Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Megami Tensei II

Go To

Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei II is, as the name suggests, the sequel to Megami Tensei for the Famicom. Despite being a direct sequel to the events of the first game, it has little to nothing to do with the original Digital Devil Story plotline, and in fact closer resembles, and likely inspired, the Shin Megami Tensei games that followed it.

In the year 199X, the world was thrown into nuclear war and Tokyo was hit by a missile strike. During the resulting chaos, a horde of demons from Makai managed to launch an invasion of the human world, pretty much conquering it. Cut 35 years later, where various demon lords fight it out for control of Tokyo, and humanity struggles to survive in the ruins of the city and the bomb shelters where they fled years before. In one such bomb shelter, a young man and his friend come across the sealed demon Pazuzu while playing a mysterious game known as "Devil Busters". Pazuzu, claiming to be a servant of God, declares the two as the Messiahs who will save humanity from the demons and grants one with the Demon Summoning Program that will allow him to talk to, and recruit, the demons, and teaches the other magic. Shortly afterwards, however, the bomb shelter is attacked by demons and the two are thrust out into the ruined, demon infested world.

The game follows three primary human characters. None of the characters are given official names, and must be named by the player.

  • Hero: The Heroic Mime protagonist. A resident of Bomb Shelter No. 3, he was given the Devil Summoning Program by Pazuzu in order to combat the demons. His actions will determine the ultimate fate of the world.
  • Friend: The hero's friend. Proud, pushy, and selfish, he easily buys into Pazuzu's claims and the praise of the Messians. When the hero sides with the heroine against Pazuzu, the friend will leave. The friend will eventually transform into the Dark Hero, the game's primary rival character.
  • Partner: The hero's main companion. Originally a witch working for Pazuzu, she realized she was simply being used by him and hid in the ruined Tokyo Tower, where she protected the people living nearby. Joins with the hero after revealing to him Pazuzu's true intentions, and stays with him throughout the game, regardless of the path he takes.

Like its predecessor and successors, Megami Tensei II is a first person dungeon crawler using a turn based battle system, and the bulk of the player's party will be made of demons who they recruited. However, demons cannot level up on their own, and must be fused together to form stronger demons. Unlike the map and cursor overworld used by later games, there is a full overworld between dungeons, complete with overworld sprites for the three human party members. Like most main Shin Megami Tensei games, the game ends if both human party members are killed.

During the era of the Shin Megami Tensei sequels, the game was remade alongside the first game as Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei for the Super Famicom. Aside from graphical updating, the remake introduced several new demons.

This game provides examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: The Dark Hero's death is treated as a somber event, despite him trying to kill you several times. Before he dies, he realizes that he was tricked by Pazuzu and apologizes for getting in the hero's way. He also mentions that the "true enemy," resides in Makai and confesses that all he wanted was to be a hero himself. In response, the hero places the Solomon's Ring on his finger and leaves.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The hero loses one of his arms in a trap while attempting to get one of the Seven Pillars, and has to get it replaced with a robotic arm that also serves as the COMP upgrade of the game. The missing arm is even reflected in game as a status ailment that deals continuous damage to the hero and prevents the player from using the COMP.
  • The Apunkalypse: Many of the enemies in the Kyojin (Psycho) clan consist of punk rockers, heavy metal fans, and long haired bikers, all with incredibly dated appearances.
  • Avenging the Villain: Before dying, YHVH claims that He is part of the Great Will, an entity that oversees multiple universes and boasts that He will be avenged by an even higher power than Himself. The English translation on the other hand, has Him boasting that He will soon be revived by the Great Will, at which point He will merely re-undo humanity's progress.
  • Badass Long Robe: The Partner wears one. And hers has a hood.
  • Badass Normal: The non-magic-using hero, as is the Megami Tensei tradition.
  • Beef Gate: The Ginza Underpass, which can be accessed relatively early, leads to several other areas. If you try to take the path to Ground Zero though, you'll find Tiamat in your way, who is Lv 72 in an area with Lv 11-19 enemies. You won't need to go to Ground Zero until you defeat Bael and find all the Pillars of Solomon, at which point Tiamat shouldn't be much trouble.
  • Big Bad: YHVH, AKA the God from Christianity, is the being responsible for the apocalypse.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Good Ending, where the Hero and the Partner return to the ruined world with the demons gone after defeating YHVH. However, with his last breaths, YHVH claims that the Great Will will avenge Him.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Kuchinawa Sword. It has low attack power, around 6, but can hit multiple times and doesn't sap your HP like the Nihil Blade. Chances are you'll hang onto the Kuchinawa Sword until you get to Makai.
  • Body Horror: After his transformation into the Dark Hero, the Friend is hooked up to an uncomfortable, organic looking armor.
  • Brainwashed: The humans who gathered to listen to Balam in Shibuya and later it's revealed that the entire human membership of the Deva Cult were actually brainwashed by Leonard.
  • But Thou Must!: Recruiting the Partner, as a Macguffin giving NPC will refuse to work with the Friend. A cruel variation in the original Famicom version: Rejecting the Partner means she attacks you and kills you, being much stronger than she is when she joins your party. In Kyuyaku, meanwhile, she just leaves until you leave the dungeon and come back, meaning that you have effectively infinite tries to "recruit" her.
  • Call-Back: Devil Busters, the first "dungeon" of the game, is a recreation of the first town and dungeon from the previous game. At the end of the (main) game, it is revealed that it was programmed by Akemi Nakajima, the previous game's protagonist.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Nihil Blade and the Deathblade are incredibly powerful at the points in the game when you get them (some are even able to clear the game using Deathblades), but they will inflict Curse status on you, causing you to lose 1 HP per step.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Almost of the overworld NPC's remain helpful, chatty and optimistic despite living in a post-apocalyptic world where demons reign supreme.
  • Cosy Catastrophe:
    • While the nuclear strike in 199X wrecked the overworld and submerged a good chunk of Tokyo, those who made it to Shelter #3 don't have it all that bad (ignoring the fact that except for the main characters, they can't go outside). They're stocked with weapons, they have access to a working bar and some kind of regular food source. There's also a security force although Nebiros makes quick work of them.
    • Those who don't live in shelters are forced to find refuge from demons in dilapidated buildings. However, these survivors still manage to carry on fashion trends (see The Apunkalypse) and there are many thriving shops, bars, casinos. On the other hand, the Good Ending seems to make a big deal about overworld survivors being able to use electricity again, meaning they've essentially been stuck in the Dark Ages for twenty or thirty-something years.
  • Cool Boat: Mora sort of works like this, ferrying you from place to place in exchange for Talismans and food.
  • Crutch Character: Orthrus is the most prominent one, being powerful enough to beat every random encounter on his own when you get him, but also Cerberus, Naga, and Atlas.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Like later games, the Messians are Judeo-Christian in everything but name.
  • Damsel in Distress: The Partner is kidnapped before entering Astaroth's Castle, which you come across during the second half of your explorations in Makai. She rejoins your team after you take out Astaroth.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Messians compared to later games. Representatives show up exactly twice during the course of the game, while the rest of their activities are mentioned in passing by other characters.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: If you go for the Good ending, you'll have to defeat YHVH.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The Nihil Blade can be obtained from Ueno somewhat early on. It saps your HP, but it does enough damage that as soon as you get it, you can defeat Tiamat. However, you may want to keep the Nihil Blade in your inventory instead of using it (see Evolving Weapon).
    • More of a Disc Two Nuke but if you're at level 52 (a diligent player can reach level 44 before Bael's Castle which is a good spot to level grind) and you have Undine (fuse two fairy types to get), Slyph (fuse two youma types to get) and Salamander (fuse two beast types to get), you can triple fuse them to summon the Angel Michael, who can be obtained right before you travel to Makai and remains useful until the end of the game.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Dragon turns out to be Mr. Suzuki, the corporate executive from early in the game.
  • Dual Wielding: Subverted. Human characters can wield a Sword and Gun at the same time, but can only use one weapon or the other per turn in battle.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Lucifer can be this to your team, if you meet the requirements to have him join your party. Baal and Ahura Mazda qualify too.
  • Eternal Engine: The Intelligence Building in Shibuya. What it's used for is unknown, but it contains lots of machines. With enemies being under Machines race.
  • Evil Laugh: Some demons that can't be communicated with simply reply "kururururu," if you try to talk to them. Eerily, some humans will, too.
  • Evolving Weapon: The Nihil Blade will become the Hinokagutsuchi if you still have it and Lucifer decides to join your party.
  • Fetch Quest: Three of them! Gathering the Four Talismans to get around Tokyo, then Seven Pillars to enter Makai, then gathering the jewels needed to actually get around Makai and reach Lucifer's Temple.
  • Fusion Dance: Aside from the regular method of fusing demons, if you spared Bael earlier in the game, he will fuse with Beelzebub and form Baal. Recruiting Baal is required in order to recruit Lucifer and get the game's "good" ending.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Cursed weapons gradually decrease your HP, can't be normally unequipped, and must be removed by "Removing" the curse at a temple (which also unequips the weapon). If you die while holding one, and then resurrected, the "Cursed" status will be gone. The temple will not remove the curse if it isn't there, so you cannot remove the weapon ever.
  • Game Within a Game: Devil Busters, a partial remake of the first Megami Tensei played from a top-down perspective.
  • God Is Evil: And the True Final Boss, predating Shin Megami Tensei II. Unlike the other games (with the exception of Shin Megami Tensei II), where he wants to enslave humanity in a Thousand Year Kingdom, this time he just wants to kill them all.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Zaratan Island, despite not being the final boss, just pops out of nowhere to give the player an extra random obstacle in trying to get to Bael's Castle.
  • Gratuitous English: Some of the human random encounters use the word "death," spelled in lowercase letters to make a threat towards you, if you try to talk to them.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • In order to advance the plot, you will need the elementals Undine and Gnome to recover sunken treasure in Makai and unlock a dungeon, respectively. The game doesn't suggest that Undine or Gnome would be useful in these situations at all.
    • The best armor and weapon in the game for the Hero, Lucifer's Armor and Lucifer's Sword, require you to have put specific high numbers of points into the attributes of Strength, Vitality, and Intelligence. If the player has been leveling up normally, they likely will have enough points in Vitality and Strength by the time they can get the armor and sword. However, having the 20 points in Intelligence even late in the game is much less likely unless the player has been forewarned, since the player likely figured out the attribute primarily influences magic, which the Hero does not have, making it an otherwise virtually useless attribute.
  • Harmless Freezing: Aside from the regular status ailment, Lucifer is frozen during the first half of the game, presumably sealed by Nakajima after the events of the first game. He gets better thanks to the Dark Hero, according to an NPC in Ginza.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Naga has been impaled upon the Kuchinawa Sword when you find him. When you remove the sword, you'll be able to take it with you and Naga will join your party.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Bright gold ones, too! In a post-apocalyptic 202X, no less! And in Makai too!
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Vajra and the Muramasa. The former is dropped by Belphegor if you fight him in Makai and is a weaker version of Lucifer's Sword. Meanwhile the Muramasa is dropped by a random encounter in Belial's castle (the second Makai dungeon) and is the Hinokagutsuchi if it were half as strong.
    • Even after they've been replaced by the Infinity +1 Sword, both swords are still somewhat useful. The Vajra is the strongest sword for the partner. Meanwhile the Muramasa is a surprisingly common drop from a weak enemy and can be sold for a very high price in shops.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Several. There's Lucifer's Sword, which requires an intelligence level of 20/21 to wield and the Hinokagutsuchi, which requires you speak to Lucifer while you have the Nihil Blade in your inventory. There's also the Meggido Fire which can only be obtained before the final boss fight (see below).
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: The Friend/Dark Hero is convinced that he (and initially, the Hero) are the saviors of Messian legend. Even though Pazuzu is clearly using him, he opts to fight in his name no matter what.
    • The Dark Hero confirms this with his last words and says that all he wanted was to be a hero.
  • Justified Tutorial: The Devil Busters arcade game teaches the players the basics of the combat system, but because it's just an arcade game a Game Over results in the Friend mocking the Hero with zero other consequences.
  • Last Disc Magic: Lucifer's Sword can only be equipped prior to the final dungeon. The only drawback is that the Hero must have an intelligence level of 20 (21 in Kyuuyaku) to wield it. The Megiddo Fire, the best gun available, is an even more extreme example as it can only be found right before the final battle. Subverted with Lucifer's Armor, which can be obtained in the middle of the game, but requires a near maxed out strength stat (that one would likely have at the end of the game) to wield.
  • Lazy Backup: Somewhat justified. If both human characters die, the battle is over, presumably because no one will be left to work the COMP and control the demons.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Satan, not Lucifer, is behind the demon invasion and the nuclear war that predated it, but he was doing so under YHVH's orders.
  • Monster Arena: Which you need to complete to obtain a pillar. It's also a good way of making some quick money too.
  • Multiple Endings: 3 endings: 2 variations of the same bad ending, and one "good" ending.
  • New World Tease: By running around a statue in one area, you can access a small island in Makai where you can get a new sword and recruit Naga. It's only much later that you can access the rest of Makai.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Dark Hero is the one who frees Lucifer from his ice prison below Ginza, allowing him to potentially join you and stop YHVH.
  • Nostalgia Level: The Devil Busters game is a recreation of the Daedelus Tower from the first game, all from a top down perspective reminiscent of other RPGs of the time. After defeating the Minotaur, Pazuzu awakens and the real game starts.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Averted by YHVH of all people. Upon being defeated, YHVH cries out なんてことだ!nante koto da!) While the phrase indicates shock, it's also considered the Japanese equivalent of taking the Lord's name in vain. May double as a Stealth Pun. This was changed to a stock This Cannot Be! in the English translation.
  • Old Save Bonus: In the Kyuuyaku version, continuing on from a completed Megami Tensei file with certain side quests done will add several events to this game. These events include encounters with Mama and Papa Jack Frost, access to one of four secret demons based on Classical Mythology, Izanami weaving you an item to block trap and swamp damage, and a new area in Ginza known as the Trash Mountain.
  • Only in It for the Money:
    • Some demons will join your side — for a steep price with some even asking for triple donations!
    • Even if a demon joins you, you still have to pay to actually summon them.
  • Physical God: If you betray Lucifer at the end of the game or you have the friend in your party, YHVH essentially bribes you with godhood.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Subverted by the Dark Hero, who wears spiked purple armor, looks powerful AND unsealed Lucifer but poses no real threat to the hero or Bael.
  • Satan Is Good: Well, Satan is still evil, but Lucifer is treated as the game's Big Good if you unlocked the requirements to recruit him.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • Lucifer is trapped in ice under Ginza, until he's let out by the Dark Hero. The evil part is debatable though, since he helps stop YHVH.
    • A more traditional example would be Pazuzu. A demon who betrayed the demons to YHVH, he starts the game sealed in the Devil Buster game.
  • Shout-Out: The apunkalypse-type enemies are named after metal bands.
  • Skippable Boss: You can circumvent fighting Beelzebub and Lucifer should you have the frog that Bael turns into with you, with the former being part of the Fusion Dance that results in Baal, which will convince the latter to join you. This is required if you want the "good" ending.
  • Snowlems: This game is where Jack Frost, Atlus' mascot, made his debut (albeit with a very different appearance than he has now. This was slightly corrected in the remake, however).
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: When the Friend bails on you, he'll take with him the Solomon Ring, Orthus and half your cash.
  • Starter Equipment: Two Walther P.P.K.'s. One for you, one for your friend.
  • Status Effects: You've got classics like Poison, Paralyze, Sleep, Bind, Confuse and Seal (which works like Silence), but also Cursed (which works more like a traditional Poison effect), Happy (which causes the afflicted member to randomly ignore commands) and Panic (prevents a party member from acting for a while, then becomes Happy).
  • Take That Us: The game opens with the leads playing a computer game that is essentially the first dungeon of Megami Tensei with the top down perspective of traditional RPGs. If the player decides to quit playing (or beats it), they realize that the game world is VERY DIFFERENT then the traditional medieval fantasy worlds of those games.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • The Dainty Dinner for Mora. It's the only way to get him to ferry you around Makai.
    • There's a man in the Village of The Flies who requires a food item known as the Gorgeous Set.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: At one point, you are told about a statue that bites the arm off of people who try to steal its treasure. The treasure is a Pillar, so the only way to progress through the game is to have the statue bite your arm off and have it replaced by a prosthetic that can withstand being bitten..
  • Trope Maker: Pretty much every trope of the SMT series, from the post-apocalyptic setting to the alignment hero archetype to the finale involving climbing a tower to confront God, begins here.
  • True Final Boss: YHVH, who can be fought by recruiting Lucifer.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Friend, after being transformed into the Dark Hero, appears to have done this. He wields a katana, has Super Saiyan-esque blond hair, red eyes and wears a grotesque organic looking spiked purple armor that's wired into him. Subverted in that his ambushes on you always fail and he gets himself killed by the game's Disc-One Final Boss Bael.
  • The Unfought: The Dark Hero never directly attacks you, he just sends Orthus and other demons at you instead.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifter: Upon being defeated Bael transforms himself into a frog which you must take if you hope to recruit Lucifer.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: As part of the franchise-wide tradition, it's Game Over when both human characters die, presumably because no one will be left to work the COMP and control the demons.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: You start in Shelter #3, but no other Shelters are visited or even mentioned.
  • White Magician Girl: The Partner comes close. She fits the personality type but is more of a Red Mage. However, she will be your most reliable healer throughout the game until you obtain Baal, despite her offensive abilities.
  • Year X: The time of the worldwide nuclear war that devastated Tokyo is noted to have occurred in 199X.