[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/SMTImagine_1926.JPG]]
[[caption-width-right:350: What will you do? Burn a path of Chaos with the flesh of the lawful, pave a road of Order with the blood of Demons, or create your own future?]]

''Shin Megami Tensei'' (translated ''True Goddess Reincarnation''), also known as ''[[PortmanteauSeriesNickname MegaTen]]'', is a [[VideoGameLongRunners long-running]] series of {{JRPG}} {{Dungeon Crawler}}s and {{spinoff}}s developed and published by {{Atlus}}. In Japan, it has been a direct competitor to ''DragonQuest'' and ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' for decades, while in the west it only gained real popularity with ''Persona 3'' in 2006, despite numerous localizations going all the way back to the 1990s.

Originally based on a novel series called ''Literature/DigitalDevilStory'', the games tend to involve using [[CyberPunk technology]] to summon and control [[FantasyKitchenSink mythological figures from nearly every culture on the planet]], as well as [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the end of the world]], [[DeconstructorFleet deconstructions of common RPG storylines]] and [[OurMonstersAreWeird far-out monster designs]].

Thematically, the series emphasises following your own beliefs: plots tend to revolve around the forces of [[OrderVersusChaos Order and Chaos]] battling it out for supremacy, and you are generally given complete freedom in deciding which side is "right". If neither side takes your fancy, you can even kick both their butts and declare yourself as supreme ruler. Depending on the game, there may be other options.

The games also tend to be NintendoHard. Elemental affinities, buffing and debuffing are far more effective than in most [=JRPG=]s and can make or break battles. In an aversion of UselessUsefulSpell, [[OneHitKill instant death]] and [[StandardStatusEffects ailment]] attacks are both effective and encouraged ''repeatedly''. ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' further introduced the Press Turn battle system to the series, where hitting an enemy's elemental weakness would reward you with more actions while hitting their elemental strengths would cost you actions. Variations of Press Turn would go on to be adopted in multiple later [=MegaTen=] games, such as the "One More!" system in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'', ''[[VideoGame/Persona4 4]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/Persona5 5]]''.

While a majority of these games have been released outside Japan under the ''Shin Megami Tensei'' label since ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne Nocturne]]'', in Japan only a handful of them bear that name; the rest are unofficially known as [=MegaTen=] titles. The ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'', ''Devil Summoner'', ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'', and ''Devil Survivor'' series are the best-known of these {{spinoff}}s in the US. Regardless, many include references to other [=MegaTen=] games and [[TheCameo intra-franchise character cameos]].

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:List of games]]
[[index]]
* ''Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei'' [[note]]"Old Testament" Megami Tensei. Has an unofficial translation of the Super Famicom version.[[/note]]
** ''[[VideoGame/MegamiTensei Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei]]'' (1987, Japan only)
** ''[[VideoGame/MegamiTenseiII Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei II]]'' (1990, Japan only)
* ''Shin Megami Tensei''
** ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI Shin Megami Tensei]]'' (1992) [[note]]was Japan only, until the iOS version was officially translated in 2014[[/note]]
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'' (1994, Japan only) [[note]]has an unofficial translation of the Super Famicom version; iOS version is available, but is in Japanese[[/note]]
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIf'' (1994, Japan only) [[note]]unofficial translation is in the works[[/note]]
*** ''Shin Megami Tensei: if... Hazama's Chapter'' (2004, Japan only) [[note]]cellphone game; combined prequel/remake of SMT if[[/note]]
** ''Shin Megami Tensei NINE'' (2002, Japan only)
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' (2003)
** ''Shin Megami Tensei: 20XX'' (2004, Japan only) [[note]]cellphone game; a "What If?" scenario where the Order of Messiah won in SMT 1[[/note]]
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiImagine'' (2007 to 2016) [[note]]MMORPG; had a run in the US from 2008 to 2014[[/note]]
** ''Shin Megami Tensei: 20XX Devil's Colosseum'' (2008, Japan only) [[note]]cellphone game; prequel to SMT 20XX[[/note]]
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' (2009)
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' (2013)
*** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse'' (2016)
* ''VideoGame/LastBible'' sub-series
** ''Last Bible'' (1992)[[note]]Game Boy Color port was localized as ''Revelations: The Demon Slayer'' in 1999.[[/note]]
** ''Last Bible II'' (1993, Japan only)
** ''Another Bible'' (1995, Japan only)
** ''Last Bible III'' (1995, Japan only)
** ''Last Bible Special'' (1995. Japan only)
* ''Majin Tensei'' sub-series
** ''Majin Tensei'' (1994, Japan only)
** ''VideoGame/MajinTenseiIISpiralNemesis'' (1995, Japan only)
** ''Ronde'' (1997, Japan only)
* ''Devil Summoner'' sub-series
** ''VideoGame/{{Devil Summoner}}'' (1995, Japan only)
** ''VideoGame/SoulHackers'' (1997) [[note]]was Japan only, until a 3DS re-release in 2013.[[/note]]
** ''VideoGame/RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy'' (2006)
** ''VideoGame/RaidouKuzunohaVsKingAbaddon'' (2008)
* ''Jack Bros.'' (1995)
* ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'' sub-series [[note]]Western releases stopped [[DolledUpInstallment dolling up]] entries with the ''Shin Megami Tensei'' label starting with ''Persona 4 Arena''[[/note]]
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' (1996) [[note]]originally ''Megami Ibunroku: Persona: Be Your True Mind''[[/note]]
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'' duology
*** ''Persona 2: Innocent Sin'' (1999) [[note]]was once Japan only, thanks to [[ThoseWackyNazis Hitl--]][[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial um, the Christmas sales season]], until its PSP re-release in 2011[[/note]]
*** ''Persona 2: Eternal Punishment'' (2000) [[note]]the 2012 PSP re-release is Japan only, but an unofficial translation is being worked on[[/note]]
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' (2006)
*** ''Persona 3 FES'' (2007)
*** ''Persona 3 Portable'' (2009)
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' (2008)
*** ''Persona 4 Golden'' (2012)
*** ''VideoGame/Persona4Arena'' (2012)
*** ''VideoGame/Persona4ArenaUltimax'' (2014)
*** ''VideoGame/Persona4DancingAllNight'' (2015)
** ''VideoGame/PersonaQShadowOfTheLabyrinth'' (2014)
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'' (2016)
* ''Giten Megami Tensei: Tokyo Revelation'' (1997, Japan only)
* ''VideoGame/DevilChildren'' sub-series
** ''Devil Children: Red Book/Black Book'' (2000, Japan only)
** ''Devil Children: White Book'' (2001, Japan only)
** ''Devil Children: Card Summoner'' (2001, Japan only)
** ''[=DemiKids=]: Book of Light/Book of Darkness'' (2002)
** ''Devil Children: Puzzle de Call!'' (2003, Japan only)
** ''Devil Children: Book of Ice/Book of Fire'' (2003, Japan only)
** ''Devil Children: Messiah Riser'' (2004, Japan only)
* ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' sub-series
** ''Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner'' (2004)
** ''Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner 2'' (2005)
* ''Devil Survivor'' sub-series
** ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'' (2009) [[note]]originally ''Megami Ibunroku: Devil Survivor''[[/note]]
*** ''Devil Survivor Overclocked'' (2011)
** ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2'' (2011)
*** ''Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker'' (2015)
* ''VideoGame/{{Catherine}}'' (2011) [[note]]A WidgetSeries {{spinoff}} by the Persona creative team that reuses multiple characters, RPGElements, OrderVersusChaos themes and UrbanFantasy settings from the main series and the other {{spinoff}}s.[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/TokyoMirageSessionsFE'' (2015/2016) [[note]]Formerly known as ''Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem''. A {{Crossover}} where Atlus basically made a [=MegaTen=] spinoff using the mythology of Creator/IntelligentSystems's ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' franchise.[[/note]]

[[/index]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:List of animated adaptations and installments]]
[[index]]
* ''Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei'' (1987)
* ''Shin Megami Tensei: Tokyo Revelation'' (1995)
* ''Shin Megami Tensei: [=DeviChil=]'' (2000)
* ''Shin Megami Tensei: D-Children Light & Dark'' (2002)
* ''Anime/PersonaTrinitySoul'' (2008)
* ''Anime/Persona4TheAnimation'' (2011)
* ''Anime/Persona3TheMovie'' (2013)
* ''Anime/DevilSurvivor2TheAnimation'' (2013)
* ''Anime/Persona4GoldenTheAnimation'' (2014)
* ''Anime/Persona5TheDayBreakers'' (2016)
[[/index]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:List of literary works and adaptations]]
[[index]]
* ''Literature/DigitalDevilStory'' Trilogy (1986)
* ''Shin Megami Tensei: if...'' (1995)
* ''Shin Megami Tensei: Kahn'' (1995)
* ''Megami Ibunroku Persona: Shadow Maze'' (1997)
* ''Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne Konton'' (2003)
* ''That's Catch 22'' (2005)
* ''Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Lone Marebito'' (2009)
* ''Literature/QuantumDevilSagaAvatarTuner'' (2011)
* ''LightNovel/PersonaXDetectiveNaoto'' (2012)
* ''Devil Survivor 2 The Animation: Cetus's Prequel'' (2013)
* ''Shin Megami Tensei IV DEMONIC GENE'' (2013)
* ''Shin Megami Tensei IV -Prayers-'' (2013)
[[/index]]
[[/folder]]

An extensive article about the games in the series can be found [[http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/megaten/megaten.htm here]]. A quick reference and a recommended playing guide is [[http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10886965/smtstarterguide.png here]], and is occasionally updated. There's also a comprehensive database of all the games in French [[http://shindds.free.fr/index.php here]]. [[Characters/ShinMegamiTensei Also has a massive character sheet is under construction]].
----
!!Examples: This section is for universal tropes related to the series as a whole. Please place tropes related to specific games in their own article, if it exists.

* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: The series has a habit of featuring Sewers big enough to house entire cities. Particular offenders include the Great Underpass of Ginza in ''Nocturne'' and the Anahata Waterways in ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga''.
* AcademyOfAdventure: High schools in ''[=MegaTen=]'' games usually turn out to be built on a HellGate or a front for an AncientConspiracy.
* AdaptationalHeroism: The various demons change morality from installment to installment to suit the story but one that consistently gets this trope is Ishtar. In real-life Myth/MesopotamianMythology she was an exceedingly unpleasant deity even in comparison to Old Testament YHVH who frequently killed people, sent natural disasters to them, or turned them into animals [[ItAmusedMe for fun]]. At one point in Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh she threatens to raise the dead and have them eat the living, in the earliest known reference to a ZombieApocalypse in human history. Her only totally altruistic quality was her love for her husband Tammuz (despite frequently cheating on him), whom she saved from [[EverybodyHatesHades Nergal]] every year to bring spring to the world. In SMT she's a helpful, nurturing mother goddess who is frequently abused by YHVH essentially just for being from a competing pantheon, and often ends up being forcibly turned into the demon Astaroth by Him.
* AffablyEvil: Most demons are happy to talk with you in the middle of a battle about their lives and interests; however, this won't stop them from tearing you limb from limb if you piss them off.
* AliceAllusion: Alice, the CuteGhostGirl who has been a RecurringCharacter since ''Shin Megami Tensei'', regularly makes {{Shout Out}}s to ''Literature/AliceInWonderland''. The Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, Jabberwocky, Trump Soldier, and March Hare have also made appearances in the franchise.
* AlignmentBasedEndings: Most games have a choice between [[OrderVersusChaos Order, Chaos or Neutral]] endings.
* AllMythsAreTrue: All mythical creatures from various folklore and religions are real in one form or another, including {{God}} and [[{{Satan}} Lucifer]].
* AlternateContinuity: The franchise has multiple conflicting continuities running through its numerous games.
** The "main" ''SMT'' continuity, which involves an ongoing war between the forces of Lucifer and God being waged across TheMultiverse. ''SMT I'', ''NINE'', ''Imagine'' and ''SMT II'' occur in one of these universes. ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIf'', ''Nocturne'', ''Strange Journey'', ''SMT IV'', ''Final'' and the first ''Devil Survivor'' occur in various {{Alternate Universe}}s. And the ''Raidou Kuzunoha'' games occur in an AlternateTimeline of the original ''SMT'' continuity due to a number of factors.
** ''Devil Summoner'' and ''Soul Hackers'' take place in their own even more CyberPunk universe, though some version of events in the ''Raidou Kuzunoha'' games also occured here.
** The ''Persona'' continuity, which involves various {{Anthropomorphic Personification}}s of the [[UsefulNotes/CarlJung Collective Unconscious]] interfering in humanity's affairs. ''Persona 1'', ''2'', ''3'', ''4'', ''5'' and the various other ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'' spinoffs happen here. Alternate versions of the events seen in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIf'' and the ''Devil Summoner'' games also happen in this continuity.
** ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' takes place in a Myth/HinduMythology-centric continuity, though the appearance of avatars of characters from ''SMT II'' suggests it may be connected to the "main" ''SMT'' [[TheMultiverse multiverse]].
** A long line of "dead" continuities, including: the original ''Megami Tensei'' continuity (''MT 1'', ''MT 2'' and the ''Literature/DigitalDevilStory'' novels); the ''Majin Tensei'' strategy game continuity; The {{Pokemon}}-esque ''VideoGame/DevilChildren''/''[=DemiKids=]'' continuity; And the DragonQuest-esque ''VideoGame/LastBible'' continuity.
** And a few one-shot alternate continuities, such as ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2'' (which is completely separate from ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor''), ''Giten Megami Tensei'' and ''Catherine''.
* {{Ambadassador}}: Most characters become this once they get the hang of demonic contracts and negotiation.
* AmericanKirbyIsHardcore: The first SMT game to come to the US, Jack Bros., had realistic versions of the titular characters on the cover, rather then the cartoon ones seen in-game and on the Japanese cover.
* AmnesiacDissonance: [[spoiler:Zayin]] in ''Shin Megami Tensei II'' and [[spoiler:Serph]] in ''Digital Devil Saga 2'' find out they're much worse people than they thought they were after regaining their lost memories.
* AntiGrinding: The TropeCodifier for getting less EXP from a given enemy as your level gets higher. This "diminishing returns" system has become a mainstay in modern {{Eastern RPG}}s.
* ApocalypseHow: As a franchise based around TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, it's covered many different levels of the Apocalypse, including a Planetary Societal Collapse in ''SMT I'' and ''Persona 3'', near Planetary Total Extinction in ''SMT II'', Planetary Physical Annihilation in some of the ''Persona'' games, and Omniversal Metaphysical Annihilation in one ending of ''Nocturne''.
* [[ArchangelUriel Archangels Uriel]], [[ArchangelRaphael Raphael]], [[ArchangelGabriel Gabriel]] and [[ArchangelMichael Michael]]: Loyal, devout followers of YHVH. That doesn't stop Gabriel from being the OnlySaneMan in the group and being the only one to decide, along with {{Satan}}, that [[EvenEvilHasStandards YHVH has finally crossed]] the MoralEventHorizon [[ThisIsUnforgivable and needs to be stopped]].
* ArmlessBiped: The recurring demon Take-Minakata is a demonic human with no arms. Reportedly, he is also Kazuma Kaneko's favorite demon.
* ArmorPiercingAttack: The Pierce skills turn certain moves into this. Almighty is rarely ever completely defended against.
* ArsGoetia: Many demons from this grimoire have appeared in the series since ''Shin Megami Tensei I'', like Ose, Eligor, Forneus, Decarabia and Astaroth.
* TheArtifact: The SMT version of Cerberus, excepting the ''VideoGame/SoulHackers'' and ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' incarnations, looks nothing like the Greek myth it's supposedly based on, looking more like a lion-maned wolf with a segmented, serpentine tail, and often with shell-like armor. This is because the [[Literature/DigitalDevilStory original novel, and the anime based upon it]], gave him this appearance, which was then followed by the Famicom ''Megami Tensei'' games. The first Super Famicom SMT game then paid homage to this design by [[CrutchCharacter allowing you to fuse Pascal, the protagonist's loyal Husky, with any demon in your stock]], resulting in a "Cerberus" very similar to the above. Many other games in the franchise continued in this vein, with minor differences between one another.
** Likewise Loki, whose early appearance as a blue (or purple) scaly giant with fangs and a massive head of hair harks back to the OVA adaptation of the original novel. More recent games merely smoothed him out to purple skin instead of scales.
* ArtifactTitle: Only a few games in the "Goddess Reincarnation" series actually involve a reincarnated goddess: [[Myth/JapaneseMythology Izanami]] in ''Megami Tensei'', [[{{Gnosticism}} Sophia]] in ''Shin Megami Tensei: NINE'', [[EgyptianMythology Isis]] in ''Shin Megami Tensei Imagine'', [[MotherNature Mem Aleph]] in ''Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey'', and maybe [[AdamAndOrEve Eve]] in ''Shin Megami Tensei I''.
** [[spoiler:And now ''Shin Megami Tensei IV'' has no less than ''four'' revived Goddesses. Lady Danu will be reborn through Nozomi in ''Rebirth of the Lady'', Amaterasu is revived in ''Resurrection of the Koushoushin'', Ishtar is revived in ''Ishtar, Goddess of Harvest'', and the "goddess of Tokyo" being resurrected on the Neutral path.]]
* ArtificialBrilliance: Something which contributes to the franchise's NintendoHard status. Using conventional tactics (IE attacking certain enemies' weaknesses) or certain game breaking ones (IE reflecting everything) will cause enemies to [[ThatOneAttack respond in kind]].
* ArtificialHuman: Many characters in the ''Shin Megami Tensei II'' setting were genetically engineered in test tubes, and the ''Digital Devil Saga'' games feature biological "digital clones".
* AsLongAsThereIsEvil: Many antagonists in series can never be truly destroyed as long as some negative aspect of the universe exists.
** [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII YHVH]]: As long as even one person believes in the need for order and rules to be obeyed.
** [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV Lucifer]]: As long as humans long for freedom.
** [[RaidouKuzunohaVsKingAbaddon Shinado]]: as long as despair exists.
** [[VideoGame/{{Persona2}} Nyarlathotep]], [[VideoGame/{{Persona3}} Nyx / Erebus]], [[VideoGame/{{Persona4}} Izanami]]: As long as humans are self-destructive, or want to die, or ignore the truth.
** [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney The Schwartzwelt]]: As long as humans carelessly abuse nature.
** [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV The White]]: As long as humans despair about being prisoners of some predetermined "fate".
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: The various Chaos factions generally strive to build a world where strength leads to freedom and being in charge. Opponents of Chaos argue that this effectively pegs the weak as AcceptableTargets.
* AttackAttackAttack: Most games have an "auto-battle" mode that has everyone in the party automatically use the basic "attack" command until either side achieves victory or auto-battle is canceled by the player. Rarely is this a good idea except against sufficiently weak enemies that you just want to speed through; the targets might take minimal damage and slowly whittle your party down to nothing, or worse, your attacks will get [[AttackReflector repelled]] and everyone will end up [[HoistByHisOwnPetard killing themselves]]. Some games let you customize auto-battle to a degree; for example, ''IV'' and ''IV: Apocalypse'' has the Auto-Pinpoint app that has party members use attacks that are confirmed to exploit enemy weaknesses, but you'll need to keep an eye on your members' MP to make sure they don't use it wastefully.
* AttackReflector: The Reflect attribute. Tetrakarn and Makarakarn work like this for physical and magical attacks, respectively. Almighty damage, however, doesn't trigger them.
* AutobotsRockOut: Many ''[=MegaTen=]'' games since ''Nocturne'' have a FinalBoss fight scored to an electric guitar ''rocking as hard as it can''.
* AwakeningTheSleepingGiant: Every time Law and Chaos screw with Humanity, they risk a harsh lesson on ''why'' they need our power.
* BadassNormal: The first two protagonists couldn't even cast Magic, yet they end up dominating angels, demons and legends with nothing but swords and guns.
* BarrierChangeBoss: A staple of the series since ''Nocturne'' is that at least one boss in each game will be one of these. Examples in the main series include Noah in ''Nocturne'', [[spoiler:Jimenez, Demiurge, and Empty Mem Aleph]] in ''Strange Journey'', Seraph in ''IV'', and [[spoiler:Inanna]] in ''Apocalypse''.
* BefriendingTheEnemy: A mechanic in the main games. The player character can befriend demons and make them his allies to summon. Demon's are very fickle though. What works to befriend one demon won't work the same way each time, and if they aren't loyal enough to you they won't do what you say. The games follow GreyAndGrayMorality so while a demon's alignment might technically be considered "good"... it's really in a KnightTemplar [[LawfulNeutral sort of]] [[LawfulEvil way]]. Demons are always initially antagonistic towards you before they join you, and after you befriend a species of demon the rest of that species will go out of their way to give you gifts and avoid fights with you while telling you to "take care of their friend".
* BigBad:
** In the main ''SMT'' series and some spinoffs: YHVH, a {{Jerkass|God}} representation of {{God}} created out of the human desire for order and control [[GoneHorriblyRight no matter the cost]]. Besides being leader of the [[OrderVsChaos LAW]] faction, YHVH is a LightIsNotGood KnightTemplar usually responsible for whatever CrapsackWorld you find yourself in.
** In the ''Persona'' continuity: [[TheHeartless the collective darkness]] in mankind's hearts, which inevitably forms into a GodOfEvil OmnicidalManiac who's usually the ManBehindTheMan of the latest [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt world ending]] plot.
* BigGood:
** In the main ''SMT'' games [[spoiler:The Great Will, the ''actual'' {{God}} of the ''SMT'' [[TheVerse 'verse]]]], a [[GodIsGood benevolent force]] that sets up [[TheHero heroes]] from behind the scenes to give humanity a chance to fix whatever insanity YHVH or other BigBad has caused.
** In the ''Persona'' continuity: Philemon, the AllPowerfulBystander boss of Igor and one responsible for granting Wild Card powers. [[JustifiedSavePoint He's also the one letting you save your game]].
* {{Biodata}}: A key plot point in ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' and ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2''. In the former, it's explained all matter ultimately boils down to data, which can be recycled and modified (through the Sea of Milk in the Junkyard and the Sun in the real world) and the demon transformation (the virus merely unlocks the demonic data that exists in every human soul), while the latter explains, along with the AkashicRecords, [[spoiler:how Polaris is deleting the world, how can he be stopped and how everything can be restored.]]
* BerserkButton: In games where you can negotiate with enemy demons, some demons come with possible answers for them that will instantly set off free turns for their party. For example, calling yourself a "Hee-Ho" in front of Jack Frost or Pyro Jack in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney''.
* BittersweetEnding: Even though most ''[=MegaTen=]'' games end with you defeating the BigBad, you've usually been forced to sacrifice yourself or kill your friends after they suffered an EvilMakeover. Going for Law and Chaos generally goes towards the bitter side, while Neutral goes towards the middle.
* BlackBox: Analyzing the Demon Summoning Program is not an easy task due to the dozens of black boxes littered in its code, as [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney the crew of the Red Sprite]] learned. Aside from [[Literature/DigitalDevilStory Akemi Nakajima]] and [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI Stephen]], most of the people distributing the program are otherworldly entities (the Three Wise Men, the Anguished One, Naoya) with their own goals in mind. And even Nakajima and Stephen eventually AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence.
* BlueAndOrangeMorality: Almost every powerful entity in the series operates under this; to the point where there are basically only one that is actually good (Philemon) and one that's actually evil (Nyarlathotep) by our understanding (and even Phil has severe issues with his chosen champions). All the others have mindsets so alien that trying to call them good or evil is a waste of time; as they don't think anything like humans. Yes, even YHVH. Bear note that the alignment system isn't good-evil, law-chaos, but law-chaos, light-dark, with the latter being a vague mishmash of how selfish you are, and how positively you are seen by real religions. Note that for chaos, since its ideal is everyone having the right to be selfish, its main characters being dark is a given, whereas for law, this depicts a failed system. This alignment system is not consistent however.
** This is even something of a mechanic when it comes to negotiating with demons, who sometimes can be won over with pretty "human" means by being kind, flattering, sucking up to, or outright bribing them, but other times some demons respond positively to being threatened, obviously lied to, or praising bloodshed and destruction.
** The blue and orange morality of demons is also a plot point in ''Strange Journey'', where the demons apparently believe they're doing captured humans a favor with their "experiments," which invariably involve killing people by removing their vital organs. According to notes, the demons are convinced they're just freeing the humans from their worldly cares and needs. This contrasts against what one faction of humans do later in the game, capturing and mutilating or killing demons, but just out of greed.
* BonusBoss: Most of the games have at least one insanely difficult optional boss. The most notable are Beelzebub, who appears in all four numbered games as one of the strongest bosses, and the entire Fiend race, who generally put up a much greater fight than an other enemy or boss in the area.
* BoringButPractical:
** Life Stones. Unlike most other healing items, they always restore a fraction of HP rather than a fixed quantity, so while they're not the biggest healing items, they'll always be effective no matter the max HP of whoever you're healing. On top of that, in games involving demon negotiation, Life Stones are very common negotiation tokens, so it's never a bad idea to hoard them in case you need to bribe a demon into joining you; having one can make the difference between a demon joining you and "The demon suddenly attacked!"
** Stat buff spells in most games, particularly Rakukaja (raises party defense), Tarunda (lowers enemy party offense), and the Suku- (hit/evasion) spells (especially in games with the [[ExtraTurn Press Turn]] system). Get used to spamming them at the beginnings of boss fights, unless you want bosses like [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne Matador]] to [[WakeUpCallBoss make you learn the hard way]].
** In a similar vein, Dekaja. It's so boring that it doesn't even have an effect, it just wipes away any buffs an enemy has. And yet it's one of the most important skills out there, especially against bosses who boost themselves up.
* BossBanter: Nearly all ''[=MegaTen=]'' bosses will talk to you during battle to drop new plot points, or explain their motivations, or illustrate how they're completely nuts. Starting with ''IV'', answering certain ways will have effects on the boss, either making them stronger or weaker.
* BossBonanza: The games are fond of pulling out multiple bosses in large, climactic dungeons.
* BossWarningSiren:
** Later games will give you a warning if you approach a door with a boss behind it, though earlier games tend to not grant this mercy.
** Traditionally, encounters with Fiends will be heralded by the game asking you if you "want to stay here". If you answer "yes", the game asks if you ''really'' want to stay. Say "yes" again and the battle will begin.
* BothOrderAndChaosAreDangerous: While both Law and Chaos have their good points, their representatives never have morally pure ways of achieving their goals, and will gladly use methods that have massive repercussions on the world, up to and including the mass murder of those who oppose them and brainwashing humanity into fitting their ideal mold. Players not fond of either side can [[OmnicidalNeutral kick both sides' asses]] to [[TakeAThirdOption establish a world of balance]]; often times this is treated as the GoldenEnding.
* BottomlessBladder: The games rarely address every day needs like eating, sleeping or using the bathroom while you're fighting gods and demons. ''Persona 3'' and ''Persona 4'' are notable exceptions however, with "typical day" gameplay like sleeping, eating meals with friends and taking an extra bathroom break.
* BottomlessMagazines: In games featuring firearms, you can equip yourself with different kinds of ammo, but that ammo will never run out no matter how much you use it. ''VideoGame/SoulHackers'' averts this trope, however.
* BraggingRightsReward: Beating the toughest enemy in a ''[=MegaTen=]'' game will often net you abilities / equipment / party members you're already too powerful to need.
** Beating the BonusBoss in ''Persona 3'' or ''Persona 4'' will net you a NighInvulnerability accessory, even though you'll already have nigh invulnerable Persona.
** Beating BonusBoss Lucifer on NewGamePlus in ''Devil Survivor'' and ''Raidou vs King Abaddon'' will add him as an OptionalPartyMember, but you'll already have a party powerful enough to beat the game.
* BrainMonster: The demon [[http://megamitensei.wikia.com/wiki/Omoikane Omoikane]] isn't evil, but is a floating brain with tentacles nevertheless.
* BreakoutCharacter: Of all the demons, there are three who have become popular enough with the fans to earn numerous notable appearances: [[AliceAllusion Alice]], [[GagPenis Mara]], and [[WakeUpCallBoss Matador]].
* BrutalBonusLevel: Most ''[=MegaTen=]'' games have a BonusDungeon with [[DifficultySpike tougher enemies than anywhere else in the game]].
* ButtMonkey: Slimes. They're essential the products of failed summonings/fusions and are usually among the first demons fought. It gets worse in the fourth game, where they're weak to ''physical attacks''.
* CastFromHitPoints: Physical attacks cost HP to use, except in ''Strange Journey'' and ''Shin Megami Tensei IV''. This is why physical attackers go hand in hand with tanks.
* CelestialParagonsAndArchangels: The highest-ranking angels under YHVH are members of the Herald and Seraph races, like the Four Archangels, Metatron, the Face of God, Satan the Accuser and Mastema the Flatterer.
* CityOfAdventure: A staple of the series! TokyoIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse, literally, but there's enough magic for everyone!
* ChangingOfTheGuard:
** While the demons generally remain the same, the original ''Shin Megami Tensei'' series always features a new main cast with each sequel.
** Similarly, each new numbered entry in the ''Persona'' series puts you in control of a new group of protagonists, with SpiritAdvisor Igor the only constant.
* CharacterAlignment: [[invoked]] This plays a huge role in the ''Shin Megami Tensei'' series. Each monster is classed on the [[OrderVersusChaos Law-Neutral-Chaos]] axis and the Light-Neutral-Dark axis. The former is the important one: monsters that are Chaotic will refuse to join you if the main character is Lawful and vice-versa. The alignment of the main character is determined by the type of monsters he summons (e.g. Lawful creatures will move your alignment towards Law), by his responses to philosophical questions asked at key points of the game and by whose dirty work (The Messians or the Gaians) he carries out. The ending of the game is determined by the final alignment of the main character.
** This works a bit differently in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney''. You can recruit demons of other alignments regardless of your character's alignment, but you'll have a harder time recruiting demons of the opposite alignment as yours (for instance, trying to recruit a Law-aligned demon when you're Chaos-aligned). However, the Light-Neutral-Dark axis plays a part in which demons you encounter and which you can recruit; Light-aligned demons are never encountered on the field, except through enemy searches and boss battles, and they cannot be recruited; Dark-aligned demons will refuse to talk to you at all times, regardless of your Law-Neutral-Chaos alignment, unless you have an App that lets you talk to demons during a Full Moon, and even then it's a coin flip (whether they like the answer you give them--the correct answer being different every time--and after that, whether they give you items, Macca, or--even rarer--join you).
** ''Megami Tensei I & II'' for the Famicom feature alignments along the axis of Good-Neutral-Evil.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'' features an alignment system along the axis of both Light-Neutral-Dark and Law-Neutral-Chaos. It is the earliest known videogame to have an alignment system that directly affects the direction of the storyline and which of the MultipleEndings the player is given, through the choices and actions the player makes that alter the player character's alignment. ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'' uses the same kind of alignment system.
** In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' the previous system of alignment is discarded in favor of three specific philosophies: Shijima (which is closest to Law but without the KnightTemplar tendencies), Musubi (Neutral, focusing on individuality and freedom of choice) and Yosuga (Chaos with a heavy dose of the elitism that Law was previously known for).
*** However, Light-Neutral-Dark axis still exists in the form of Magatamas. The main character's title/family is defined by how many Magatamas of each alignment you have learned all skills from. Although it's mostly just a cosmetic change, there are three doors (one for each alignment) in the Labyrinth of Amala that will only open if you are on a specific alignment.
* CharacterizationMarchesOn:
** The SocialDarwinist Chaos Ending from [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI SMTI]] is originally seen as a valid enough choice, given the BlackAndGreyMorality of the series, but as the world in general becomes slightly less [[CrapsackWorld crapsack]], it gets called out as evil far more explicitly; the supporter of its expy in ''Nocturne'' (though Reasons aren't based on alignments and actually follow [[GodIsEvil God's plan]]) is the only person explicitly called evil and in ''Devil Survivor'', it's virtually an ItsAWonderfulFailure montage.
** The original Neutral ending was a pro-human path that led to the destruction of both God and Lucifer (or their chief agents) and most of humanity in exchange for freeing the survivors from the meddling of higher powers (at least for a while). Later games, however, have softpedaled the omnicidal aspects and played up the humanist part, so "neutral" endings sometimes involve the restoration of the pre-apocalyptic state (so far as that's possible).
** Law has bounced back and forth between meaning "a world subjugated to God's will" and a straight-up WorldOfSilence that doesn't carry such theological implications. YHVH is now just as likely to be seen as separate from Law as he is the source of it, or else function as a GreaterScopeVillain who's above and beyond Law. And then there's ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'' where God is doing the best He can to ''avoid'' subjugating humanity (who are not making it easy for Him).
* CharacterMagneticTeam: Many demons may approach you and outright offer to join you with no more than a few questions asked.
* CharacterPortrait: More clearly seen in conversations in Persona games.
* ChargedAttack: Of a sort -- many games have a skill called Charge or Focus that multiplies the power of the user's next physical attack by 250%, and a similar skill called Mind Charge or Concentrate that does the same for the next magic attack. These skills are often used in conjunction with high-power, high-MP/[[CastFromHitPoints HP]] attack skills to inflict massive damage with more efficient use of resources. These temporary buffs cannot be dispelled, not even with Dekunda, so the only real defense is to guard if the game allows it or bring in party members who can resist or block the incoming attack, unless the attack pierces resistances.
* ColonCancer: A number of titles have more than one subtitle in their [[DolledUpInstallment Western releases]], such as the various "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner X: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. _____" installments. An instance of Atlus' newsletter even provides the page quote.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: Law is blue and white; Chaos is red and black.
** PlayedWith in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'': strike team has red on their uniforms (except the protagonist) and science has blue. Zelenin is science, Jimenez is strike team. Take a wild guess what factions they each support in the end. Oddly enough, the protagonist wears white (but won't necessarily be law): and no one else does.
*** Which actually makes sense, because in this particular game, white corresponds to Neutral.
*** Extending on that, they also color-code Joint Project vs. Jack's Squad: your the Joint Project use the standard gold-ish Demonicas, and Jack's Squad use black ones. See above for what black tends to support. [[spoiler:Also played with in that the Demons of Chaos ''hate'' the Squad for the way they treated them]].
* CombinationAttack: In ''Digital Devil Saga 2'', ''Persona 2'', ''Persona 3'', and ''Persona 4''.
** And now ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'', but in a very different way. If you hit a weakness, all the demons of your same alignment gang up on the opponent.
* {{Combos}}: The Press Turn system the series is famous for gives you extra turns to attack the enemy if you strike its AchillesHeel. This allows you to chain surprisingly high combos in certain games (particularly in 4).
* CompositeCharacter: Alice is a composite of two separate Alices: [[Literature/AliceInWonderland Lewis Carroll's version]], and an obscure Scandinavian myth about a girl who died young and now [[ScareEmStraight kills children who misbehave]] so she can [[{{Yandere}} make them into her friends]].
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: And ''how!'' Generally shows up in two ways:
** The [[TurnsRed Dragon Eye]] move, which gives all enemies extra turns, [[UnusableEnemyEquipment and demons you control never have the chance to learn it]]. A variant called Guardian's Eye finally becomes learnable in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'', but as the single most expensive spell in the game, at a whopping ''255'' MP, and on top of that, unlocking the spell requires acquiring a demon only available through beating the hardest DLC boss in the game.
** And physical skills, which are CastFromHP when you use them, but enemies can use them willy-nilly.
** It's worth noting that these are not universal; it depends on the game. And, significantly, the computer does ''not'' cheat dice rolls, significant because almost every spell has a chance of inflicting a status effect.
* ConsummateLiar: A vital skill for any would-be Devil Summoners: learn to lie well, when, where and how.
* ContinuityNod: Quite a few major characters in one game will show up as a BonusBoss or OptionalPartyMember in a later title. Alice for instance, who served as an antagonist who wanted to kill you in ''Shin Megami Tensei'', still regularly shows up complete with a skill called "Die For Me!" in newer games.
** A character from the Tokyo Revelation manga/OVA appears in a cameo as an older character in Giten Megami Tensei, suggesting that the two are related. (And the world sadly still fell to demons).
* ContractualBossImmunity: Bosses are immune to OneHitKill spells, and they also can't be recruited in-battle or bribed into going away.
* CoolVsAwesome: Angels vs. Demons is an understatement for the series. Since AllMythsAreTrue, think of the possibilities.
* CouncilOfAngels: Notable in that, from SMT 2 onward, [[spoiler:they practically become the ''[[ButtMonkey cosmic Butt Monkeys]]'' of the franchise; in SMT 2 they're basically abandoned by God and are running Tokyo Millennium in a hilariously inept fashion and orchestrated the creation of the Messiah and crew in the first place, which blew up in their faces when Aleph ''carved their shit in''; then, in ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga 2'', they show up as bonus bosses: talking about the events of SMT 2, no less: except that now they've been put into mutated human bodies and hunger for the blood and flesh of man just like any other demon. You'd think they'd give the Big Man the finger after all that.]]
** This is, of course, played straight in SMT 1, where [[spoiler: they become quite powerful allies if you're on the Law path, and attempt to stop you if you're on any other path; Seraph Michael serves as the game's final (or, on Neutral, possible final), hardest boss in that case]]. Also played perfectly straight in ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'', [[spoiler: where Remiel who serves Metatron and the Big Man himself are far less assholish than franchise standard and will help you out unless you're on on the blatantly chaotic routes]].
** In ''IV'', they are [[spoiler:the mysterious new rulers of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, who as the Law authorities of the game, plan to throw Tokyo into a black hole so it can never taint their shiny paradise. Eventually they fuse with Jonathan to summon Merkabah, an embodiment of God's will.]]
* CrapsackWorld: ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'' starts out a mild version of this, and gets a lot worse. ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'' has this as the default state since it follows the Neutral Path of the first game, though it can either get worse or better. ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' goes the route of the first game, but can be reversed, or made even worse. ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' has the potential to become this, but can be averted, although the gameplay setting is basically this. The ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' games and ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' are set in CrapsaccharineWorld setting that can be made a CrapsackWorld, and in the first half of the second game duology this actually does happen briefly [[spoiler:in the ending]], though the second half reverses this somewhat (though the fourth game lets you totally avert this in the true ending and actually improve the world setting from the game world default). ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'' and ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2'' can turn into this or be averted, depending on your choices.
* CreatorCameo: Both Cozy Okada and Kazuma Kaneko make cameo appearances in the first episode of the Devil Summoner live action TV series.
* CreatureBreedingMechanic: Demons can be fused with one another, or in some games simply sacrificed, to create new demons. As, after a while, the leveling requirements increase far too sharply for demons to remain useful, unlike the human characters, this is the only alternative to negotiating with more powerful creatures.
* CreepyChild: LouisCypher in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'', and Pharos in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}''.
** Alice.
--->"Won't you please die for me?"
* {{Crossover}}: [[Franchise/DevilMayCry Dante]] shows up in ''Nocturne''... and promptly attempts to kick your ass. Later on, though, you can talk him into signing on with you. In the second UpdatedRerelease of ''Nocturne'', Raidou Kuzunoha appears instead, for all kinds of continuity wackiness.
* CrossoverCosmology: Sure, you can summon Joan of Arc, Kali, Amaterasu, and Quetzalcoatl to beat the crap out of Lucifer, Loki, a Vampire, and Ra.
** In RaidouKuzunohaVsKingAbaddon, bring an Asura into battle against a Mahakala. They'll have an interesting discussion about the fact that they're the ''same god'', just from two different eras, then agree to fight it out to determine which is more deserving.
* CurbStompBattle: Typical after Nocturne, the press turn system makes almost every battle this for both sides, either you crush the enemies without even allowing them to attack you once, or they kill half your characters in a single turn.
* CuteAndPsycho: Many demons, like Pixie, Jack Frost or Alice, look extremely cute, but are also somewhat mentally unstable.
* CuteMonsterGirl: Majority of the female demons (aka the Succubi). Not all of them, though.
* DarkIsNotEvil: A major offender of this trope. To counter the CrapsackWorld, you have the option to ally with TheDarkSide in order to produce a peaceful world. ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'' stands out for one of it's endings running on this trope.
* DeconstructorFleet: A very odd case, in that they [[{{Deconstruction}} tear apart]] every trope related to {{Mon}}s... [[UnbuiltTrope while still being]] the TropeMaker.
** ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'' does this the most, showing what would really happen in your typical {{Mons}} series when random bystanders (including children) suddenly gain the ability to command powerful demons. The answer: '''VERY BAD THINGS.'''
** One of the core deconstructions of the series is presenting the God of the Old Testament ''without'' any kind of OmniscientMoralityLicense. The usual result is unambiguously [[GodIsEvil maltheistic]], though a couple of games leave that conclusion up to the player.
* DeityOfHumanOrigin: In a number of the games, the gods are implied to be generated by the thoughts of humans. Other times it is the other way around. With even both being true depending on your perspective.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: Well, not exactly "friendship", since most of the time you're making contracts with demons, not befriending them, but in most games in the series, defeating a boss demon gives you the ability to fuse them, once your level is high enough.
* DegradedBoss: Former bosses may return as EliteMooks. This may cost them their best moves, but occasionally they also wind up being recruitable.
* {{Determinator}}: You ain't gonna last long without some ''serious'' spine.
* DemonicPossession: In ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'', Amane is possessed by [[spoiler: not only Remiel, an angel, but Jezebel, a demon.]]
** Aradia did it first in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne''. Only, she's... uh... a goddess. A fake goddess. [[FantasyKitchenSink It's kinda complicated]].
** And Nemissa did it before either in ''VideoGame/SoulHackers''. Kinda subverted in that she leaves when she realizes it's necessary. And the possessee still has pretty much control over herself, limiting how much damage Nemissa can do. Later, [[spoiler:Spooky]] is taken over by Satanael, who later decides to take on the party... by ''blowing his way out of the victim's body''. '''''And he doesn't make it all the way out.'''''
** Before ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'' but after ''Nocturne'', the [[LightIsNotGood Four Seraphs]] and [[KnightTemplar Metatron]] joined in, converting five poor saps into their physical bodies through the Demon Virus and obliterating their memories and personalities, making it a horrific combo between Type 1 and 2.
** The Heroine in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'' is possessed by a whole lot of demons when you find her the second time, as you have to enter her psyche and clear out the ringleader (the spider Arachne) in order to save her. Naturally you burst in on Arachne just as she's about to take full control of the girl.
* DemonLordsAndArchdevils: A fair bit of less than nice guys from mythology (Surt, Loki, Beelzebub, Mara, Arioch) have made their niche.
* TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything: What makes the {{Bonus Boss}}es so difficult is this. Each BonusBoss has some kind of anti-cheese feature built into them so you ''have'' to fight them in a "fair" fight. Otherwise, expect them to either give unavoidable 9999 damage to you or, in some battle systems such as the Press Turn system, spam powerful (and by powerful, we mean Megidolaon is the weakest possible) Almighty moves each turn.
* DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu: As most games are {{Fantasy Kitchen Sink}}s with {{Dialogue Tree}}s, you'll usually have one or two chances to taunt or insult [[TheOmnipotent omnipotent]] gods and monsters.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Many [=MegaTen=] games end with mere humans defeating [[TheOmnipotent omnipotent]] gods. Cthulhu itself is also usually a RandomEncounter, so you can also punch out an EldritchAbomination ''repeatedly''!
* DiscOneNuke: Exploiting [[RandomDrop random demon or skill mutations]] or even just knowing which demon to level up to cover certain weaknesses in many of the games' fusion and level-up systems can net you high level skills or fairly powerful demons extremely early in a playthrough.
* DivineConflict: In the series (which also includes the Devil Summoner series), the protagonists get involved in conflicts between either gods and demons or gods against the human race. This is usually due to HumansAreBastards or GaiasVengeance.
* DragonInChief: YHVH loves having these. YHVH might be the (at least nominal) leader of the forces of Law, but He only shows up to fight in His true form in ''Megami Tensei II'' and ''Shin Megami Tensei II'' [[spoiler:and ''Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final'', which may have changed Him to pure Neutral Evil]].
** ''Megami Tensei II'': Satan/[[spoiler:Mr. Suzuki]]
** ''Shin Megami Tensei'': Michael
** ''Shin Megami Tensei II'': Satan/[[spoiler:Zayin]] again. [[spoiler:Michael thinks he's remained this, but not this time.]]
** ''Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne'': Kagutsuchi for the main game, [[spoiler:Metatron]] for the Labyrinth of Amala.
** ''Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey'': The Three Wise Men. [[spoiler:Maybe.]]
** ''Shin Megami Tensei IV'': [[spoiler:Either Gabriel, who later becomes a part of Merkabah, or Mastema, though if it is Mastema, then YHVH is actually good this time and Gabriel/Merkabah is the Big Bad for Law. In Blasted Tokyo, it's Pluto and, later, the Ancient of Days.]]
** ''Shin Megami Tensei IV Final'': [[spoiler:Merkabah gets the role until it's revealed that both Merkabah and Lucifer, through their fused form Satan, are both this until the fusion]].
* DragonsAreDivine: The main ''SMT'' franchise and its numerous spinoffs count many draconic deities among its number, including Otohime and Huang Long. In IV you are offered a side quest where you can directly say a dragon is divine for chaos points.
* DolledUpInstallment: Minor example in the US releases: the ''Persona'' / ''Devil Survivor'' / ''Digital Devil Saga'' / ''Devil Summoner'' / etc games, while technically not part of the ''Shin Megami Tensei'' series proper, were all released overseas under that title anyway, presumably because the series needs whatever name recognition it can get on this side of the pond.
** Eventually averted with ''VideoGame/{{Catherine}}'', ''VideoGame/Persona4Arena'' and ''[[{{VideoGame/Persona4}} Persona 4: Golden]]''. Despite having similar themes/characters/gameplay elements/staff/etc as previously dolled-up {{spinoff}} games, they were all released outside Japan without the ''Shin Megami Tensei'' moniker tacked on.
* {{Doppelganger}}, a [[CharacterAlignment Dark-Chaos]] [[OurDemonsAreDifferent Demon]] that can be fused in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney''. It appears as a shadowy, [[SlasherSmile grinning]] version of TheProtagonist.
* DoppelgangerSpin:
** Used in both ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' ([[spoiler:where you can use the shadow cast by a full moon to suss out the real one]] and ''Digital Devil Saga'' (which you can suss out the real one with the help of your WaifProphet).
** In ''Persona 2'', you can do this by attempting to run. The camera will then FOCUS ON THE REAL ONE as she taunts you. Oops...
* DoubleEntendre: [[GagPenis Mara]] ''lives'' to make subtle and not-so-subtle dick jokes. Even his ''stats'' are a double entendre in some games (''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' Mara, for example, belongs to the Tower arcana, is weak to ice, and has the strongest pierce-type attack in the game.)
* DoubleUnlock: Defeating certain bosses grants you the privilege of fusing them, if you can find the specific component demons that make them up.
* DuelingMessiahs: You are always free to choose which faction you wish to support.
* DungeonCrawler: The early games are classic examples of dungeon crawlers from the first-person perspective. Later games have elements that would be used in the third-person perspective.
* EnemyWithin: In ''Devil Summoner: VideoGame/SoulHackers'', the timid Hitomi gets [[DemonicPossession possessed]] by demonic DarkActionGirl Nemissa, and they immediately go on a shopping spree for [[EvilMakeover black leather]]. In ''RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy'', Kaya is cursed to be possessed by a demon, [[spoiler:but actually gets taken over by a future Raidou Kuzunoha from the [=SMT=] timeline]]. Happens somewhat more literally in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' with [[spoiler: the members of Strega; if they don't take inhibitor drugs, they'll lose control of their Personas. What this would entail is demonstrated by Chidori about halfway through the game, wherein her Persona attempts to '''''strangle''''' her during withdrawal]].
* EarnYourHappyEnding: The good endings with no alien effects on humanity and life itself are generally presented as[[GuideDangIt the hardest to get]]. In many ways this is nominal only, since while they may involve additional bosses, they are not generally much harder. Obviously this also depends on whether you really interpret them as the best endings.
* ElementalRockPaperScissors: Played straight and averted. Usually, basic elemental types (ie one's that specialize in only one element) usually have a weakness to the opposing element (ice vs. fire, electricity vs. wind, light vs. dark). However, at higher levels, demons usually have a variety of weaknesses and strengths (ex. Black Frost, despite being a Jack Frost, has strengths against both ice AND fire). This results in bosses having a bit of trial-and-error as you have to test out each type to see what works and what doesn't.
** Some games (''Devil Survivor'' in particular) outright show you how the enemies are affected by every element, usually as if to say "This is my hand, ''[[NintendoHard try and beat it]]''." And every game shows you how your ''own'' demons' element tables, which are the same for every demon of that type.
* ElementalTiers: Sometimes there are the [[ElementalEmbodiment 'Element' race]]. They always have [[DishingOutDirt Erthys]] as the weakest, then [[BlowYouAway Aeros]], then [[MakingASplash Aquans]], and [[PlayingWithFire Flaemis]] with the highest level. Sometimes they are followed by Paracelsus' elementals, but the element order stays the same, with Gnome as the weakest, followed by Syplh, Undine, and Salamander. Not that their levels matter much, since they're usually fusion fodder.
* ElementNumberFive: Almighty. It's an unavoidable, ultimate element that ignores defensive measures. Final bosses, late-game allies, bonus bosses, and the like all use this. Violating rules with bonus bosses results in the game giving you 9999 damage or a nonstop barrage of attacks with this element.
* EliteTweak: No demon is perfect. But every demon can be perfected.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: If the world hasn't already ended before the game started, then it's about to. ''Nocturne'' starts off with '''everyone''' being destroyed. There are only five humans left alive (not including yourself!) after the first 30 minutes of the game.
* EndOfTheWorldSpecial: Power and how you choose to use it is one of the big themes of the series.
* EveryManHasHisPrice: Mostly. Most demons will very willingly sell themselves with some crafty negotiation. Some races, though, will never see this as an option. In some situations such as IV this is averted with law demons who are so dedicated to their cause you cannot recruit them. Though they may join you when on the verge of death.
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: ''Everything''. We're not joking here, people.
* EvilerThanThou: All five "main" ''Shin Megami Tensei'' games have everyone trying to one-up each other.
* EvilIsNotAToy: Learn the lesson or ''suffer''. It's perfectly possible to gain immense power at little or no effort. On the other hand, [[FateWorseThanDeath the price]] makes it an iffy choice ''at best''.
* EvilMakeover: Word of advice: don't get too attached to ''anyone''.
* TheEvilsOfFreeWill: Standard law justification for their side of things.
* EvilVersusEvil: OrderVersusChaos. Messiah versus Gaia. YHVH versus Lucifer. The big question is who, if any, will you side with? Whether they are evil, or merely reflect the reality of a dark grey universe is up to you however.
* ExcitedTitleTwoPartEpisodeName: In ''Persona 3'', the ShowWithinAShow ''Phoenix Ranger Featherman R'' sports these kinds of titles, probably to increase the cheesiness factor. It ''has'' been around since Persona 2, after all.
* {{Expy}}: The Djinn enemy is a carbon copy of Genie from Aladdin.
* ExtraTurn: A staple of the series beginning with ''Nocturne'':
** ''Nocturne'', ''Digital Devil Saga'', ''IV'', and ''IV: Apocalypse'' use the Press Turn system, where each side gets a number of turns equal to the number of members in the party, maybe more depending on the player completing a NewGamePlus sidequest or the party in question consisting of a boss who gets two or more turns for themselves. Exploiting an enemy's weakness or scoring a CriticalHit will turn an existing "full-turn" icon, if any, into a "half-turn" instead of using up any turns. \\
\\
Some bosses can use skills that turn an existing full turn into multiple half-turns, such as Dragon Eye, Beast Eye, and Psycho Rage, [[SecretAIMoves none of which can ever be obtained by the player]]. ''IV'' does allow the player to get Guardian's Eye, but it requires beating the ultimate DLC BonusBoss and Guardian's Eye costs a whopping ''255 MP'' to cost!
** ''Devil Survivor'' and its sequel allow either party during a skirmish to obtain up to one extra turn per member also through weaknesses and crits, but can also gain extra turns simply by nullifying (or better) opponents' attacks. During the Extra Turn phase, parties cannot gain Extra Turns again, except in ''Devil Survivor 2'' where the Omega race of demons allows parties to obtain "Double Extra" turns.
** ''Persona 3'' and ''4'' allow an attacker to gain "1 More" turn through weakness exploits and crits. Doing either knocks down the target, and simply hitting a knocked-down target will not cause another 1 More; the attacker needs to keep hitting standing opponents to gain more turns.
* TheExtremistWasRight: Depending on your interpretation of events. If you consider law or chaos correct, this will be a staple for a large amount of the plots.
* TheFairFolk: Many demons have their designs based on these, as well as their personalities. ''Shin Megami Tensei'' games like to remind you every so often that you are definitely ''not'' dealing with human beings.
* FairySexy: Pixie.
** Titania, Hua Po, and Sylph deserve mention as well.
* FallenAngel: ''Many''. Lucifer, the entire ArsGoetia, Grigori, Mithras and others are this to a greater or lesser degree. Kazfiel is unique in that he still is law and part of the Seraph/Divine races while Samael switches between Law and Chaos since [[RiddleForTheAges his true alignment is a mystery]].
* FalseUtopia: A very real risk. There is no such thing as a free lunch in this franchise.
* FantasyKitchenSink: More notably explored in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'' and ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'', with the various factions and alliances everyone pulls in the road to ultimate power, though ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' is also a very good example with the Mothers and the demon lords.
* FateWorseThanDeath: These are not happy games. And the suffering is not restricted to the bad guys. Or bad endings.
* FictionAsCoverUp: Many [=MegaTen=] fans take VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'s mention of a [[RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy Raidou Kuzunoha]] movie as this. However, it's [[http://www.atlus.com/forum/showpost.php?p=91741&postcount=16 solely a product of the localization]]; in the original Japanese version, the line was actually a reference to both the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosuke_Kindaichi Kosuke Kindaichi]] mystery novels and the ''Manga/TheKindaichiCaseFiles'' manga/anime/live-action adaptations.
* FinalBoss: The main series is well known for its multiple routes having different Final Bosses. Just to list numbered ones:
** ''Shin Megami Tensei I'': [[spoiler:Asura]] on Law, [[spoiler:Michael]] on Chaos. On Neutral, you get to choose who to fight first and second.
** ''Shin Megami Tensei II'': [[spoiler:YHVH]]. In a grand subversion of preceding and succeeding formula, all routes, no matter what you do, has you fight him.
** ''Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne'': [[spoiler:Kagutsuchi]], with the game using NoFinalBossForYou on one route and TrueFinalBoss ([[spoiler:Lucifer]]) on another.
** ''Shin Megami Tensei IV'': [[spoiler:Kenji and the Yamato Perpetual Reactor]] on the bad ending, [[spoiler:Merkabah]] on Chaos, and [[spoiler:Lucifer]] on Law and Neutral.
** ''Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final'': [[spoiler:Merkabah]] on Chaos, [[spoiler:Lucifer]] on Law, and [[spoiler:YHVH]] on the other routes.
* FromNobodyToNightmare: Even the greatest and mightiest of warriors and demons came from ''somewhere''.
* FullCircleRevolution: ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' sadly notes that it really doesn't matter whether you choose Law or Chaos; eventually, a new guy who longs for whatever it is that you gave up will turn up, dethrone you, and kick back everything you made back into nothing. It's pretty much the reason OrderVersusChaos can never end.
* FunctionalMagic: Comes in various flavors, depending on each game's mechanics and the demon involved.
* FusionDance: Demons/Personas as a rule either level exceedingly slowly or simply do not have the necessary gumption to last for long given the brutal form of SortingAlgorithmOfEvil the games tend to favor. So the series has, as noted above, a fusion system in which two or more participant demons are merged into a single one, allowing the resulting demon to inherit better stats and moves they would not have otherwise learned from their "parents". Most of the time, these take place in specialized places (the Cathedral of Shadows (a classic mainstay of the series), [[RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy the]] [[VideoGame/DevilSummoner Gouma-Den]], [[VideoGame/{{Persona}} the Velvet Room]]). However, there are a number of occasions in which a Demon Fusion Program has been used with compatible portable technology to fuse demons in the field (with the [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney Demonica battlesuit]], [[VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2 as a cellphone app]], [[VideoGame/SoulHackers and with]] [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV the COMP]]).
** ''Persona'' games until ''3'' have a Fusion System based on collecting base Persona cards from random battles and using those to create stronger Personas. Of note, too; both demons in the main series and Personas occasionally demonstrate an interest borne out of curiosity or powerlust in fusion. The imagery used in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiImagine'' suggests the fused demons are outright killed in fusion, but in other media it looks more like they unravel and the pieces fuse together.
** Mitama Fusions are used solely to power up a demon by increasing its stats or to impart specific moves to it, and do not change the demon.
** Elemental Fusions move a demon up or down the ranks of its race. Stronger Elements can move a demon up to two ranks above.
** Sacrificial Fusions in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' involve two demons and a sacrifice. The resulting demons inherit even better stats than if fused normally and can receive moves from all three participants. There are also some demons that can only be created this way.
** Special Fusions in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' always involve three or more demons. The recipes are fixed and cannot accept similar substitutes.
** Triangle, Cross, Pentacle and Hexagram Spread Fusions are also present in the latter ''Persona'' games. ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' even has an example of [[SerialEscalation Dodecagon]] [[UpToEleven Fusion]].
** Aside from inter-demon fusion, the trope can also be applied in certain games when demons can be fused into various forms of weaponry, such as the first two games of the main franchise. ''Persona 3'' has the Weapon Fusion system, in which new armaments can be created by fusing Personas into Nihil weapons. Both Raidou games feature demon forging, though only the first involves actually fusing the demon with the blade.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' explores this trope's dark, dark places: the EvilCounterpart of the Investigation Project, Jack's Squad, never got the transmission of the series' signature fusion program or demon summoning program. So they just made do with what they had: instead of keeping their demons in their Demonicas, they just locked and trussed them in cells, and for fusion, they tore them to pieces and started checking what clicked with what. It's little surprise their results mostly involve BodyHorror abominations.
* GagPenis: Used frequently in many of the demons. Witness the [[http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080707022822/megamitensei/images/0/09/MaraSMT.jpg Mara]], [[http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090618224005/megamitensei/images/4/43/PENDRAGON.png Pendragon]] and, of all things, [[http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080806040827/megamitensei/images/0/0e/Cthulhu2.jpg Cthulhu]].
** [[http://megamitensei.wikia.com/wiki/Mishaguji Mishaguji's]] head.
** The [[http://lparchive.org/LetsPlay/SMTNocturne/Update%2021/76-night_incubus.jpg Incubus]], who seems to find every woman and female demon in the game sexy. It's his job, after all.
** Just look at [[http://images.wikia.com/megamitensei/images/0/0d/Yamm.jpg Ym.]]
* GaidenGame: ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIf'' and ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' for the main series. ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'' and the original ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' also started as gaiden games under the ''Megami Ibunroku'' / ''Alternate Tales of the Goddess'' moniker, before developing into full fledged spinoff series of their own.
* GameOverMan: Several games, such as ''VideoGame/MegamiTenseiII'', ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'', and ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' have Charon, the ferryman to the afterlife, greeting you upon death. In some games he will offer to bring you back to life if you have the Macca or [[Nintendo3DS Play Coins]] to pay his offer.
* GatelessGhetto
* GlobalCurrency: Macca in most of them, usually games not set in modern day Japan.
* GlobalCurrencyException: Gemstones. Special traders pop every now and then and sell rare items in exchange for gems you may be given as gifts or as battle spoils, and there is no way to just pay regular money for it. ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' has the antique shop owner, who offers Persona-boosting items and Social Links-related paraphernalia, and ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' has the Gem Trader, who sells a wide selection of items and even stat-boosting demons. ''RaidouKuzunohaVsKingAbaddon'' has Case Files requesting gems, and they can be used in fusion to power up the resulting demon.
* {{God}}: Shows up in ''Megami Tensei II'' [[spoiler:as the TrueFinalBoss]], ''Shin Megami Tensei II'' [[spoiler:as the final boss]], (arguably) again in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' [[spoiler:as the final boss]], ''Shin Megami Tensei IV'' [[spoiler:as a DLC boss]], and ''Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final'' [[spoiler:as the final boss]]. See directly below.
** [[spoiler:Brahman]] is God in VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga, [[spoiler:Polaris and the administrators that come before or after him]] have a similar role God's in VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2, and Hoshigami/Starhair is the God of the Stars in the ''VideoGame/DevilChildren'' series who created that universe.
* GodAndSatanAreBothJerks: Lucifer is a ManipulativeBastard who's a big fan of SocialDarwinism and anarchy. God is a vain tyrant who only cares about humans if they're worshipping Him and loves to hand out [[FateWorseThanDeath Fates Worse Than Death]]. Some portrayals of them are more mild or sympathetic than others, but are few and far between.
** Philemon and Nyralathotep aren't much better. Nyarlathotep is a classical villain who wants to see humanity destroy itself, but even Philemon, who gives humans their Personas to fight back, does little more than observe. [[SarcasmMode He wouldn't want to lose a bet over something small like helping an entire species, after all]].
* GodIsEvil: Though the creators have said that he's not the "ultimate source of evil", having him as [[spoiler:the final boss]] in more than one game tends to raise a few eyebrows. WordOfGod has elaborated by stating that His condition is more of a symptom than a cause of something going terribly wrong with the universe. Note that YHVH is considered so corrupt in most games that even the angels tend to want to get rid of him, seeing him as a detriment to a peaceful world.
** Indeed, many of the game seem to indicate that Lucifer / Chaos is the best choice to make, since almost always YHVH and the angels have the policy of KillEmAll and start over whenever things look like they're getting out of hand. Even when you kill God, he usually gives a speech along the lines of "As long as humanity is too weak to look for their own answers, their weakness will create a belief in me that brings me back to life again and again and again! MWAHAHAAH!"
*** At least in the games for SNES (in which the Law-Neutral-Chaos system possibly plays the most prominent role) Chaos is not shown as the best choice. For example, in the original Shin Megami Tensei many traditionally heroic choices (choosing to give money to the beggar, choosing to spare the life of local dictator after defeating him and his demon in battle, choosing to save the female protagonist in the dream despite the apparent risks posed by armed guards) tend to be considered Lawful decisions. Also, one of the downsides of pure Chaos is the possibility of sufficiently strong and ruthless individual/party becoming an oppressor (as shown in the case of [[spoiler:Ozawa]] in the world AfterTheEnd). Ironically, the whole "might makes right" issue may be one of the main reasons behind YHVH's position in the continuity of Shin Megami Tensei [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI I]]-[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII II]] and Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE. Also, the depiction of Lucifer in [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne Nocturne/Lucifer's Call]] may be too ambiguous to be considered either the best ''or'' the worst possible choice. One of several games in the series where Lucifer is shown clearly in the positive light is the second game in the series, Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei II [[note]](while in the direct romanization of the Japanese title "Story" would be replaced with "Monogatari", it seems that "Story" is the official choice of word when writing the title in the Latin/Roman alphabet)[[/note]] for Famicom/NES.
** In Devil Survivor he's much nicer: only institutes the lockdown at the insistence of the angels, and gives humanity a seven day grace period to prove themselves when the angels wanted to go full-on HappinessIsMandatory from the get-go, and even ordered them not to interfere unless specifically asked. But even when he's (comparatively) nice he's still a jerk. To wit: He intentionally set Naoya ([[spoiler: the Biblical Cain]]) up [[CainAndAbel to murder his brother]], [[spoiler: Abel]], in order to make the latter a martyr, then promptly cursed Naoya with [[WhoWantsToLiveForever eternal life]]. He's more than willing to follow through on the angels' threats if the lockdown is breached, even though this means condemning the entire human race for the actions of a few.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' went with this with the Demiurge sidequest. Not naming him God or YHVH made this fly over many's heads, but compare the Gnostic conception of the Demiurge (obsessive desire for worship, insistence in being the sole true deity, meddling with mortals to ensure its continued dominance) with YHVH's behavior...
** Since the series occurs over multiple alternate universes, all of these interpretations of God are true. This is because YHVH (and II's Sabaoth, Shaddai, and Elohim, Nocturne's Kagutsuchi, Strange Journey's Demiurge, and IV's Ancient of Days) are aspects of The Creator/Great Will, appearing across the alternate dimensions. There are even multiple forms of the same avatar: as ''Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey'' and ''Shin Megami Tensei IV'' take place in different universes, then there are multiple Demiurge's. The ''Megami Tensei II'' YHVH outright says that he's one of many avatars.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse'', the tyranny of YHVH has inspired several gods from other pantheons to band together to take him out, though their plans for humanity are far from benevolent. It's eventually revealed that [[spoiler:YHVH oppressing humanity has caused the Axiom, the embodiment of reality itself, to create two messiahs to take him out]].
* GodsNeedPrayerBadly: The demons, angels, monsters, and spirits only exist in many of the games because people remember and believe in them. Oddly, if the supernatural creatures believe hard enough, they create fake duplicates of other supernatural entities. This is more clearly seen in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'', with the False YHVH fought after the death of the Archangels.
** This has some interesting bearing in the game. In general, the more people in RealLife that believe in a particular god/demon/angel/etc., the stronger they are in game. God, Lucifer, and the Archangels [[ArchangelMichael Michael]], [[ArchangelGabriel Gabriel]], Raphael and Uriel are obvious examples, but Shiva and Vishnu, both primary gods in Hindu (which remains one of the oldest active religions in the world) are also among the strongest. Exceptions do exist though, like Metatron (less than one quarter of one percent of the world's population are Jewish) being among the strongest.
** The Persona games use this to explain why various incarnations of death and madness are ready to end the world... they're doing it because humanity (or sometimes a few select individuals) secretly want them to. If not for that, those {{Eldritch Abomination}}s would be completely harmless.
* GoldenMeanFallacy: A constant staple of the games tends to be that while law and chaos are based on real philosophies, they tend to get strawmanned into oblivion. And while neutral endings hint at the various flaws that remain from trying to forge a middle path, such as the God-vs-Lucifer conflict only being ''[[ForeverWar temporarily]]'' [[ViciousCycle stopped]], this tends to get shown in game only indirectly, whereas the flaws of law and chaos are placed front and center. And it will often have a strangely light grey tone relative to the dark grey tones of law and chaos.
* GrandfatherClause: The games are based around the idea that you are the only person who knows [[OrderVsChaos what is right and wrong]]. To convey this, there is almost always a SilentProtagonist as the MC. Where this trope comes in is the fact that even in games where they are ''fully voiced'' only the MC is silent. The adaptations are the only ones to avert this, [[{{Justified}} since it would be extremely awkward to watch an action anime where only grunts are given and no conversation elsewhere]].
* GreyAndGrayMorality: Law is "''order'' is good because otherwise there is the ''freedom'' to do horrible things." Chaos is "''freedom'' is good because otherwise individual strength will be undermined and ''ordered'' away." Both sides generally have very forceful ways of doing it, from killing whoever's in the way to twisting the masses' minds to suit their needs.
* GreaterScopeVillain: WordOfGod apparently stated that some glitch in the fabric of reality made YHVH the despot that He is. In ''Apocalypse'' he also functions as this for the world in general, ultimately being behind the war in general and in charge of the one he sent to control both sides for his own ends.
* GuardianEntity: Masakado for Tokyo.
* GuideDangIt: If you want to get certain skills on certain demons, you WILL need to consult several fusion charts and skill charts (doing it the old fashioned way of chart-making is practically a SelfImposedChallenge).
** Getting the best ending by yourself is a SelfImposedChallenge.
* HalfHumanHybrid: Possible with compatible MergingMachine protocols. [[EvilIsNotAToy Still, very much not recommended]].
* HarderThanHard: Maniac mode in the modern games. [[ThisIsGonnaSuck It's the subtitle]] of the UpdatedRerelease of Nocturne.
* HappinessInSlavery: ''No.'' You can order demons whatever you want, but they ''will'' hate you if you cross certain lines. Loyalty in ''VideoGame/SoulHackers'' works alongside the same lines; demons have an affinity for certain attacks; allowing them to use it will increase their loyalty, telling them to use moves they hate will reduce it. The National Defense Divinities ''loathe'' both the Ashura-Kai and the Ring of Gaea, and are overjoyed at their own destruction, so the damn fools won't get to use them any more as their mooks.
* HelloInsertNameHere: Most of the protagonists in the series are nameless until you name them.
* HellOnEarth: ''Nocturne'' and ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney''.
* HeroicMime: The main protagonists are almost always one of these. Which made ''Persona 2'' quite entertaining considering that the protagonists of ''Innocent Sin'' and ''Eternal Punishment'' only have dialogue in the game they're not starring in.
** Some games work skillfully around this. In ''Digital Devil Saga'', Serph is a HeroicMime because [[spoiler: he's based on the understanding Sera had on the real Serph. That is to say, she knew nothing about the real Serph]]. In ''Persona 3'' and ''4'', the protagonists' arcanas are TheFool. One aspect of TheFool is chaos and creativity; in short, this means they are free to choose any personality they want.
* HobbesWasRight: The neutral path essentially states this in the ending.
* HolyHandGrenade: "Hama" type spells; typically OneHitKill type spells.
* HorsemenOfTheApocalypse: The Biblical four (White Rider, Red Rider, Black Rider, and [[GrimReaper Pale Rider]]) are a fixture throughout the series along with a couple other figures from the Literature/BookOfRevelation, serving as {{Bonus Boss}}es and potentially allied demons, if you can beat them. They're often hard to find and ''always'' hard to beat. Strangely for an apocalyptic series, they tend to never be directly involved in the plots, instead showing up as optional side bosses.
* HumanityOnTrial: ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'', ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'', and ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2''. Sometimes we ''deserve'' to be tried.
* HumanResources: Magnetite/Magatsuhi/Red is an incredibly useful substance for dealing with demons, as it tastes great to them, even better than human flesh. [[spoiler: However, no matter how you call it, ''it's actually refined from human brains/souls''. Raidou mostly generates and uses his own to offer to his demonic contracts, but other uses have demons either farming it from humans/humanoid facsimiles, or [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters humans using captured POWs, captured civilians/slaves and children to use their conditioned neurological tissue to harvest it.]] In the last case they also used a enslaved demon to help produce them better. Said demon being none other than a Magatsuhi from Japanese lore.]]
* HumansAreFlawed: A very important part of the OrderVersusChaos conflict. After all, both sides are only trying to help... each in their own way.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: While the demons are ObviouslyEvil, sometimes humans commit horrible atrocities that [[EvenEvilHasStandards even the most bloodthirsty of demons get squicked out by]]. Two examples include [[spoiler:Captain Jack]] from ''Strange Journey'', who dabbles in experimenting on unwilling demons ''en masse'' as well as [[spoiler:kidnapping a human and trying to fuse them with a demon]], and [[spoiler:Tayama the Ashura-kai ringleader]] in ''Shin Megami Tensei IV'', who [[spoiler:has his henchmen kidnap Tokyo dwellers (especially critics of the Ashura-kai) and extract neurotransmitters from them to make demon-quelling Red Pills]].
* HurricaneOfPuns: Mara. [[GagPenis Ooooh boy, Mara.]][[note]]''mara'' is a slang term for "penis" in Japanese. Mara is a demon from Buddhism that used various temptations on the Buddha to prevent him from achieving enlightenment. Since sex is a common temptation... yeah... or the part where Mara has PIERCE. And is fire attribute.[[/note]]
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: Law's standard justification for several genocides. Note that when not committing genocide, law points tend to be awarded by saving lives and helping people, and they tend to speak out against harms or selfishness. They simply think that at certain times you can help far more people long term by killing selectively chosen ones.
* IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace: But you will wind up going there anyway. Even if it's the stuff of your darkest nightmares.
* IncrediblyLamePun: Ja-aku Frost (Woolseyed but LostInTranslation as Black Frost), the SuperpoweredEvilSide of resident MascotMook Jack Frost. "Ja-aku" (邪悪) means "evil" and also a transliteration of Jack.
* InexplicablyIdenticalIndividuals: Though some games at least have the decency to at least put some color variations.
* InfallibleBabble: Becomes an actual plot point in ''Persona 2'', where spreading rumors actually ''causes'' those rumors to become reality.
* InfernalParadise: Utopia has that name for a ''reason''.
* InherentInTheSystem: Try as you might, whatever you do is at best creating sand castles, because there will always be people who disagree with whatever ending you pick and who will overthrow whatever order (or chaos) you create, and even restoring the old, un-destroyed world doesn't protect it from destruction in the future. The only other option anyone's come up with is [[spoiler: destroying ''[[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt everything]]'']].
* InfinityPlusOneSword: Many ultimate GameBreaker abilities and equipment require a lot of work to get.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne''
*** Masakados Magatama: Find all 24 Magatama, beat an extra BrutalBonusLevel (Bandou Shrine) and ''four'' {{Bonus Boss}}es.
*** [[ArmorPiercingAttack Pierce]] skill: beat the massive BrutalBonusLevel (Labyrinth of Amala) ''before'' entering TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon.
*** Extra Press Turn: beat the ''even harder'' Grave Run (ending all Grave Battles in the Labyrinth with a qualifying Press Turn count).
** ''Digital Devil Saga 2'': Magatama Ammo: complete a series of PopQuiz RandomEncounters, then beat a BonusBoss in the TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon.
** ''Persona 3'': The fusion spell "Armageddon". You need two high-level Personas to access it (Satan and Lucifer/Helel in FES), but once you have it, you essentially have a "kill" button.
** ''Persona 4'': [[GuestStarPartyMember Izanagi-no-Ookami]]: get the GoldenEnding, then reach level 91 on NewGamePlus.
** ''Digital Devil Saga'': Amala Ring: beat one of the hardest {{Bonus Boss}}es in RPG history.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'': Hinokagutsuchi, the best sword in the game, obtainable through fusion only. Requires a total of sixty-seven demons and several fusable swords to walk through each step. As the sword can also be fused with various demons to produce the best gun and the best armor for Hiroko, you need EIGHT of them for a full equipment list.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'': [[spoiler:Masakado's Shadow]], obtained by beating the BonusBoss of the final DLC quest. He boasts, among other things, "Curse Thy Enemy", which inflicts Almighty damage to all enemies and ''counts as a weakness'', and "Guardian's Eye", a 255-MP (!!) spell which grants three blinking Press Turns.
* IntercontinuityCrossover: Quite a few games have overtly featured characters from a different continuity in a major role.
* InterfaceSpoiler: If you encounter [[DiscOneFinalDungeon what appears to be the final dungeon]] or [[DiscOneFinalBoss what appears to be the final boss]], go look through some possible fusions, especially special fusions. If you see resultant demons that are tens of levels higher than you, what you think is the final challenge most likely ''isn't''. And besides, rarely does a series game end with you and your demons/Personas below level 70-80.
* ItIsBeyondSaving: You will be presented arguments to convince you any given faction is responsible for this. Who you believe, of course, is your business and no one else's.
* ItsAllUpstairsFromHere: In almost every single game.
* JesusTaboo: For it's use of nearly every mythological character, the closest the series gets to Jesus is in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' as a representation of the MessianicArchetype as a whole. Admittedly [[GodIsEvil YHVH]] and [[{{Satan}} his dragon]] lean closer to the view Judaism has on the two (except for the "evil" bit), though they employ catholic arch-angels.
** Aleph from VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII was made to be the {{expy}} of Jesus, and they even made sure he had a virgin mother.
** Lyrics in Nocturne's boss theme mention a sacrificing the son of God.
** The demon [[http://megamitensei.wikia.com/wiki/Agony Agony]] represents a long-haired, visibly wounded man bound by barbed wire to a large wooden cross. However, comprehensively, it only appeared in the first ''Devil Summoner'' game, which has never been translated or even gotten out of Japan.
* KarmaMeter: "Your mother has been possessed by a demon and pleads with you to end her suffering. Do you kill her?" [[spoiler:If "yes", you respect her wishes, you go Chaos. If "no", you respect societal taboos of not killing, you go Law.]]
* KickThemWhileTheyAreDown: The mechanics of each game tend to give out various bonuses for hitting enemy weaknesses or landing Critical Hits, such as Extra Press Turns or a free Almighty attack.
* KnightTemplar: Pretty much everyone aligned with Law, [[spoiler:Remiel and Amane]] from VideoGame/DevilSurvivor being some of the few exceptions. Sometimes it gets so bad that the law ending doesn't even involve siding directly with the forced of law in game proper.
* LawyerFriendlyCameo: Jack Frost in other series. In SMT 2, "Mr. Thriller" aka Music/MichaelJackson can be met dancing in a disco and talking about how much he loves toys and children. You can also fight and recruit CaptainErsatz versions of Film/{{Beetlejuice}} (Betelgeuse) and Literature/{{Christine}} (Chris The Car).
** In the first 2 ''Shin Megami Tensei'' games, you're given the Demon Summoning Program by a wheelchair-bound man with glasses and gray hair. He calls himself "Steven". Any resemblance to a famous scientist is surely coincidental.
* TheLegionsOfHell: They apparently have been waiting for their chance to rise again for a very long time. Almost every game depicts the seal being broken.
* LesCollaborateurs: Some of TheOldGods were spared the relentless {{demonization}} campaign the Great Will enacted to gather as many worshippers as he could. Unsurprisingly, many of these were added to the Law faction.
* LightIsGood[=/=]DarkIsEvil: Played with: The light-dark alignment axis refers to a given demon's typical ''depiction'' in its originating myths, not necessarily how they actually ''are''.
* LighterAndSofter -
** The ''VideoGame/DevilChildren'' series, where the demons, gods and spirits are redesigned as more kid-friendly [[RuleOfCute cute]] versions. For instance, [[ScyllaAndCharybdis Scylla]] goes from a dog-headed sea monster to a cute little girl walking a bunch of puppies.
** The ''Persona'' series, as you're usually SavingTheWorld with the ThePowerOfFriendship, instead of [[TheFellowshipHasEnded watching your friends turn on you]] [[AfterTheEnd after the world's already been destroyed]].
** ''Jack Bros'', the Virtual Boy SpinOff, is probably the lightest and softest of the bunch.
* LimitedMoveArsenal: Most ''[=MegaTen=]'' games give your party members a limited number of skill slots, and force them to permanently forget old skills to make room for new ones. ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' and humans in ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'' do have the option to re-equip old abilities from a skill pool though.
* LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards: Inverted in most ''SMT'' games since the UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 era. Magic is far more useful at lower levels than physical attacks, as it can be used to exploit enemies' [[ElementalRockPaperScissors elemental weaknesses]]. However, higher-level physical skills that give you {{Armor Piercing Attack}}s, more {{Critical Hit}}s and CounterAttack abilities can make a late game physical build much deadlier than a magic one, especially once you begin encountering tougher enemies with [[NoSell few or no elemental weaknesses]].
* LivingStructureMonster: In some games (for example, ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' and ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney Strange Journey]]'', the demon [[http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110601200238/megamitensei/images/e/e6/Orcus.JPG Orcus]] appears as a brick [[HellGate gateway]] to {{Hell}} (If you look closely, a plaque reading "GO TO HELL" is attached to it) with part of a horned head visible at the top.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Most games in the franchise have hundreds upon hundreds of recruitable [[PlayerParty party members]].
* LonersAreFreaks: ''Nocturne'' believes so. Both resident loners wind up as poster kids for BodyHorror. A natural offshoot of ''Persona'''s ThePowerOfFriendship beliefs.
* LostInTranslation: "Luster Candy" is the ultimate buff skill in some games. In Japanese, this is a play on the three individual buffs -- ''Ra''kukaja (defense), ''Su''kukaja (accuracy/evasion), and ''Ta''rukaja (attack) -- but the joke falls apart with a direct translation.
* LotusEaterMachine: The residents of [[spoiler:Arcadia]] ''think'' they live in a cozy paradise, but they're all hooked up to machines.
** Arcadia was a prototype for the Thousand Year Kingdom, if YHVH had his way, all the humans worshiping him would share the same fate as those in Arcadia. [[spoiler: It is even worse on the Law route as the Megiddo Arc kills off all life on earth, even those in Arcadia.]]
* LouisCypher: Shows up in all the mainline Shin Megami Tensei games, and ''RaidouKuzunohaVsKingAbaddon''. Loki takes the schtick and runs with it in ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor''. Satan has his own example with Zayin.
* {{Lunacy}}: The waxing and waning of the moon is a key gameplay feature in every game. The fuller the moon is, the more damage your attacks do, the more likely an accident is to occur during fusion, and the crazier the monsters act. During a full moon they're practically drunk off those moonbeams, which makes for entertaining conversation. There are also some abilities that are more or less effective depending on the phase of the moon. Certain games have their own quirks:
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' has important storyline events [[spoiler:(the attack of the Greater Shadows)]] occur during a full moon.
** There's a period of time in the game ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' where the main character would take damage during a full moon. This is because [[spoiler:of his psychic link to the Heroine, whose reincarnated self is currently undergoing torture from a demon that has invaded her mind. The full moon makes him feel her pain]]. This is solved [[spoiler:by rescuing her]].
** In ''Digital Devil Saga'', there's a 50% chance during every new moon- [[CallARabbitASmeerp excuse us,]] MIN Solar Noise that your characters will be cured of any ailments that they are suffering from. Also, the selling price of Cells is at its highest during MAX Solar Noise. In the sequel, ''Digital Devil Saga 2'', there is a chance during 7/8 or MAX Solar Noise- sorry, ''Solar Data'' that you will enter battle in Berserk Form.
** You can guarantee that you get the best items from ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'''s Mystical Chests by opening them during a full Kagutsuchi phase. The drop rate of Gems is also highest at this point. The moon does not appear in Nocturne because, along with the rest of the world, [[AfterTheEnd it has been destroyed.]] What the game tracks, instead, is the brightening and darkening of Kagutsuchi. Hence, Nocturne is one of the few games with a good reason for why the "moon"'s phase changes every few steps you take, as opposed to taking days to change phase.
** One Sub App in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' lets you speak to demons during the Full Moon (something otherwise impossible). Because they're drunk on the moonlight, they don't really know what they're saying, and will ask bizarre questions. You have a 50/50 chance of impressing them or pissing them off; impressing them can earn you rewards up to and including instantly recruiting them: this is the ''only'' way to recruit Dark demons.
* MadGod: There's a major flaw in this Universe - and whatever it is, it's grave and terrifying enough to transform the Abrahamic God into an insane puppy-kicking asshole.
* MadScientist: [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI STE]][[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII VEN]], [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII Dr. Harada]] and [[VideoGame/SoulHackers Dr.]] [[RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy Vic]][[RaidouKuzunohaVsKingAbaddon tor]] all qualify.
* MadScientistLaboratory: Every single incarnation of the Gouma-Den.
* TheMagicComesBack: Every game of the main series has this in some capacity. Explained in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'' by Mother Echidna as a result of the demons returning from the banishment imposed by YHVH. [[DoNotGoGentle They're not leaving again without a fight]].
* MagicFromTechnology: Devil Summoners throughout the franchise usually carry around [[MagiTek a device]] --arm-mounted [=COMPs=] in the original games, pistol-mounted [=GUMPs=] in the ''VideoGame/DevilSummoner'' subseries, NintendoDS-shaped [=COMPs=] in ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'', the [[PoweredArmor Demonica]] in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' and a cellphone application in ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2'' and ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse''-- that runs the Demon Summoning Program and allows the user to summon and control his or her {{Mons}}. And in ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'', it outright gives the user access to magic spells of [=his/her=] own.
* MagicIsRareHealthIsCheap: As an extension of this, there are skills that cast from MP and those that CastFromHitPoints. The latter can put you in danger, but are more economical since HP is easier to recover than PP.
* MarketBasedTitle: In the West, from ''Nocturne'' to about ''Persona 4 Arena'', the games were all branded under the ''Shin Megami Tensei'' label. In Japan, though every game is considered a [=MegaTen=] title, they aren't marketed as such.
* MarkOfTheBeast: Tatsuya's brand in ''Persona 2'' and the Demi-Fiend's tattoos in Nocturne.
* MascotMook: Jack Frost. He's even the official mascot of Atlus itself, making this a literal example of the trope.
* MasterOfNone: Demons/Personas with perfectly balanced stats are fairly common and are typically not a good thing, as they tend to be weak at both physical and magic attacks; it's often better to have a collection of demons that specialize in either.
* MechanicalLifeforms: The hardiest and most powerful Angels. Being obsessive creatures of Law, this makes it a case of FridgeBrilliance.
* MercyRewarded: In some games, if you have almost wiped out an enemy team, with only one enemy remaining, he can throw in the towel and beg for mercy. Grant it, and he can either leave with no more fuss, demonstrate his thanks with some trinket or cash, decide you're cool enough to sign up with, or invoke ISurrenderSuckers and go for a last stab.
* MergedReality: ''Persona 2: Innocent Sin'' ([[spoiler:though it doesn't exactly work, setting up the sequel]]).
* MergingMachine: Jakyou Manors/The Velvet Room
* MetalSlime: The Omoikane in ''Digital Devil Saga 1 & 2''. The Golden Shadows in ''Personas 3 and 4.''
** The Kudan in RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy. Kageboushi in [[RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy the sequel]].
** The Fiends in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI''. Alice in the first Persona.
* {{Mons}}: The [[TropeMaker Trope]] ''[[TropeMaker Maker]]''. Nearly every game serves as a DarkerAndEdgier occult {{Deconstruction}} of {{Mons}}, even though the franchise predates TropeCodifier ''{{Pokemon}}'' [[http://megamitensei.wikia.com/wiki/Digital_Devil_Story:_Megami_Tensei by ten years]]. This also makes {{Mon}}s itself an UnbuiltTrope.
* MonsterCompendium: The Demonic Compendium is a very important part in almost all of these games, allowing you not only to view the stats of all the demons you've ever registered in it, but also serves as a repository of information, with tons of lore for each demon (all of it perfectly valid and backed by a lot of literature in the artbooks) and the ability to resummon those you've fused away for a fee. The Persona Compendium from ''Persona 3'' and beyond serves the same purpose.
* MonsterLord: The ''Maoh'', or [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Tyrant]], demon race.
* MoralDilemma: A common thing you will tend to run into, especially for the endings.
* MouthOfSauron: Metatron for YHVH, Beelzebub for Lucifer. Igor and Kandori Takahisa fill the role to a degree for Philemon and Nyarlathotep.
* MultiBoobage: Mostly played for FanDisservice, like Satan, Diana, or Tiamat.
* MultipleEndings: Many of the games change the ending based on factors such as your alignment or other choices you made in the plot.
* TheMultiverse: ''Nocturne'' mentions in the bonus dungeon that the current game's world is just one out of billions of possibilities [[spoiler:due to the world constantly being destroyed and remade]]. These other worlds may be the various sub series.
** There are other hints at this as well, such as [[spoiler: the seraphs showing up in ''Digital Devil Saga 2''... and explicitly talking about the events of ''SMT 2'' (granted, [[NoExportForYou this went over the heads of many new fans of the franchise]])]] or [[spoiler:Raidou Kuzunoha being referenced directly in ''Persona 4'']] (It's a product of the translation though). Never mind [[spoiler: Hiriji in general in ''Nocturne'': they never come out and say it directly but there's a lot of implication that he's ''SMT 2'''s deicide-riffic hero]].
*** Naturally, this all leads to ''lots'' of EpilepticTrees about just how the multiverse fits together and what could be coming next. [[spoiler:The Persona universe, for instance, already conquered [[VideoGame/{{Persona 2}} Chaos]], the two negative sides of Neutrality in [[VideoGame/{{Persona 3}} Nihil-As-Death]] and [[VideoGame/{{Persona 4}} Nihil-As-Ignorance]], and [[VideoGame/{{Persona 5}} Order/Law]].]]
** Then, of course, there's the chance that all this craziness may be occurring in the same universe as '''''Franchise/DevilMayCry''''', courtesy of ''Nocturne''. With Dante's replacement by Raidou in the newest re-release of ''Nocturne'', though, the canonicity of Dante's appearance is somewhat questionable.
* MyRulesAreNotYourRules: No matter which game it is: if an enemy uses physical attacks which normally would cost it HP, he won't have to pay the price.
** Not true in the ''Devil Survivor'' series, since enemy stats are displayed "face-up" to the player.
** Also not true in ''IMAGINE'', where only demons with a specific feature null HP costs (some of which, such as Hecatoncheires, can be used by players). Most, if not all, bosses have this feature, though. This also turns some boss-like enemies such as Hell Biker (from the 39th floor of the ''Denshi Kairo'' special dungeon) rather funny to fight when it starts spending more HP than the player is actually causing him.
** Nor is it true in the ''VideoGame/DevilChildren'' games, where you will see their HP Bars actually drop when they use HP Costing attacks, and occasionally they will actually suicide with it.
** The only way to deny enemy demons the ability to abuse this is getting their HP lower than the cost of the attack: even though they don't pay the cost, ''they still have to have enough to pay it for it to work''.
* MythologyGag: Cerberus is usually portrayed in the series with one head because that's how he was described in the original ''Literature/DigitalDevilStory'' novel. Boomerangs back to accuracy in ''Persona 3'', doubling as a series in-joke.
* NamedWeapons: Very often you will have the chance to collect some legendary weaponry.
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}} [[UpdatedRerelease FES]]'' takes it further with Weapon Fusion. You can find "Void," "Nihil," or "Origin" weapons which you can slap a Persona on to in order to create swords or spears with very good stats and additional effects. But if you use a Persona whose weapon is well-known by itself, then whatever base weapon you use, regardless of type (knives, bows, etc.) will become this legendary weapon. For instance, fusing Odin and obtaining Gungnir, Thor and Mjolnir, Shiva and Pinaka, Cú Chulainn and Gae Bolg, Siegfried and Balmung...
* TheNeedsOfTheMany: As odd as it sounds the reason law tends to kill large amounts of people in many of the games is because they want to prevent as many deaths as possible. It just so happens that the best way to do this is to create a utopia that the process of creation involves clearing out anyone who can threaten it.
* NeutralityBacklash: Neither Law nor Chaos likes it when you decide to go for Neutral. Averted somewhat in that they will often be nicer to you than if you chose the other side.
* NeutralNoLonger: Very often, events will conspire to force you to take a side. Neutrality is a luxury you can't always afford.
* NewGamePlus: Most of the recent games include extra content only available on a second run. You can also carry over a varying amount of content from your previous run, such as your money, Demon/Persona Compendium, and even your experience level, although some games like ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' give you the option of wiping most of your content for a challenge.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Happens with some regularity, though probably the most nightmarish instance comes from a single quote in the Akarana Corridor: "''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI The Ambassador]] [[NukeEm has launched]] [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII the ICBMs!]]''"
* NintendoHard: Even modern ''[=MegaTen=]'' games use classic RPG tropes that can make a player want to cry.
** [[BackStab Surprise attacks]] causing [[OneHitKill one turn kills]].
** Enemies with OneHitKill spells.
** High {{Random Encounter|s}} rates.
** Enemy weaknesses requiring TrialAndErrorGameplay to discover
* NoDamageRun: The introduction of "Maniac" mode in the ''Persona'' series requires the player to accomplish all goals in one shot, with no data carried over to a new game.
* NonElemental: Almighty. One of the reasons why it's impossible to defend oneself against any attacks of this attribute.
* NoPointsForNeutrality: Averted. Neutral is one of the three alignment factions; while Law represents YHVH and angels, and Chaos represents Lucifer and demons, Neutral represents Humanity, a force not inherently bound by Law's rules or Chaos's machinations. This is why humans are so important to both sides.
* NoSell:
** Many enemies will have immunities stacked up to ungodly levels. Save up enough money, experience and level up the right demons to EliteTweak your own, though rarely to enemy levels. Demons have very wide resistance variations, so some demons may come off as counters for other, more troublesome demons. Though the games permit enough skill customization so that enough effort can effectively render any glaring weakness moot, the games being NintendoHard means that, of course, [[ThatOneBoss some bosses]] will still make your life hell unless you completely and utterly overpower them, [[SerialEscalation and sometimes even that is not enough.]] A prime example is the final boss of ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'', who has an action that will completely NoSell ''literally'' '''everything''' you can throw at it until it decides it has had enough fun staring at you with that SlasherSmile.
** [[spoiler: The scripted fight that ends the game, however, has our voiceless protagonist gain enough power to NoSell '''death itself'''.]]
** Even worse with this, however, is [[NighInvulnerable Beldr]] from ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor''. Even on a NewGamePlus, ''everything'' you throw at him will fail, all the time, except his ''lone'' WeaksauceWeakness, getting punched in the face with a ''cellphone strap.'' This essentially makes every single spell and every single ''character'' in your entire team useless, '''except''' for the "Devil's Fuge" attack which replaces the main character's physical attack. [[NintendoHard Good luck.]] A lesser example from the same game is the Battle Aura auto skill, which nullifies all attacks that deal less than 50 damage.
** And VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2 gives us Benetnasch who {{No Sell}}s EVERYTHING your main characters can do and is only attackable by your demons. [[SarcasmMode Yay, fun]].
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' has the Masakados Magatama, which not only gives a ''massive'' bonus to ''all stats'', it will even include immunities allowing the Main Character to literally NoSell ''everything'' except for Almighty-type moves. This gets carried over to ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'', in which he appears as an excruciatingly difficult BonusBoss: [[OhCrap still having the same immunities]].
*** And in ''Digital Devil Saga'' you can have the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Null Attack]] passive skill, which has the same effect as the Masakados mentioned above. [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything Not like it's gonna help you against said]] BonusBoss, though. There's also the Void/Repel/Drain series of skills, which work as a one turn NoSell against a specific element.
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' has the Omnipotent Orb, an accessory that has that very same effect.
*** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' has it too, but it's much easier to just fuse a Helel that's immune to every element instead.
*** Pretty much every game in the series has Tetrakarn and Makarakarn, skills that are a one turn NoSell for physical and magical attacks, respectively.
** As a rule of thumb, though, several types of BossInMooksClothing in the series have a very nasty tendency to NoSell most conventional attacks. At best, they will be nulled. At worst, they will be repelled. Of course, given enough investment, you can have your private team of OlympusMons capable of {{No Sell}}ing most enemy attacks as well.
** ''Nocturne'' also gives an example of overcoming {{No Sell}}s: in the True Demon Ending, you can get a rare skill named Pierce. This skill, which is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin, allows your physical attacks to slice past an enemy's defenses, hitting them full on instead of being lessened, nulled, or absorbed. Doesn't work when the enemy Repels Phys, though. ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'' also has this skill, though it's much easier to get.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' now has eight moves (four are passives) that can be used to punch past Strong, Null and Absorb each element: Lightning of God (learned by Uriel), Tornado of God (learned by Raphael), Hailstorm of God (learned by Gabriel), and Inferno of God (learned by Michael). The four passives allowing you to punch past elemental resistances, however, are all learned only by Aeshma. Aside from that, Sanat learsn Phys Pierce and Masakado's Shadow learns Pierce Gun, meaning ''all'' Pierce moves are exclusive to the DLC. ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse'' has this, too, this time limited to the Fiends and both DLC demons.
** It's been a tradition since ''Nocturne'' to have a boss that will no-sell or at least highly resist everything. This boss is usually a strong optional boss, such as Lucifer in ''Nocturne'', Masakado's Shadow in ''IV'', and [[spoiler:YHVH and Stephen]] in ''Apocalypse''. Pierce is generally the way to get around this, but in ''Apocalypse'', you can either use Pierce or one of three special skills that will, after repeated use, start to make the resistances weaken.
* NukeEm: Almighty, again. In the cases where it is not shown as an attack made of pure light, the symbol for it is the standard Nuke symbol. This is [[OhCrap not inaccurate]].
** In the early ''Persona'' games, Nuclear was another element, separate from Almighty, albeit one more powerful than FireIceLightning.
** In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'', Thor's Hammer is a ''huge'' cluster of nukes. Pointed in your general direction. The Megiddo Arc in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'' also counts.
* NumberedSequels: With the ''Devil Summoner'' franchise being the only exception.
* OddlyNamedSequel: Though usually they explain what it's all about.
* OlympusMons: Several extremely powerful demons are able to be recruited or fused throughout the series, including top members of the [[Myth/NorseMythology Norse]], [[Myth/EgyptianMythology Egyptian]], [[Myth/JapaneseMythology Japanese]] pantheons and [[CthulhuMythos Outer Gods]]. And then there's the case of recruiting [[IncrediblyLamePun the Olympians themselves]].
* OnceAnEpisode: Up until the fourth game, once per Persona series game, there would be a massive in-story retcon that made it so that the amount of people who actually remembered/knew about the events of the game are minimal, if not completely gone.
** The main series has this, too. For example, each numbered game has Beelzebub as a BonusBoss.
* OneGameForThePriceOfTwo: The ''VideoGame/DevilChildren'' (''[[MarketBasedTitle Demi Kids]]'' for the two that came to the US) games. Also, ''Digital Devil Saga'' comes in two parts. Same with ''Persona 2''.
** ''Persona 2'' initially averted this (somewhat) in the U.S. in that the only one that originally came westside was [[SequelFirst the second one]], Eternal Punishment.
*** While Innocent Sin has now been released in the U.S. via the PSP port, Atlus still has yet to announce Eternal Punishment's PSP port for U.S. release. So the trope is both straight and averted, since you need two systems that are of different generations to play both games. And that's only if you can ''find'' Eternal Punishment.[[note]]As of 25 Feb. 2013, Eternal Punishment is available as a "PS One Classic" through UsefulNotes/PlayStationNetwork, compatible with the PSP.[[/note]]
* OneHitKO:
** Light and Darkness spells. They come in two orders each, one more likely to connect than the other. It is possible to find variations of them all which are capable of hitting all enemy targets, setting up for a TotalPartyKill on either side.
** Downplayed in ''IV: Apocalypse'', where Light and Dark skills now do damage like other elemental spells, with only their instant-kill properties triggering if the user casts one of these spells while under Smirk status. In fact, some ''bosses'' have Light or Dark as a weakness; [[ContractualBossImmunity they just won't die instantly even if the spell they're weak to is Smirk-cast]].
* OneSteveLimit: You cannot have more than one of any given demon in your team. In VideoGame/DevilSurvivor this only applies to certain demons, generally unique individuals over species e.g. [[Myth/NorseMythology Thor and Odin]].
* OrderVersusChaos: A recurring theme. Law tends to be [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-meaning]] but very KnightTemplar about the whole thing. Chaos strongly emphasises freedom but in the form of a brutal MightMakesRight anarchy. Neutrality focuses on [[{{Ubermensch}} self-empowerment]] and the [[HumansAreSpecial potential of humanity]], as opposed to reliance on a greater force for guidance.
** Of course, [[HumansAreBastards Neutrality isn't completely good]]. [[spoiler:The fact that [[ViciousCycle most of the time the Neutral Ending brings back the world as it used to be doesn't helps either]].]]
** The classic Chaos has more or less split into two belief systems in later games where it's used. As mentioned under CharacterizationMarchesOn, the SocialDarwinist aspects are seen as more or less outright evil, while the RageAgainstTheHeavens aspect is usually shown in a more [[AntiHero antiheroic]] light.
* OriginalGeneration: There are a handful of demons not directly taken from mythology. The most prominent examples are the [[MascotMook Jack Frost]] variants, [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne Black Frost]], [[RaidouKuzunohaVSTheSoullessArmy Raiho]], [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney Frost Ace and Demonee-Ho]]. Other examples include Hell Biker (based on the Hells Angels) and the titular Soulless Army of ''RaidouKuzunohaVSTheSoullessArmy'' (which reappear in the sequel).
* OrganDrops: In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'', this is an excellent way to grind for macca. ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' has certain demons drop edible meats, though the trope is very much lessened from ''Strange Journey''. ''Persona 3'' has certain items you can take from Shadows' corpses.
* {{Orochi}}: Usually a major boss in some of the games and is possible to fuse after beating him.
** Though they refer to him by the full mythological version of his name "Yamata-No-Orochi".
* OtherworldlyAndSexuallyAmbiguous: Many of the top level demons of the sides will be this, often having genitals of a sex they are never referred to as, among other sexual ambiguity, such as changing sex in the process of transformation.
* OurDemonsAreDifferent: The definition is as broad as possible: basically, legendary monsters, mythical deities, and even certain historical humans of ''all'' types--good, evil, ''whatever''--they're all called demons here. Even the angels!
* OurMonstersAreWeird: Where can we even start with this one?
* PantheraAwesome: Ose and Flauros.
* PinballSpinoff: Oddly enough, a cell phone game only released in Japan.
* PointOfNoReturn: Annoyingly done in the first few games; more modern games tend to be more forgiving.
** While annoying, it's done with ''style'' '''''twice''''' in ''[=SMT1=]'': [[spoiler: the first time is when Ambassador Thorman nukes the hell out of Tokyo and your hero is sent to a corner of the Abyss to survive until he can return; the second time is when the Mesians flood the ruins of Tokyo to wash away all sin and coincidentally trap you in the massive final dungeon.]] Sadly, none of the other games that feature a PointOfNoReturn managed to pull it off with quite the same panache.
** Done in VideoGame/DevilSurvivor on the Last Day and ''VideoGame/MajinTenseiIISpiralNemesis'' in each Time Period/[[spoiler:Dimension]]
* PostModernMagik: Ancient summoning rituals and spells? Who needs 'em when you can program them into a handy app for your cell?
* ThePowerOfFriendship: Especially prevalent in the later Persona games.
* PowersAsPrograms: Fused demons or Personas may inherit skills the "parent" demons had. Learning to exploit this can lead to {{Disc One Nuke}}s and {{Game Breaker}}s. This is also a vital part in fusing for its ability to impart priceless immunities and strengths to new demons. VideoGame/DevilSurvivor games amp this by literally allowing you to slap any powers you want on anyone, only restricting you with the spell's stat point requirement.
* PowerUpgradingDeformation: Whenever you choose to blend demon and human in any way, expect this to be a likely result. Note that this doesn't happen to everyone though.
* PracticalTaunt: Most of the games have a "Taunt" spell, which increases enemy attack power while significantly lowering their defense.
* PreviousPlayerCharacterCameo: ''A lot''.
** In ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'', you can fight the Demi-Fiend from ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne''. Possibly the hardest BonusBoss in the history of video games.
** ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2'' has an appearance from [[spoiler:Black Frost]] from the first ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor''. To drive home the fact that it's not just any [[spoiler:Black Frost]], you get this exchange:
--->[[spoiler:Black Frost: [[VideoGame/DevilSurvivor The messenger of love and justice is here! Time for some magical punishment! ]]★]]\\
[[spoiler:MC: *choosing the first dialogue option* Frosty!]]\\
[[spoiler:Black Frost: ...Ho? What're you saying, ho? You've got me confused with somebody else!]]
** The UsefulNotes/PlayStation port of ''[[VideoGame/SoulHackers Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers]]'' includes a battle against the protagonist from the very first ''Devil Summoner'' game. The enhanced 3DS port also includes Raidou Kuzunoha the XIV, Raido Kuzunoha the XIV, and the freaking ''[[TransformingMecha Soulless God]]'' from the UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 ''[[RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy Devil]]'' ''[[RaidouKuzunohaVsKingAbaddon Summoner]]'' games.
** All but two of the playable characters in the original ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' make at least a brief appearance in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'', and several party members from both games show up in the "Who's Who" TV show in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}''.
** The FightingGame Sequel for ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', ''VideoGame/Persona4Arena'', features Aigis, Akihiko, and Mitsuru from ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' as a few of the combatants.
*** The female protagonist of ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIf'' appears in the first two ''Persona'' games as "Tamaki Uchida". Additionally, Kyouji Kuzunoha from the original ''Devil Summoner'' is implied to be the one possessing Daisuke Todoroki in ''Persona 2''.
* PrinciplesZealot: When taking into account that law endings are identified as creating utopias that last indefinitely into the future, neutral is often interpreted as this by them. Due to being unwilling to kill people to get there, even though doing so would result in less suffering in the long run.
* PsychoticSmirk: Tatsuya Sudou, a.k.a. [[spoiler:King Leo]] in ''Persona 2: Innocent Sin'' and [[spoiler:JOKER]] in the sequel ''Eternal Punishment''.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: Frequent. Lucifer is usually the one that spearheads this movement. In ''Nocturne'' [[spoiler: the Demi-fiend is now the one that leads it, if the True Demon ending is canon. In Apocalypse, it happens twice over where you face Satan, who was in control of YHVH's armies, only for him to turn and aid you in doing it to YHVH himself.]]
* RainbowSpeak: Chronologically, ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'' was the first ''Persona'' game to use Rainbow Speak, only using it for rumors. ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' has a variation: Words that show up as terms in the game's Dictionary are in blue, while otherwise-important words or phrases are red. [[VideoGame/{{Persona 4}} P4]] uses it sparingly, and it's been introduced to the PSP remake of the first ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' too, even though it was unnecessary.
* RareCandy: Incenses. They come for all stats, though, befitting the NintendoHard nature of the games, they are quite rare.
** In both ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'' games, you can get All Incenses from Fenrirs, which increase all stats.
** In ''Nocturne'' you can [[SaveScumming save-scum]] them by getting nine Lucky Tickets at the shop by buying stuff at 1000 macca intervals, save, and then buy at a tenth interval at the store. The owner will give you three boxes to choose from; sometimes they may have an incense inside, depending if you open it on a certain Kagutsuchi phase. You can also get Incenses from golden chests, also depending on Kagutsuchi phase.
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: Why Steven from ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'' is alive in the sequel, which is set a hundred years later? [[spoiler: He became a entity that exists beyond time and space. He reveals this in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'' where he explains why balance is needed between Law and Chaos, and even beyond that, he goes on to return in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV''.]] Of course, ''how'' he did it is unknown.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech [[spoiler: To YHVH in 2 and Mastema in Strange Journey]]
** Majin Tensei has [[spoiler:your doppelganger]] chew your ass out over just how many [[spoiler:lives you've taken in the chaos path]]. TheHero curses himself in this ending as well.
* RecurringElement: Jack Frost [[LongList and his relatives]].
* RecurringExtra: The master of the Cathedral of Shadows and the owner of Rag's Shop.
* RedOniBlueOni: Chaos and law tend to be this for red and blue respectively. They even have the appropriate color pallets.
** Meta example: To contrast ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'''s demonic red palette, ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2'' uses angelic blue. Even the storylines are slightly different from each other, but their {{True Ending}}s are on opposite sides.
* ReforgedIntoAMinion: Almost every boss and miniboss can be subject to this. Once you've killed them once, you have the right to summon them at an adequate level.
* RefusingParadise: It is possible to reject Law's paradise en lieu of working towards creating one.
* RidiculouslyHumanRobots: Machines that develop human thoughts and feelings are often featured in [=MegaTen=] games. This includes Aigis and Labrys in the ''Persona'' series, [[spoiler:Rasputin]] from the ''Devil Summoner'' games, and the Innocents in ''IMAGINE''.
%%* RuleOfSymbolism
* RunningGag:
-->''[[UsefulNotes/WhyMaoChangedHisName Due to a linguistic error involving the]] [[ComicallyMissingThePoint Chinese word for cat]], his name was changed to [[VisualPun Neko Shogun]].''
* TheSacredDarkness: The Lady race features Black Maria, who is based off an interpretation of the Virgin Mary with black skin, and is stated to be a holy mother of the dark. Likewise, the demon Alciel, the "Black Sun", or "King of Gehenna" has added commentary in the Compendium saying darkness is a part of rebirth.
* SacrificialRevivalSpell: In some entries in the series, the Recarmdra spell will revive all fallen party members at the cost of killing the caster.
* {{Satan}}: Different forms of the Devil regularly show up over the series
** The Literature/BookOfJob Old Testament Satan serves as God's [[TheDragon Dragon]] in ''Shin Megami Tensei II'' and ''Digital Devil Saga 2'', and as a Judgement-class Persona in the ''Persona'' games.
** The separate Lucifer serves leader of the forces of CHAOS in the ''SMT'' continuity, in direct opposition to God, and two different Persona in the ''Persona'' games.
* SatanIsGood: Well, [[SocialDarwinist not good]], but a lot more agreeable than [[GodIsEvil the other guy]].
** Lucifer is occasionally portrayed as an AffablyEvil AntiVillain. Though this tends to be in games that aren't as directly law versus chaos.
** The completely separate Satan will also help you stop an OmnicidalManiac God if you take the LAW path in ''SMT II''.
* SaveGameLimits: You typically can only save at set points, such as Terminals. ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' breaks tradition by letting you save ''anywhere''.
* SaveScumming: Considering that ''IV'' [[RocketTagGameplay has no defense stat and as such enemies can and will rapidly eat you for breakfast]], you'll be thankful you can.
* SchoolUniformsAreTheNewBlack: A number of the protagonists are high school students and occasionally get caught up in events while still in their school uniforms.
* SchmuckBait: Atlus likes to bait you into taking silly risks. A notable example is before the Daisoujou fight in ''Nocturne''. The boss uses powerful light and dark type (OneHitKill) attacks, but directly before the fight, the player has access to a magatama that boosts strength by 10, while making the player weak to light and dark attacks. With a stat cap of 40, naturally it seems like a good idea, but then [[OhCrap you're promptly punished]].
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: One possible response you can get from a demon when you do something for them or answer one of their questions is that the demon becomes angry and leaves. Irritating if you were trying to get something from the demon or get them to join you, but much better than [[BerserkButton illiciting a free round for their party]].
* SecretAIMoves: ''Many''. Part of TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything.
** One of the most notable comes in ''Nocturne'' and ''Digital Devil Saga'' in the form of two moves (''Beast Eye'' and ''Dragon Eye'') that gives the enemy free actions for a puny mana cost. For the most part, only bosses have it, [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard and you can't learn it]]. ''Videogame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' lets you FINALLY learn a special version called Guardian's Eye...but [[BraggingRightsReward it requires a demon only obtainable from the last and most difficult DLC boss battle]], can only be inherited through an extremely limited form of fusion, and [[AwesomeButImpractical costs an absurd 255 MP]].
*** Not without cheating back anyways, ''Digital Devil Saga 1'' has a cheat that allows you select any skill written in the code (whether it's in the game or not). Wanna bitchslap [[ThatOneBoss Hito-Shura]]? Break out [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard Hunger Wave]] and [[CurbStompBattle pound away]].
* SelfDestructiveCharge: Some enemies, if pushed, will try to invoke TakingYouWithMe through a massive explosion, sometimes even hurting their own allies in the process.
* SentientCosmicForce: The great will is this for the entire series. It is not intelligent, but is a summation of reality that both gives rise to it, as well as is a collective summation of all its entities. Its independent actions tend to be limited to responding to the actions of the collective inside of it, dividing itself to generate demons as thoughts that reflect what the people within it do. All the different sides ultimately in some way tend to respect the great will, with law calling it god, chaos calling it nature, and neutral ambiguously calling it "the common thread that binds all that exists." Sometimes they will simply refer to it directly as the great will though.
* SexSells: Aeria started advertising the MMORPG with this using demons. To be fair, a few of the demons are attractive, but [[FanDisservice others...]]
* ShoutOut: The games reference to a huge amount of other creators' work and general culture from around the world.
** UsefulNotes/CarlJung: His psychological research is a major thematic influence for the franchise, particularly in the [[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]] series.
** Theatre/LittleShopOfHorrors: Audrey is a summonable monster.
** Film/{{Beetlejuice}}: The demon Betelgeuse wears Beetlejuice's iconic black and white pinstripe suit.
** Creator/StephenKing: The "Chris the Car" demon is a reference to King's 1983 novel ''Literature/{{Christine}}''
** Creator/HPLovecraft: Lovecraft's Old One, [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Cthulhu]] and Nyarlathotep are summonable monsters.
** ThomasTheTankEngine: a hero named "Thomas the Tank" appears in ''SMT II''.
* ShownTheirWork: The Demonic Compendium for every single game in the series, including spinoffs, contains an accurate overview of each demon's background and origin, and the sources pulled from are ''diverse'' to say the least. If you don't have a degree in mythological studies, playing through a bunch of the games and reading the entire Compendium for each would give you one hell of a head start.
* SignatureMove: ''Many''. Notable in that they are only very rarely passable to other monsters / Personas through fusion inheritance, limiting you to using that specific demon if you really want to use the move.
** [[AliceAllusion Alice]] has the destructive "Die For Me!" attack: the deadliest Curse/Mudo-type OneHitKill move.
** The equivalent Hama move ("Die For Me!" counts as Mudo) is "Samsara", traditionally possessed by Daisoujou.
** Metatron has Fire of Sinai, a rain of [[LightIsNotGood Almighty-type holy fire]].
** Beelzebub has Death Flies, a swarm of, again, Almighty-type monstrous black flies that either fully devour you in one go or leave you half-eaten with very little hope to survive.
** Huang Long has ''Celestial Ray''. Huge Almighty damage and random StandardStatusEffects.
** Surt, the fire giant from Myth/NorseMythology has his signature Fire spell Ragnarok. Sometimes, Loki, Thor and Odin join in the fun with Niflheim, Thunder Reign and Panta Rhei.
** Mara and "Maralagidyne". [[GagPenis Oh, yuck.]]
** From ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'', we have these gems: Tatsuya/Apollo's Nova Kaiser, Eikichi/Hades' Bloody Honeymoon, Jun/Chronos' Cross Fortune, Lisa/Venus' Foamy Lover, Maya/Artemis' Crescent Mirror, Baofu/Prometheus' Wiseman Snap, Katsuya/Hyperion's Justice Shot, and Ulala/Asteria's Twinkle Nebula.
** Every Fiend has a signature move in ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne Nocturne]]'': Matador has [[SuperSpeed Red Capote]] and [[SliceAndDiceSwordsmanship Andalucia]], Daisojou has Preach and [[LifeDrain Meditation]], Hell Biker has [[WeaponizedExhaust Hell Exhaust and Hell Burner]], White Rider has [[BoomHeadshot God's Bow]], Red Rider has [[AxCrazy Terrorblade]], Black Rider has [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Soul Divide]], Pale Rider has [[PlagueMaster Pestilence]], the Harlot has [[MightyRoar Beast Roar]] and Trumpeter has [[OneHitKO Evil Melody]] and [[HealThyself Holy Melody]]. Others examples are Skadi ([[DishingOutDirt Earthquake]]), Amaterasu ([[LightIsNotGood Godly Light]]), Dante (his entire moveset), Pazuzu ([[BlowYouAway Wet Wind]]) Kurama Tengu ([[LightEmUp Starlight]]), Mada ([[TheAlcoholic Intoxicate]]), Valkyrie ([[DareToBeBadass Soul Recruit]]), Mithra ([[WithUsOrAgainstUs Death Pact]]) and Dionysius ([[AlcoholHic Wine Party]]). Each of the Conception gods has at least one: Ahriman has Hell's Call and Apocalypse, Noah has Domination and Baal Avatar has Bael's Bane.
** In ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse Apocalypse]]'', the Fiends all get a renamed Meditation and at least one of their skills from ''Nocturne'' in addition to new ones for David and the DLC Fiend: Haunting Rhapsody for David, Andalusia for Matador, God's Bow for White Rider, Blade of Terror for Red Rider, Soul Divide for Black Rider, Pestilence for Pale Rider, Evil Melody for Trumpeter, Death Lust and Babylon Goblet for Mother Harlot, and Zenki's Axe, Goki's Water Wall, and Peacock's Incantation for En no Ozuno.
** On a different angle, many of the Demi-fiend exclusive attacks can be seen like this. Highlights include Freikugel, Magma Axis, Gaea Rage, and Deadly Fury.
** Many bosses have signature moves that are pretty relevant to the mythology behind them. Harihara has Chaturbuja, Vaikunta and Three Worlds (changed to Reincarnate in english), Brahman has Brahma Sutra and Izanami has Thousand Curses. For the Law and Chaos heroes, [[spoiler: Jimenez]] and [[spoiler: Zelenin]] have Left Hand and Right Hand respectively. Belial has Sodom's Fire/Fire of Gomorrah, and Nebiros has Necromancy, while Lilith has Temptation.
** The ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' bosses have some of these. For instance, Hayagriva has Fire Storm and Skewer, Camazotz has the Guard ability and later on, Zotzilaha Bane, Usas has Seraph Lore, Rahu has Dragon Quake and Dragon Thrash, Cerberus has Pyriphlegethon, Varin Omega has Hunger Wave.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Mostly set on the further ends of Cynical. {{God}} is usually an [[GodIsEvil evil bastard]], everyone sane is trying to use you to further their personal goals ([[UnwittingPawn which you will inevitably fall for]], [[ButThouMust whether you like it or not]]) and [[EverythingIsTryingToKillYou everything else is trying to kill you]]. The more idealistic settings (like ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'' games) are usually AWorldHalfFull, however. The series has gradually gotten more and more idealistic as time has gone by; in newer games, you really can EarnYourHappyEnding if you don't lose hope. Even before that, most of the canon endings tend to be the relatively uplifting (by the franchise's standards) neutrality endings.
* {{Soaperizing}}: ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' and its sequel ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', while still RPG's, add DatingSim [[LevelUpAtIntimacy5 elements]]. These games are [[CashCowFranchise INSANELY]] popular, and Persona 3 was the mainstream English market introduction to the Shin Megami Tensei franchise.
* SoundtrackDissonance: Averted as far as genre goes. Whereas most RPG's use orchestral and symphonic music for their soundtracks, [=MegaTen=] uses rock and more modern sounds for its. Turns out to work pretty well considering [=MegaTen=] is usually in a modern setting or, at its worst, {{Cyberpunk}}.
* SpellLevels: The series uses a basic form of suffixes and prefixes, but early games do not have an in-game manual for these. ''Learning to use them correctly is critical''.
** The main attack spells in the series are a slew of elements, commonly Ice (Bufu), Fire (Agi), Electricity (Zio) and, depending on the game, either Wind (Garu) or Force (Zan). There's also Psychological (Psy), Nuclear (Frei), Earth (Magna/Tera), Gravity (Gry) and Water (Aqua). These basic elements have three tiers, basic (no suffix), medium (a variety of suffixes), and powerful (-dyne). Most of these can also have the Ma- prefix, which denotes that it hits the entire enemy party. Depending on the game's mechanics and the enemies at hand, this may or may not be desirable.
** The basic OneHitKill spells, Hama (Light/Expel) and Mudo (Darkness/Death) can also have the Ma- prefix, with or without the -on suffix, which denotes a better chance of hitting the enemy. There is a third tier, but they're generally exclusive to certain demons and thus do not follow the naming convention (Samsara or Judgment Light for Light, Die for Me! for Darkness).
** The basic healing spell, Dia, comes with two possible suffixes: -rama, more heal, and -rahan, full heal. The Ma- prefix comes back as Me-.
** The basic buff and debuff spells are ''only'' suffixes and prefixes: Taru- is physical attacks, Maka- is magical attacks, Raku- is defense, Sama- is magical defense, Suku- is speed, and De- removes stat changes. -kaja stands for buffs, -unda or -nda are debuffs. Depending on the mechanics of the game, they may or may not affect the entire party. If the latter is true, however, they also make use of the Ma- prefix.
** The basic Almighty attack is Megido, and it comes with two suffixes: -la ([[ThisIsGonnaSuck run for your life]]) and -laon ([[NukeEm prepare for complete obliteration]]). Still, there ''are'' even deadlier Almighty spells, such as Black Viper, Morning Star, and Jihad/Antichthon. However, the only one that retains the naming convention, the most obscenely overpowered of them all, is [[BonusBoss Lucifer]]'s exclusive [[VideoGame/DevilSurvivor Megidoladyne]].
** -karn are one-time Reflect moves, Tetra- being any physical, and Makara- being any magical excluding Almighty and StandardStatusEffects. Whether used as an item or as a move, it may affect only the user or the entire party depending on the game's mechanics. Both the demons with the move and the items are few and far between, and ''very expensive'' all around.
** Recarm is the basic revival skill, and Samarecarm revives at full life. Recarmdora / Recarmdra / Recarmloss variably fully heals all allies, revives all fallen allies, or heals and clears ailments, at the cost of either killing the caster or invoking HPToOne.
** Beyond this, there are a number of special attacks with other names. Still, those are the basics.
* SpiritualSuccessor: There's a Konami-made smartphone game in Japan called "Dragon Collection" that's immensely popular. Its stable of monster cards is, shall we say suspiciously similar to the ''Shin Megami Tensei'' cast, and the old ''VideoGame/DevilChildren'' spinoffs in particular.
* StandardStatusEffects: Almost all standard effects are present, as normal spells or physical attacks capable of additionally inflicting these. Chains of these are possible, leading to easy {{Game Breaker}}s.
* TheStoic: Law characters are often depicted as this. Sometimes to a fault, showing up acting robotic, or occasionally being actual robots.
* StoryBranchFavoritism: Where themes of Law vs Chaos are concerned, the Neutral endings where humanity takes a stand and [[TookAThirdOption does not commit to a specific faction]], are considered to be the best endings from the creator perspective. For chaos, being social darwinistic this may be justified, but law being a depiction of utilitarianism, a mainstream ethical theory tends to end up being strawmanned in plot.
* StoryBranching: A number of ''Shin Megami Tensei'' games have branching paths where you choose between Law, Chaos, or Neutral allegiance. Some, like ''Nocturne'' and the ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'' series, have more choices beyond these classic three paths.
* {{Stripperiffic}}: Many female demons are outright MsFanservice.
** Many male demons are guilty of providing {{Fanservice}} this way too.
* SummonMagic: Arguably how [=COMPs=] function in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'', the Personas in the ''Persona'' series, Naomi's spells in VideoGame/SoulHackers, the Demon Summoning Program in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'', the Nicaea app in ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2''...
* SummoningArtifact: Technology is often treated in this capacity in the games, though ''IV'' introduces the need to acquire certain ritualistic items to summon certain demons.
* SummoningRitual: Shown occasionally. Mekata's ruined ritual in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'', Mara's summoning in ''Nocturne'' and the Seraph summoning in ''Strange Journey'' are some examples. Taken into a broader context, the series' summoning and fusion technology ''is'' this ever since the first ''Literature/DigitalDevilStory'', as you are tributing lesser demons in exchange for a more powerful one turning up to serve you. When viewed like this, it's little surprise hexagrams (traditional summoning emblems) have been used as the series' brand logos.
* SupernaturallyDeliciousAndNutritious: Again, Red, Magatsuhi, Magnetite. All of them are largely the same. ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' put its own spin on this concerning Magnetite and mentions all things have the substance in them and that living creatures eat each other to obtain Magnetite and survive. Humans and Demons require the most Magnetite to survive, so they have to eat far more, which is why Demons eat other demons/humans since they have the most Magnetite.
* SuperpowerMeltdown: One of the ''many'' reasons for which human/demon fusions are considered to be temporary {{Emergency Transformation}}s at best.
* TakenForGranite: A recurring ailment, and a continuous source of NightmareFuel in ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'', where the vast majority of Humanity is now a huge statuary.
* TalkingTheMonsterToDeath: The standard method of recruitment in [=MegaTen=] games, though bribery, flattery and sometimes even ''dancing'' can play a part.
* TarotMotifs: The ''Persona'' series, where every Persona is linked to one of the Major Arcana, which dictates how well each character can use its abilities.
** In ''Persona'' and ''Persona 2'', there are even a handful associated with the minor arcana.
* TautologicalTemplar: All three sides (Law, Neutral and Chaos) want to help, want only the best for Mankind. Only Neutral more or less realizes it may not be perfect.
* TeleportersAndTransporters: The series proper began with a teleportation experiment gone wrong, in which a demon was accidentally dragged to the mortal realm.
* ThemeNaming: The above-mentioned SpellLevels.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: One of the main reasons of why ThePowerOfFriendship is so necessary.
* ThereCanBeOnlyOne: The others are still ''not'' gonna let you [[TheRival steal "their" thunder]], though.
* TimedMission: Two of the three Towers in ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' 's Snow Queen Quest. The Priestess full moon shadow in ''VideoGame/{{Persona3}}''. The final DLC battle against Masakado in ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV IV]]''.
* TokyoIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse: All numbered games must be set in some kind of Tokyo, which is where the battle between God and Lucifer's forces will be fought. Others may be.
** A warped version of Tokyo was the entire game world in ''Nocturne''.
** ''Devil Survivor'' begins with Tokyo being locked down, and you never get the chance to escape.
* TotalitarianUtilitarian: This is pretty much the main staple of law's ideology across the entire series. While their final outcome goal is not to have a totalitarian society, but merely a peaceful one where no one suffers greatly, they can and will restrict freedom at any time they think it has benefits towards reaching this goal. Often cutting to the chase by simply brainwashing people into acting how they want them to.
* TranshumanTreachery: The ''vast'' amount of demon-human hybrids created by FusionDance present in the series are so blinded by their new powers they start allowing their ego and fanaticism to taint their judgment ''very'' quickly. There is very little if any mental deterioration, they just get drunk on power and proceed to jump off the slippery slope. After a while, their best answer to any problem is to blast the hell out of it.
* TraumaInn: Present in most games. But incredibly likely to make you bleed Macca (or Yen, depending on the game) at an accelerated pace, in any form.
* TraumaticSuperpowerAwakening: A much-forgotten lesson from ''Persona'' games: ''you need to be broken to have a Persona in the first place''. It's not a random superpower you can get, it's a shield to protect you. It's more clearly seen in the ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'' duology, where two Personas are forcefully awoken by the Araya Shrine incident. Arguably, it comes back with a vengeance in ''Persona 3'' -- as one character notes, you'd have to be a little messed up to fire a gun-like object at your own head. Repeatedly.
** Even "bright and bubbly" ''VideoGame/Persona4'' has it as a major element; it's just less obvious than in some other titles (fitting with the game's theme). Everyone appears fine on the surface, but underneath the veneer they're all in crisis by the time the protagonist gets involved. [[note]]In order: Yosuke is the "least" broken and he's still dealing with crushing ennui as a result of his move to Inaba (and it's implied he had trouble making long-term friends even before then); the relationship between Chie and Yukiko, and its unspoken roles, is this close to becoming utterly toxic for both parties; Kanji is utterly bewildered by the disconnect between his talents and the perception of "manly" pursuits in his culture and has no idea what to make of his identity as a result; Rise is self-admittedly on the verge of psychological breakdown due to her shame over the creepier elements of the idol industry and whether that encompasses the whole of her identity; and Naoto has her toes dangling on the edge of the DespairEventHorizon as a result of not being taken seriously in her job and is riddled with doubt about whether she ever ''can'' be accepted as both a woman and a detective.[[/note]]
* TropeMaker: The first game series with [[{{Mon}} recruitable monsters]].
* TrueCompanions: "We're comrades."
** This trope becomes a major plot point and gameplay element for the third and fourth Persona games. Making friends gives you ''actual'' power.
* UltimateBlacksmith: Fusion masters (the Master of the Cathedral of Shadows and Dr. Victor) have a good claim to the title due to the sheer quality of the weaponry they provide.
* UnbuiltTrope: Often referred to as a DarkerAndEdgier {{Pokemon}}, but in reality it's more like {{Pokemon}} is a LighterAndSofter [=MegaTen=].
* TheUnfettered: The Gaians, and Lucifer by extension are sometimes depicted as this. To an even greater extent many of the forces of law (excluding YHVH) who often willingly go to their own death with not so much as a change in expression.
* {{Unicorn}}: Appears as a recruitable demon/Persona.
* UnifiedNamingSystem: It is very common to see the recruitable monsters referred to as "demons". Why? In the earlier games, they were referred to as "demons" collectively despite this including angels, gods, and what else was in the games. The name stuck since it is easier to refer to them as demons rather than their individual classification, which is at least ''ten''.
* UpdatedRerelease: The ''Devil Survivor'' games get remade for the 3DS, with full voice acting, and in the case of ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2 : Break Record'', more animated cutscenes. Other games given this treatment include ''VideoGame/SoulHackers'' and all of the Persona games.
* UrbanLegend: A core concept of ''Persona 2'' and the beginning of ''Persona 4''. Some enemy demons in the former are urban legends in Japan.
* UselessUsefulSpell: Completely and utterly averted. Debuff/buff abilities can determine whether you win or lose a fight and the instant death spells are actually damn useful.
** In fact, if your enemy happens to be weak to death/expel, the various death spells are pretty much a guaranteed kill (and are in fact the easiest way to kill certain [[EliteMook otherwise-nigh-invincible mooks]]). Otherwise you still get a 1-in-3 hit rate that you can boost.
** And debuff success rates are affected by ElementalRockPaperScissors (where applicable), which is useful at early levels.
** And StandardStatusEffects are a perfectly valid and abusable tactic, being capable of turning a wave of DemonicSpiders into a guaranteed EpicFail.
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: The standard assumption of the law alignment.
* VerbalTic: A number of demons exhibit distinct speech characteristics: some are intelligent and eloquent, others are thuggish and direct, some [[NoIndoorVoice SPEAK IN ALL CAPS]] and some in [[Film/ManosTheHandsOfFate ToRGo]] [[MemeticMutation sPEeCh]]. And then there's the ver-hee recognizable speech pattern of [[MascotMook Jack Frost]] and his fell-ho Jacks and Frosts, hee-ho!
* VerbalJudo: A key part of demon negotiation.
* TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon: The best example of this: the final dungeon of ''Digital Devil Saga 2'' takes place [[spoiler: in ''The Sun'']].
* ViciousCycle: Oh, yes. The Conception, the Schwartzwelt, and the rise and fall of many of the series' gods and spirits.
* VisualPun: Many of the demons and monsters in this series have designs in this manner, the most infamous one is [[GagPenis Mara]].
* WakeUpGoToSchoolSaveTheWorld: In the early ''SMT'' games, later to be revived as a story device in the ''Persona'' series.
* WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou: A frustratingly high number of these games will give you a game over if your main character gets knocked out, regardless of whether this should make sense in all of them or not. Mudo and Hama spells are particularly devastating in that respect as some of the games give the player almost no recourse against them early on.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Everyone, really. Sadly, it's not easy to change the world and even harder to make sure everyone gets what they want. Given the diametrically opposite beliefs warring in the series and the depths they're willing to plumb, most of the time, your only option is to do what you believe is best for everyone. Of course... so will everybody else.
* WeirdCurrency: Macca in most games, as it's revealed in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' and ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIMAGINE'' that, despite looking like slightly odd coins stamped in a metal similar to bronze, it's actually a form of PureEnergy edible to demons. Lucifer's subordinate Lucifuge Rofocale is apparently in charge of the minting process.
* WeirdMoon:
** In most games that feature moon phases, the moon goes through sixteen different phases, and advances through each phase every few steps you take.
** ''Persona 3'' plays the moon phases more realistically, using actual moon phase data for 2009 and 2010 rather than the traditional mechanic of going through the entire cycle in a matter of a few minutes. However, it has its own lunar oddities: [[spoiler:during the Dark Hour, the moon is Nyx, the BigBad of the game.]]
* TheWeirdSisters: The Fates - Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos - are separate demons that can be recruited. In some games, the three can be fused together in a special process to produce Norn, which is depicted as three goddesses united around a clock.
* WindIsGreen: The name of the element is Force, but it's typically represented by a green tornado icon and the animations for Force skills will tend to have a green tint to them.
* WithUsOrAgainstUs: Most of the time, you will be forced against Law or Chaos factions if you choose their opposite, or ''both'' if you go Neutral. Given almost all of these games literally have the fate of the world hinging on choices made, it's logical they are not going to change their minds without some ''damn'' convincing gab.
* WhatIf: Literally embodied in a game called ''Shin Megami Tensei If''. Beyond that, the ''Devil Summoner'' series is also based around a WhatIf: one which ties into the aforementioned game, which represents the branching point that leads to either the ''Devil Summoner/Persona'' continuity or main-series ''Shin Megami Tensei''. ''If'' presents a what-if question... and ''Devil Summoner'' is the answer to it. On top of all this, the ''Raidou Kuzunoha'' prequel games in the ''Devil Summoner'' line provide a historical What If scenario, hinging, at least in part, on the Taisho period lasting longer than it did in our world.
* WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove: The characters in ''Digital Devil Saga'' suffer from this at first due to starting out as mere computer programs. It's not until Sera shows up that they gain sentience and start to develop emotions.
* WhatTheHellPlayer: Demons will often call you "the real demon" when you toss them into a fusion.
* WorldOfBadass: Three options here. You start as a badass. [[TookALevelInBadass You become a Badass]]. [[YetAnotherStupidDeath You die]]. Choose.
* WorldOfHam: ''Every'' demon tries to out-ham each other. One could almost say power levels in this universe directly correlate to the demon's hamminess.
* WorldOfSilence: Law gets accused of wanting this by chaos in almost every game. Though the degree to which it is accurate varies. In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' Hikawa (who caused the world to get so screwed up and become the Vortex World in the first place according to Lucifer) refers to his reason openly as this. Though in practice it is not as extreme as it sounds. In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' [[spoiler:this is the kind of world Izanami thinks the apathetic humans want]].
* YetAnotherStupidDeath: Many a gamer have been humbled after moments of hubris. Common ways of dying: getting back attacked and having your weaknesses exploited endlessly, getting hit by a Hama or Mudo spell, using the wrong skill at a crucial moment because you weren't paying enough attention, being able to always counter with a physical attack for ludicrous damage and then being glanced by a lowly demon that repels physical attacks.
* YinYangBomb:
** The entire point of ''VideoGame/DevilChildren: Book of Light'' and ''Book of Dark'' for the GBA.
** Also, [[{{Bifauxnen}} Naoto]] [[VideoGame/{{Persona 4}} Shirogane]] has a Persona which uses both [[LightEmUp Hama]] and [[CastingAShadow Mudo]] skills.
** Daisoujou in ''Nocturne'' loves using Mahamaon/Mamudoon for instant game overs if you don't have some kind of protection. He also already starts with both Mahamaon and Mamudoon when you fuse him.
** ''Persona 3 FES'' gives us Messiah, an explicit reference to, well, {{Jesus}}. Thanks to the personas required for the fusion and the inheritance rules, Messiah ''will'' inherit Die For Me!, which will actually be ''his most useful skill'', despite an inherent weakness to darkness. Thanatos, the top Death-arcana persona, is weak to light but learns Mahamaon -- presumably so the player can later have Messiah inherit it, but most delete it... and many plot twists later, the irony is delicious.
* {{Youkai}}: Some of the demons in the series come from here.

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->Before you stand the paths of Law, Chaos, and every path in-between. [[CallToAdventure Where will]] [[EndOfTheWorldSpecial you head]]?

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