Shin Megami Tensei is a post-apocalyptic role-playing video game developed and published by Atlus. Originally released for the Super Famicom in 1992 in Japan, it has been ported to the Game Boy Advance in 2003. It is the third game in the Megami Tensei series and the first in the central Shin Megami Tensei series. The gameplay uses first-person navigation of dungeons and turn-based battles against demons. The player can recruit demons as allies by talking to them rather than fighting them, and two to three demons can be fused to create new demons.


In Shin Megami Tensei, players take the role of an unnamed protagonist, a teenage boy who can communicate with demons using a computer program. The gameplay is similar to that of other games in the series: players make their way through dungeons and fight against demons in a first-person perspective. The protagonist uses a variety of weapons and items, with the primary weapons being swords and guns. Such items are bought from merchants scattered around the world map. In special areas, the protagonist can use the in-game currency to restore health and magic points for themselves and their demons, remove status ailments, and revive fallen demons. Special Terminals scattered across the world map allow the player to save their game, and they can use them to teleport between terminals in different areas of Tokyo.

Battles are turn-based, and consist of players letting the characters in their party attack with swords or guns, summon demons, or cast magic spells; both demons and humans, with the exception of the player character, are able to use magic. By participating in battles, human characters in the player's party receive experience points; by accumulating these points, the characters' levels rise and new abilities are randomly learned. Players can choose to talk to demons instead of fighting them; they can ask the demons for items or money, try to get them to go away, or try to form an alliance with them. At some places, called "Cathedrals of Shadows", players can fuse two to three allied demons into one single, more powerful demon; as demons do not receive experience points, this is the only way for the player to increase their demons' power. Magnetite is used as a fuel for allied demons, and is used up by summoned demons as the player character walks around in the dungeons; if players run out of magnetite, summoned demons take damage.

The way demons behave is based on their and the protagonist's respective alignments. Alignments come in two types, Light-Neutral-Dark, and Law-Neutral-Chaos. A demon's alignment can range across both alignments, resulting in nine possible stances that affect how they behave and what actions in battle or story progression pleases them. The protagonist's alignment changes depending on choices made during the story, and in response the attitudes of people and demons change; for instance, demons who are law-aligned will refuse to form an alliance with chaos-aligned players. Additionally, depending on their alignment, players will not be let into certain areas; for instance, the Order of Messiah will not let chaos-aligned players into their churches.




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