demon's alignment 2 Unicorn Lynx (181391)
May 22, 2008
God or Devil? 25 The Fabulous King (1337)
Jul 07, 2007



Shin Megami Tensei series contain a lot of characters from Western mythology, including YHVH, the God of ancient Israel, who later also became God the Father in Christianity (!). This was one of the reasons why the series never saw green light for North American or European releases.

Title translation

Shin Megami Tensei roughly means "True Reincarnation of the Goddess". The game itself has nothing to do with any reincarnations of goddesses: the title refers to the first game of Megaten universe, Digital Devil Monogatari - Megami Tensei for NES.

Translation patch

On June 30th, 2002, Aeon Genesis released a complete Japanese-to-English patch for the SNES release.

Version differences

Shin Megami Tensei, originally appearing on Super Famicom (SNES), was later ported to Turbo CD, SEGA CD, PlayStation, and GBA. Here is an overview of the changes made to the game in different releases:
  • The most faithful port is the Turbo CD one. Almost nothing was changed, graphics are roughly the same quality, interface, and gameplay are totally the same. The only addition is some voice acting during the intro;

  • The SEGA CD port got an important graphical overhaul. It featured a brand new intro and other cut scenes with digitized graphics and voice-overs. Dungeon graphics became much more refined (dungeons were composed of simple tiles of different colors, without any decorations, in SNES and Turbo CD versions), with unique design patterns for different dungeons. It was possible to see multiple enemies of the same kind on-screen during battles. Perhaps most importantly - character graphics were completely redone. Instead of simple sprites SEGA CD version features digitized portraits;

  • The PlayStation release does not include the intro and the character art unique to SEGA CD version. Instead, it features more detailed graphics. Rooms that were empty in SNES and Turbo CD versions, and had a couple of token furniture pieces in SEGA CD version now actually look like real rooms. Dungeon scrolling became much more smooth, in a 3D fashion. Dungeon graphics look differently from both original and SEGA CD versions, but with high resolution graphics. There is also a new, easier difficulty level. The interface was updated to look like in Shin Megami Tensei II;

  • Lastly, the Game Boy Advance version looks pretty much the same as the PlayStation one, minus some graphical details and the additional difficulty level.
Another interesting fact is censorship level. There is one particular scene in the game where three robed summoners are performing a ritual. In Turbo CD and SEGA CD versions the two helpers are naked below their waists. However, they wear pants in SNES and PlayStation versions.

Related Web Sites

  • AGTP (Contains an English translation patch to Shin Megami Tensei SNES ROM)
  • COMP (A fan site dedicated to Shin Megami Tensei and other Megaten games)
  • Shin Megami Tensei FAQs (Here is the FAQ mentioned in the trivia section. Seems to be the best one out there...)
Contributed to by Michael Cassidy (21117), Rik Hideto (472702), gamewarrior (5039) and Unicorn Lynx (181391)
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