Video Game: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army aka: Raidou Kuzunoha Vs The Soulless Army
Things forgotten do not simply disappear.
An action/RPG released in 2006 as part of the Devil Summoner series, a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. The full name of the game is Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha VS The Soulless Army.Set in the "Roaring Twenties" (or the in-game description "Taisho 20"; note that the Taisho period didn't last that long), the game stars a young man who has just ascended from a summoner-in-training to a fully recognized Devil Summoner, and inherits the name and title of "Raidou Kuzunoha the 14th". The Kuzunoha Clan has been protecting the Capital of Japan for centuries, guided by the Herald of Yatagarasu. Devil Summoners have the power to see and hear the demons that live in the Dark Realm, which is our world... but a darker version, one where demons roam freely. A Summoner can also capture demons, and convert them into familiars with which the summoner can call for aid.The main character, now mostly known by his given title, finds himself working for Shouhei Narumi, the owner of the detective agency that shares his name. One day they get a call from a troubled girl named Kaya, and upon meeting her, she begs for them to kill her. She is almost immediately kidnapped by strange soldiers in red uniforms, setting the stage for an epic ordeal involving Raidou, the Dark Realm and vengeful gods.The Devil Summoner series is notable for being a good bit more light-hearted than most other Shin Megami Tensei games, with numerous funny dialogues and comical scenes. Raidou retains the use of Random Encounters, but sets itself apart from the other games in the Megaten series by featuring a real-time battle system. Raidou can hold his own with a katana, but can also summon one demonic ally to help him. In another deviation from the Megaten norm, you no longer talk to demons to convince them to join your party, but rather you capture them by hitting their weak point and then forcing them into a tube. The same demon fusion system that has been featured since Nocturne remains here. When not battling, you attempt to solve the mysteries brought to the attention of the Narumi Detective Agency; in an interesting twist, you can use your demons to invoke specific emotions within the people you question. For example, invoking "Anger" may cause someone to rashly blurt out a clue that they had been withholding.A direct sequel, Devil Summoner: Kuzunoha Raidou tai Abaddon Ou ("Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon") has been released in Japan, and was shipped to the US on May 12, 2009. No PAL release dates have been announced.On April 1, 2014, Raidou Kuzunoha vs the Soulless Army became available on the Playstation Network. Anyone who's missed out on this game can now enjoy it at their leisure.This game provides examples of:
Body Horror: The Waden One radio tower sends out specially-prepared radio waves, and when the people of the Capital are exposed to said waves, their negative feelings are dangerously increased, to the point where Hiruko erupt from their backs.
But first they transform into mouth-laser blasting zombies of pure rage, with icky red membranes partially covering and streaming from them. Ick.
Dual-World Gameplay: The Dark Capital is essentially a gloomy and overcast version of the regular capital. There are no people on the streets (normally); it's inhabited entirely by demons. Energy barriers called Dragon Gates block paths that are accessible in the normal version of the Capital, and you can only go between the regular Capital and the Dark Capital at certain shrines.
The Dark Capital is useful to you in that it is your main source of demons to negotiate with, which gets you allies in battle. Refusing to visit it except strictly as necessary will leave you underpowered and ill-prepared for the challenges you'll face in the game.
It's also necessary to the plot; oftentimes those kidnapped by demons wind up in the Dark Capital, and people harassed by demons usually require the problem to be traced back to the location's Dark Capital counterpart. As a Devil Summoner and a private investigator, that usually means it's Raidou's job (and thus, the player's) to do it.
End of an Age: The game takes place during the time period when Japan was modernizing furiously into the 20th century, yet hadn't left behind all of the old world. This unique clash is one of the things that make the game's setting so memorable.
Enemy Scan: The Herald of Yatagarasu gives you a mystical item that lets you scan enemies at the cost of 10 magnetite. It only works if you've fought the enemy before (and successfully used its weakness) though.
Hyperactive Metabolism: Raidou can buy specially-prepared sodas at the Shin-Sekai soda joint and are drunk on the spot to give Raidou a temporary boost in stats, item drop rate, increased money drops, or restore a percentage of his HP. And he never has to go for a bathroom break, no matter how many sodas he downs.
Important Haircut: Kaya cuts off almost all her hair halfway through the game, mostly so people looking for her won't recognize her.
Implausible Fencing Powers: Raidou's block button can block anything—fire, huge freekin' demon claws, bullets, cannon fire, etc. While the block won't null attacks, it will reduce damage by almost 2/3, and also stop Raidou from being inflicted with status ailments. Practically a necessity for Devil/Hard mode.
Intrepid Reporter: Tae "Kichou" Asakura. Like Narumi, she is a normal human. She's just trying to figure out the strange events that are happening around the Capital... and why Raidou is involved.
Invisible to Normals: Demons are lurking everywhere, but only Devil Summoners and other spiritually empowered individuals can see and hear them. This is why Narumi has Raidou do most of the dirty work. Also, familiars sent out on solo missions can get into areas Raidou cannot reach.
Justified Tutorial: The prologue is basically the protagonist's final test to become a true summoner and Raidou the 14th.
Katanas Are Just Better: Raidou carries a pistol and a katana, but the pistol's only good for stunning enemies or exposing weaknesses.
Kindhearted Cat Lover: The owner of the Shin-Sekai soda joint takes in cats that are in front of his store. You have to spend enough money there to find out, though.
Monsters Everywhere: You can be attacked by random encounters at any time, whereever you are in the city. This was changed in the sequel so that you were only attacked in dungeons or the Dark World.
Mundane Made Awesome: The instruction booklet. It's peppered with 20's era slang, and describes saving your game an awesome moment in itself ("Do not remove the memory card when saving or loading... nothing burns like the glare of an interrupted stenographer.")
Mythology Gag (Alice's sidequest is a throwback to the earlier Megaten games, where she was doted upon by Belial and Nebiros—the Scarlet Count and Black Baron, respectively—the two demons needed to take on the quest.)
New Game+: Raidou defaults to Level 1, but he keeps his title/rank (and any extra tubes he earned), any bonuses earned from buying/selling things to Shin-sekai and Konnou-Ya, allows him to fight Raiho-kun and keep his registered demons in the Devil Chart, as well as the option to try the brutal "Devil Difficulty".
Nice Hat: Raidou's snappy black cap that goes with his badass cape and uniform. Raidou doesn't even take it off when he's in the bathhouse, which the local yakuza boss calls him out on. Even the representation of Raidou on the overworld map comes with a cute little hat.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The titular Soulless Army, which is comprised of undead military soldiers trained in swordplay, light and heavy guns, and kung fu kicks.
No Fourth Wall: Raiho claims to have watched your last cycle and is so impressed, he wants to fight you... or else he'll delete your save data. Lucky for us, he's just kidding.
Retcon: In-continuity, no less. The aforementioned Beethoven was sent into the past to end the Taisho era at the "proper time", to keep history intact. He pretty much decided to blow off the job though and do his own thing, which may have led to the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona continuities.
Retraux: The environments are pre-rendered stillshots. This cuts down on processing power for ease of use, but it's also very reminiscent of Playstation One games that used this exact format (like Resident Evil or Final Fantasy VII).
Spin Attack: Raidou starts with "Dragon Cyclone", a "hold-type" Charged Attack. It's naturally a little slow and there's usually a window of delay when the attack finishes, but any enemies that connect with it are stunned and knocked away from Raidou. Some Combination Arts, when used, simply imbue the attack with an element + ailment effect, as well as higher damage output.
Stab the Sky: Call your demon to you in battle while standing still, and Raidou will raise his sword into the air. He makes no such movement while running, though, so he might just have a thing for being flashy.
Vendor Trash: Any artifacts you find are only there to be sold to Konnou-Ya Antiques.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Big Bad's plan isn't particularly bad. It just happens to involve the death of thousands in Taisho 20 to save billions down the line.
Wham Line: From the Akarana Corridor: "The ambassador has launched the ICBMs!" To the character, the line is meaningless. To a player who has also played Shin Megami Tensei I and II it suddenly makes the villain's motivations abundantly clear. To wit, this game is a prequel to those two, wherein most of humanity is wiped out in nuclear fire, the closest friends and allies constantly turn on each other at the drop of a hat or simply drop like flies, and no matter what you do things just get worse, and worse, and worse. And your actions guarantee that it's going to happen. Well done, hero.
Definitely a gutpunch when first encountered, but later games in the series negate the impact of this. Raidou Kuzunoha is confirmed to exist in the same universe as the Persona series, where the apocalypse never happened. So it seems the future did change even though Raidou XL changed nothing as he admits that he changed nothing.